Should Games Keep It Short N’ Sweet?

How much time do you tend to spend with games? Are you always able to beat the 50 to 70 hour behemoths? Do you prefer titles that only take around 24 hours? The right kind of length is often debated. With the appearance of Marvel’s Spider-Man and announcement of its average length, the debate over how long games might have to be has come around again.

The big deal with Marvel’s Spider-Man is that the game is about 20 hours long. This was confirmed by Insomniac. If someone is playing the game on the default difficulty and only taking on the story quests, they could be done in around 20 hours. If extra sidequests or harder difficulty levels are factored in, that time increases. This might have some people wondering if 20 hours is an appropriate amount of time, or whether it is too long or too short. Could 20 hours not be enough?

One thing we have to look at is the length of other recent Sony exclusives. Let’s consider God of War. The reboot is another game that, on the standard difficulty level and without really investing time into extras, someone could probably beat in around 20 hours. Horizon: Zero Dawn has a similar playtime. If you go through it, it would maybe be around 20 hours from start to finish. It could very well be that Marvel’s Spider-Man is going to hit that sweet spot where it is not taking up a lot of our time, but also isn’t making us feel like we wasted our money on a game that was too short.

It especially isn’t bad when you consider around how long older Spider-Man games were. Both of The Amazing Spider-Man games were around or under 10 hours long. This would mean Marvel’s Spider-Man doubles those two games. If you go by How Long to Beat, the longest game based on the hero so far is Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, at around 10 hours long.

Also, think about Sony’s other exclusive superhero series. The inFamous line followed Cole MacGrath and Delsin Rowe, people who developed superpowers. While each of these are open games that let people explore a whole city, they aren’t exactly huge. I beat inFamous: Second Son in under a week, with maybe 10 hours or so total playtime. The other game were about as long. 

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Besides, think of the alternative. Do we really need another possible 50 hour beast in our lives? GTA V is a behemoth that can take around 35 hours to beat, not counting all of the extras and GTA Online experience. If Red Dead Redemption 2 is anything like Red Dead Redemption, it could be a 20-30 hour game for the basic matters, but much longer for the extras and add-ons. There are still people who have not beaten The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim or The Witcher 3, due to the main story being around 50-60 hours and the supplemental stuff putting things into the hundreds.

Perhaps Sony is guiding us toward a new standard length for games. After all, three of its major games all clock in at around the 20 hour mark for the main experience. Marvel’s Spider-Man, God of War, and Horizon: Zero Dawn all try to hit that point. Perhaps that is the perfect balance of making sure we have enough to do, while also ensuring a game is actually finished. That way, we could appreciate the more extensive and longer titles, like Skyrim or The Witcher 3, even more.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Writing Team
Date: 08/30/2018

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