Developer: The Bosses Mandated Our Unnecessary Multiplayer Mode

Developer: The Bosses Mandated Our Unnecessary Multiplayer Mode

Why do some games have multiplayer? Because the executives demand it, even if the developers don’t want it. As explained in a recent inside story about the Midway Stranglehold team.

In the middle of last month, ex-Midway producer John Vignocchi was a guest on the Giant Bomb podcast, and managed to share some wild tales about his adventures at Midway. I just caught up to listening to it today.

Past stories of sending porn to NBA stars and before a story of people hitting on the sister of a famous music producer, comes this bit from Vignocchi about the value of multiplayer modes in games that might otherwise be single-player games.

You can find this at about the 1 hour, 22 minute, 51 second mark of the October 13 Giant Bombcast:

We were having this battle all the time, talking about, “OK, is a totally amazing single-player experience, the most important thing? Or should it be an 80 per cent single-player experience and then a pretty cool multiplayer. Stranglehold when through that exact same problem. I think if you ask every single person that worked on Stranglehold whether or not multiplayer was a necessity for that product, they would all say, ‘I wish we never did it.’ It was the worst part of the game, and it was something that executive management had said, ‘This has to be in the game.’ And no one wanted it, and it turned out the way it turned out. That’s something every game developer goes through.

Vignocchi segued his story into some talk about our own Michael McWhertor’s story about the diminishing presence of single-player-only games. And there’s more. Check out a particularly juicy episode of the ever-entertaining Giant Bombcast.

Giant Bombcast: 10/13/09


  • Unfortunately, people seem to think that throwing on multiplayer will instantly mean a big community that keeps people playing their game.

    This has several downsides, but the for me biggest is it means that developers (perhaps at their studio’s behest) stop investing as much time and effort in making the game fun and instead hope that the community will make the game successful.

    I barely play online mostly due to Xbox Live’s lack of dedicated servers. In the PC world with dedicated servers you, mostly, have a consistent community you enjoy playing with… on Xbox Live you have morons who are on the other side of the country with dodgy latency issues. That’s not fun.

    The games I play are still your standard “FPS” and I’m a big fan of the genre, but I play to enjoy immersing myself in the story, not to talk to randoms. I’ve completed GRAW2 at the hardest difficulty and yet I’ve got 270 of 1250 gamerscore for it because almost every achievement is for multiplayer.

    All that being said, I think the prevalence of online coop within a standard campaign is a hugely good thing because I can choose who I play with and have both social interaction AND a great story.

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