Opinion 4

Why The Order: 1886's Duration Doesn't Matter


Leaks within the gaming industry can either be a blessing or a curse. They can create some much-needed buzz around an obscure title, or adversely, mar the good name of a well-respected developer, especially if their product isn’t sitting pretty in time for launch.

A few days ago, The Order: 1886 was exposed on YouTube as having a campaign that lasted for a supposed five or so hours. Of course, this was met with absolute distaste from the gaming community. Worries have been expressed over Ready At Dawn’s developing capabilities, as well as distrust towards Sony, because of their unfortunate blunders with a slew of some recent first-party releases (Driveclub was, and still is, a notable disaster). I can understand the apprehension of purchasing The Order after such a revelation, but this five-hour play-through is not enough to encourage its dismissal. There may be some light at the end of this seemingly short tunnel.

First of all, it must be noted that this YouTuber’s video is only a claim of the game’s diminutive length, and that the staff at Ready At Dawn have already presented a more accurate interpretation of its runtime. They have stated that it is more likely to take between eight and ten hours for completion on the normal difficulty setting, while subsequent play-throughs on hard could take up to twelve. They have also expressed their stance on different styles of play, and how that could potentially affect the experience of the game. I have to agree with this notion, as different players treat game spaces in various ways. I myself am a fairly methodical player; in The Last of Us, I would search every corner for hidden details and artefacts, taking in as much of the world as I could. Those that are skipping content and breezing through The Order will no doubt receive a diluted experience as a result.

Nooks and crannies, waiting for exploration.

Not many have taken The Order’s quality into consideration, either. It could be incredible. From what we’ve seen so far, it flourishes with many intriguing elements. The beauty of Victorian London, the dark and mature tone, the not-so-far-flung alternate history, the original story and the deep world-building are all sufficient reasons to warrant a purchase.

So why should you worry about the length of a game when it could be amazing? Well, obviously getting bang for your buck is an important factor, but I think that those with an interest in The Order should be able to look past its length, and, frankly, appreciate the artistic vision of Ready At Dawn’s team for what it is. Of course, it could be that they just want to take your money and run, leaving you with an inferior product, but then again, that isn’t usually their style.

Ready At Dawn are not a well-known development house, but their games are of considerable quality. As it stands, they hold an average score of 87 on Metacritic, having developed the charming Jak and Daxter spinoff, Daxter, as well as two God of War titles on PSP that critically rival those on home console. Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta are both fantastic offerings that provide some much-needed character development for the loud-mouthed Kratos. Not only are they great games, but they are also on the short side of things; either could be completed within the five hour mark. Rather than being a shortcoming, this demonstrates Ready At Dawn’s ability to combine story and gameplay successfully in order to craft games that truly take pride in quality over quantity.

Ghost of Sparta: A great, but short, title on PSP.

Recently, there have been myriad titles overblown with content. Just in the past few months, Far Cry 4, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dying Light and even two Assassin’s Creeds have been released, all with an ungodly amount of collectibles, side missions, and lengthy traversal systems. Whether The Order be five, eight, ten or twelve hours long, it will be a welcome break from the large and expansive worlds that are now inhabiting a gaming space that constantly fights for my attention. I have certainly had my open-world fill for quite a while now, and so a good-quality title that is more succinct gives me a hankering for The Order’s industrial hallways.

I feel that The Order 1886’s length is a non-issue; it is more than likely going to be longer than five hours – and if it isn’t, who cares? Enjoy the game for what it is; take on the experience as Ready At Dawn would have it. An exciting world has been created here, a world of atmosphere, tension, frights and mystery. Await the final product before becoming disheartened, and do not succumb to the irrelevancy of runtime. The game is surely going to deliver.

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  • Anthony

    “So why should you worry about the length of a game when it could be amazing?”

    This is why I find your argument flawed:

    I get it, just like movies which usually run between 1 hr and 20 minutes up to 2 hrs, yet the price of admission is still the same, so its NOT exactly the time you are paying for but the experience. In other words length is not an indicator of quality. That said there is no doubt that there is a inherent expectation on the part of the consumer that no matter how well told the story is, no matter how top notch the acting is or how great the content, i.e. special effects of the movie are, there is still a expectation that you will be entertained for about 1 to 2 hrs. If a movie studio suddenly made a great movie that was over in half hour for regular ticket price you can bet there would be backlash.

    Bloated games are a definitely an issue, if in fact the extra content is tacked on/boring side quests/missions only there to extend the game, which a decent review should note and score accordingly….but that is NOT the issue here, the issue here is that the rumor (Walkthrough that was taken down on Youtube) suggests that the game itself is too short at about 5.5 hrs I believe INCLUDING alot of un-skippable cutscenes.

    True, quality over quantity is always desired but at what point do you consider a game for $60 too short?

  • JD Schmidt

    One of my (new) favorite games ever is Child of Light, and you can whip through it in like 3 hours. Now, granted, that thing only cost $15, but I have played those 3 hours over and over and over. I gladly would have paid double, or triple the price for Child of Light. 5 hours does seem short for such a heavily advertised, full price game like The Order, but I suspect that when it is released in a day or two, it’ll be awesome, and then maybe people will stop whining about the play time.

  • http://www.paulogy.com paulogy.

    “The hysteria surrounding the runtime of Ready At Dawn’s latest title is completely unwarranted, argues Scott Russell.”
    ~by Scott Russell

    Is it just me or does it seem odd to refer to yourself in the third person in your own article?

    On point: Length is not totally irrelevant but it is not as important as this “controversy” would make it seem. If folks don’t want to buy it day one / full price, the answer is simple: don’t! Eventually it will come down to something lower and you can play it then. Many folks seem too impatient and entitled. If they could be less of at least one of those two things there’d be no issue.