With players continuing to plead for more bang for their buck when forking out $70 for a game, developers are definitely feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, afraid that a lack of content could result in a poor product and a break in completion rates. But then, pouring more water into the bucket doesn’t necessarily mean it will satisfy the thirst, and doing so can often result in an overflowing source altogether. It’s finding the perfect balance that’s the hard part, and something must devs tend to miscalculate.
It takes a lot for a game to keep its players engaged from beginning to end without faltering. And filler content, including lengthy side quests and monologues, isn’t always the answer. Just looking at these five games, as a few examples, goes to show that too much game can ultimately lead to lopsided completion rates.
5. Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla (19.8%)
Ubisoft developed the biggest Assassin’s Creed map to date, with Valhalla spanning over an enormous chunk of England and other neighboring countries, which can also be travelled to by boat. With piles of boroughs to conquer and a unique story arc glued to each one, Valhalla clearly wanted to keep players engaged, stringing from one region to the next on a rags to riches conquest over the country.
But there was a problem. Ubisoft, even after producing an entire ocean of content — just didn’t manage to find that perfect balance, and perhaps included one too many boroughs in the palette. Oh, and having a ridiculous amount of grinding involved didn’t exactly help, either. The result of this, of course, was a major plunge in competition rates, with more than 80% of players abandoning the voyage partway through. Ouch.
4. Watch Dogs 2 (24.9%)
Watch Dogs 2 was definitely a step in the right direction for the hack-and-slash franchise, coming with a whole bunch of great new features that the first chapter simply failed to locate. Chicago was out of the picture, as well as its drab textures and motionless environment — and San Francisco was in, revitalising what was shaping up to be a sinking ship. However, even with the fresh layers of paint glazed over the sequel, it still wasn’t enough to drive numbers through the roof.
While Watch Dogs 2 does generally bring a fun open world game to the table, it still doesn’t stop the fact that, prior to its release, the series was already struggling to reignite the spark in players’ hearts. Now, whether that has something to do with the incredibly low completion rate is another question, though it does sort of make sense when you think about it.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2 (28.2%)
Now, this one is a bit of a surprise, especially seeing as Rockstar has had an overall healthy relationship with players and their attention spans over the years. So, to see one of the biggest games of 2018 succumb to a worryingly low completion rate is definitely a shock to the system. But then, being a fifty-plus hour story with endless routes and hidden secrets to explore — perhaps 28.2% is about right.
There’s no denying the fact that Red Dead Redemption 2 is a pretty phenomenal game, and probably the best Western tale to ever make its way on to the gaming platform. With an engrossing storyline and intriguing ensemble of outlaws, the sequel definitely lived up to our to high expectations, and even surpassed Marston and the original chapter. But having a good game and a massive spotlight to bolster it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll captivate every pair of eyes in the room. And sometimes, sadly — people just want to branch off and find something else, away from the tumbleweed and the Western world.
2. Death Stranding (28.6%)
Hideo Kojima definitely had us raising a few questions when showcasing Death Stranding, what with its outlandish concept and cryptic trailer reveal. And on launch, things didn’t exactly scale down on that front either, with even more questions sprouting up over the point of the game and the moral of its length story. Of course, it took a while for critics to connect the dots and praise Kojima’s unorthodox strategy, but before that, Death Stranding definitely had its fair share of backlash from players.
Having upwards of fifty hours of content to sludge through was probably the nail in the coffin for Death Stranding, with most people dropping anchor and retiring way before the story started taking a turn for the better. But with that said, it was a risk that paid off in the long run, seeing as Kojima and team did waltz away with quite the trophy cabinet in the end. Even still, a 28.6% average completion rate isn’t much to brag about really.
1. The Witcher 3 (29.8%)
Again, being one of the biggest games of its time, it comes as a major surprise to see so many players jumping ship rather than cruising through The Witcher’s refreshing waters. Admittedly, it’s more of an ocean, what with the amount of story there is inside said waters — but it’s a memorable voyage nonetheless. Or, at least it is for 29.8% of people who have played through it. The rest, well — we’ll just assume they couldn’t find the time to finish it, rather than settling for The Witcher 3 being a bad game unworthy of fifty quality gaming hours.
It’s understandable, to see such a high volume of drop-outs with a game like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. I mean, it certainly is a lofty task to put on your shoulders, and in no way shape or form is it something you can bat off in a matter of days. It takes sacrifice, and a whole lot of persistence to see it through to its natural conclusion. And while just shy of 30% are able to see that clear as day — the remaining 70% just can’t seem to emerge from the cloud shrouding their vision.