Video game developer Ready At Dawn Studios is now in an uneviable position right ahead of the release of the company’s highly anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive game, The Order 1886. The game is set to launch later this week, but now the game is facing controversy that its campaign is less than six hours in length of actual game time. According to a report by Gamespot, a player leaked a run through the entire game on YouTube which came out to about five and a half hours. Almost half of that time was due to the game’s cutscenes, which are said to be completely unskippable.
Ready At Dawn has tried to battle back the controversy of the game’s length. The company is essentially taking the position that the leaked video was a speed run, even though it apparently included unskippable cutscenes. Chief Technical Officer of the company, Andrea Pessino, wrote on his Twitter account that rumors of the game being shorter than five hours were not true. He later wrote, “Note: I am done commenting on clickbait rumors about game length, ‘downgrade’ idiocy and such nonsense. Don’t bother asking.” In addition, Pessino spoke again about the issue during an event in Milan (via Dualshockers). Per the report, Pessino claimed that the game would be finished at a normal pace in about eight to 10 hours. He also indicated that the Ready At Dawn internal teams claim that the Hard Mode requires about 12 hours of play.
In an interview with Develop, The Order game director Dana Jan spoke about the issue of quality of gameplay vs. quantity, in terms of the length of gameplay a new game can provide. He stated: “It’s really the strange dilemma of video games right now, but I don’t think you can have a discussion of quantity without quality. So our game is extremely focused on the gameplay to the story-telling to pretty much everything. Frequently I’m saying when you play our game you’re going to be on a rollercoaster of variety, twists, turns, there’s no filler, you’re never grinding in our game. Each encounter you go to you’re going to go ‘Wow, there’s different weapons this time. Wow, there’s different enemies this time.’ We took the idea of ‘Let’s put you on the best possible experience ride that we can and let’s never have you sit there doing the same stuff over and over again.'”
Dana Jan later went on to liken the quality vs. quantity in gaming argument to paying a premium price for a steak dinner instead of paying less money for cheap steak at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. It came off like is trying to say that his game The Order 1886 might be shorter, but players are paying for a high-quality gaming experience. Based on Jan’s statements, Ready At Dawn focused on a quality, cinematic campaign versus stuffing in a lot of additional content and side quests.
Ultimately, that remains to be seen. Jan’s statements will depend on what he means in terms of variety. However, the controversy is really grown out of the desire that with the expense of a new video game, about $65 with tax, players wants to invest in a complete experience that will offer additional play and replay value. That is replay value that goes beyond beating the game on Normal and Hard. This includes elements such as multiplayer or co-op campaigns, side quests or more story found through open world exploration. Since The Order 1886 only has its single-player campaign, the game will succeed or fail based on that with little else to fallback on. A player will likely feel cheated with such a short and quick experience after having pent the money on a brand new game.
The Order 1886 is due out on Friday, February 20. The game will be available exclusively for the PlayStation 4.