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Creators Forced To Justify Game Length An "Industry Failure"

When the news broke that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes might be only two hours long, most gamers weren't happy.

This resulted in a firestorm of controversy and argument; at one point, Kojima Productions designer Jordan Amaro said the issue had been unfairly "trumped up." Now, despite gamers who remain insistent that only a few hours is too short, another developer has spoken up in defense of Kojima and Co.

This time it's Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini, who made a bold statement on Twitter:

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

Kojima himself recently said he believes players will be "satisfied with the play time," although the price of the game remains a sticking point for most consumers. Ranging in price from $20 to $40 (depending on whether you buy a digital or physical copy, and the platform in question), many argue that the price is too steep for only a few hours.

For myself, I'm with Guarini and that's where I'll leave it. If all people are going to care about is how much damage it does to their wallet, as opposed to the potential quality of the experience, than we can't take much pride in the industry's artistic merits. I don't think such-and-such painting is worth ten grand, either, but someone must because there's a "sold" sign next to it, and selling it for ten bucks would've been a colossal insult to the artist.

Tags: video games, video game length, gaming industry, ground zeroes, mgsv ground zeroes

2/10/2014 10:58:37 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (31 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:17:16 AM
Reply

They aren't really forced to do anything, if it's good it will stand on it's own two legs. However it's clear that what is on offer, even if it stretches out to 5 or 6 hours, is in sharp contrast to normal pricing around the industry given what we know about the game (mainly that it is just an introduction and not a full game).

Compared to something priced like, say Blood Dragon or Outlast the pricing here doesn't fit.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:42:00 AM

It's not like you're playing The Phantom Pain. This is an entirely different set of scenarios and a different part of the overarching story.

So, it may be an "introduction to the series," but I just see it as the first game. Technically, you could call any new IP an "introduction" to a new franchise if the game ends without an overall ending, and it's continued in the sequel.

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 12:54:45 PM

I don't care how great a game is, there is no way 2hours of gameplay justifies a $40 price.

Agree with this comment 13 up, 2 down Disagree with this comment

godsman
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 1:21:44 PM

Its basically a prequel dlc except it comes before the game. 40 for that is way too steep.

Agree with this comment 7 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 1:23:14 PM

Either way they ought to have known they would never get away from the obvious perception that this is the hacking off of the beginning of a game, giving it a different name, and then pricing it as high as possible to make up for development costs.

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Neo_Aeon666
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 2:41:22 PM

@ LimitedVertigo

How about the fact a big chunk of 3d movies ranging from 1:10mins to 3hours sell for 40$? Don't see people crying.

Plus this game is probably going to have a lot of replay value with different ways to deal with situations. Not like a movie that will always be the same.

If you can't fork 40$ for it just wait for a promo that will probably occur within the first weeks.

Last edited by Neo_Aeon666 on 2/10/2014 2:43:00 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 2:57:26 PM

Actually a vast majority of 3D movies sell for $20-$30. And they include not only the blu-ray but also the DVD and a digital version. So I'd say that more than justifies the price.

I'm sure the game may have some level of replay value. Just like most movies have a level of replay value. Do you really believe a game that offers 2 hours of initial gameplay can offer enough additional content justifying a $40 price tag?

I admire your trust in the final product but I'd rather be a little realistic about this.

Agree with this comment 4 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

bigrailer19
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 4:19:05 PM

LV is right when compared to the industries current pricing trend. $40 is way to high.

Not to mention movies are priced to high as well. But that's beside the point.

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ethird1
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 8:43:12 PM

LV is correct. 40 bucks for 2 hours of game play. Really?

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Kryten1029a
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:49:04 PM

Here are some examples of better pricing:
*Dragon Age Origins: Awakening $40
That's for an expansion that has more content
than many full games and from Electronic
Mothergrabbing Arts of all people!
*Fable Anniversary $40
Microsoft did an HD remake for 360 and didn't feel the need to gouge people.
*Dead Rising 2: Case Zero $5
Capcom (which hasn't been especially gamer
friendly with DLC or repeated releases of
the same games for full price) only charged $5
for a 1-2 hr prequel to Dead Rising 2.

The length of Ground Zeroes is fine, it's the pricing of it that's the issue. The fact that Kojima is focusing on length rather than justifying the cost of the prequel says that he really doesn't have an excuse. He thought that his fans were blindly loyal enough to pay up and felt that he could just go ahead and take the piss.
With the example of the $10,000 painting, the artist sets the price and the market is willing to pay it. Obviously, based on the controversy over this, the market views $40 to be a bit much for a 2-hour game. If you put something up for sale at a certain price and your customers balk then it's not an insult. It might be worth it if one of Alejandro's "back page Las Vegas escorts" was hand-delivering it, but otherwise not.

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Masszt3r
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:39:14 AM
Reply

In addition to the length, I think the criticism towards GZ is the price. I mean, come on, I know it is cheaper than a fully priced game, but I still believe 40 bucks is just too much for those presumed two hours. I have always thought that a game's length should be determined by its story, but they should lower down the price a bit. 30 USD sounds more reasonable.

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slugga_status
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 7:20:43 PM

The digital ps4 version is $30

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Kryten1029a
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:51:20 PM

$30 is still too much for two hours of gameplay.

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TheWuziMu
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 11:44:34 AM
Reply

If it truly is a two-hour intro to a larger experience, either release it as a free demo (like everyone else does)or tack it on to the larger experience and charge full price.

I'm not buying DLC before I've played the game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 1:24:55 PM

DLC before the game, that sounds about right.

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telly
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 3:50:19 PM

And DLC is rarely, if ever, $40. If this were $15 across all platforms, I know I wouldn't really have a problem with the price or duration of the game.

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LimitedVertigo
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 12:56:19 PM
Reply

I wouldn't pay full price to see a blockbuster movie in theaters if it was under an hour. I don't see this being any different. Game prices have always been justified at least in part because of their length of experience over film.
Once you start getting near the length of a movie I start to wonder why I'm being expected to pay more than $15.

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Alejandro562
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 2:07:31 PM
Reply

So you can put a 1minute game out , not justify it's length and charge me full price while other games offer more replay value ? Good luck with sales guarini.

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telly
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 3:48:49 PM
Reply

I'll read the reviews and who knows, maybe the consensus will be it is worth the price of admission. Until that happens, this just seems like a pretty blatant attempt to get cash to make Phantom Pain. How awful would it be if this sort of thing became common? The next Uncharted is under development... and a prequel chapter that lasts a couple hours is available a year ahead of time for $30? Ugh.

Really hope it turns out Ground Zeroes is amazing and well worth the price of admission. We'll find out soon, I guess.

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jdt1981
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 6:07:24 PM
Reply

Other people can defend this all they want, I just refuse to pay $40 for a 2 hour demo...

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LegendaryWolfeh
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 6:51:45 PM
Reply

I feel like this is essentially GT Prologue but for Metal Gear...at least GT had different cars and races.

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Gabriel013
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 3:40:37 AM

I agree that this is a prologue to the main title however I recall GTP being many hours of entertainment, far more than a lot of full priced complete titles also available.

I don't see how this can be priced similar to feature length titles and yet be no longer than some PSN titles. I don't recall any full priced main release games being this short.

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frostface
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 7:09:38 PM
Reply

If as Kojima says he's releasing this game for the fans and their patience whilst waiting for the main event, then he shouldn't be charging any where near the amount for this two hours chopped off MGS5 and released early. It should be re-attached to MGS5 and sold as one product, the loyal fans will wait.

I'm not a fan of MGS but I can appreciate that the real fans will get a quality product they'll relish for years to come. But expecting them to fork out full price money on what's basically a tutorial for the real deal, that's ludicrous imo and is more an insult to the fans and basically is a greedy cash grab.

That attitude is more damaging to the industry, just as every other piece of DLC that's should of been, and would of been, back in the old days just included in the finished product.

Last edited by frostface on 2/10/2014 7:13:56 PM

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slugga_status
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 7:36:30 PM
Reply

Iono I kind of feel this is blown out of proportion. If i understand correctly, $20 for ps3 digital and $30 for a physical copy...$30 digital $40 for physical copy on ps4.it only seems too much of you go the physical route. I'm in the minority in regards to length. It may take some 2hrs but it may take me longer. Everybody has a different play style. I've never played Kojima game that disappointed me so I'll wait until i have the game before blasting the length. The reality is if you go digital you likely pay $60 total once the other half is released and you therefore have a full game. I will say I'm not a fan of splitting it up but it isn't like it's the only game in ones collection to play

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ProfPlayStation
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 8:38:33 PM
Reply

If ever gamers can be accused of acting like spoiled children, this is the moment.

To the topic, all I'll say is that I have played total crap games that are lengthy, and amazing, life-long memorable games that are very short.

Rez is a 1-hour game. People love Rez, and it's been released on 3 platforms, by popular demand. It sure as heck didn't debut at a low $20/$30.

ICO HD has a damn trophy for beating the game in 2 hours.

Mirror's Edge is easily finished in 2 hours after the first playthrough. I can't even count how many times I've played that through.

Hideo Kojima has not let me down yet with any of the games he has directed, and I'm sure I will love Ground Zeroes just as much. I've seen nothing to indicate that I won't.

Now, continue complaining about a game you've never played.

Last edited by ProfPlayStation on 2/10/2014 8:41:13 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 10:10:05 PM

Speed runs are differnt

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Kryten1029a
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 1:14:31 AM

You don't think that charging $40 for a glorified demo is out of line? I agree with Brett Phillips on Videogamer(dot)com that this is just an attempt by Konami to take advantage of the affection that many fans have toward this franchise. They really are pushing it here and the fact that they've had to come out and address the criticism (by focusing on length and not cost) means that they know they've struck a nerve. Maybe I'll but it used for $5 someday; that sounds like a fair price.

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ProfPlayStation
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 2:17:43 AM

That's your right as a customer. Don't like it, don't buy it. I'll be happy to have some kind of Metal Gear, rather than none, until the rest of the game is done sometime near 2015/2016. Kojima has already said that this is a complete experience, and not some level sample. Frankly, I'll take his word over a bunch of whiny, entitled forum posters. He has rewarded my confidence at every turn, over the years.

Like I pointed out, many people were happy to pay MORE than $40 for Rez, which is only an hour or so long, first play. It was an incredible experience that I still cherish to this day. Who's to say that Ground Zeroes won't be just as enjoyable? Have you played it? Has anybody complaining about this played it? ... ... ... ... ... I didn't think so.

And if you don't like the $40 PS4 price, well, there's a wealth of options! It's $10 cheaper for digital, just like everyone is always whining about! And it's also $10 cheaper for the physical PS3 release, which I'll be getting. Or half the price; only $20 for PS3 digital!! Pardon me while I cry about the high cost of bleeding-edge computer entertainment. I guess it ought to cost the same as a fast food burger. *shrug*

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Gabriel013
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 3:54:07 AM

Just because my interpretation of value for money is different to yours, I and many others of similar mind are entitled children? Very adult of you to try and insult those of differing opinions to yourself.

You are correct that we are indeed customers and are free to buy or not buy as we see fit, but I also think we are free to state our opinions about this business practice without being insulted for it.

We all have differing views of what makes a product good value for money and we should respect that. You think 2 hours is good value for money then great for you, I am happy you are happy with that.

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___________
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 1:49:28 AM
Reply

no, value for money is this industries problem.
if any other industry was caught charging full price, 90 bucks, for a item which is half the length of norm, they would be slaughtered for it!
how would people react when avatar releases and is only a hour long?
how would people react if star wars 7 was a hour long?
how would people react if ferrari announced the replacement to the 458, same price, but this time instead of expensive carbon fibre and leather, its made out of plastic and cloth, and has the engine out of a ford focus?
thats what i thought, so why does this industry get a free pass?
im sorry but if a 100+ hour infinitely repayable game is worth 90 bucks, than a 2 hour game non replayable is not worth anywhere near 90 bucks!
dont sell me a outhouse and tell me its the taj mahall!

why do i get the feeling that this only exists because M$ and $ony know allot of people are waiting on this to buy next gen systems, and thus have pressured the team into releasing whatever they can as early as possible?
sorry guys but id rather eat 90 bucks in 1 dollar coins, than spend it on a 2 hour glorified demo!


Last edited by ___________ on 2/11/2014 1:52:51 AM

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Gabriel013
Tuesday, February 11, 2014 @ 4:00:46 AM

Seems in the games industry you aren't allowed to call foul on practices you deem to feel unfair as this is viewed by some as a personal attack on someone's beloved developer/publisher/franchise..

I suppose their may be ardent supporters in Italy who would still salivate for the Ferrari you give as example, and decry those who object. I'd like to think they would be the vast minority, as in the case of this video game, otherwise this practice may become the norm.

I personally hold no love for any developer, publisher or franchise only so far as they provide a maximum value product to make this customer want to part with his hard earned money.

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