Stray and campaign duration: It doesn’t matter how long it is, but how it is used


Stray and campaign duration: It doesn’t matter how long it is, but how it is used
Written by aquitodovale

Stray it is a bit like the demonstration that cats will conquer the world, but in this case the world is that of video games. The title developed by the small French team BlueTwelve Studio is enjoying great success, however there has also been a lot of discussion about the duration of her countryside.

Is it short? Is she long? As written in Stray’s review, we employed less than five hours to get to the end credits, but without having the feeling of being in a hurry: the list of collectibles testifies that we stopped to collect various things along the way and we neglected others.

Judging by the sites that collect this type of information to provide average game duration, we’re in good company – most users have employed about four and a half hours to complete the campaign, just like us, while those who wanted to stay longer have reached six or seven hours.

And so, while we were trying to escape (with little success, in the end) the provocations of those who indicated in Annapurna a giant in the sector that would strike fear among the editorial offices, to the point of obliging them to publish a note in which they spoke of eight hours of duration for the game, as well as the ravings of those who claim that if you take less than seven / eight hours to complete Stray you have to go horse racing after a psychiatric consultation, we have tried to affirm a very simple concept.

Stray, one of the scenarios in the game

The duration of a game is one of the many aspects that go contextualized, as well as the gameplay, the art direction and the technical realization. There are certainly objective indications: an open world sold at full price that ends in eight hours is perceived as short, another that just to get to the end of the main storyline takes almost a hundred hours is perceived as long, very long. The point, however, is how these hours are used.

In the case of Stray we are faced with a title that is sold to a budget price€ 29.99 on PlayStation Store and even less on Steam, which focuses on apurely narrative experience, that is, it tells a story. And the stories are usually conceived in a certain way, so much so that diluting them too much is evident and counterproductive for the purposes of rhythm and involvement.

Stray, the cat in the company of one of the supporting characters of the adventure
Stray, the cat in the company of one of the supporting characters of the adventure

We talked about it during the live broadcast of day one: the game developers could have “lengthen the broth“somehow, for example by inserting a greater number of fetch quests or a bit of backtracking, but that artificial attempt to make the campaign longer would have been noticed and would have ruined the balance that has instead been achieved.

It is worth reiterating: on the gameplay side, Stray does nothing extraordinary and on the contrary follows a path that is all too comfortable, taking very few risks in the context of what we imagine is a clear awareness of the limits of a small development team. An admirable exercise in self-control, but at the same time quite a lot of unexpressed potential.

Stray, one of many
Stray, one of the game’s many “moving pictures”

However, it is difficult to criticize the duration of the game: having ascertained the resources available to the authors, the type of story they wanted to tell and the setting created for the occasion, as well as the selling price, five hours on average seemed sufficient and we did not feel the need for more, nor did we reach the end credits murmuring “is it finished yet?”.

In the end, between an RPG and an open world these kinds of shorter but no less significant experiences make perfect sense. And if there are also cats in the middle, so much the better. What do you think? Let’s talk about.

Parliamone is a daily opinion column that offers a starting point for discussion around the news of the day, a small editorial written by a member of the editorial team but which is not necessarily representative of the editorial line.

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