I have been gaming for most of my life, and I am quite sure that, at least, 95% of the games that I’ve spent time and money on are “single player” games. Why you may ask? The answer is both simple and complex at the same time. Growing up, when I saved up my allowance and used it to purchase a new game, I wasn’t doing it for the social aspect of the game. I did so because games offered (or used to offer) very unique experiences, similar to a cross between a book and a movie. A movie can’t afford to go on for 8, 15, or even 80 hours like a good RPG can. A book on the other hand, can’t really pose any challenges that a dictionary can’t help solve. However, a game allowed you to step into a fantasy world and remain there for much longer than a movie can, while at the same time, able to challenge your skills, patience, and even your wallet (on those rare occasions that you smash your controller against the TV and have to buy new ones) only to be back for more. The Single Player Experience used to be the selling point of games. Buy this game instead of this game because it offered something unique, from the gameplay, to the story line, and the overall presentation. But now, we can safely say that we’re entering the dark ages for Single Player games, as they are starting to become just a background, an excuse, to sell games with “multiplayer” as the main dish.
Please don’t get me wrong. Multiplayer has been a big part of gaming for a long time, starting with the PC and a many great multiplayer games like WOW, Counter-Srike, Battlefield 1942, the StarCraft series, and many others. That tradition has now carried on to consoles with popular games like Halo,the COD series, the Battlefield series, as well as the many sports titles out there as well, who have greatly benefited from the all addicting touch of multiplayer action. To that note, it’s hard not to notice that the number of great Single Player titles have decreased dramatically as well. Now to compare a list of “single player only” games from last gen to this current one wouldn’t really be fair, as the online aspect of consoles from last generation wasn’t as robust compared to what we now have in place. Last generation’s most successful console, the PS2, didn’t have built in online capability. Also, the amount of people with a broadband high speed connection back then wasn’t as high as it is today. But with all the capabilities of our consoles this gen, and when taking into account the robust presence of Steam, PSN, and XBOX Live, you can begin to see a clear pattern, and it paints a very gloomy picture for fans of quality Single Player games.
Here is a short list of Games that started this generation as Single Player only games, and now includes Multiplayer.
- God Of war
- Mass Effect
- Assassin’s Creed
- Resident Evil
- Rachet and Clank
- Dead Space
- Grand Theft Auto
Those game franchises listed above were very recognizable to the gaming public prior to adding on a multiplayer aspect. To make matters worse, just recently, EA’s Labels President Frank Gibeau openly stated the following : “We are very proud of the way EA evolved with consumers, I have not green lit one game to be developed as a single player experience. Today all of our games includes online applications and digital services that makes them live 24/7/365.” You know, for the longest time, I always thought that when a game developer tacks on multiplayer to games that didn’t need it, that it was them being greedy and trying to cash in on the success of popular titles like COD, Halo, and other successful games with multiplayer as the main draw. But to hear it straight from the horses mouth? And not just any horse, we’re talking about EA who is one of the major Trojan Horses in the gaming industry. The saying goes that if there’s smoke then there’s fire; I’m beginning to wonder which other major publications are lighting similar fires under the asses of developers forcing them into splitting budgets and time, tacking on multiplayer where it’s not needed? And is this the beginning of the end for the Single Player Experience?