Why Skyrim And Arkham City Don't Have Multiplayer

Who needs multiplayer video games?

Skyrim was a single-player hit. So too was last year's Batman game, Arkham City (unless you're counting the online leaderboards for its multiplayer challenge modes).

In an age when so many games get tacked-on multiplayer to fill out a list of back-of-box bullet points, how did these two games not get the bonus of, I don't know, some Elder Scrolls deathmatch or some Batman-and-Robin co-op?

How did they get away with just being single-player games that people loved?

I asked the men overseeing each game's creation.

"We did a brief bit of exploration of multiplayer at the start but it came down to that decision of picking the bases we wanted to excel in," Rocksteady game design chief Sefton Hill said of the Batman game. "That basically always means there's things you can't do in the same time.

"We didn't want to deliver a single-player experience that was like a seven or eight-out-of-10 with a multiplayer experience that was also that.

"Very early on we had discussions about multiplayer and decided it wasn't right. It's not that I think that, fundamentally, any kind of multiplayer doesn't work, but I do think that, for any kind of action adventure game that has multiplayer, you have to think very carefully about it and how to get the best out of it."

OK. Batman's a solo game. But Skyrim? That game is so huge! Why not make room for player two?

"We talk about it and, if we would do it, 'What kind of format would that take?'" Bethesda's chief game designer, Todd Howard, told me. "That's not the key experience of the game for us. It's not a small thing to just take on. So this is the game that we'd rather play."

Howard said that multiplayer is "the most requested feature by fans." But it's just not been something his team has tried to do, not since a few Elder Scrolls ago. "It was more of a discussion at [the time of making] Morrowind," he said. "It was more of a discussion then, and I think it becomes less of one [lately], though with this one we've seen games in our style do it well. Red Dead — I like the way they do it.

"So, we can see ways it would be done... but the ramifications of that change what we're doing too much to have us really go deep."

Solo Elder Scrolls games, it is!


    Hers a better quesiton. Why dose all the other games HAVE multiplayer? I mean, Bioshock 2 had it, and we all know how failed that was. ME3 is going to have it, but I am not keen on tjhat at all. If a game serise is manly SP, then it should stick to what it dose best, not what every other game isa doing.

    AssCreed is the only exepiton to this due to Ubisoft having 6-7 DIFFERNT STUDIOS WORKING ON IT.

      I think Mass Effect would be alright because in those squad battles you really wonder why you can't do those with other people, whereas Bioshock seems like it's tacked on (although I guess all the weapon abilities of that game would be something you'd want in a multiplayer title)

      Assassin's Creed has a great multiplayer that I don't think anybody could've predicted off the back of the first 2 games.

      The only thing that really sh!ts me with MP is lazy co-op modes with nothing to distinguish them (like Battlefield 3's pedestrian co-op - which is ironic since the squad-based multiplayer is one of the perfect expressions of co-operative play you can have!)

        Problem was that in order to try and make multiplayer exciting. They reduced the difficulty even further in the single player.

        In the first game some tactics could be said for whether to use a plasmid or a weapon since you could only wield one at a time. In the sequel your given both so the Multiplayer can be faster paced. Which completely destroys any need for tactics since you can essentially sit there electrocuting things while you blow them away

      You rather haphazard english notwithstanding I agree wholeheartedly. Why is the question "Why do these games not have multiplayer?" where it should be "Why do all these other games HAVE multiplayer?" Skyrim bloody proved that you don't need multiplayer to be successful so what is it?!

        "You rather haphazard english"? Somebody set up us the bomb.. make your time!

        Skyrim proved you don't NEED multiplayer to be successful, but that doesn't mean the game doesn't have the potential to be improved by the right type of multiplayer.
        Slapping on deathmatch mode would be a waste of time and resources, but if you could use co-op multiplayer to create something that played like a Dungeons & Dragons campaign then yeah, it'd be pretty kick-ass. As long as it was just as playable with one person as it was with five I think it'd be hard to see it as anything but an improvement.

          "I'm the Dragonborn"

          "No, I'm the Dragonborn, and so is my wife!"

      A lot of games that are not focused on an integral multiplayer experience have multiplayer added for one reason only: To keep you playing that developer/publisher's game and not their competition's. When you're playing a (theoretically infinite) amount of multiplayer after the usually finite single-player, you are more likely to be paying attention and become a buyer when that game gets new maps, DLC, or sequels as they're released.

        Oh and also you'd be less likely to trade in a game that offers copious amounts of multiplayer fun.

        Well the issue with many of these games is that to have copious amounts of fun in multiplayer you need a community of players.
        With games custom developed for multiplayer, the chances of a large community growing from a tacked on, tick the box multiplayer mode is very slim. I would never buy bioshock for multiplayer, it doesn't even enter into the equation for me.
        So if it isn't going to lead to more purchases why not spend the time getting a 9/10 SP game instead of a 7/10 SP game with multi. I am much more likely to by the first. Maybe it is just me but I don't think so

    Well if anything it proves you don't need multiplayer to sell well...

    I hope seamlessly integrated multiplayer becomes the trend. Dark Souls managed to be a stellar single player game with multiplayer options for those inclined. It's something that provides a great deal of variation and replay value to the main game itself. To me it's a better alternative to the current trend, which is having a campaign that you play once or twice and then a separate multiplayer component that's supposed to make up the rest of your play time.

    I've always been of the opinion that multiplayer should be kept the hell out of the Elder Scrolls series, but Todd Howard raises an interesting point when bringing up Red Dead Redemption. That multiplayer was so much fun, and didn't detract at all from the main single-player component that made the game so compelling.

    If there was Red Dead style multiplayer in an Elder Scrolls game, well then I would be totally cool with that.

    I think the Elderscrolls series would benefit from drop-in/out co-op. I wouldn't be in favour of any other application of multiplayer though.

      Skyrim with a co-op drop in/out on steam = AWESOME!!! That would a paid DLC I would definetly buy.

    Skyrim doesn't have Multiplayer because there are enough bugs as is.

    skyrim does have multiplayer, get it off the pirate bay

    Multiplayer being most requested feature by Skyrim fans?

    How about they run a poll on Skyrim customers, and ask how many DON'T want multilayer?

    Because I would put my name down. Multiplayer games is an entirely different market. And if TES changes to get there like what Diablo III became, then I am out.

    There are plenty of good multiplayer games everywhere else, go play them instead. So get your hands off my Elder Scrolls.

      How about you you go play your single player games all alone. I don't want multiplayer I just want to explore skyrim with my boyfriend together. thats not multiplayer thats cooperative play and ALOT of good games once upon a time had it.

      Difference is the type of multiplayer people want.

      Most want a co-op experience in Skyrim. Which given the fact you are provided a companion doesn't seem like much to ask.


      Also not sure how your statement changes the fact that it is the most requested feature. All you would prove is that the most unwanted feature might also be multiplayer. In the end it won't stop it from being the most requested feature.

      Though personally if they get to TES VI they are going to need to add a hell of a lot of meat to the combat system

    Go play Mortal Online, it's like Elder Scrolls MMORPG.

    Heh, the reason why theres no multiplayer in skyrim is because bethesda cant make a game thats balanced and challlenging. Bethesda dont make games they make sandboxes and that it.

    I would like an arena like in oblivion but with PvP, so you couldn't get your gear jacked and they could heal you after the fight.They could have some sort of match-making to keep it somewhat even.I pity the theives and assassin's as without the element of surprise they would get murdered.I would leave out shout's as having more than one dragonborn would screw with the narrative.


    Batman AC was a wasted opportunity for Co-op.
    Drawing on the list of Batman allies, they could have milked the DLC alot better.

    Batman, Robin(Damina), Red Robin(Tim), Nightwing, Catwoman.

    there's definitely potential for 4 player co-op.
    difficulty would need to be tweaked substantially to match. I picture every thug being armed with firearms =P

    The thing that annoyed me about BF3 co-op is that it is limited to 2 people. Poor decision, should have been at least 4 like an actual multiplayer squad.

    People who ask for multiplayer in Elder Scrolls games must not really play them that often. Even one additional player hopping around and yelling at his mom over the noise of his obnoxious stereo alone would pretty much kill the entire experience.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now