UPDATE: Ready At Dawn’s CTO Andrea Pessino recently told DualShockers that the studio’s internal team estimates The Order: 1886 will take up to 8-10 hours of play, with the hard mode taking at least 12 hours to beat.
Original story as follows.
The narrative-driven PS4 exclusive The Order: 1886 has come under fire in the last few days as early recipients have recorded playthroughs lasting as little as five and a half hours.
Now it’s been no secret that The Order is primarily focused on story, but until now we haven’t really been able to gauge the gameplay to cinematics ratio–and the revelations have crippled expectations just four days short of the game’s release.
This has lead to a marked crash in hype, splintering the gaming community’s initial reaction to Ready At Dawn’s historical drama.
Gamers are questioning the developer’s story-driven approach, lambasting the studio for creating a “cash grab” that’s mostly made up of cinematic scenes, QTEs and very little actual gameplay.
Mostly, though, it was all due to the fact that gamers were led to believe The Order: 1886 was an action-driven game by some of the promotional material, when it has become abundantly clear in the last few days that it’s anything but.
It’s not your typical shooter. Yes it has third-person shooter elements, but mainly the game blends cinematic storytelling with player interaction, pushing the whole idea of “cutscenes” to a new level.
The controversy all stems from a playthrough uploaded by YouTuber PlayMeThrough who actually completed The Order: 1886 in five hours. The user cited that the experience is more like an “interactive movie” than a game.
His video was circulated throughout the internet, adding even more credence to the game having hardly any gameplay, and furthering the criticism against the studio.
PlayMeThrough also answered a number of questions in a FAQ to clarify his time spent with the game, and it looks like players can wring out an extra few hours by searching for collectibles or playing on hard mode.
- Took me a little over 5 hours on my first playthrough (including all cutscenes)
- Not much replayability. You can’t level up any skills or anything and there is no New Game+. And you cannot skip cutscenes either, so it would be the exact same experience I’m afraid. Pretty much the only side thing you can do is looking for collectibles, but that’s it. No challenges or whatever.
- It’s more of an interactive movie to me, which isn’t a bad thing. Hence the film strips.
- If you really get into finding collectibles I’m sure you can spend much more time with it. Or if you play on hard difficulty (which I wasn’t). But my best guess, based on what I have captured it’s around 1,5h-2h gameplay and rest was cutscenes. Take the first 4 chapters for example, maybe 35% of that was gameplay. Some chapters consist only of cutscenes. And often times there are these “interactive” cutscenes with QTEs where you need to press some buttons, but I wouldn’t count that as gameplay.
SPOILER WARNING: The video below contains a complete run of The Order: 1886 and will spoil major plot points.
The major concern is The Order‘s $59.99 retail price tag. Should a game that is mostly made up of cinematic scenes be priced at $64 with tax? And what does Ready At Dawn have to say to defend their game?
In a recent interview with Eurogamer, Ready At Dawn’s founder and CEO Ru Weerasuriya flat out said that the studio had no plans to discuss the length of the game before its release.
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to comment on it,” Weeraysuriya began.“We can’t stop people from writing the things they do. And we’re not going to jump at every single mistake that is made out there.”
To be fair, though, this is a pretty big situation that could end up crushing sales if left unchecked. Even still Weerasuriya argues that the games industry has always had iconic one-shot games, and that the age-old adage of quality vs. quantity is right on the mark.
“To tell you the truth, that’s something we always keep in our heads. We know people want to be entertained and have things they can play longer.
“But the industry has always had diversity. You go back 10 years, there were a lot of games that were just single-player, one time play.
“Gameplay length for me is so relative to quality. It’s just like a movie. Just because a movie is three hours long, it doesn’t make it better.”
This kind of controversy isn’t healthy for any video game, especially a console exclusive that seemed to have iffy reception from the start.
And since The Order; 1886 will go up against February’s major chart-toppers like the 3DS mega hits Majora’s Mask and Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate, and Turtle Rock’s new cross-platform shooter Evolve, this criticism will likely take a big chunk out of sales.
The idea of a stylish steampunk retelling of the 17th century history mingled with the fabled Arthurian legends sounds like an amazing premise for a game.
But story is just a part of any good game, and mechanics are essential for the foundation as well.
It’ll be interesting to see how the game fares in terms of reviews and overall reception when it’s released on Feb. 20, but things aren’t off to a good start so far.
If The Order: 1886 fails we’ll likely see fewer and fewer PS4 exclusives over the coming months simply because they’re now a gamble, but only time will tell.