Developer Note: Single Player VS Multiplayer…Why?

Developer Note: Single Player VS Multiplayer…Why?

Axel’s Magic Hammer, Alex Kid, Magic Pockets, Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario, were just a few examples of how gameplay started to evolve and become more and more addictive. Sinclair, Atari ST, Amiga, Commodore and Nintendo, all stood tall in the market and gaming was suddenly becoming more popular. But there was still a problem…if you too, feel in love with such gameplay, and were over 25, you had to get used to strange and judgemental stares.

Yes, as hard as it is to admit, we all know what that felt like. Sonic, Mario and many others, while being endlessly entertaining still gave off a “Toys and Games” vibe to many people. In fact, it’s only been during the past couple of years, that catalogue traders have taken such items out of their “Toys and Games” range and placed them in Electrical”. No matter how you defended your hobby, or who else you knew who enjoyed the same pleasures, it was always seen as “childish”. Well…they simply never knew what they were missing!

Robocop Spectrum

Robocop on the ZX Spectrum. Ahh, do you remember 10min loading times, game packages that mislead with arcade screenshots and having to load-up again, once you died? Good times!

Suddenly Sony released the Playstation (we still can’t refer to it as the PSone…early attachments, we guess). Games such as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy 7, brought games to older age groups. Games had moved from run n’ jump platformers and had spawned into character development and creative story-telling. When the Dreamcast, Xbox, PS2, xbox 360, Wii and PS3 each took their turn, developers suddenly started letting their creative juices really flow and we finally had interactive movies (Blue Stinger, Gears of War, Dead Rising, Halo, Metal Gear Solid 3, Killzone 2, Heavy Rain, Yakuza 3, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories etc.).

Blue Stinger intro

Blue Stinger blew us away with movie-like titles. The chain gun, was freakin' awesome!

During this amazing development in gaming, developers had always experimented with online play. This enabled players to compete across the Internet and with co-players or competitors all over the world. This revolutionary step in gaming, is known as Multiplayer. Many gamers have tried it and so many gamers are totally and utterly hooked on it. But…what does this mean for the future of the games industry?

We like nothing more than to start-up Halo-Reach, Left 4 Dead and Modern Warefare 2 and compete with players across the globe, while working as teams, leveling up and acquiring new weapons, skills and abilities. However, ask around the next time you’re in a bar or at a multiplayer convention and you’ll be amazed how many players have never played the single campaign, to their much-loved multiplayer games!

left 4 dead 2 360

The Left 4 Dead games, offer addictive team-based survival gameplay

“Seriously…you’ve never played the campaign to Modern Warfare 2” is a phrase I’m getting sick of replying with. Modern Warfare is AMAZING online, but you can’t completely pass on the campaign…can you? It seems that gamers are starting to neglect what actually made the games industry what it is, what a majority of the developers budget went on and what even challenged and influenced A-List movies.

However, it’s not just the gamer. Many games critics today will tear a game to pieces, purely because it lacks multiplayer options. It shouldn’t and should never be like this. If a game has both, judge it on both, if a game focuses on single player…review the game purely on just that.

modern warfare 2 online

Online play is now more popular than ever, but games should never be down-marked for not offering this

Let’s be honest…how many of you have noticed the sudden reduction in solo campaign hours, now muliplayer has been largely invested in? Modern Warfare 2 (although superb) still fell short in it’s single player duration. Five to six hours is going backwards, not forwards. The all-important game climaxes, now seem to be rushed in order to ship the game out with multiplayer (Halo 2, Halo 3).  Multiplayer gaming is an essential part of the gaming industry now, but single player is just as important and should never be neglected.

There is Hope

The eagerly awaited reboot of Medal of Honor, seeks to deliver with both single player and multiplayer options, by allocating each to separate studios. EA-LA are developing the single player story, while DICE are creating the multiplayer experience. What also makes Medal of Honour stand out with both gaming options, is that the campaign and muliplayer are being developed on completely different engines (that’s why many hands-on screens may look different to the E3 solo movies you’ve witnessed). The campaign is being developed with the latest Unreal technology, while the multiplayer is being developed with the Frost-Bite engine. Now, you can’t be much more committed to both, than that!

Our main point is, that we love both single and multiplayer experiences…we just never want to have to choose between the two.

[UPDATE] – The results are in for Medal of Honor. While the game clearly had a lot to live up to, the overall subject is a compelling one. However, multiple critics that have recently published a Meal of Honor review, report that the single player campaign is just 4-5 hours in length. We must admit, with two separate teams developing both gameplay elements, we were expecting more hours of immersing action for solo players. Maybe other companies can take the idea of dual-team development and run with it.

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