The Last of Us 2 director Neil Druckmann has responded to the critics claiming the game is too long. Check out the video from Troy Baker's podcast below (the conversation about game length begins around the 1:00:20 mark).
Druckmann makes the statement shortly after him and Baker go back and forth about workshopping the script in real time. Baker mentions that no one from Naughty Dog's marketing team ever stuck their head in to suggest they add lines to the script.
"I have to stop you right there," Druckmann interjects. "I've seen someone – fuck I'm gonna get in trouble for this – I don't care. Someone recently said 'games are too long' and part of their thread they're saying like, 'it's because marketing wants to say how big games are and that's how they're gonna sell the game'. In my 16-year career at Naughty Dog, marketing has never – not once – given us a creative note to say 'this should be in the game, or the game should be this long, or this short, or have this feature." He continues, "the game is this long because we wanted to make it this long."
Druckmann then goes on to say, "It might be too long for certain people, it might be long enough for certain people, but it's this long because that was our call." For reference, The Last of Us is nearly double the size of the original game, clocking in at around just under 30 hours for more thorough play-through.
The rest of the video goes into great detail about the work that went into The Last of Us 2, so definitely check it out if you're interested in the process.