Hitman: Absolution Dev Says Most Players Won't Finish the Game

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Hitman: Absolution Dev Says Most Players Won't Finish the Game

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According to internal metrics, only one in five players will make it to Absolution's credits.

Developer IO Interactive is using a lot of metrics while working on Hitman: Absolution, and the results aren't always pretty. According to game director Tore Blystad, the unwillingness of gamers to commit to one title for a long period of time means "the general player will probably never even finish the game." Though he feels that Absolution offers plenty of compelling content, IO's data shows that only 20% of players will make it to the last level, which "makes the people working on it really, really sad."

Blystad went on to explain the development challenge of getting gamers to keep playing, such as giving them things to find and reasons to explore each level. In user tests, players have responded well to the IO's efforts to increase the "replayability factor," though it's unclear how these tests will affect its estimate that only a fifth of players will see the end of Absolution. Pushing some of the more interesting content to an earlier point in the game, where more gamers were likely to experience it, was also considered, but Blystad stated that Absolution's story structure would make that too difficult.

"I think in some of the previous Hitman games that that might have been the case - that some levels were moved earlier, because they were more catchy or interesting," he said. "For us it hasn't really been that easy, because the story is really tying all the levels together, so they're still coming in the same order, more or less, that they were designed."

It's easy to imagine why developers would be upset about their hard work never being played, though Blystad's description of the "really, really sad" development team is kind of depressing. IO's estimate that only a fifth of people who play Hitman: Absolution will complete it is a little disheartening, and it will be interesting to see whether that holds true when the game comes out later this year.

Source: PlayStation Official Magazine UK via CVG

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i can already hear the rage coming from a mile, people are going to hate this game aren't they?

Oh yea? I bet I do get to the end, just to show them!

If you put all the interesting parts at the beginning you're only giving people more incentive NOT to finish it. 20% is better than nun!

Any game that I have found engaging and over all not shitty I have completed. If you feel that your game will only have a 20% completion rate then you are pretty much telling me that your game is not worth playing.

What? If I buy a game, I complete it. Unless it's shit. Are they telling me it's shit?

not finishing a game?!
well, I never.....

unheard of, outrageous, BLASPHEMOUS, I say, to leave a game unfinished is to leave your lover unsatisfied, this is an outrage!

DVS BSTrD:
If you put all the interesting parts at the beginning you're only giving people more incentive NOT to finish it. 20% is better than nun!

HAH!

And have they really asked themselves WHY they're getting the estimates that they're getting?
Is it because the game so far is too difficult? Or is it simply not interesting enough for players to keep going?

Either case seems like it would have fairly clear indicators of which it is, and while the solutions for either could be... dicey, I can't see why a dev team would be willing to simply resign themselves to that, rather than actually trying to fix it. As unlikely as it is, if no one on the team can think of a decent solution, then they should probably hire some new talent or transfer new people onto the team from other projects... anything to get a new perspective to tackle the problem. And if worst comes to worst, rewrite the story to be a little more flexible.

I know they'll probably never read this, but, eh.. what the hell?

Sigh, I'm pounding my head on my desk for preordering Hitman just this morning.
Unless this is a common statistic among games and completion rates I really think that this does not bode well for this game.

robert01:
Any game that I have found engaging and over all not shitty I have completed. If you feel that your game will only have a 20% completion rate then you are pretty much telling me that your game is not worth playing.

It's not the same for everyone though. I have so many games that I haven't finished for 1 reason or another, some good, some bad, some great.

And don't forget, a large portion of the gaming website won't be as dedicated to the hobby as someone who frequents a video game website. To many people, they'll just pick it up, play it for a weekend, then throw it in the pile with the rest.

Protip everyone:

Achievement tracking and other gaming metrics show that the overwhelming majority of people who play a game fail to complete it, or even progress very far. Any game.

Uhm. Can someone tell me how they have statistics for a game they haven't released yet?

Consider thus; I have never completed Assassin's Creed 1. Still haven't slowly working on it. Just because I haven't done so doesn't mean I never will.

Thats an interesting marketing tactic.

For instance, why would most of us not finish the game?

Oh how pathetic kids are these days with their inability to pay attention to a game for long periods of time or complete difficult parts.

Why's he sticking his rifle out of the window? 47 should know better than that.

Maybe.. Or its possible that the industry needs to re-evaluate what it is the consumer wants out of a gaming experience. prolonged drawn out tedious gameplay isnt it. Entertainment content IS. SO perhaps there needs to be a developmental shift that focuses on developing content instead of focusing endlessly on redeveloping the same gameplay mechanics that basically worked just fine.

I guess that means that the game just needs to be 20% cooler.

I intend on playing the game from start to finish. I want to see the different ways I can assassinate a target in each level.

If they get 60 dollars in their pocket it shouldn't matter if I play only one level, or all of them. As long as they got their money they shouldn't care.

According to Valve's stats, only about 90% of players ever made it to the second map in HL2:Ep1 or HL2:Ep2.

http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep1/
http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php

And both games had about 50% make it to the last map.

Valve, on Episode 1:
Our data indicates that while 52.03% of the players have reached the final map (as noted in the Highest Map Played graph below), only roughly half of those players have completed the game. This leads us to believe that either players are quitting before they see the credits, or there is a bug in how we collect this data.

That's true for the previous Hitman games too. Unlike me, most of my friends didn't bother to finish the games because they were very challenging. This is how I like Hitman.

Challenge accepted!

SirBryghtside:
A fifth seems pretty low, but honestly I don't think it's that far off. From friends who looked at me in abject horror when I told them that I'd completed Final Fantasy 3, to Steam buddies who have played 2 hours of Portal, to my personal experiences with having a near-infinite backlog... I think there's a lot of truth to this. Little depressing.

darkstone:
If they get 60 dollars in their pocket it shouldn't matter if I play only one level, or all of them. As long as they got their money they shouldn't care.

That seems... awfully backward.

Why? I paid my 60 bucks, how ever much of the game I decide to enjoy is no one else's business. I'll say now that I'll play this game to completion multiple times so the dev doesn't have to worry that I'll see the credit screen, especially if they pull another blood money and you have to sit through a portion of the credits waiting for the opportune moment to wake up.

UNHchabo:
According to Valve's stats, only about 90% of players ever made it to the second map in HL2:Ep1 or HL2:Ep2.

http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep1/
http://www.steampowered.com/status/ep2/ep2_stats.php

And both games had about 50% make it to the last map.

Valve, on Episode 1:
Our data indicates that while 52.03% of the players have reached the final map (as noted in the Highest Map Played graph below), only roughly half of those players have completed the game. This leads us to believe that either players are quitting before they see the credits, or there is a bug in how we collect this data.

I -got- to the last map in HL2:Ep2, but it was too difficult for me to complete.

Grygor:
Protip everyone:

Achievement tracking and other gaming metrics show that the overwhelming majority of people who play a game fail to complete it, or even progress very far. Any game.

.

Bingo.

It's silly how many responses there have been even at this easrly point about how the game must suck if no one is finishing it. News flash, but the game isn't out yet. They are using metrics from previous Hitman games or even other games entirely.. you know, the ones that are supposedly better than this one.

The fact is, very few people who buy any game finish it. Heck, I'm a pretty dedicated gamer who does certainly consider myself hardcore and I've got more than a handful of titles I haven't finished. Never mind the ton of people who buy a game just because the box looks cool on the shelf.

Honestly, this is a pretty interesting discussion once you get beyond the misguided knee jerk hate. what can you do to get more people to want to invest in your games for the long term? Is that even really that large of an issue once you get them in the door? How should you allocate development resources if you know that a large number of players will never actually see more than, say, the first 3 levels of your 10 level game? Etc.

I can never understand people who don't play a game through to the end. Unless the game really is attrocious/difficult, I can't see how a person will not allow themselves the 6-12 hours it takes to finish one title at a time. Especially considering how much you have to pay for them.

Rednog:
Sigh, I'm pounding my head on my desk for preordering Hitman just this morning.
Unless this is a common statistic among games and completion rates I really think that this does not bode well for this game.

If anything I'm surprised it's this high. Excellent games with a broad appeal tend to end up between 40-50% completion rates. (both Portal games, SR3, DE:HR, to name a few). Now compare those to Hitman, which is a relatively niche title, and quite challenging.

maninahat:
I can never understand people who don't play a game through to the end. Unless the game really is attrocious/difficult, I can't see how a person will not allow themselves the 6-12 hours it takes to finish one title at a time. Especially considering how much you have to pay for them.

Unless you run through with guns blazing I sincerely doubt you're going to finish -any- Hitman game's first playthrough in less than 12 hours. Or 20, for that matter.

Grygor is correct. So many give up or only play difficult games a short while before quitting.

Completionists are in a minority, as are those that WILL play it right to the end. I'd consider myself one to go to the end most of the time, but there are a few titles which I haven't completed.

Anyway, Hitman, challenge accepted. Well played.

SirBryghtside:

darkstone:
Why? I paid my 60 bucks, how ever much of the game I decide to enjoy is no one else's business. I'll say now that I'll play this game to completion multiple times so the dev doesn't have to worry that I'll see the credit screen, especially if they pull another blood money and you have to sit through a portion of the credits waiting for the opportune moment to wake up.

The implication of your comment was that the developers shouldn't care about consumer satisfaction, just the money. It is a GOOD thing that they want people to enjoy their game, not just to buy it

My first post was poorly worded I'll admit, it's fine that they want as many people as possible to fully enjoy the game they are making. What I wanted to say was was implied in my second post, once I buy the game it is up to me how much of the game I want to play.

If I leave the game out of boredom, dislike of the game, another game takes up my time, or lack of time to dedicate to their game, once I pay my fee it's out of their hands to do anything about it.

Hell yeah I'm going to finish this game, took me 34 hours to finish SR3. If I buy a game, you can be sure I am going to finish it.

I'd suggest with the current lack of disposal income for many, those who do lay down the cash for Hitman, will probably not be bothered by a dozen other new games any time soon.

Maybe a couple of years ago, but no, not now, we'll be draining every last nugget of enjoyment out of everything we buy from now on!

Why would people buy a game and not finish it unless it's bad?

IO is telling us Hitman will be bad. That makes me sad.

Easton Dark:
Why would people buy a game and not finish it unless it's bad?

IO is telling us Hitman will be bad. That makes me sad.

Not really. I just took a look at the completion rate of Hitman: Blood Money on the 360 (as provided by playfie). The highest rate of completion was on the rookie difficulty and that was 27%, normal 24%, expert 14%, professional 11%. So yeah, achievements are useful because they give people metrics at they can look at.

Combustion Kevin:
not finishing a game?!
well, I never.....

unheard of, outrageous, BLASPHEMOUS, I say, to leave a game unfinished is to leave your lover unsatisfied, this is an outrage!

I have a large backlog of unsatisfied lovers. Most of them are boring, one-trick ponies, the rest just lie there like a dead fish.

captcha: one hit wonder. Most games are these nowadays.

who the hell doesnt finish their games?...I mean your missung out of the full experience

Vault101:
who the hell doesnt finish their games?...I mean your missung out of the full experience

A pretty good percentage actually. People that finish games tend to be between 50%-60% at most with broad titles. 1/5 with a fairly niche game sounds about right (especially when compared to the number of people that completed Hitman: Blood Money).

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