Submitted by SethoN4G 785d ago | opinion piece

In defense of the single player game

8Bit Envy's Seth Rich takes a look at why Single Player is dying in games and why it needs to make a come back. (3DS, Dev, Industry, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360)

thebudgetgamer  +   785d ago
I don't mind a good multi-player game, I've played GTA4 online more than any other game this gen. My problem is games like Battlefield are fun but it gets repetitive real quick.
JustinNico  +   785d ago
I don't think the problem are multiplayer games = bad, it's that people disregard really good SP games if they don't have multiplayer content. When in fact, there are plenty of reasons why they might be better even though they offer less game time.
Neonridr  +   785d ago
Take Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite - fantastic Single Player Games. They introduced Multiplayer in Bioshock 2 and it was a terrible idea..
PopRocks359  +   785d ago
Single player games 'can' be good or great. Multiplayer games have that same potential. Even games with both single and multiplayer have the potential. It all depends on how much time, money and effort is put into it.

Bioshock/Bioshock Infinite - good single player games.

Borderlands, Left 4 Dead - solid multiplayer games

Halo, Call of Duty - well developed single and multiplayer games (even if CoD is the same thing over and over).
Canary  +   785d ago
I disagree. I don't think a multiplayer game can ever be great, at least relying solely on multiplayer elements.

Starcraft and Diablo II were both great games that had massively popular online elements... yet their greatness was only possible due to their equally strong single-player elements.

The reason why a game without multiplayer cannot achieve the "greatness" that games without singleplayer cannot achieve is, I think, due to the fact that multiplayer gameplay breaks immersion. You simply cannot be as immersed in a game world when playing with other human beings as when playing without.

That's not to say multiplayer games can't be fantastic and achieve "classic" status. Take chess, for example. It's a classic multiplayer game. But it can't really be "great" -- because the quality of a multiplayer game is dependent on the perpetually unknown variable of The Other Person.

The quality of multiplayer game is too greatly dependent on that external factor.

This is why, ideally, multiplayer games should focus just as much on forming strong single-player experiences as crafting workable mechanics and rulesets for multiplayer. The inability to do this has been the detriment of many recent blockbuster titles, from Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, to Mass Effect 3 and Assassin's Creed 3.
PopRocks359  +   784d ago
What about Team Fortress 2? World of Warcraft and other such multiplayer games? Those games achieved a great deal of notoriety as just multiplayer experiences with fairly large install bases.

Certain multiplayer experiences can be expanded upon. For example, I think Call of Duty would be better off as a FTP experience where your financial support for the game is through DLC. The multiplayer is largely what carries that game, not the single player.

You are certainly free to feel that way, but I feel multiplayer experiences without any single player 'guidance' can be fantastic in their own right.
darthdusty  +   784d ago
"I don't think a multiplayer game can ever be great, at least relying solely on multiplayer elements."

Completely disagree. I'm the type of player that would rather be involved in a deep, single player campaign versus a dozen multiplayer matches any day, but that doesn't change the fact that some of the most memorable moments in gaming for me took place when I was playing multiplayer games with friends. Of course, these games were memorable because the group of friends I was playing with were good, or rather, our skills were all equal to one another. Every game would be intense, and we would stay up all night playing multiplayer-style games because, you got it, we were "engrossed" in what was happening.

Single player games and multiplayer games are two completely different beasts, but in the end, both styles of games can be truly great for each of their own reasons. You state that Chess can never truly be great because the quality of the game is dependent on the other player, yet when you're playing a game of Chess with someone that challenges you, it far exceeds playing a computer opponent any day. There are pre-requisites for both types of games to be amazing, but when they are, they are amazing on their own merits.
Canary  +   784d ago
@PopRocks: well, as I said--those games can certainly be very good, but they do not (and to my mind, cannot) achieve the elusive quality of "greatness."

Few games do.

But, as many of the younger N4G denizens constantly remind me, I have high standards.
masa2009  +   785d ago
Nobody has ever criticized single player games.
At the end of the day, it's a value issue, that's all.
The game industry is becoming more "top heavy", with a concentration of ressources going to a few mammoth AAA franchises, who are thus able to offer the total package of SP, competitive MP and now often coop.
Thus at the price games are, it is normal for the consumer to be tempted by these titles than by a single minded, average length, if fun, SP game like DMC: Devil May Cry for instance.

But when SP games come out that really get the message across that they are offering considerable value and length, like RPGs for instance, they do well.
JustinNico  +   784d ago
It's not so much criticism, but it's the fact that companies are beginning to say that single player games don't sell as well due to the fact that they don't offer as much "game time" as say, a multiplayer title. So now they are trying to subsidize cost by throwing in multiplayer to both appease gamers as well as corporate execs.

Your game doesn't have multiplayer - It can't compete with COD. Let's put a team deathmatch mode in there so we can pop a bullet point on the back of the box and give gamers more bang for their buck. Nice in principle but it doesn't always work out that way (cruddy multiplayer, longer dev time, more money wasted).
ion666  +   784d ago
If its single player.I'm fine with but why is it soo short.I totally did'nt get my money worth with bioshock infinite.At least aliens had a multiplayer that sort of worked.I say if its just single player make 40+ hours.
SethoN4G  +   784d ago
A 40 hour single player campaign sure sounds awesome, but I think it would put the publisher and developer out of business. I say if a game feels short to some people, then it's just because they wanted more. Hopefully single player games can find a way to add more to themselves such as an abundance of side missions and such. Honestly, I love single player games. I don't want to see them go. If the biggest problem with a game is that it's too short, then chances are it must be doing a lot right. I see what you mean by longer single player campaigns, but I feel we were spoiled with long games like Resident Evil 4 and the first Bioshock. I think single player RPG's will always be around to fulfill that promise, but more and more of those games are going online too.
CarleyYoung   784d ago | Spam
medman  +   784d ago
Give me the Mass Effect series, Uncharted, Metal Gear, Bioshock, Arkham Asylum, etc. etc. over any Cod clone anyday. I will dabble in a great single player games multiplayer just to check it out, but for me the main course will always be a great single player experience. The title of this article is ridiculous. If anything, it should be entitled "In defense of the multiplayer game". Single player games innovate way more than their cut and paste multiplayer component counterparts. The most anticipated games year in and year out (excepting Cod) are usually single player affairs, including this years Bioshock, The Last of Us, GTA V, Watch Dogs, and Beyond:Two Souls. I vastly prefer single player. Multiplayer depends far too much on other players to define just how good (or bad) your experience will be. Not to mention the cheating, glitching, whining, and moaning of your fellow game players. No thanks. I'll stick to single player. If I want a multiplayer experience, I'll invite a few friends over to battle in Madden or 2k.
#6 (Edited 784d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
SethoN4G  +   784d ago
I agree. Personally single player games are what I prefer. No one sitting in the major publisher chair thinks single player can get by on its own and it's this sole fact that jeopardizes the single player game. I don't mind multiplayer, it's just not my preference, but it can take away from the concentration of the single player campaign. Many people don't seem to see that happening, but in some ways they already are. Just look at all the people knocking Infinite for its length. Anyway, I hope you got something out of the article. I do talk about what makes single player games unique and why they're worth defending. I just thought I'd begin with the bad news first to make clear why I feel the market is losing interest in the genre compared to more profitable ones.
BitbyDeath  +   784d ago
I like a good single player game although i do think more games need to offer a splitscreen option.

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