Please, Stop Putting Multiplayer In Games That Don't Need It

Some games are suited towards multiplayer components. Others are not. So why do so many games waste time and money trying to be the former when they're clearly the latter?

It's something Randy Pitchford, boss of Gearbox Studios (Borderlands, Brothers in Arms), has on his mind.

"...the reason [publishers demand multiplayer components]is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer. You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can't be forced. That's the problem."

The perfect example of this? Dead Space 2, which despite being an incredibly solitary singleplayer experience for some reason felt the need to add some multiplayer to the mix.

"[Dead Space]is ceiling-limited; it'll never do 20 million units. The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?' And they look at games that have multiplayer.

"They're wrong, of course. What they should do instead is say that they're comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment's required to focus it on what the promise is all about."

It's something that's mystify us for a long time. Nearly every shooter, for example, ships with multiplayer that took both time and money to develop. Yet 90% of these games are almost instantly ignored in favour of multiplayer stalwarts like Call of Duty and Halo, rendering that a wasted investment.

Using Pitchford's "ceiling" analogy, wouldn't those games have been better served focusing and polishing their singleplayer campaigns? Homefront could have done with some of that. Or, conversely, ditching singleplayer completely and only going multiplayer? They may never beat Call of Duty's sales, but they'll do better than they would have half-assing one of the two components. Get closer to their own, realistic "ceiling".

Pitchford Bemoans Multiplayer Obsession [Edge]


Comments

    A-freaking-men.

    Homefront was an example recently. There was no real need for mp. A long-ass involved sp campaign would've been ideal.

      Or half the price with episodic story driven DLC, that'd be awesome I think

        Bingo! Homefront at 4 hours could've been a great 'dlc' game. A download only game. Maybe buy part 1 at retail OR dl for 39.95 aus and subsequent say, 3 more chapters of the same lengths resulting in a 16 hour game at 20 dollars each. In the end you'd pay 95 and then they could release a 'compilation' in stores. Seriously the game lends itself to a shooter that length that easily. The storyline does, it's such a pity... Could even show it from opposing sides...

          How'd I get 95 out of 39.95 + 20 + 20 + 20.... damn you early mornings!!!! Let's just call it activision maths :)

            I think you will find that activision maths would give you 105 not 95

      I'm loving the Homefront multi... I'm enjoying it far more than CoD.

      Graphical update and bullet drop and I'll never leave.

    I have been saying this for awhile now, it's nice to know I am not alone.

    Not to mention that review sites seem to give games poorer scores if they dont include multiplayer

    Why is that whenever Randy Pitchford opens his mouth awesome just comes out?

    He's a pretty cool, nice guy. The industry could probably learn a lot from him.

    I think every game should have singleplayer. Every full-price game, anyway - cheaper stuff (like Battlefield 1943 for example) can get away with MP only.

    The problem with MP-only is that you're then depending on other people to be able to play the game. If there's nobody else around (e.g. if the game's old or you're just on at the wrong time), you might as well not own the game at all since you can't play it. If there's singleplayer (or at the very least the multiplayer offers an option to play against bots) then you can at least play SOMETHING.

    Although most games are concentrated in console sales, as a PC player, multiplayer does entice people to actually buy the game instead of pirating the sp. Good MP in this case acts as an positive incentive to buy games rather than the multiple deterrents used by the game companies to prevent piracy.

    Then again, quality MP is rarely found on the PC these days anyway...

    I said the same thing about Multiplayer in Assassin's Creed, and boy was I wrong, oh lawdy how I was wrong.

      Indeed. The Wanted mode in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood was one of the best multiplayer experiences I've had. I can't imagine many folk thinking Assassin's Creed and online multiplayer would have made a good mix, but for me it was much more enjoyable experience than 99% of other online games I have participated in.

    I'm fine with any multiplayer. So long as there's a LOCAL ONLY SEARCH FUNCTION. Seriously, this should be mandatory for all multiplayer games.

      Yeah, especially when you're paying for the multiplayer service like you do with XBOX Live. It's well within Microsoft's power to make sure that every new game that ships with multiplayer has a local match-making option (with the option on by default).

    i think the main reason people include mutliplayer is to combat piracy, in genreal cases multiplayer is a lot harder to crack.

    glad this guy is in charge of DNF...

      Multiplayer is a must for Duke. It's the only reason I played Duke 3D again and again. If they haven't changed the formula in DNF I will be a happy man!

    I'd personally love to see a good horror game (bye bye resident evil) that has a really well implemented coop mode where its more than just "oh yeah, dave has a gun as well and can help open big doors".

    Deathmatch multiplayer has ruined or diminished way more games than its enhanced though, no arguments there

    Since every company seems mad on DLC and special editions with this unlock and that unlock why not offer game editions with various modes. Killzone, for example I bought to play couch co-op. Had there been an option to buy the campaign alone for less, I could have saved! The market will soon decide which titles work online.

      Problem is people wont see it that way. Even if the two parts combined cost less than the average game people are going to be outraged because the game has been split into two so they can charge extra for something that should be in the game for free.

    As a single-player gamer I agree entirely.

    Some games don't need multiplayer, and generally these games end up with multiplayer that is both substandard and sucks out money from SP development and polishing.

    I'd rather fantastic SP with no multi.

    I am sick of Death Match and team Death match, I wish the other modes where more widely played.

    Have the Core Singleplayer game priced much lower and beta out the multiplayer portion... if ppl like the multiplayer they will fork out a bit more for it if not then market forces will take care of it naturally. That way games will be much cheaper to begin with and people actually get what they paid for. I agree the gaming market is saturated with atrocious multiplayer that leaves a bad taste in people's mouths like an Uwe Boll film. Thankfully Randy and Gabe Newell appear to understand the market a lot more.

    I don't think Homefront's the best example, the company that made it had their history in MP games, that's what they made, so the MP was always going to be a big component of the game.

    The Darkness though, I had to go back and check it had MP after someone told me, I thought they were joking. But sure enough there it was, I loved that game but never even noticed it had multiplayer.

    But then you have a game like Uncharted 2 which everyone said didn't need multiplayer and then Naughty Dog delivered what was a fairly good multiplayer and an amazing single player. Definitely had me coming back to the game more than it would have without it.

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