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Assassin’s Creed 3: ‘Making games too long is disastrous’ – Ubisoft

Friday, 3rd August 2012 12:55 GMT By Dave Cook

Assassin’s Creed 3 creative director Alex Hutchison has revealed to VG247 the true scope of the studio’s upcoming open world title, and warned of the dangers of making games too long.

Hutchinson explained, “The game is huge, both in physical size, play time and in the amount of new gameplay we packed in. We stripped out a lot of mechanics and systems from previous games but I think we are still pushing the maximum possible scope.”

But there is always a danger that too much content will stop many players reaching the end Hutchison warns, “There is only so much you can juggle in your mind simultaneously, and only so much variety you can add before it starts to feel random and not cohesive.”

“Also, we have a very high completion rate on the franchise, and if you make it too long you start to lose that, which would be a disaster for a game like ours where we really value the consistency and continuity of the universe.”

Hutchison also explained that the game world of Assassin’s Creed 3 is 1.5 times the size of Rome in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.

Stay tuned for our full Assassin’s Creed 3 interview next week.

Assassin’s Creed 3 hits Europe October 31 on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

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28 Comments

  1. Hcw87

    There’s no such thing as ”too long”. If the game’s good, people will finish it even if it’s 40 hours. If people want to rush through everything and get annoyed if it takes too long, maybe they should consider another hobby.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Moonwalker1982

    I’d say the exact opposite. Especially when you look at certain genres these days. Why must almost every shooter be only 4 to 5 hours? I apreciate it when there are still shooters out there that reach the 10 hour mark or more. I hope Halo 4 is gonna be that and Far Cry 3. I definitely expect Far Cry 3 to reach that mark.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. friendlydave

    I think the longer the game the more varied the content has to be (or hold up an interesting story) for it too be good. This automatically isolates some genres, e.g shooters where instead its more concentrated on re-playability than length of game.

    Assassin creed to me has always been dulled down by the time I reach the end of the game, this is probably ‘cos I enjoy just roaming about and spending way to much time not “accomplishing anything” story related.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. varsas

    I hope more developers think about the issue of length. Games in the past did not generally last as long as they do today and if games are all long then how can a gamer with a life reasonably play more than a handful of games in a year?

    #4 2 years ago
  5. friendlydave

    @4 “if games are all long then how can a gamer with a life reasonably play more than a handful of games in a year?”

    But who says they need to play more than a handful a year? I mean if your enjoying the game your playing why would you stop and buy another just because it was released? (multiplayer games exempt)

    #5 2 years ago
  6. majicship

    I am noticing a trend in the games I am playing where I am often wishing they would just hurry up and end rather than dragging out yet another repetitive scene. I thought that AC Revelations was a good example of this. Max Payne 3 went on probably one or two chapters too long for me too. I see nothing wrong with a punchy 6-7 hour campaign provided it keeps up its pacing.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Gadzooks!

    I agree with the article. It is possible for games to outstay their welcome, and in general I would think gamers would be less inclined to buy a sequel to a game they didnt finish.

    It’s difficult though, because we all get differing amounts of gameplay longevity. I know people who were thoroughly satisfied with a 20 hour Skyrim playthrough, whereas I am at 100 hours and still not bored with it.

    Batman:AC has too much content for my liking, as I do like 100%-ing games. Still a fantastic game mind you, but Batman:AA was a better size for me.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Gheritt White

    Case in point: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Truly *amazing* game – better than God of War IMHO – but did it really need to be 25 hours long? I for one would have welcomed a ‘radio edit’ version.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. varsas

    @5 There’s no need to play any games at all but as a gamer does one not want to play all the good games released in the year if they are the types that one likes?

    Last year I played Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Uncharted 3 at the time while catching up on a backlog and only caught up with 2011 releases Deux Ex, Mass Effect 2 and Portal 2 a few months ago; I have Back to the Future, ICO HD, LA Noire, Outland, Skyward Sword and Trine 2 to complete, Dark Souls and Yakuza 4 on the shelf and I haven’t even tried Arkham City yet.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. AHA-Lambda

    @8 – This. I liked LoS alot but it definitely was too long and outstayed its welcome. On the flipside Portal 1 was really short but it made it pitch perfect in terms of its pacing.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Takeshi

    @7: I disagree with your point on the Arkham games. Then again I am a huge fan of those games. Both are respectively GOTY for me. I personally did a few side quests and went for the main story. Then waited a few days and went back to complete some side quests. And have been clamouring for more content until HQR got out. Playing that game was like freakin’ christmas for me. Literally waiting for it since it got announced does that to you, I guess.

    For Assassin’s Creed it’s more that it’s the same. You go to a town, and kill a bunch of people, and that pattern pretty much repeats itself. I mean, it’s just a bunch of filler trown in way too easy. There’s far too little plot twists or interesting developments.

    For the first time I am actually looking forward to an AC game so I hope we get less repetitiveness. Should say, the AC game I played was ACII so I don’t know if Brotherhood and Revelations improves that aspect. Only played an hour of each through the PSN game trials.

    I mean, I love the action/adventure genre (Uncharted, Batman: Arkham, Alan Wake and Mass Effect), but AC is just way too dull for me.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. xxJPRACERxx

    It has been said before, but I prefer a short game full of awesome than a long game full of boring.

    But the minimum should be at least 6 hours.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. ManuOtaku

    I think there is two things involve in this, first the high costs of creating a vidogame are influencing this type of thinking, thats why we are getting shorter singleplayer campaings on all fronts in FPS, adventure, platform,third person shooter,etc, of course there are games like skyrim,Batman AC,assasins creed etc, that last the 10+ hour mark, but those are the exception rather than the rule.

    Second the current trend of games being more like movies, therefore they are aiming for a very cinematic feel which may lead to higher costs, photorealistic graphics, but with a 6 or less hour campaings, so to resume things up, i really do hope the decision for getting shorter games is based on purely a desing aspect, and not the reasons i stated above.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    I think that’s an encouraging statement. Assassins Creed II should’ve been at least 10 hours shorter for my liking. The last 10 were just filler content, going through the same motions. It didn’t have nearly enough variety to really warrant that.

    I think Batman: AC got it exactly right. I spent something like 10 hours on it, left out some of the sidequests, but there was never a dull moment for me.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Maximum Payne

    Only thingI didn’t like Arkham City was too many riddler’s puzzle.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. TMRNetShark

    Depends on the game… for an action adventure game like AC… around 20-30 hours TOTAL (main + side quests) is a nice sweet spot. The man is right about not making a game TOO long or else it gets disconnected (unless the story supports the long winded game length).

    ALTHOUGH, RPGs should minimum be 30 hours main campaign and 100+ in side quests. Never take away length from RPGs!

    #16 2 years ago
  17. OlderGamer

    I think it depends totaly on the game in question. If the game is linear and tightly structured I don’t want it to be too long. And that is often the case for SP games.

    But when you look at the investment of todays games vs the economy we live it, I don’t want to drop 60usd(plus DLC) on a 4 or 6 hour game. But that is why I don’t often pick up sp story driven games. There isn’t as much value in those games. I ussualy pick those games up on sales.

    I have games where I have reached 500plus hours. And I have games where I have played 3 hours. For me it just comes down to the price of the game. I have a lot of indie games where I spent less then 3usd and only played for a couple of hours. It just comes down to investment vs reward. But that ratio is going to change for everyone.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    I’d rather get out of videogames than start buying them based on how long they last.

    Either the content is worth it or it isn’t. I’m not going to go bitching that it didn’t “take long enough”.

    You can’t exactly complain about the general quality of games while demanding they be a set length. That just makes you part of the problem.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. TheBlackHole

    Although I agree many games are too short (CoD), the fact is that most games have a completion rate of less than 20%, and that is a monumental waste of development time when you look at it.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. ManuOtaku

    #19 Well i dont know to which point the lenght of the game has some incidence in the completion rate of the games, i think an important factor as well as the lenght, is the big amount of AAA tittles we are getting nowadays, almost every month we are getting 4+ AAA tittles, and if someone adds the XBLA/PSN/Wiiware games too, i think is even more, therefore if an avid gamer wants to expirience all those games, it will have to let incomplete some of them, therefore i think this has some incidence as well, alongside the lenght of the game IMHO.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. TheBlackHole

    @20 an interesting point – certainly it must be some of the reason completion remains low.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Aimless

    So, did he actually say the words in the headline? Because from the quotations in the article Mr. Hutchinson seems to very specifically be talking about ACIII, not making a general statement.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. DSB

    Nobody mention Ben Kuchera!

    #23 2 years ago
  24. mobiugearskin

    I prefer games to be shorter these days. Working 40 hours a week, I tend to cherish the weekends and spare time a little more. I’ll play a big game but it will take me a while to finish it.

    These big, open world games are bit of a mixed bag for me. I absolutely love the AC franchise and I’ve “completed” the main stories on each. But I tend to just ignore the side content and stick to the quest. Did the same with Batman: Arkham City.

    Pumped for AC III though. Looks brilliant.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. YoungZer0

    @14: Have you played Brotherhood? I’d say the whole game was just filler content.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Turbobutts

    Consider this, Mr. Hutchison. It doesn’t depend on how long a game is, it depends on how good a game is. Of course if a game is a miserable piece of crap, people just want to get over with it and move on to another one.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Kunami

    He is totally right! For a series like Assassin’s Creed you can easily make it too long.

    However I found the series started to feel stretched out and monotonousness after playing AC:2 and brotherhood. You don’t have to worry about people not finishing revelations because after brotherhood a fraction of the people are going to buy that game. AC2 was “buy” worthy while revelation and brotherhood are essentially bad DLC with not enough innovative content or storyline.

    The entire 3 games combined felt like one overpriced and overly long game.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Fin

    There certainly is a sweet spot for games – someone mentioned Max Payne, I thought the campaign about the right length. I think about 30 hours for all achievements sounds good.
    On the flipside, there’s FF13, which I’ve put nearly 40 hours in and am still only 2/3rds of the way through. I JUST WANT TO FINISH THE FUCKING GAME.

    I remember a Redeye article from an old issue of Edge – he compared games to literature, why long books aren’t necessarily perceived to be better than short books, but yet the opposite is true for video games. I think it’s changed since the article was written (mid-2000s), but can you imagine the nerd rage if the next FF was 15 hours long?

    #28 2 years ago

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