Recently, IGN held a QA session with members of the Control development team featuring questions from fans and prospective players.
Thomas Puha, the communications director, fielded a question about the game’s length, something that’s apparently on a lot of players’ minds as he mentioned that it’s one of the questions that they get asked most.
Control, according to Puha, will take roughly 10-15 hours to complete for the average player.
If someone wants to go hardcore with Control and explore in-depth, complete every side mission, find the lore collectibles and more, then their playtime might run closer to 20 hours.
Compared to many higher-profile game releases in recent years that might feel kind of short, and if you’re someone that likes longer games where you squeeze as much gameplay out of $60 as you can, that might be a bit disappointing.
This would be especially so if you’re limited on how much you can spend on games, or are a kid that relies on their parents to gift them with the occasional game. If that describes you in any way, I can understanding wanting to get your “money’s worth.”
Let me speak to the people who don’t fall into those two categories. As an adult that has enough disposable income to get pretty much any game I want, I wish the 10-15 hour campaign was the norm for most games, and the super long JRPGs or open-world games were fewer in number.
There’s just too much coming out these days, and it’s great for the most part; I’m not going to complain about a never-ending pile of worthwhile video games to play.
The problem is, I can never get through them all if they all are going to push 20-30 hours minimum and some that are even double, triple or even quadruple that.
There’s a time and place for both, but presumably in an effort to compete many developers are finding ways to extend the playtime as much as possible.
Recently, we saw this with Rage 2 which had open-world elements that didn’t enhance much of what Rage 2 did well, and if anything, dragged it down.
Days Gone is another one that had some great ideas but the game’s open-world felt empty, and because there was all this extra “laundry list” stuff getting between you and the story, both the gameplay and story took a hit from the pacing being thrown off.
I’m really not trying to make this a hit piece on open-world games though, it goes beyond that genre.
Valkyria Chronicles 4 is a personal favorite game of mine from last year and is a wonderful title that is unmatched in the strategy space.
But man, between the amount of cutscenes and the optional – but kind of not optional if you want to avoid playing with handicaps and miss out on story elements – squad story chapters and battles (I’m not even counting the Skirmishes), that is another one that feels much longer than it really needs to be.
I’d play way more games, and give developers and publishers a lot more of my money if I felt that I could ever get to their game in a reasonable amount of time.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t buy games until I’m ready to actually play them. When I cough over my hard-earned scratch to Amazon, GameStop or whomever, I’m bringing that game home, popping it in, and getting started right away.
I’d love to just play one game at a time but between work here at Twinfinite, wanting to keep up with as many of the latest games as I can, and getting through my own personal favorites, I always end up juggling multiple games at once.
There’s only so many balls I can keep up in the air at one time and some games are going to get left behind.
Eventually I’ll have the time as a get through my backlog slowly but surely, but with there being a constant onslaught of great games coming out all the time, I’ll more likely buy something more recent rather than remember to go back and try out whatever game seemed interesting 11 months ago that I didn’t have time to get to.
If some of these 30-hour games were a brisk 10-15 hour experience like say Uncharted 4 was, and Control will be, I might be more motivated to put aside whatever long-ass game I’m playing at the time for a weekend and bang out something new and interesting.
While my story is a bit personal, I imagine there are lots of you in a similar situation dealing with a backlog that will never end because of a passion to play as many fun new games as you can.
So many of us want to give a wide breadth of developers and games the time of day but literally can’t because there’s not enough waking hours.
Perhaps when the $60 game model eventually collapses one day, we’ll see publishers get more creative and flexible with how they price games and design games around their cost.
I’d be fine living in a world where I paid $80 for Red Dead Redemption 2 and $40 for Control with some worthwhile DLC to pad things out if it’s warranted.
For now, though, all I can hope is that more developers are not afraid to keep campaigns shorter and tighter if that’s what’s in the best interest for the quality of the game.
It’s a small sample size but based on the reaction to the news in the comments of the IGN article, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this way.