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Dying Light 2. Screenshot: Techland

A weekend promotional announcement that the upcoming zombie game Dying Light 2 will take 500 hours to complete drew a lot of negative replies.

Why it matters: Big-name games keep getting longer, squeezing out other games and frustrating some players.

Driving the news: “To fully complete Dying Light 2: Stay Human, you'll need at least 500 hours,” Polish studio Techland tweeted Saturday afternoon.

  • Some players responded enthusiastically, saying they were eager to dive into the first-person open-world adventure, in which players explore and fight their way through a city infested with zombies.
  • But negative reactions were abundant: “That’s not ideal. Less is more,” someone tweeted. Another: “I loved your previous games but that is a huge turn off. As a father of two kids I don't have the time.” And another: “500 hours sounds like a lot of repeated content.”
  • Within two hours, Techland tweeted an update: “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!”

Between the lines: In the world of video games, where an eight-hour run-time for a story-driven game is considered short, 100-hour adventures are increasingly common, albeit controversial.

  • In recent years, Ubisoft has swelled the size of its Assassin’s Creed games from 30-50 hours per installment to 100+ hours.
  • Sales have been strong, even as some fans have complained the newer games drag, contain too much filler or simply don’t fit into busy lives.
  • Executives boast to investors of lengthy per-user playing times, based on the logic that the longer people play, the more likely they are to buy added in-game content.

The numbers: Top games are generally longer these days, according to HowLongToBeat.

  • 2005’s first God of War took about 9 1/2 hours to finish, according to the site; the 2018 God of War: 32 hours.
  • Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.: 2 hours (once you know what you’re doing); 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey: 26 hours.
  • Techland’s own 2015 original Dying Light: 30 hours to finish the main adventure (55 hours to complete 100%)

The big picture: Most players don’t play that long, as gamers generally don’t finish narrative-driven games.

  • Just under half of the people who played that acclaimed 2018 God of War game, which won numerous Game of the Year awards, finished its story, according to the PlayStation’s trophy tracking system.
  • Players often spend more time in multiplayer games that can be played repeatedly, like a game of poker or basketball.

Go deeper

The NFL has an extraordinary grip on America’s media diet

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The NFL has had a banner season in terms of ratings and engagement, thanks in large part to the return of fans to stadiums, a slew of suspenseful games and of course, some off-field drama.

Why it matters: The 2021 viewership spike has quieted concerns regarding 2020's COVID-related decline, while also justifying the $100+ billion in media deals the league signed with its partners in March.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

46 mins ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.