It’s finally February and with it comes a slew of open-world, big-budget game releases. First, Dying Light 2 that will potentially take 500 hours to 100%; a game with more written words than most novels. Then there’s Horizon Forbidden West: no doubt bigger in scope with more things to do than its predecessor, including all of the new Breath of the Wild traversal mechanics to keep you experimenting. And to top things off is Elden Ring. Fuck knows how big that game is going to be but with George Martin’s involvement, I’ll bet it won’t be possible to finish. Like Game of Thrones it’ll just stop after chapter five and a splash screen of “coming soon” will appear. On top of these open-world February releases there’s also Olli Olli World, Sifu and Total War: Warhammer 3. Three more games which will command a significant amount of time, especially with the replay value that Total War provides.
It may seem like an insurmountable task to play and finish all of these games before we have to start again the following month. There are only so many gaming hours available in the week for those of us with families and full-time jobs. Fear not; I’ve got the perfect guide to ensure you’re able to be done with all these games before the end of the month and arriving at a March of sim racing.
1. Quit your job
This one might seem obvious but it’s probably the easiest thing to do. Quitting your job will give you an additional 8 hours a day or around 40 hours a week to play more. On top of the 40 hours you are, of course, already spending on gaming each week, you’ll have Dying Light 2’s campaign and a little more popped out in no time. With another week to spare before Horizon Forbidden West, you can bowl about in Villedor smashing zombies to your heart’s content. Or game smartly and fit both Sifu and OlliOlli World into this extra week.
Also, if you quit your job now, you’ve got about a week of notice to work through. Bosses, being the understanding folk that they are, will accept this and you’ll be on your way to a beautiful gaming month. Remember to send a quick email to your ex-boss for a reference and just get another job for March.
2. Send your family on holiday
Another obvious option. If you enjoy your job and don’t want to quit, cut out the family time. It’s pretty miserable in the UK right now; shit weather, shit politics and not much on the tele. Your family will adore you when you hand them the month-long hotel booking and plane tickets to a beautiful Caribbean island or the Maldives. Make sure it’s somewhere hot and they probably won’t even phone you whilst being away.
So, work your 40-hour week at your precious job and use all that time you have on evenings and weekends to play. No more ferrying kids around for after-school clubs, no food shopping, no nice evening meals with a loved one. Just you and the expansive open worlds, zombies, robot dinosaurs and whatever monstrosities Miyazaki and the team have vomited up.
3. Cut out sleep
Studies show sleep is for the weak (or it could have been Frank Turner). Therefore get rid of it: you don’t need it. Running around mopping up open-world collectibles and doing fetch quests are gaming’s equivalent of sleep anyway; parts you can do with minimal concentration. Playing smart and structuring your gaming so you can blast out a big chunk of story and more involved playing after work or when you have your own time. Then do the dross for 6 to 8 hours overnight. That’s an easy 40 to 50 hours a week extra.
4. Watch someone else play
You could experience the game yourself or you could watch a streamer play the one you’re not that fussed about. Not someone who thinks Robot Dinosaurs are cool? Smash zombies whilst you watch someone else play on a second, or even third screen. This way you stay on par with the conversation with each game. When something important happens in Aloy’s story, just pause the zombie-smashing, watch and then comment online about her hairline, or whatever baby comments you have to make about something you’re not even playing.
This is one for someone who loves both their job and their family. It’s an option that won’t help you cover two games at once, but sacrifices have to be made somewhere. All that pausing for important moments might help you cover two games in three weeks instead of just being able to blast them out using the above three options.
5. Sack it all off
Combine all four options above and you’re onto a winner. 500 Hours for everything in Dying Light 2? No problem. 100%’ing Aloy’s newest adventure in the dystopian robot future? Easy. Run Elden Ring with a no armour build straight away? Brutal but doable.
For some of us these options aren’t that simple to enact if we want to keep our family, job and sanity. I therefore won’t be employing any of these options myself. I’ll probably just pick one of the games, likely Horizon Forbidden West, and merrily listen to everyone else’s tales within the exquisitely crafted worlds of Dying Light 2 and Elden Ring. Whilst my wife and daughter would love a holiday somewhere hot for a month, they’d get fired and kicked out of school. Not ideal if I’ve also quit my job. If all else fails, I suppose I could start playing the lottery.