Can A Game Be Too Big?

witcher 3 physical map

For anyone who follows my writing, it’s not news that I’ve been playing a veritable crap ton of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It was (and still is) my goal to “finish” the game by the 9th so I could focus on three new releases coming out that day (Dying Light’s The Following DLC, Unravel, and Firewatch). I’ve been playing a considerable amount each day, and my playtime for The Witcher is now around 70 hours.

But tonight, while I was in the middle of a long and drawn out story mission, I started to wonder how far into the story I was. I figured I must be over halfway due to the sheer amount of playtime. I’ve not been dawdling, and I thought I was making pretty good time.

Nope.

I found out I am apparently about a third of the way through the story.

A third.

I am dumbfounded.

I am unsure if I have just done more of the side quest-y stuff, or if I have done certain things out of order, but no matter what I’ve done, it seemingly hasn’t been towards story progression.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been having a stellar time with the game. It’s one of those games (for me) that makes me want to do nothing other than play more of it. I want to loot all the glowing objects. I want to clear icons off the map. I want to see how the results of my choices ripple out (in all honesty, I feel some of the results of my actions have been out of left field).

I am all in.

I just don’t know what the scope of that looks like, anymore.

Tonight, after putting all this information together in my head, I’m not going to lie, I started to feel a little daunted. I know I will finish this game, but holy good gravy when? I wanted to be done by this coming Tuesday, and at this pace, I don’t see how that’s even logistically possible.

Which brought me to my next string of thoughts: I may love this great thing, but how much is too much? Can a game, even if it is excellent and engaging, be too big?

Previously, I would have said no. But now, I wonder about the dozens and dozens of hours I still need to put in to finish out the experience. I by no means need a game to be short to enjoy it; I’ve enjoyed games of all durations. I’m just not sure I’ve ever come up against a game that I had put this many hours into and not progressed very far.

I’ve easily put hundreds of hours into the Borderlands series, but that’s been over three games and multiple playthroughs. Would I have loved it as much if it had taken me 70 hours to reach level 15?

I have no idea.

This doesn’t lessen my admiration for The Witcher at all, honestly. I just wonder about how much game is too much game, and goodness, it must be difficult for developers to find the sweet spot of what is just right for a particular experience.

Do you feel a game can be too long or too short? Which games stand out to you? If the game was too long, did you stop and never return? Or did you plow through to the end?

And now, at the ripe hour of o’dark hundred, I have a sneaking suspicion that instead of sleeping like a normal human being, I’m going to go back for some more witching.

That game isn’t going to play itself.

Have a good weekend, friends. Be safe out there.

11 replies »

      • Rebekah, I agree with Colton. Sometimes, we quit games not because they are too big but we get bored of looking at the same scenery over & over again. That’s why I am not a fan of the AC series. For me, everything starts to look the same; I’m not sure where I started or if I have gone a different way. That’s just my two cents on the matter. For your initial question, Yes, a game can be too big. The bigger question is what determines whether that game is too big; is it the amount of time you have put in; you have gotten little to nowhere? Is it you have played the side quests but they don’t seem to shave time off the main storyline? Great blog as always. Just thought I’d share my sentiments as to why I stay away from the “desert games”. Pun intended!

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    • I’ve definitely stopped a couple of games (historically) because I wasn’t into them for the long haul, but this one is a whole different breed of game. I both love it, and want to have progressed further in it while wanting to be done. It’s confusing.

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  1. Great game, real value for money then, right? Like Colton, if I get bored I stop playing, but most of the time I do come back to it. A game should become a chore!

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    • Yes, this game is absolutely a value when it comes to the massive scope of content for the money. However, no matter how much I love the game, I’m already nearing 100 hours with it, and I’m only halfway through the narrative which makes me feel defeated somehow.

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  2. I think it depends on the individual. A game can certainly be too long for you, but just right for me, and too short for someone else. So I guess, generally speaking the answer is both yes and no. You know, like Schrödinger’s Game!

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