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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.

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thebudgetgamer1206d 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.

JustinNico1206d 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.

Neonridr1206d ago

Take Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite - fantastic Single Player Games. They introduced Multiplayer in Bioshock 2 and it was a terrible idea..

PopRocks3591206d 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).

Canary1206d 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.

PopRocks3591206d 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.

darthdusty1206d 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.

Canary1205d 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.

masa20091206d 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.

JustinNico1206d 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).

ion6661206d 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.

SethoN4G1206d 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.

CarleyYoung1206d ago SpamShow
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