Expectations - word count


#1

So as I’m starting a head with my very first project I thought Id asked people’s opinion on what they believe is minimal expected word count for a game? (Excluding coding).


#2

I believe they, including code, do not accept games under approx. 40000 words. That is the minimum though, and most games are much longer.


#3

Minimal - Around 40-50k words, but there are exceptions, so one could say that there is no minimal or maximum amount of words, it all depends on what you are trying to write.

Some experimental games don’t need more than 20 or 30k words, while some adventure games usually go past 200k.


#4

Are those numbers for a single play through? In my first chapter I’ve got around 6500 so far and still going, now obviously that’s not just down one branch, so does that still count as 6500 or 2000 for a single play through


#5

Those numbers are for complete games, but you don’t really need to worry too much about the word count for a single play through.

Choice of robots had a word count of over 250k but each play through had only about 20 - 30k words.
(I’m not 100% sure tho, so don’t quote me on that.)


#6

I recall reading suggested guidelines about choice of games, and they recommend a games should have at least 20k words per play-through. So you may write a chapter with 6k words, but if they only read 2k words for that chapter for each choice, then you have your baseline to work from. You don’t want your game to feel to short, but at the same time you don’t want to make it unreasonably long (unless the story is engaging enough to weren’t it).

Aim for 20k per or more per play-through.


#7

So when I have 25 k playable words, and have reached about maybe 1/4 I might be better off actually splitting it in two games? ponders


#8

@malinryden
That had come to my mind as well. But It also makes me wonder if there’s a point, I mean is there a problem with having a larger game? Although release in parts, I quite like the full length of games like zombie exodus


#9

Make a game as long as you like, as long as the story remains engaging enough to justify it. I personally think of the 20k per play through as the minimum target, not the goal to aim for. Longer games can be a lot more fun! But keep in mind quantity doesn’t = quality. Stay ‘on message’ and make sure the choices matter and are not just there as filler.


#10

More answers:


#11

Personally, I find anything 100-200k to be short.

That’s in ‘total’ though, I kind of expect each “route” to be 100-200k words. Having said that though, my expectations are only for those games that actually have strong divergent routes. Those plots that actually go from A-B with minor detours, I guess 100k is about standard. It always makes me a bit ‘meh’ when I replay a game and pick different options but I’m on the same path or story, especially if the ‘flavour’ paths don’t actually add much spice to the story in the first place.