So there's just been news that Titanfall will be multiplayer only, the dev's reason for this being that under 5% of people actually finish campaigns (presumably they're talking about games like CoD and Battlefield here). While I think that this speaks more to how worthwhile these FPS campaigns are perceived to be, it's still a perfectly good reason for not wanting to waste development time on a campaign if they're not going to do anything special with it.
Then looking in the comments I see there are actual complaints about this decision, with gems like "Fuck you Respawn.","Single Player gaming is real gaming. Multiplayer gaming is a side show." and the required " I'd rather relax into an immersive single-player experience than have to deal with a 12-year old shouting into my ear".
I don't even.
Since when was it decreed that FPS games were expected to have a single player component? When did it become a negative for a game to be solely multiplayer focused?
I understand if multiplayer isn't your thing, but the games industry isn't there to pander to just you. Hell, I don't really enjoy single player shooters anymore, should I have been complaining that Call of Juarez: Gunslinger and Metro: Last Light weren't being developed with multiplayer modes, and therefore didn't have my tastes in mind? No. Because they're fucking single player games.
People criticized Battlefield 3 for including a terrible, tacked on campaign and thought that it was a waste of resources that could have been invested into the multiplayer component which the majority of people buy Battlefield games for. Do you really think Titanfall would be any different from this? The devs are looking at a single player campaign as a statistic rather than something they really wanted to add to their game to improve the experience, something tells me that any campaign they tried to add would be uninspired and just exist to tick a box.
A lot of responses have also been "Maybe make a good single player game then?" - as if good stories and single player mechanics fall out of a games arse after you've designed the assets and the gameplay. I can't imagine it being easy to create a single player game from mechanics and elements you have designed for the purpose of multiplayer, especially if the devs don't have a drive or vision to do it.
All of these complaints coming from a community which really dislikes tacked on multiplayer is really baffling me, it's like for some people the only way multiplayer is allowed is if a game has both a good, fleshed out single player and a well made multiplayer. Weird.
Thanks for reading if you made it to the end! At some point I might write something about the weird elitist standpoint that some "single player gamers" have when it comes to multiplayer, but I'm not sure what it would involve other than calling that stance illogical.
Video games really are wonderful things. When somebody makes a video game they are expending some of their time on this Earth in order to provide entertainment to the rest of us. Not to say that game devs are heroes just for developing games by any stretch, but there is something kind of noble about choosing to spend hours a day on a game that they think somebody, somewhere might enjoy.
When you sit down to play a good video game, you can often feel enthralled by it, your sole focus becomes the world that you are playing in and just for that moment you forget about the outside world. You forget about any crappy experiences you had that day, you forget about what crappy things you might have to do tomorrow, you forget about any worries you might have about your life at the moment. All there is is you, and the experience that the dev(s) wanted you to have.
And maybe this is why it feels so fucking soulless when in some games you are “reminded” about certain DLC packs you have yet to purchase, you meet barriers that you can't pass without paying that bit extra or you get booted straight off of your game because the servers went down. Maybe this is why after the 3rd installment of a “franchise” you get that empty “well that was OK I guess” feeling.
There's something so disappointing about real world concerns like money and business practices seeping into that supposedly beautiful experience, that experience that somebody put time and effort into just so you could sit down for an hour or so and take your mind off of things. It's a brutal reminder that your money is more important to the publishers than you enjoying yourself.
When I'm playing Dragon Age, I don't want some berk begging me for help, only to find that I haven't paid enough real life money to help said berk. When I'm playing Diablo, I don't want to be going toe to toe with the lord of hell himself, only for everything on the screen to start walking on the spot due to a bad connection. I don't want to be thinking about money, or about the fact that I'm sitting on my arse infront of a monitor. I don't want to play a product, I want to play a game.
There's been a lot of debate in the media over whether video games are art or not, and whether they should be respected as art or not. How are we supposed to convince anybody that they are the fucking brilliant pieces of art we know they are if Video Game Publishers don't even respect them as art? If they're quite happy to compromise the dev's vision of the game by throwing in intrusive DRM, DLC and microtransactions, they clearly think of games as nothing more than moneymakers and couldn't give a rat's arse about how enjoyable the final product is, as long as their precious numbers are good.
Capcom clearly didn't respect the Resident Evil series for what it was. EA clearly didn't respect Battlefield or Dead Space for what they were. Blizzard/Activision clearly didn't respect Diablo for what it was, they all had to go that extra step further to try and further the success of their already successful games.
I guess what I'm trying to get at with this rambling whatever-this-is, is that treating game development like a business, treating games like products is very disrespectful towards games, and the people that play them. I'm aware that developers need money for their time and I'm aware that publishers need to turn a profit to keep developers going, but business has no place within the games themselves.
Video games are not a business. Video game distribution and marketing? Sure. Video game development? Nope. There shouldn't be business decisions being made over the content of a game, if games are to be respected as a medium then developers need room to be creative. Games don't need to be “appealing to wider audiences” by ticking off a publishers big check-list of what supposedly successful games MUST have. Single player experiences shouldn't be something you feel you need to keep investing in after purchasing them.
If you read this far, thanks for reading! This was my first attempt at anything like this, I just wanted to kind of air some of my gripes with how games are viewed by the industry and get a feel for writing stuff like this, it is something I'm interested in doing but I'm not that experienced at writing and structuring... anything really, so any tips would be appreciated.