Over the weekend, developer Techland made waves on social media by tweeting that its upcoming open-world zombie sequel, Dying Light 2: Stay Human, would take “at least 500 hours” to fully complete. While the studio likely thought this was good messaging to showcase just how much content is in its branching-narrative story, the announcement was met with some backlash amidst the excitement, as some players bemoaned the length and worried about bloat or that they would never see the end of such a massive adventure.
Later, as the studio saw some of the negative response, the Dying Light Twitter account clarified to one fan that you can complete the story and side-quests in 70 to 80 hours, “if you’re not in a rush.” Then, the official Twitter account took the messaging wide, saying that “500 hours is related to maxing out the game – finishing all the quests, endings, and exploring every part of the world, but a regular player should finish the story + side quests and do quite a lot of exploring in less than 100 hours, so don’t worry!” Then, the Twitter account further clarified that you can mainline the story in just 20 hours and do much of the story and side content in around 80 hours – a far cry from the original “500 hours” messaging.
One of the most lauded open-world games in recent memory is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. While that game is notable for its hugely explorable rendition of Hyrule, even completionist playthroughs will only last you 188 hours, while main + extras playthroughs take 97 hours. If you look at a game that came out mere days prior to Breath of the Wild in 2017, Horizon Zero Dawn, Aloy’s initial outing lets you see everything in the Complete Edition in 76.5 hours, with a main + extras number of 54.5 hours. Even the huge worlds of Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Valhalla only offer between 130 and 140 hours for completionists.
Bethesda is another studio known for crafting massive open worlds with activities to do in every nook and cranny. When looking at its numbers on HLTB, the Maryland-based studio comes closer than either CD Projekt Red or Rockstar in the realm of the completionist. According to the user data, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Special Edition gives players up to 211 hours of content if they want to see everything, with 116 hours of that being main story and extras. The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion also delivers respectable numbers, with 184 hours completionist and 86 hours main + extras. The Fallout series also delivers its fair share of noteworthy showings with Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition providing players 214 hours of completionist play time and 113 hours main + extras. However, Bethesda’s king of content is The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind – Game of the Year Edition, providing completionists a whopping 392 hours with a main + extras number of 101 hours. We creep ever closer.
While I’ve so far focused my comparisons on other open-world games, maybe other genres can serve up some competition to Dying Light 2’s reported completionist playthrough time. Several renowned role-playing franchises have made a name for themselves providing worlds in which players want to lose themselves for hundreds of hours. Persona 5 Royal is the game I immediately drew a comparison to, inspiring this very article. However, thanks to various streamlined elements, the vanilla version of the beloved RPG is actually longer for completionists, clocking in at 173 hours to experience everything and 113 hours for main + extras. Royal’s main + extras is still longer, giving players 125 hours of content. Even Final Fantasy can’t keep up with what Techland is touting, with Final Fantasy X offering up the longest completionist play time at 149 hours, with Final Fantasy XII giving players the longest main + extras number in the mainline series (not including MMOs) with 92.5 hours. The Xenoblade series maxes out at 270 hours for completionists with Xenoblade Chronicles X, while The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel delivered its longest completionist time with 147 hours in the fourth entry.
Of course, as the initial Twitter backlash indicates, long play times don’t necessarily measure quality. If said content isn’t engaging enough that we’d want to actually experience all 500 hours, then what’s the point? While everything we’ve seen, heard, and played of Dying Light 2: Stay Human has been positive to this point, we won’t know how good it truly is until we get our hands on the game. Given how long the developer says the game is if you don’t plan on staying on the critical path, and the current proximity to its release date, I sure hope that day is soon. Dying Light 2: Stay Human hits PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch (via the cloud), and PC on February 4.
For more on Dying Light 2: Stay Human, check out our recent hands-on preview and New Gameplay Today. You can also see the game’s impressive E3 2019 demo in its entirety here, or read about the team’s early ambitions through an in-depth preview I wrote in 2019.
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