17: All by Myself Anymore

Sinan Kubba and Joe DeLia are joined by GamerNode writer Christos Reid to talk about the fate of single-player in gaming in relation to Dave Perry’s comments at this year’s DICE summit.

5 Responses to “17: All by Myself Anymore”
  1. Strident says:

    I don’t really have a problem with the introduction of multiplayer modes in Bioshock 2 or Uncharted 2.

    As Joe mentioned in the show it’s little more than good business sense. They need to ensure that as many new retail copies of their games are sold in the launch window as possible. Multiplayer is a pretty much guaranteed way of extending the life of a title. It doesn’t matter how rubbish or throwaway the MP is, every day you can keep that disk being taken back and traded in at a game store is an extra day where you can sell someone a new copy.

    Bioshock 2 and Uncharted 2 are triple-A titles and these days, to gain access to a triple-A budget, developers need to get onboard and play the publisher’s games. Whether it be the requirement producing content for DLC or including multiplayer, developers have to chuck in stuff to encourage buyers to keep hold of their game disks.

    The real worry, and the real threat to single player gaming, was only briefly touched upon in the show. No game better demonstrates my fear than Star Wars The Old Republic.

    I hate the idea of Star Wars the Old Republic being an MMO with every fibre of my being. I wanted a KOTOR 3. A single-player experience set in that universe. How can you feel as important in a multi-player game as you did in the original KOTOR? How can you be the most important person in the world, the person who the very story revolves around when everyone else has an equal part to play? It surely can’t be as much fun to be one of a million others saving the universe?

    Now it may be that Bioware can revolutionise the genre. They certainly want to. They believe they can bring the power of single player stories to the MMORPG. I hope they succeed. They’ll certainly need to if they want to bring the console gamers on board. MMOs are financially risky, difficult games to get right. I’d hate to see a sudden (fools?) gold rush with single-player games dumped in favour of a genre that is easier to shoehorn in micropayments.

    It seems to me that Lucasarts are not just satisfied with the easy two or three million sales a single-player game would make. They want a piece of the monthly fee moneypot as well. I think Star Wars The Old Republic would be a much better single-player game… but I’m willing to be proved wrong.

  2. Joe DeLia says:

    I agree with you totally, Strident…on both counts.

    As I mentioned on the show, I think that a game has to include some kind of online component to succeed these days, unless Final Fantasy is in the title. I think we will see titles like Dead Space 2 and Mirror’s Edge 2 ship with online components, and most single player shooters from this point on will have coop. This isn’t a bad thing of course, as people like me can just ignore that stuff and play the game as intended. But these features might just get someone who wouldn’t be interested in a single player title to pick up the game, which is good for all involved.

    As for shoving MMO qualities into a single player experience, I am optimistic about what this can do in certain games. I think if controlled, this could be a fun feature. For example, Fable 3 including certain “common” areas in the game world where everyone can meet up, but then as soon as you leave that town, everyone else disappears and you return to your own, solitary world. Fable 2 did something along these lines, but the implementation was haphazard. I wouldn’t mind if certain sections of open-world games could be MM, but letting thousands free-wheel around a persistant Liberty City would be an absolute disaster.

    I don’t mind online implementation in SP. In fact, I encourage it. As long as the core essence of what makes a single player game special is left intact (as you mentioned above, the feeling of being ‘the one’), I would like to see where some creative developers could take this.

  3. Strident says:

    Indeed. Strangely enough it was the “multiplayer” aspect of Animal Crossing DS (of all games) that made me really enjoy it. Coming fresh from playing a lot of MMOs, I loved the fact that you could show off your progress in the game to other players. After endulging in MMOs pretty heavily I had been feeling so disconnected when playing single player games.

    Later on, when I got my 360, achievements were the thing that got me back into single player gaming… no longer did the time I spent playing games seem “wasted”… I now had shiny badges to show for my “work”! These rewards turned every game into a connected experience.

    I’ve probably got a bit of a bee in my bonnet about The Old Republic, just because I wanted a single player KOTR so much. However, if Bioware can really successfully incoporate strong story elements into an MMO then I’ll be the first in line handing over my money.

  4. Dits says:

    Great show guys! Sometimes I guess we do discount the value of the multiplayer aspect of certain games, your right COD and Halo would probably not be the massive hits that they are now without the onlne aspect. Its these types of online games that really don’t interest me, back in the early 90′s I played these types of games to death. UT, Quake 3, Battlefield etc, they really haven’t progressed and in many aspects have gone backwards. Where’s my assault missions in UT? Things that made people work together and think! Not just try get the kill before the other guy, or do suicide runs over and over, its just not fun for me.

    Thats probably why I moved onto the MMO scene, more of the thinking mans game, co-op, pvp, instances and raids. These words will soon become the norm for console owners and I do believe that we will be better off for it. There will always be a space for twitch shooters but we deserve more imo.

    The addition of multiplayer to Bioshock etc really doesn’t excite me, the game was built and sold on its single player story and adding the online aspect will probably do nothing for the game in sales as people already have the better examples out there. Just look as MGS online…that did lots for the series…

  5. Sinan Kubba says:

    Thanks for your comments guys. I do agree, Strident, we could’ve done with touching on the removal of control, importance and focus that comes with multiplayer gaming. I think, however, that it’s too early to say at this stage what TOR will come out like, and I think that while it’s new territory for BioWare, I for one and am prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Leave A Comment