Rage Quit - Death of the Single Player
Get your multiplayer out of my single-player games!
As wonderful and awesome as the internet is, it really fucked things up for gamers like me. It wasn’t really an issue in the early stages – that short period of time before it was as all pervasive as it is now. Consoles remained offline for the most part, with only a handful of games offering any kind of online component. Online gaming was for the PC crowd, not the console kids who enjoyed a far more streamlined and simplified gaming experience.
Let’s be clear on one thing – I am not against online, co-op or competitive multiplayer. Not every game can be a solely single player experience and I’m okay with it. I hold no ill will towards franchises like Call of Duty or the plethora of MMOs out there who wouldn’t even exist without the benefits of people connecting over the internet.
But please, for fuck’s sake, keep your multiplayer out of my single player games.
E3 was particularly depressing for me this year, with historically single player affairs like God of War smugly showing off its new online multiplayer component, while other, more recently turned multiplayer franchises like Dead Space celebrate the obliteration of what made them awesome in the first place by going further down multiplayer hole. Hell, Far Cry 3 looked fantastic, but was wounded by its disastrous multiplayer showing.
I find Dead Space’s move towards multiplayer particularly perplexing. After tacking on a clusterfuck of an online component to the otherwise stellar Dead Space 2 – a mode that I’m pretty damn sure has no fans that aren’t blathering idiots and began the process of alienating fans – why would you decide to integrate it even deeper?
Co-op is something I enjoy in action games like Gears of War. That’s a franchise that was designed to be played with another brother in arms, but history will plainly show that horror games – a genre that excels by making the player feel increasingly isolated – doesn’t do well when you bring someone along for the ride. Just ask Resident Evil 5.
EA is adamant that this move was made with nothing but good intentions. “In general we're thinking about how we make this a more broadly appealing franchise, because ultimately you need to get to audience sizes of around five million to really continue to invest in an IP like Dead Space,” said Frank Gibeau in an interview with CVG.
"Who the fuck is this guy?"
It’s understandable that a publisher would want a game to sell as many copies as possible. If the game doesn’t turn a profit, then it becomes impossible to rationalize its continued development. What I don’t understand is how multiplayer is the answer.
Creating multiplayer functionality is not cheap. There are extra development costs, servers to upkeep and patches to issue. All this additional cost actually means that the game now has to sell more copies in order to be profitable. Keeping Dead Space 2 a single player only affair would have actually made it more profitable.
At this point publishers ask, "Well how are we supposed to do DLC if there is no multiplayer?" Stop your fucking whining and release actual expansion packs; perhaps new missions and levels that actually add something to the story. It’s been done plenty of times with successful single player franchises like The Elder Scrolls.
Which brings me to another point – if you’re so damn gung-ho about adding multiplayer, do so in a game outside of the main continuity. I have a theory that the folks at Bethesda were so damn tired of people asking for multiplayer in their Elder Scrolls games – a series that really only works if the player is the focal point of the world – that they decided to release The Elder Scrolls Online.
This looks really familiar...
“There,” they said. “You fucking happy now? Think you could let us work on the next game that’s going to destroy hours of your fucking lives?”
The need for an Elder Scrolls MMO is a mirage in my opinion. People think they want it, but once they get it, they’ll want their controlled, “I’m the center of this universe” single player experience back. And gamers like me will be smirking, just humble enough to not say, I told you so.
You know, fuck that, I’ll say those words with gusto. And I’ll do it when Dead Space 3 doesn’t make a profit either, because EA sunk so much money into a game mode that isn’t likely to bring in more fans than it ends up losing because of it.
But in the end the stubborn executives will refuse to believe that they were wrong, that multiplayer is still somehow the answer and that they shouldn’t look to perhaps try to change the business model. No, the pure single player game in the AAA game space is, for all intents and purposes, dead; replaced with a festering zombie-chimera of multiplayer modes shoved down our throats.
It’s enough to make me rage quit.
Agree? Disagree? Add to the discussion by sounding off in the comments section below!