It's a shame that creators need to justify game length, dev says

Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini says about Metal Gear Solid controversy, "I think that's one of the biggest failures of our industry."

It's a true shame that creators like Hideo Kojima need to justify the length of their games, Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini said today on Twitter. Guarini now heads up independent studio Ovosonico and is working on Murasaki Baby for the PlayStation Vita.

"When creators are forced to justify the length of a game, I think that's one of the biggest failures of our industry," Guarani said.

His comments, of course, are in reference to the controversy surrounding Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which you can reportedly finish in one sitting for its main story.

Kojima Productions designer Jordan Amaro defended the game's length earlier this week, saying the length of a title is not necessarily associated with quality. He cited games like Journey and Dear Esther as examples. The next day, Kojima himself responded to the drama, saying, "I believe people will be satisfied with the 'play time' of GZ and will not stress the 'clear time."

It's not only the game's length, but its price, that is getting some gamers riled up. Ground Zeroes will cost $20-$40 depending on your platform platform and delivery choice, which is well above the examples Amaro cited in defending Ground Zeroes. Ground Zeroes will cost $20 on Xbox 360 and PS3 for a digital copy and $30 on those platforms for a physical unit. On Xbox One and PS4, digital copies are going for $30, while physical copies will sell for $40.

Players can decide for themselves when Ground Zeroes launches on March 18. The game is a prequel to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, which is said to be "hundreds of times larger" than Ground Zeroes. Konami hasn't set a release date for that game yet, but it might not be until the end of 2015.

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Discussion

1092 comments
Sfr528
Sfr528

I think it's funny how much the expectations of gamers has changed over the course of gaming.  SNES games cost double to triple the price of many games you can get today and some could be beaten in under an hour.  Nowadays if a game isn't boasting 40+ hours people feel like they are being completely ripped off.


To be honest, total length is the wrong question.  The right question is how fun is the game and how much would you want to replay said game.  From what I could understand, this game supposedly has hours of replayability due to the way the mechanics of the AI work and how open the world is.  If the game is fun enough that you want to keep replaying it and seeing all the ways you can abuse the mechanics and AI... wouldn't it be worth it then?

thiagofali
thiagofali

Some ppl were saying here that the retail price of this 2h game would be £19.99.... Amazon is asking £29.99.. who in their right state of mind is going to pay 30 effin pounds for this? (around 60 dollars) this director is out of touch with reality.

fettdude
fettdude

It's also a shame that I am not prepared to pay the $95 AUD price tag for a two hour game. Don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE MGS fan and also in awe of what Hideo Kojima and his team have accomplished. I will not, however, pay that sort of money for something that will only whet my appetite for a prologue of a game that is yet to receive a confirmed release date.


If MGSV Phantom Pain is not going to be released until 2015 (potentially) then what motivation do I have to rush out and buy a game that will undoubtedly be in the bargain bin before the next installment has been released? I will save my hard earned money for now and probably pick this up in 10 months time just prior to preparing for the Phantom Pain. Sorry Kojima San :-(

Mayleene
Mayleene

So it isn't really "Free to Play", just Free to Pay.

Ark1of712
Ark1of712

Because, you know, they're not biased or anything, this is all just out of concern for other poor developers who may have short games and expect you to pay near full price for them.

moonlightwolf01
moonlightwolf01

The reason devs have to justify game length is because their publishers have created standard pricing. He cites journey and Dear Esther while failing to remember that neither of those games came with the $40 price tag ground zeros will. Journey was a near perfect game, not only in terms of quality and length but also in price tag. If I'd paid £35 ($60 approx.) I'd feel cheated and it would seriously damage my view of the game. Game length, gameplay, production values and price all have a part to play in deciding the quality of a game.

razorbladez2112
razorbladez2112

I would love to play this game, and I am willing to pay tree fiddy for it......

Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

I don't mind even if the game has one hour of actual game-play. As long as it is not a CGI movie...

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

There's no way any game you can finish in six hours or less at a modest pace should cost more than $15.

On the other end of the spectrum, I'm getting tired of games that try to justify their $60 price tag by placing tons of tedious, repetitive side quests in the game to pad its length.  Sure you don't have to complete them, but not doing so often makes the game harder and it's resources that could be spent polishing the main story.  The open world with hundreds of trinkets to collect is a cliche I could do without.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

They don't need to justify the length of a game. They need to justify the outrageous price tag.

lnfiniteloop
lnfiniteloop

Its not the length (2hrs minimum) of the Game you need to justify… its the price your expecting people to pay for it that is stupid…

Vraach
Vraach

Bunch of kids and idiots. How much does it take to finish your average shooter these days? 5 to 10 hours at most. And how much do you pay for it? Around 60$.

You could finish MGS in less than an hour or two, or you could stretch it to last 20 hours for a play-through. And whats more important it had a replay value, a thing that almost no modern game has.

After all his work, Kojima deserves better than to be criticized for something like that. I'd rather play 5 hours of a sequal that is a completely new game, than all those repacked sequels that are piratically the same game as the last one and monotonously stretched to fill some length criteria.        

deadkingdg
deadkingdg

No one minds that much about the length. We mind about the hours vs cost ratio. Even Journey was expensive for its length, even the reviews said that.

josnas
josnas

Describing a product for a price is acceptable. I just think the gaming world has been getting pretty crazy lately. Paying for alpha testing, micro transactions in abundance, games getting released with day one patches that you may have to buy to make the game playable. Electronic copies costing as much as physical copies, why pay full price when there is no packaging and shipping costs? Just respond with your wallets. I can see investing into a game and they let you into an alpha but when it becomes the norm I think it's a bit too much. When I invest I want to see returns.

Vexov
Vexov

Quality, It seems kind of wrong that were expected to pay more for it. Quality is something companies should put and take pride in putting in their games. Something that been a real miss for so many games over the years, everyone seems more interested in a quick buck; using hype and titles to see off their games.


Just like movies have lengths, games are expected to have the same. If your campaign is short(2-4hours) it better back up some great multiplayer or other features(dungeon modes, survival modes etc).


I find the best games have replay value, anything that has your spending hours solo or with buddies, not that i'm against a game with great story.

Bray209
Bray209

The whole cause of this controversy is the price, not the length of the game, It's a simple case of Value for money, which this game does not offer, as the price is far too high.

But Kojima probably isn't allowed to bring up the price because that is beyond his control, Instead he is the one in the firing line, making excuses to protect Konami's greedy a***s.

blackothh
blackothh

If its that small, why is it not part of phantom pain then??????????? 


oh wait, somebody must need a cash grab.

SPuDl
SPuDl

More like 'Ground Zero Days to Complete', haha am I right?

xeis-net
xeis-net

It is true that game length does not equal quality. But quality is only part of a consumers decision. Imagine a movie director decided to release a movie 15 minutes long but stated the audience should still spend £8 on the ticket admission because it was such good quality...


I dont think I will be buying this maybe wait for a goty edition with some extended play.

jdlr64
jdlr64

No one cares if you or any other developers justify anything Guarini.  The fact is most won't be purchasing 2 hours of entertainment for $40.00 +  The biggest failure of the gaming industry is gouging and lieing to customers as well as corporations creating microtransacions and DLC content.  FU

Karmazyn
Karmazyn

I would buy it for 7.99.

timmerous
timmerous

How can it be a prequel to MGSV if ground zero is released first?

slainta
slainta

This is crazy. I just did a bit of virtual window shopping. This game is 40€  for last gen and 50€ for new gen consoles!!! I swear, it's just that I have PS+ otherwise I'd move to PC and download illegally all games thus putting a stop to this rip off. Then they wonder why in Europe we buy less games.

slainta
slainta

So this is even more interesting. On PS4 and Xbox One (alphabetical order Gamespot!! The "P" comes before the "X"!) it is $10 more expensive. I think many people won't feel bad buying this digital for the old gen consoles.

dorukster
dorukster

Of course they have to justify it, because we're the ones paying for it! I swear, the developer's mentality against the consumer is getting worse and worse. This is just arrogant and stupid. If I'm spending my hard earned money on a game which is meant to entertain me, I expect it to last more than 2 f.cking hours, whether it be by multiplayer or singleplayer! These people forget the fact that they need us, the consumers, to sell their products. And they can win us over only by justifying their product's quality. With the increasing number of people buying day one DLC's, pre-orders, they obviously forgot about the more "refined" group of gamers. They need a very harsh reminder.

zeifel
zeifel

is there a valid Guiness Book of Records entry on game with highest price-over-length ratio yet? this one is a good contender.

shermenz
shermenz

the biggest failures of our industry are devs that make 2 hour games and sell them for 40$ you sham!

Boo!

scarred_fox
scarred_fox

@Vraach Another similar compression is the elder scrolls. The core story is short but you can extend the playability by doing side quests or exploring the world.

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@Vraach  i agree completely and did people not realize in the article Game Informer writes (via Kotaku): "Judged just by the core story mission, Ground Zeroes is short. We completed it in just less than two hours." take note people to the words CORE

ixmardukxi
ixmardukxi

@josnas I agree with you on some points, especially when it comes to early access, dayZ sales passed 800,000 in a month when it's still in alpha, the developers no longer have an incentive to deliver on what they promised.

youre_a_sheep
youre_a_sheep

@jdlr64 If we're listing the industry's worst failures, add putting out buggy, unfinished games and turning those who buy brand new releases at full price into beta testers.  I always wait a few months to buy anything for that reason.

Benny_a
Benny_a

@slainta  where did you find those stupid prices? want a link to Canadian shop they have next gen version with international shipping for 42USD.

The lats gen versions will be 10$ cheaper


Even on amazon UK (ships internationally) its cheaper then your prices if your not from UK (no VAT)

Setho10
Setho10

@slainta My understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, is that most European countries do not have a sales tax for games. A $40 game here can cost as much as $45 depending on location when tax is added in. Combine that with the fact that the Euro is worth slightly more than the dollar on average and the prices are about the same. Australians on the other hand have to pay a small fortune for games. Most European countries, again from my understanding, end up paying about the same when all is said and done.

EDIT: It also might be that tax is built into the price? I'm not entirely sure. But I believe if a store charges 40 Euros for a game in most of Europe the final price is 40 Euros. Whereas in the US $40 is the price before any taxes are added.

jurk182
jurk182

@dorukster  Short games aren't necessarily cheaper to produce. Ground Zeroes has very high production values. When you look at the price of a game, you have to take about 30-35% right off the top for manufacturing, distributing, publishing costs as well as the store's cut. Digital distribution is not much better because the storefront (Steam, PS Store or whatever) takes 30% off the price you pay and keeps it. 


While I'll argue that the cost of producing a triple A game is way over what it should be (mostly due to cost overruns due to bad business practices), game length probably does not effect the price as much as you'd think. It is kind of a drag when you pay $60 for a game and it ends up ending after 8-10 hours without much impetus to replay it, but that game probably still had a $50-100 million budget. 


You could probably burn through the main story in Assassin's Creed IV in less than 10 hours. The other 80 hours I spent playing it was sinking ships, collecting macguffins, whaling, upgrading my gear and boat and sending my fleet around the world. Is that good game design? I will let you figure that out for yourself.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

@zeifel  I doubt this game would win...

MGS V: 2 hours for 20 dollars

COD: 4 hours for 60 dollars

COD: Black Ops Declassified: 1 hour for 60 dollars

toffifee
toffifee

@shermenz  Exactly. If they have a much lower price tag then fine. It's ridiculous to play that much for 2-4 hours. GZ should have been included in the main game.

matman01
matman01

@Setho10  Most European countries do have a sales tax that applies to video games, it just goes under a different name - commonly VAT (value added tax). Here in the UK it currently stands at 20%, but it varies between 15% (Luxembourg) and 27% (Hungary) in the rest of Europe. 

slainta
slainta

@Setho10  The point is that it has been years now that the Euro is worth about $1.30. Today is even higher than that. The VAT is about 20%. So 


$40+ 20% VAT = $48. 

Divided by 1.3 would be 37€. VAT included. 


Not 50€!!! Bloody thieves.

dorukster
dorukster

@jurk182 @doruksterI know producing AAA games can be quite expensive, but there are developers who make huge amounts of profit by making games which are worth their price tag of 60 dollars. That's what seperates them from evil corporations who take the consumer's intelligence for granted by charging 40 dollars for a 2-hour prequel. 

I am a huge fan of Hideo Kojima. I played and loved his games. But that doesn't mean I'm going to pay him 40 dollars for a demo, which will most likely come bundled with The Phantom Pain which will be worth 60 dollars. Is it ethical for a developer to charge 40 dollars for a 2-hour prequel and another 60 dollars for the full game which is said to be "100 times larger". 

I will certainly buy The Phantom Pain once it's released because it's going to justify its 60 dollar price tag. I will not support this pathetic cash-in however.

slainta
slainta

@jurk182 @dorukster  Journey took at least 3 years to be developed, Thatgamecompany nearly went bankrupt and the game costed only $15. With some people still complaining about its length, actually. But that was a bit over the top.


Now Kojima is asking up to $40 for a 2 hours game. Apparently 4 with all side missions. It IS too short for that money.

kez1304
kez1304

@Cowslapper @slainta  That's AUD (Australian Dollars), not USD (United States Dollars). They're not the same currency. Just share the same name.


Exactly the same as HKD (Hong Kong Dollars), or any other "Dollars" that appear in the world (of which there are quite a few).


They're similar in name only.


Also, Australia is renowned for having high import duty on electronic products, and that's also reflected in the price.


Europe doesn't have this issue, and many of them are produced/distributed from within the EU (be it digitally, or in physical form), and therefore no import duty is paid for the product, whatsoever.


EU retailers charge what they do, because they can.


Get a US PSN/XBOX live account (via proxy/VPN), and just buy it in USD.

Cowslapper
Cowslapper

@Setho10 @dorukster  "Why are games the only form of entertainment judged by their length? Why do you not complain when you are charged the same for a movie that is 80 minutes and one that is 180 minutes?" <-- people complain about the length of movies all the time.

dorukster
dorukster

@Setho10 @doruksterI may also pay 60 dollars for a 5 hour masterpiece if the game is perfect. I won't pay 40 dollars for a 2-hour tech demo though.

Setho10
Setho10

@dorukster My comment on this is always the same. Why are games the only form of entertainment judged by their length? Why do you not complain when you are charged the same for a movie that is 80 minutes and one that is 180 minutes? One is more than double the length of the other, but no one seems to mind. The same is largely true with books. Would you buy a 1000 page book over a 300 page book because you get 700 more pages? Would you buy a song that is 5 minutes over one that is 3 minutes? What is it about a game that makes length so important? In almost every industry consumers constantly push for quality over quantity. People will pay extra for food that was grown less efficiently but which is seen as higher quality. Even if, say, an apple tastes like an apple people will pay double for the organic "higher quality version". Same with most any product. Yet when it comes to games people often claim they would prefer a 100 hour slog over a 10 hour masterpiece. Look at Final Fantasy 13. That game is like 60 hours long but it would be much better if they cut out most of the first 30 hours. It's easy to make a long game. Making a fun game is much harder and personally I'd prefer to pay $60 for a 5 hour masterpiece than a 500 hour bore.