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Ubisoft staff show off the “Far Cry 3” video game at the E3 gaming convention in 2012. With an estimated playing time of 20 hours, it was considered long for the time.

Why do studios release such long video games?

Amrita Khalid
Member exclusive by Amrita Khalid for Gaming's next level

A large chunk of the time you spend playing Death Stranding, Hideo Kojima’s post-apocalyptic open-world game that many critics consider the best game of 2019, won’t actually be spent playing at all. Instead, you’ll be watching.

Roughly seven hours of “cutscenes,” a term that refers to the movie-like sequences in a game that serve to move the story forward, are interspersed throughout the Kojima Productions title. The game even features cameos from the likes of Guillermo del Toro and Conan O’Brien. On average, it takes a total of 40 hours to complete a journey through the vast hellscape of the Japanese video game developer’s imagination, according to crowdsourced game times website How Long to Beat. If you’re playing at a leisurely pace, it’ll take you 60 hours. 

Anyone who is familiar with Kojima’s work won’t be surprised by Death Stranding’s cinematic bent. The 56-year-old is known for his auteur-like approach to designing video games, creating visually rich games like the Metal Gear series and Snatcher. And while many fans and critics would gladly spend multiple weekends traversing the bleak environs of Death Stranding, others called foul. Multiple threads cropped up on the Death Stranding subreddit criticizing the game for its slow pace and number of cut scenes, including a finale that reportedly lasts a whopping two hours. “I’m 50 hours in and this is getting so tedious. Super engrossed in the story so just pushing ahead with that, but unless they introduce an auto-skip option for the menial cutscenes I’ll probably stop there,” wrote one Redditor, summing up what many players felt at the time.