Those who want to unlock absolutely everything in For Honor, including all cosmetic items, all characters, equipment and so on. Assuming you want to buy everything, with real world money, before playing the game for the first time, you’re looking at $732 on top of the $60 to purchase the game. If you’re not so impatient, and want to earn them all organically, however, a conservative estimate, based on two hours of gameplay per day, puts it at roughly two and a half years of your life. Bearing in mind, this isn’t factoring in for upcoming heroes, of which we know six are coming this year. So the internet is pissed.
Ubisoft’s response, that they never intended For Honor to be a game where you unlock absolutely everything. Rather, they expected people to focus on two, maybe three, heroes at the exclusion of all others. This explanation however has only served to throw fuel on the fire. The crux of the complaint coming from the fact some gamers feel slighted that they will, somehow, not be getting the full experience of a game they’ve paid for. And Ubisoft’s only, real, response being that we can get it all, it’ll just take an aeon or two. Which leaves muggins here trying to be objective about something that I really, really want to just wash my hands of entirely.
The issue here seems to be more a perceived dismissiveness on the part of Ubisoft. It feels, to some at least, like they’re trying to fob us off and attempt to artificially inflate the lifespan of the game. Or make more money out of peoples’ impatience and vanity. Or both. Whilst hiding behind the argument that entire genres also rely on their content taking months and years to fully experience. MMOs and MOBAs being the most obvious. But those aren’t the only ones. Consider, for a moment, just how much of the world of, say, Skyrim you have actually experience. Despite your hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours of play time.
Is For Honor really so different from a MOBA when you really get down to the crunch? It’s more visually, perhaps arguably even mechanically, complex than your typical MOBA. Maybe. But it really comes down to the same thing. Different classes playing different combat roles. In fact, if anything, it’s more versatile and “better” than most, because even an Orochi, which is stupidly squishy, can still take a Valkyrie (which is decidedly not squishy) in a straight fight when played by someone who knows the hero well.
Rather then, the question should be reframed, I think, as a more general assessment of whether this entire concept is acceptable. Because that’s a much more compelling issue. One I can actually sink my teeth into, rather than shrugging it off and voicing my own take on the situation as being the only viable, legitimate stance. Wipe my hands, I’m done, everyone else, you’re all wrong. Like that.
So, is it bad to hide away some/all/<insert arbitrary amount> of a game’s content behind equally arbitrary time/cost requirement? And, uhm, no, of course it isn’t. If everything was just handed to you instantly, what would be the point in playing the game? At the very least, most people, at least, want some kind of investment of their time. Even if that’s only as long as it takes to reach the end of the first level, or chapter, or character unlock, or whatever. To offer an, extremely clumsy, analogy. It would be like watching the final scene of a movie, where it just summarised the plot and then consider that a complete experience.
Some people might like that, but I think we can pretty much all agree that it wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable, or satisfying, as watching the full three and a hour cut of Apocalypse Now. And most certainly would not have the same sense of gravitas. So, too, is it with a video game. The real question is whether you, personally, got everything you wanted out of that investment of your time. And generally, people who spend more time doing a thing, unlocking a reward, appreciate it far more than those who have it handed to them.
So is it too much and/or too long in the case of For Honor? Of course it is. Of course it isn’t. It all comes down to the individual. And neither answer is correct, because both are. So fall on whichever side of the argument you like, but it won’t really change the fact that one of the chief purposes of a video game, in the first place, is to keep us engrossed by constantly offering up something new. Something we haven’t seen before. Be that a new skin, a new scene, or a new shot to the face in a multiplayer mode.
And let’s be honest. If it turned out you could get everything after a month of gameplay, all the people pissing and moaning about it taking too long, would be just as livid that it doesn’t take long enough. Because there’s no pleasing some people. So decide for yourself.