Red Dead Redemption vs. Mafia 2 – Which gameplay style did gamers embrace more?

1 Posted by - October 21, 2010 - Case Studies, Player Insight, Trends & Data

Take 2 knows how to makes compelling open world games: Grand Theft Auto, Bully, Red Dead Redemption, and most recently Mafia 2, for example. With two recent games topping the charts and generating a lot of buzz for different reasons, we decided to compare Red Dead Redemption and Mafia 2. What we discovered pretty much captures the overall sentiment many gamers had regarding the different approach to open world design.

Red Dead Redemption, created by Rockstar Games, has been hailed as a truly open world sandbox game. You can run around doing a myriad of side quests for extended periods, exploring a world that feels teeming with life. Players can tackle the storyline however they chose. On the other hand, Mafia 2, created by 2K Czech, takes a very different approach and walks players through a much more linear experience that is more finely detailed in story and character development. While both games have won acclaim, in the end, Red Dead Redemption delivers in the kind of gameplay that gamers were looking for.

Red Dead Redemption players have played 250% more hours on average than Mafia 2 players (38.67 hours vs 15.75 hours). Even more impressive, in the first month, 40% of Red Dead Redemption players played 30+ hours, while only 8% of Mafia 2 players did. Related to that, Red Dead Redemption had more playtime hours in the first four days than Mafia 2 did in the first full month of release.

What’s telling is that when you look at the distribution of gameplay hours for Mafia 2, a good number of gamers never played more than 5 hours. It seems like many gamers didn’t bother to sit through the more linear experience, despite a storyline that many critics said was worthy of your money.

We do see that for Mafia 2, there is a good chunk of people that played in the 11-15 hour range, which is about how long it takes to beat the game. It’s clear that many gamers who completed the game did not continue playing, and exploring the rest of the game. In comparison, for Red Dead Redemption, you can clearly see that the biggest chunk of gamers spent more than 30+ hours playing the game in the first month of release, suggesting that gamers went deep into the game and explored the many things you can do. Red Dead Redemption appears to be the better value compared with Mafia 2.

On some other interesting notes, Mafia 2 players earned more achievements than Red Dead Redemption players (23 vs 14.) and Mafia 2 players have longer gameplay sessions (2.36 hours vs. 2.02 hours.)

Some interesting achievement facts (based on data up to Oct 17th, 2010):

  • Mafia 2 – 8.21% of players found all the Playboy magazines
  • Mafia 2 – 15.31% of players finished the story on hard
  • Mafia 2 – 8.91% of players earned an achievement in the DLC •
  • Red Dead Redemption – 7.33% of players completed 100% of the game
  • Red Dead Redemption – 4.44% of players have reached the top rank for multiplayer
  • Red Dead Redemption – 21.04% have played a co-op mission

If you are a fan of open world games, what else do you like to play?

Remember our Halo: Reach and Madden 11 Raptr Reports? We discovered that the majority of the other games played by gamers who played Madden 11 and Reach were from similar genres. For Halo: Reach, seven of the top 10 other games played were FPSes; for Madden 11, seven of the top 10 games were sports games. However, if you look at Red Dead Redemption and Mafia 2, there is no dominant genre. Even as we expanded the list to more than the top 10 games, it would appear gamers who enjoy open world games play a good mix of genres, from sports games, to RPGs, to action, to adventure. See for yourself in the chart below.