Is the Single Player dying?

14 Sep

Many recent and coming First and Third Person Shooters which are originally perceived as games around a story cut out for single (or cooperative) playing are also “loaded” with multiplayer options. Are there not enough multiplayer games out there? Is it really needed to “hack” in some deathmatch, tag team or capture the flag copies, just for the sake of it?

Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is a coming game that looks very promising. According to the released information the game will have a really strong story that will, hopefully, immerse the player in the Hollywood-esque game world. The well known trailer from E3 earlier this year showed Nathan Drake, the game’s protagonist, on a ship. He was occupied in different more or less action filled sequences; the ship and its interior looked great and the game play seemed solid. The game appears, judging from all this, to be strongly bound by a story and as such, a single player game. But, the game will also have a multiplayer part. This is a perfect example of a game that at its core is a single player game, but the developers have anyway put in another game mode.

Uncharted 3 seems like a single player game but it will also have multiplayer modes

Just because the Call of Duty series have sold millions of copies, mostly because of its well balanced and popular multiplayer modes, do all games have to have a multiplayer mode? Some game worlds or play styles are not suitable for multiplayer, so why “hack” it in? If a multiplayer mode really has to be in the game, then it would be better to release it as an additional game (this wouldn’t be too bad, it could mean more sales; there could even be three version: only SP, only MP and both) or at least pack all the multiplayer code, levels and options in an add-on, that can be bought separately.

Since many developers think they are forced to have a multiplayer mode in their games, this might steal energy and time that instead could have been put on the main game mode to improve the single player experience. Most of the time multiplayer modes have separate or special versions of levels and they might even have a separate game engine (e.g. Medal of Honor). If a game is set in a very special world or with unusual features which has not been seen in a multiplayer game before, then the addition of a multiplayer mode is more reasonable. There are of course exceptions; Crysis 2 had a cool single player campaign and the multiplayer mode was also well made; the old and revolutionary Doom and Quake games were also great SP and MP experiences. Examples of games that instead have made it very well without any multiplayer options are Mirror’s Edge and Alan Wake.

For Crysis 2, both the single and multiplayer worked well and were well received

The bottom line is that not all games need a multiplayer mode, due to reason just told and also since it is a risk that these games’ multiplayer modes might be worse than their “pure” multiplayer competitors. That said, maybe the name of this post is a bit drastic; but it would be a shame if all single player games started to focus too much on multiplayer.

Added September 15, after a good comment from a reader (workmancer):
Multiplayer modes are also often added to give extended life to the game; otherwise most gamers will just rent it and finish the Single player campaign or sell it back to the store.


Posted by on September 14, 2011 in Ravings


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5 responses to “Is the Single Player dying?

  1. workmancer

    September 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Hard Reset says no. The single player is dying because people can rent it and beat it or buy it, beat it and sell it… so developers feel the need to make multiplayer so people buy and keep the game instead of selling it.

    • gotounknown

      September 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Very good point! I didn’t thought so much about that. This is extra true when the game has some unique code that can only be entered once to make it playable. Then you can not probably even sell it, since it will be too hard for the store to re-sell it. Maybe Blizzard is adding something like this, when they are talking about that “constant online” is required even for single player. Once again, thanx for the good point 🙂

      • workmancer

        September 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        You can’t resell the codes no. That’s the developers way of combatting rentals and resales. But if you pay the dev $5 you’ll get a new one. You can still sell it. They don’t want to restrict you from that. They just don’t want GameStop to buy your game for $20 and they sell it for $55 when you can buy it new for $60. That’s $35 profit to GameStop.

        The constant online thing is a little much. I’d make it check once every 5 or 10 minutes. Funny thing is people sometimes complain about the constant online games… that are EXCLUSIVELY multiplayer. When they hear constant internet connection, they freak out. Plus UBI Soft doesn’t help when they mess up the constantly online system…

      • gotounknown

        September 15, 2011 at 7:04 pm

        A check every 5-10 minute, hmm; I think once at start would be enough for a game like Diablo III (I was thinking of that game in my latest comment, just forgot to write it out…). I know that most gamers have good internet connections at home, but if they want to be nice for the other ones that have bad lines or maybe just a mobile broadband that is expensive Blizzard would go for the “check online just at startup” solution. Just my five cents.

  2. workmancer

    September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    I’ve gotten past those checks with software… just disconnect the Internet, start it up and when its running it did its one check and then start the Internet up. But I’m sure people can work around anything…


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