How long should games be?

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Some people are just never happy

News that Arkane studios-developed, Bethesda-Published Neo-Victorian, first-person, mystical, Stealth and a whole lot of other adjectives action game Dishonoured would come in at about 12 hours – for those who like to rush through things – has been met with mixed reaction.

“Play-style matters a lot. Very direct players will probably get through the game in 12 or 14 hours,” co-creative directors, Harvey Smith and Raphael Colantonio said in a Dishonored Q&A on the Bethesda Blog.  “Explorers who eavesdrop a lot will take twice as long.”

Even though the developer has affirmed that the average player will take at least double the time to complete the game, a vociferous few have proclaimed the game to be too short.  Obviously, not every game can be a great-big, open world adventure that spans dozens, even hundreds of hours – but how long is acceptable for an action game?

As a busy family man, these days I actually prefer shorter games. I’m not talking 4 or 5 hour single player games which have unfortunately become quite common, but rather 8-12 hour games ( for games that aren’t RPGs, strategy titles or city builders). I’d rather have 8 hours of pure, distilled awesome than 30 to 40 hours of humdrum, but tell us:

What do you think? Is 12 hours – for a single player game – too short? How long do you want your games to be?

Last Updated: June 18, 2012

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