New game? No thanks

After many months of not being able to write a word on this blog, I’m finally being (almost) constant with my entries. Yay! But from great blog posting comes great responsibility (sic.), hence I thought that maybe my posts would deserve less schematic titles. The [Category]: [Title] format is a bit annoying after a while. For me, at least. So let’s try a more common “Who the hell cares” approach with simpler titles, and also (probably) shorter entries.

In the last few weeks I’ve been messing around with a thing called portfolio: I’m building one, in order to show my skillset to potential employers and eventually get a job. Very eventually. It takes time tho. A lot of time. Especially if your skills are mostly writing-related, and you’d like to publish stories/books/novels/stuff. And you also have freelance work with deadlines. In the meantime, each day still lasts only 24hrs. Consequence: the available time window to play games is super-super-short. I’ve been playing Overwatch on PS4 a lot for this reason, 10-15′ minutes per session (if a buddy is online that extends to 30′). Previously, it was Torment: Tides of Numenera but a bug in the last dungeon prevented me to complete it, and I quit. Stardew Valley, but that was mostly for academic interest. Fifa 17, but I get angry every time I play it.

This is just to mention the most recent ones. Yet, there are more titles I have completed in the past that would deserve a second take. Tyranny, Fallout 4, Until Dawn, Alien: Isolation, Dragon Age: Inquisition. Basically, the ones that allow multiple approaches. So many games, so little time. Plus, one would like to read, watch TV shows, movies, go out, do sports, etc. Now, this isn’t just my problem: I’ve noticed the very same issue torment many friends that either have a full time job or are attending University.

This is the market’s fault: games cost less, and they are A WHOLE LOT now. Probably also because there’s more audience than in the past, essentially. More demand = more offer. Just browse Steam to get an idea of how many titles are released everyday. Stuff worth 8-10hrs of play if you are lucky. Potentially endless PGC projects. FPS, RTS, MOBAs where each game lasts from 10′ to 90′. RPGs that allow multiple alterbiographies depending on the player’s approach. Time, time, time.

So I asked myself: is replayability still a value in games? Or is it a problem?

Well said, Dr. Zoidberg!

For me, right now, it’s a huge problem. When it comes to buy a new game (or just to daydream a purchase), replayability in relation to estimated time for completion is on the “CONS” column. Because I really like to try many games, but I tend to commit to something when it’s good for me. Especially with regards to RPGs. I used to complete them many times, especially the Fallout and Dragon Age (Origins is my record – 7 times in a row) series. This is why I’m scared by Nioh, Horizon Zero Dawn, Final Fantasy XV, Mass Effect: Andromeda and some other games I didn’t buy yet. They would be an investment that I cannot afford, in terms of time. Not to mention money (sad face).

From a designer point of view, the issue brings other questions in my mind. Since people could not have time to play a game more than once, would it be better to create a replayable game or a (shorter) remarkable one-time experience? Would it be more fair to the customers who invest money on your game? Better in terms of costs-efficiency of the final product?

For sure it’s a matter worth considering when making a game, imho. People in the future will most likely chose carefully games rather than buying a bunch of titles that they’ll never play (all our Steam libraries say “hi”) once, never mind replay them. Which means less sales I suppose…? Dunno, just thinking out loud here.

Aaand I guess I exaggerated with words this time too.

Let me summarize.

tl;dr – I’m broke and adult life sucks.

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