Who Cares If The Game Is Short? Hideki Kamiya Wants To Ensure It's Fun

The ever-colourful Twitter feed of top Japanese game developer Hideki Kamiya (Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and the upcoming Wonderful 101 for Wii U) imparted some wisdom this weekend. I believe in this wisdom as well.

Game length is over-rated. Game fun should be paramount.

Sadly, I think the padding of games is still widely accepted. Game developers and publishers fill their creations with monotonous mid-game levels. How many of the same enemy do I have to kill? Do I have to do another boring block puzzle? Did anyone think this mini-boss would be fun to fight?

Game creators seem to fear that players will blitz through a short game in a weekend and then complain or, worse, trade that short game in. So we get padded games. We get multiplayer modes to also make a game last longer, because, look, people complain, complain, complain when they plunk down $15, $30 or $60 for a game they feel didn't last long enough to merit that cost. And even it was worth it, if it's short, they might trade it in so they can by something else.

I'll venture a guess that Kamiya would like to make games that are so fun that, no matter how much you paid for it, you'd feel good about getting it. Maybe you'd even keep it.

One of Kamiya's past games, Okami, did feel very padded to me. Too many recycled bosses, too many retreads of the same territory. Too many knickknacks to collect. People often rave about how wonderful that game was. My reaction is always the same: it was very good, but I would have loved it twice as much if it was half as long.

I love the sentiment Kamiya Tweeted about Wonderful 101, and if that's where his head is at today, I say, "Terrific." I hope he's not alone.


    TW101 looks like a hell load of fun. Seriously cant wait to get my hands on it.

    I personally didn't think Okami was too long perse, but those long and repititious boss fights were tedious.

    My feeling is that quality is more important than length, but assuming there isn't any padding, a 20hr game is better value than a 10hr game.

    What a crock, people dont like being ripped off, if they spend 60-$100 on a game and finish it in 5 hours, that's exactly how they will feel. Its called value for money.

    Going to the movies is one of the least value for money pieces of entertainment and yet i will still get better value going 4 times for the minimum above price and get 3 hours more entertainment.

    Sure fun is super important and no one likes padding but you can't piss on me and tell me its raining.... There is a good point for most games and its at least 10-15 hours anything less (unless its a multiplayer game like COD) really is a joke.

    Its one of many reasons i love RPG's, you get good value for money as well as the great story and the rest, because really no one likes buying a game and finishing it the same or next day.

      ^ This.
      Some games can be better if they're short and sweet. But I don't want to be paying more than $20-$30 for them...
      Something like the original portal is a perfect example of this... fantastic gameplay over a short period of time... but I wouldn't have been happy if I paid $100 for it.

      Did you ever play Shadow of the Colossus? Very short game, but I don't know of anyone who felt ripped off by that experience.

      I feel ripped off when I get a game like the latest Assassins Creed titles, which is about 5 hours of gameplay, stretched and repeated over the course of 60 hours (it may or may not actually be 60 hours, I was just exaggerating. The point is, AC is way too long for the actual amount of content in it).

      You see, good, fun, short games have a fuck load of replay value. Those games last forever, because in a few months, maybe a few years, you'll come back to it and play it again.

      Starfox 64 is another one worth mentioning. Hell, the Devil May Cry's are pretty short too.

      Hideki is a great developer who knows quality game design. Hideki is the type of developer where, if you took away all the graphics (to the point where it's still playable) and story, his games would still be fantastic.

      Don't count it out yet. You might be pleasantly surprised.

      Oh! I forgot about Megaman. Megaman games are short, but you can't tell me that shit ain't fun, because Megaman is fucking great.

      Who knows? Perhaps we need shorter games again. Shorter games give it a bit more of an arcade feel, and you can't really go wrong with arcade feel.

      Edit: Forgot about Portal. Mutha fuckin Portal. One of the reasons that game is so good is because it's short enough to keep you playing it again and again.

      Last edited 30/04/13 3:28 pm

        I played portal once and never bothered to play it again because it had nothing else to offer me. Never played shadow of the colossus either. However there is a large difference, portal was not sold for the Full RRP of a AAA game like gears of war/halo/assassins creed and neither are arcade games, your comparing apples to oranges.

        I myself also thought assassins creed was rubbish, i played the first one which was a few hours of fun followed by 3 hours of side mission padding and each one made that progressively worse. That is a prime example of a padded game and i agree (i mentioned but mostly skipped padding before) that padded games are a dettriment, Games like Xenoblade are an example of that, it was so horribly padded and is what ultimately stopped me from finishing the game and i hated it for that. Instead had it finished 20 hours earlier i would have loved it.

        However on the opposite end of the scale you have games like Ashuras wrath, sold at full priced was hardly a game more a large quick time event and you didn't even get the proper ending unless you paid extra it was also the shortest game i've ever seen and that was a rip off of epic proportions

        I suppose my point was it sounds like hes trying to excuse people who make short games by saying "but the parts you did play were amazing right right RIGHT !!!?" Which comes back to value for money. It doesn't matter how amazing something is, if its too short for what you paid its not good value. Its like saying that a 20 minute anime short that was the great and cost you 30$ to buy is worth it even when there is also this really good 2 hours movie which cost $30, one of these is trying to ripp you off.

        Which is why i said there is like a midway point, some games are meant to be short, no one wants to play a 30 hour call of duty campaign (jesus imagine the padding), but if you try to excuse length with quality then why are there people who get both right? That is who they should emulate, not trying to excuse the quality for limited quantity when others have proved we can have both, especially when they try and price them the same.

        Haha ended up having a thesis going here, but hopefully you get my point now, even if you disagree.

    Well a game should represent value. So if I pay full price to play a short single player game, even though it was fun, I only had fun for a little while. So better value would be a game that is longer but also fun, or a game that is so fun it warrants replay (or promotes replay with multiple endings etc).

    He might have made the most fun game ever but if it is super short, unless you pick it up on sale, it might not represent good value.

      This is pretty much it. $60-$80 + 4 hours = kinda feels like I've been tricked. $30 + 4 hours = Yeah, okay, that's pretty awesome. It's all about the price versus length, not length absolute.

    If it's anything like platinum's previous games, it will be worth playing on every difficulty. So this is really only an issue for content tourists who are more interested in finishing a game than playing it.

    I agree, it depends on the game though, but it should be fun enough to warrant replays. Games that come to my mind that do this are Starfox 64 and Metal Slug 3..

    Just as there is the problem of diluting fun to make a game longer, there is also a danger of making a game that is a lot of fun but nowhere near long enough to be fully appreciated. It's like being given a small slice of a delicious steak, super tasty but easy to overlook in favour of a more filling meal, even if it isn't as tasty.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now