Will single-player games become extinct?

hellgateDuring the mid to late 90’s, single-player games were the complete rage. One of the main reasons was because online gaming was simply not a hot commodity as it is now.

Nowadays, you’ll trip over plenty of games that offer online content in one form or another (online gaming, map tools, mod communities) and many single-player games that don’t offer an online component eventually die off. So are single-player games on the verge of death?

An interesting article on The Guardian gathered a bunch of quotes from different gaming developers about the subject. Chris Early, studio manager of Microsoft’s Casual Games Service, talked about that there are certain gameplay elements that single-player games can achieve that multiplayer games can’t and vice versa.

"There are narratives and stories you can tell through single-player experiences that you simply can’t tell through multiplayer. At the same time, there are experiences you can’t deliver in single-player that only multiplayer can achieve. More often than not, when you play a single-player game, once you’re done with the game, you’re done. But with multiplayer games, the content, in part, is created by the actions of the other players. It’s a completely new experience every time you play."

My opinion, single-player games excel in telling a personal story, as opposed to multiplayer games. But Mitch Gitelman, studio manager on Shadowrun, disagrees to that statement sand said, "Social gameplay absolutely lends itself to storytelling."

One of the big upcoming titles that’ll offer both a single-player and multiplayer component is Flagship Studios’ debut game Hellgate: London. Bill Roper, CEO of Flagship Studios, talked about some of the gameplay elements they’ve inserted into Hellgate: London to prolong the single-player aspect, specifically randomization of levels and items.

"We love randomisation. It adds so much replayability to the game, as there is always the chance that a player will find something new, or emergent behavior will create a new experience. When done right, randomisation doesn’t come off as being random…"

My opinion, I don’t think single-player games are on the verge of becoming extinct. While online gaming is certainly a force to be reckoned with, there’s still a market for single-player games. I enjoyed the ongoing storyline in World of Warcraft, for example, but I felt it was missing the personal appeal.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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