Don’t Let Multiplayer Mania Ruin Your Game

March 31st, 2011 at 5:23 pm · 8 Comments

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).

Dont take my solo-badassery away from me

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.

Related posts:

  1. Game of the Year: Single Player vs. Multiplayer
  2. Is Modern Warfare 2 such a must-have game without competitive multiplayer?
  3. Does Bioshocks lame ending ruin the game?
  4. Red Dead Redemption The Year 2000 Multiplayer Experience
  5. Sid Meier Announces Facebook/Civilization Game In A Blatant Attempt to Ruin My Life

Tags: · · · · ·
Categories: PlayStation 3 · Xbox 360

  • Phazon117

    Great read. Agreed 100%.

    This is why I hope BioShock Infinite wont have multiplayer. BioShock 2 had okay multiplayer, but not enough quality to have me stick around.

  • karbaasi92

    Great article! I agree that not every game needs online, but co-op is something that I would like to see in every game.
    Offline/online story/separate story co-op. I so love those :D

  • sleeperhit79

    Completely agree. I personally think that the whole unnecessary multiplayer thing might be coming to an end. Seems more and more companies are getting smart and having sales 2 weeks to a month after the games release which it turns out is brilliant. Case in point dead space 2. One of the best games of this year was on sale at amazon for 40$ roughly 2-3 weeks after release. Of course I bought it and not only did I have an awesome recent game to play, but the developers probably got more money from the sale than gamestop which STILL sells the used copy for over 40$ and developers see none of that money. I think that is the perfect compromise for both game companies and cheapos like me that dont mind playing a game that is a month old but still awesome.

  • sleeperhit79

    Also i think that good single player dlc is starting to be used used as an anti-trade in deterrent instead of irrelevant multiplayer, such as in mass effect 2 and dead space 2 which im all for :) .

  • Bigus Dickus

    Games these days are very expensive, so in order to justify the price, the games that I purchase must have multiplayer, so that they have replay value. The only games that are an exception to that rule are Huge40+ hour RPGs like Mass Effect, Fallout, and Oblivion. Short, single player-only games like the Force Unleashed are a ripoff.

    • Esmeralda

      Like I mentioned in the post, certain games should not add multiplayer just for the sake of replay value, because most of the time the multiplayer will be half-assed (for games not originally meant for multiplayer). So while you need multiplayer for every game you purchase, I dont want developers thinking youre the only type of gamer out there they need to cater to. There are people like me who prefer certain single player games to stay that way (like Batman Arkham City) if a multiplayer means harm to the solo experience.

  • stingo


    I think youre dead on here, not only in your main point (not adding multiplayer to everything), but also your comment:

    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.

    Id only suggest that we as gamers already have it and an acute case at that. If youre playing something 3 or 4 months after its been released (single or multiplayer) you get razzed on by the new bright and shiny club that has to have the very latest games. Me? I like returning to favorites and re-playing them the fun is getting better at them (in single player mode) and/or spending time with some fun people in multiplayer mode the game is kind of secondary.

    To your main point, I agree that multiplayer doesnt make sense for all games, particularly those of the God of War or Batman Arkham line. As you refer to in your article, there can be only one.

    Keep up the fine work with your articles your topics always seem to strike a chord for me. As in, yeah Ive always thought about that or Id like to see people discuss this.

  • Fireboy

    I completely agree. Tacked on multiplayer is for the birds. AC Brotherhood was not tacked on, it was the reason to buy that game. That said, I think Im gonna start renting the single player games and only buy the big multiplayer games because I play them long after release, thats just my preference and play style these days.