The video game industry seems to be a delicate one. With the supposed problems of piracy, used game sales, production costs, and companies needing to sell a lot more games to actually make a profit, several steps are being taken to try to survive. For one, it seems like developers are taking fewer risks now; seen through the saturation of first-person shooters that are now all looking the same to me. Another trend that I’ve noticed is the assumption that every new game needs multiplayer in order to succeed.
Am I the only one that believes not every game needs a multiplayer?
My problem with adding multiplayer in some games is that you’re splitting resources. You’re taking assets away from the single-player campaign that could be making the solo experience better and more enjoyable. When you divide your resources to focus on something you probably shouldn’t be focusing on, it can make for a weak single-player and a weak multiplayer, thus a weak product.
Now, before you go into a fit, I’m NOT saying that games shouldn’t have multiplayer altogether. That would be ludicrous. The games out there whose main focus is multiplayer like Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Street Fighter are fine to stay that way; they know what their appeal is. But for gamers like me who enjoy a single-player experience just as much or even more than multiplayer, I would like my games to keep delivering in that department.
Personally, if your game doesn’t entertain me enough on the single-player side, I can’t justify spending $60 on a game solely for its multiplayer (with a few rare exceptions). This is because there will come a time where I either temporarily lose my internet I blame spider monkeys messing with Comcast cables or my friends won’t be playing the same title anymore. I’ve concluded that as gamers we’re slowly developing ADD, since we quickly move on to the next big hit and then I’m left all alone in Bulletstorm or Little Big Planet.
One example of what I just described is Black Ops. I actually completed the Black Ops single-player campaign and enjoyed it. Even if the campaign was generic and a bit predictable towards the end, I played through it and liked it enough to where I felt my purchase wasn’t wasted. I have put in many hours into the multiplayer and had a blast with friends, but I would have been upset had the single-player sucked.
Recently, some developers have had to come out and say they’re not adding multiplayer to their games and it puzzled me why some people were upset over this. Batman Arkham City, a game I’m looking forward to, will not be adding multiplayer or even co-op mode. This was great news to me, because the first game did an excellent job with just its single-player. With Rocksteady’s attention remaining on single-player, I have faith they will once again deliver awesomeness (I did not know awesomeness was an actual word by the way).
The same can be said for fans of the Silent Hill series, who were very glad to hear there is no separate multiplayer coming for XBLA or PSN. If a game’s premise is all about single-person isolation, it probably shouldn’t have a multiplayer. Which is most likely why I haven’t heard many good things about Dead Space 2’s multiplayer.
Or if your game is of you playing as the only hero, you shouldn’t tack on multiplayer either. Thus, Infamous 2 not having a multiplayer mode is a good choice. Their alternative to letting you create unique missions and share them seems like a better step.
But on that same sole-hero mindset, we are hearing rumors that the God of War franchise will maybe have a multiplayer mode. Even if it’s just rumors for now, I see no reasoning behind the addition of multiplayer to any new God of War game. The whole point of the God of War franchise is that Kratos is a solo man/god against the world, why tarnish that?
One of the basic reasons why video games add multiplayer is for replay value. I understand that many people need replay value in order to validate a $60 purchase. But as a consumer, would you really play a multiplayer that sucks to begin with, just to justify it? If the single-player campaign is entertaining enough, there’s your replay value. Ways to add replay value to a single-player campaign can be seen in New Game+ bonuses and even multiple endings. Replay value should not automatically equal multiplayer.
There’s no formula to what games should get multiplayer or not. Some games have proven certain genres that were once believed should never have multiplayer can actually work: Demon Souls, Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, Red Dead Redemption. Even Uncharted 2’s multiplayer, which I was weary of, proved to be fun. Sure, the multiplayer had its bugs like matchmaking, but because Naughty Dog found a way to not take anything away from the single-player and still offer a nice multiplayer experience, I excused it.
Don’t add multiplayer to your game as a gimmick to make some extra cash. If you don’t have the time or funding to make it enjoyable, or if you see it’s going to greatly affect your single-player, don’t make the sacrifice. You may end up losing more than you think in the end.