The simple answer is, it’s not. It never has been yet it seems that over the last two console generations, publishers have been playing a game of one-upmanship to see who can get away with the shortest single-player experience possible. The first-person shooter genre has taken the brunt of this creative squeeze, the highest profile gimped campaign of recent years being Call Of Duty: Black Ops, with the Medal Of Honor reboot being another notable perpatrator. The offline length of both these games is around five hours with very little replay value, compared with the 15+ hours you can expect from the five-year-old Call Of Duty 2.
In the case of both these shooters, single-player length is polarised by the multiplayer, which offer hundreds of hours of quality competitive online action. Your £50 RRP (plus any Live subscription) is money well spent if that’s what you’re after but if not, and if £10-an hour is within your pocket, you might still consider this good value. Most gamers wouldn’t and we certainly don’t.
Who’s to blame? You are, in part at least and if Clint Hocking has anything to do with it, this will be the future for FPS’s, “While I personally feel that modern AAA single-player games are too long,” the Lucasarts’ Creative Director said on his clicknothing.com blog site, “the reality is that is not the case for your typical 18- to 24-year-old who does not have an enormous game-buying budget and needs a lot of content if he has any hope of keeping himself distracted from studying. I would love to make the argument that the next generation of single-player games should be a four-hour experience.”
It doesn’t help that a new generation of gamers coming onto the scene from all walks of life often don’t know any better, propagating the idea that it’s okay to piggyback a sub-par single-player campaign onto multiplayer and saddle it with a full retail price tag. If this had happened ten years ago, before the floodgates opened up to a new world of online console gaming, gamers would have been tearing the publishers’ headquarters down with their teeth. Nowadays, there’s a-stamping of the feet and some dirty looks are cast around, before we all roll over and buy it anyway.