Rampant Games - How Long Should an RPG Be?
A topic that rises from time to time, Jay Barnson muses on the length of RPGs in his latest blog entry:
When I was at Infogrammes (now Atari) , the company head Bruno Bonnell told us that a study had shown what many of us suspected - the majority of players never "finish" their games. They would eventually give up and move on to the next game. Bonnell's contention was that we were wasting half our development efforts if the players were only playing half the game. I don't think the math necessarily applies - you reuse a LOT of code and content in later levels that is needed throughout the game.
While he wasn't speaking specifically of RPGs at the time, but I've little doubt that most copies of RPGs in the 1990s never accessed the "ending sequence" file on the hard drive. Players tend to play until they grow bored or frustrated, and then quit. Those aren't reactions any developer wants to his or her game. But even the most sadistic game designer really wants and expects players to actually see the endgame.