GDC 2008: Indie Devs Advocate Quality Over Quantity
It's a common saying- "quality over quantity." In the game world, this means we should value the quality of the product rather the length of time it takes to beat the game. However, when the product costs $60, you tend to want the most out of your experience, and the longer it is...well, the more you get. Of course, nobody wants to play it if the gameplay is horrendous, so there's a fine line to walk. At this year's GDC, independent game developers have stepped up and advocated quality over quantity, no matter what.
According to GameSpot, a trio of indie devs - Kellee Santiago from thatgamecompany (flOw), Jon Mak from Queasy Games (Everyday Shooter), and Pekko Koskinen from Playsign all said they dislike it when the industry insists on scoring games based on length.
"Now games are for the most part experienced and--more importantly--measured linearly," said Santiago. "Game X is better than game Y because game X is 20 hours, while game Y is pretty good but it's only 10 hours long. Sandbox games have a sense of increased value, because they last 'forever.' An example is Katamari Damacy, which was a value at $20. The reviews for it qualified that it was a short game, but I don't think I'm alone when I say I logged more hours on Katamari Damacy than I did on God of War II, which I finished. I'm not saying God of War II is better or worse than Katamari Damacy--I really like God of War II, actually--but what I'm saying is I don't think this is an appropriate ruler anymore to measure the quality or the value of a game."
They have more than a few good ideas on the issue, and Santiago continues by suggesting that developers focus on the quality of time spent playing; in other words, don't treat "quality" and "time" as separate entities. Many will continue to claim a title "needs" to be of a certain length if they are to consider a purchase, but recent games like Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare are capable of changing that viewpoint. Mak went further by saying a game's lasting effect on the player is of a greater value than the time spent playing.
"It's not about how many times you replay the game. You could play it once, and that game can stick in your head for the rest of your life. To me, that counts as replay," he said.
Well, it's bound to be a topic of conversation for quite some time, but we have to say we agree with these sentiments. If the experience is wholly entertaining and you emerge completely satisfied, who cares if it took 5 hours or 50 hours? You definitely got your money's worth, one way or the other.
2/18/2008 Ben Dutka