An Open Letter: Multiplayer

An Open Letter: Multiplayer
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An Open Letter is a regular feature where we communicate directly, straight to the heart of someone/something/anything in gaming. Today, we talk directly to ‘Multiplayer’, in the wake of an announcement from EA stating that they won’t ship a game without it.

Dear Multiplayer,

When we first met, Multiplayer, I’ll admit it, we were buddies. You came round to my place most weekends, we had a blast. Busting through craploads of pizza, sinking a few beers – playing some Goldeneye – split screen of course. Man, those were some good times.

By the time Halo come out, on the original Xbox, we had become best friends. You’d come over – we’d system link, get a whole bunch of other guys over, have LANs, run big tournaments. I guess you could say our experience got serious – in a totally heterosexual way – and I was cool with that.

Then online gaming came to consoles, in a big way. We were inseparable. I stopped hanging out with other friends, got a bit weird and anti-social. We sat in the house every night and just let the pizza boxes stack up. Halo 2, was the big one. Then we moved onto Halo 3, Call of Duty, etc, etc.

Multiplayer – you were my best friend in the whole world.

But enough is enough! You’re too clingy! Everywhere I turn, you’re staring me back in the face and, to be perfectly frank, it’s starting to get a little bit creepy. I turn on Bioshock 2, just to spend a little time on my lonesome, and there you are, staring back at me from the menu screen. I mean what the hell – pretty soon I’m going to be taking a leak and see you in the toilet bowl.

Now I hear you’re going to be in Dead Space 2? No dice dude. Give me some room to breathe. Apparently you’re now going to be in every single EA game ever made from now until eternity and, I’ve got to admit man, that makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.
I think you just need to back off a bit. We’re good friends, don’t get me wrong, but you don’t need to be involved in every single aspect of my life – can’t you just come over every now and then? Instead of every single night! I mean, there’s a time and a place for everything and I think you just need to gauge that a little better.

Look I know this is awkward. I know this is hard. But just… give me a little bit of space. I like singleplayer as well, you know? And there are times when that’s all I want, times when that makes sense, and you just have to realise that.

Mark Serrels


  • Dear Mark,

    We have indeed had good times together. I miss when it was just us, but my parents have been niggling at me for years to get out and see other people … every other person in fact.

    I’m so tired, so very tired, I just want to sleep and let Single Player take a load off my shoulders.

    I … I wish it didn’t have to be this way, by the time my parents forced me to hang out with the Fable’s and Bioshock 2, I was too weak to stand up for myself anymore.

    Please, I beg of you, anyone that can make them stop. Help me.

    Yours Truly,

  • I’m not fussed about EA putting Multiplayer in all their games… EA couldn’t put out a good game if they broke into Bioware/Blizzard and stole a new IP at 99% completion.

    Then again, Multiplayer for me wears off when I’ve had enough of the reptition, or a new game comes out.

    But I guess you’re right Mark, if only EA spent more time/money making a better single player experience with better gameplay.

    • EA have some great games under their belt. Mass Effect 2, Dead Space.. you know the list – EA have been getting better.

      I don’t mind their stance that MP be required in games, but the question will be – will they be Bioshock 2’s tacked on multiplayer, or Modern Warfare’s in depth multiplayer? or a co-operative campaign for an extensive story-based experience?

      As long as they focus a level of quality into the multiplayer experience and don’t just churn out the usual counter-strike/team fortress clones, they’ll do alright.

  • +1

    It opens up another market for the publisher, sure, but I prefer the singleplayer stuff and find I can take games more seriously when there isn’t a multiplayer mode bolted onto an existing franchise.

  • Spot on old mate…Multiplayer kills me with all the cheats out there thinking they’re the bomb…If EA will dedicate their millions to stopping online cheats then i’ll start playing em..

  • (Irrational Masha)”Its probably a ploy by EA to piss off gamers then announce two months down the line that they have reviewed their policies and they become loved by all gamers once more.”

    (Rational masha)- “No way They want multiplayer for data collection and stat tracking.”

    Yeah i talk to myself alot.

  • I think it may be time we changed our locks and phone number.

    I enjoy a good bit of coop and even some team based objective muliplayer when it does something different and is well implemented but a million simultaneous people playing COD multiplayer online is not a solid indication of what gamers as a whole want, its not even a solid indication of what FPS focussed gamers want, all it is is an indication of what COD players want.

    I’ve heard the dead space 2 multiplayer referred to as a knockoff of left 4 dead with clunky controls, I’ve not seen any footage but it really wouldn’t surprise me with the disturbing tendency for idea theft in not only gaming but in entertainment as a whole.

    Genre A is popular
    Game A is part of Genre A and is the most popular example of the genre
    Studio B wants to make Game B in Genre A
    Studio B copies Game A to the maximum extent the law permits
    Game B flops because consumers say “But I already HAVE Game A”
    Studio B blames piracy

    Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery but its the worst form of business

  • The problem is that gamers winge/demand it.

    People use lack of multiplayer as an excuse to not buy the game. Like the original bioshock. So they put in multiplayer with bioshock 2 to keep everyone happy.

    Same with singleplayer modes. I remember hearing people complain, as therefore not purchase, Warhawk (my opinion – Best Multiplayer game ever!!) because it lacked a singleplayer mode.

    The fact is you can’t keep everyone happy but developers will try and maximise features to get the sales.

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. But the fact is – if your multiplayer isn’t good enough to compete with Halo: Reach or COD, I’d rather you just focus more resources on creating a stellar single player experience, because you’re going to find it hard to drag people away from those games.

  • I think Multiplayer’s vastly overlooked younger brother Coop should come over more often.

    In fact, I think Singleplayer and Coop should be intertwined more and more often so that they’re the same mode ala COD:WAW.

    Yes, Multiplayer is a little boisterous for my likings these days too.

  • EA are coming out with some rippers lately. not every game needs multiplayer. Don’t EA publish Dragon’s Age??? That does not need MP

  • At the moment it’s just going through an ‘identity issue’, a bit of hard love is all it needs and eventually it’ll go back to the way things used to be 😉

  • Keep in mind what EA actually said was “Connected Gameplay”
    Think Cerberus Network for ME2, they will probably include something like that with every singleplayer game, possibly interconnected.
    I doubt we will be seeing Dragon Age matchmaking lobbies anytime soon.

  • i’m liking how some games aren’t putting in multiplayer, like fallout, where the greatness in the game was doing your own thing, and multiplayer would ruin that experience

    i’m also loving the fact that bulletstorm hasn’t announced any form of competitive multiplayer, only co-op and leaderboards, which makes sense, because a game like that wouldn’t work in multi-player

    another thing is, with these tacked on multi-players, they are doomed to fail, as only your halos and CODs are able to keep people playing them long after release, i mean, does anyone play bioshock 2 multiplayer anymore?

  • I am curious as to what it’d mean for their publishing relationship with independent developers like Valve if they want to release a single player game.

    Although they seem to be going in for coop in a big way these days, and their only single player game on the radar is the often delayed Episode 3.

    Though I’ve never been too fussed on multiplayer anyway, I generally play a couple of weeks, then go off somewhere else, usually to a single player.

  • More games need co-op, less games need competitive multiplayer.

    I’ve got to disagree with the guy a further up the page, who said that Fallout 3 would be ruined by multiplayer. I reckon it’d be ruined by matchmakng, but to play through that with a few friends at your side would be…well, awesome.

    The one thing I’ve always enjoyed about multiplayer is the cooperative part of it, anyway. TF2 is boring when your teammates don’t communicate, as well as L4D, CSS or any other good game.

    What games need more of is multiplayer such as that of GTA IV.
    Multiplayer where you can jump in and play with friends, but not at the expense of singleplayer. Fable 2 brushed on it, but still made it feel a little tacked on, but games need more coop, where coop isn’t NEEDED to enjoy the game (See Borderlands).

    So, there’s my sleep deprived contribution…

  • I haven’t really cared about online multiplayer in years.

    Splitscreen/LAN? Cool stuff, I do that occasionally. Nintendo’s recent platformers are multiplayer gold, in general.

    I can’t see myself spending much time in a game I can’t finish, though. Too many other things in my life are high-priority.

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