Gearbox: Feelings more important than Length … or so I told my girlfriend

Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software, believes that the length of a videogame is irrelevant without the “feelings and experience.” He shared his notion that we shouldn’t put so much weight into how long a game lasts, and focus more on how good the experience is while it’s lasting.

Notice how I’m talking in terms of feelings instead of in terms of number of hours? That’s important – it permeates everything we do. The stats aren’t important. The feelings and experiences we have are.

A game I’m not interested in can be 100,000 hours long and I don’t care. Maybe if it was one hour and all the attention was put on that one hour, the game might be something I could get interested in … Meanwhile, if something is awesome, but too short, I don’t feel value for my investment. The goal is to find the sweet spot.

Game length is an interesting issue, especially since Portal, which is now rather famous as an example of game experience being more important than duration, or perhaps even aided by its respectively brief length. I am willing to agree with Pitchford that an emotionally evocative game is definitely better than an incredibly long one, but am glad he points out that at the same time, we’re expected to pay $60 for these things — we want something substantial for our cash. We’ll have to see how well Gearbox strikes that balance with Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway.

James Stephanie Sterling