Twitter has a stack of pre-launch information for The Long Dark – Wintermute (including how long the first two episodes are).
We live in a strange world, where ‘gamers’ ascribe value to video games based on how long they are. Sure, people will spend twenty quid on a couple of cinema tickets that provide 90 minutes of entertainment, but if your forty quid video game isn’t at least 30 hours long? You’re going to get lynched.
These are probably the same folk who obsess over the minutiae of frame rate differences and believe one game engine can intrinsically produce better or worse games, though, so I wouldn’t take it to heart if you are a developer.
But even if you’re not one of those mentalists, it’s nice to know roughly how long a game is going to take you to beat, if nothing else, so you can fit it into your busy schedule. Lord knows, editors and reviewers would kill for every publisher to include a time estimate with their review code; it would make planning reviews into workloads and schedules so much better.
So with the long-awaited release of The Long Dark – Wintermute, it’s serialised story mode, just around the corner, people are inevitably starting to ask how long it is.
The answer to that question? Well, your mileage may vary of course, and everyone’s play style is different, but you can expect somewhere between 6-7 hours for Wintermute episode one, and 10-12 hours for episode two.
Those are just the figures for someone to complete the key story elements – some will be faster, others will be slower – but remember this is an open world game. There will be variance, dalliances, and side-objectives of sorts that could dramatically alter the length of your playthrough, depending on how thorough or laser-focused you want to be.
And where did we get the answer? From the very top, of course: Raphael van Lierop, writer and director of The Long Dark developer Hinterland Games, has been fielding questions on Twitter like a champ.
In addition to the question of length, he’s also talked about how permadeath won’t apply in Wintermute (it’s got a narrative focus in story mode) and how the checkpoint system will work (you save when you rest, and also at key story checkpoints).
He’s also confirmed that the PS4 release of The Long Dark – Wintermute has been delayed in Europe due to a certification board shift from PEGI-12 to PEGI-16. You’ll also only be able to pre-order the game for PS4 in North America, but European players will receive a 10% discount at launch.