“I hate this tacked on multiplayer every game seemingly needs to have now.” How often have you heard that said ?
The basic argument this hides is that Developers are being forced to use development time making multiplayer rather than focusing on the main game itself. As such the implication is the main game will suffer as a result. I completely respect that argument and if developers are being told by publishers they have to include multiplayer then I do agree it’s wrong as developers will often have a plan for the game and multiplayer can take away from that planned time and damage the game. Quite how much damage has been done by tacked on multiplayer I can’t really say as I don’t think I’ve played many games which seemed to suffer as a result of multiplayer modes being present.
However there’s another side of the fence and once which every time someone moans about something being tacked on, I think back to. Many years ago in a probably now defunct magazine I read an interview done with one of the main developers of Goldeneye 64 and the subject of the multiplayer mode came up. Having been asked about the multiplayer mode the developer stated originally it was never meant to be in the game, what had happened was the developers needed a place to test the weapons out not in the levels so built a series of essentially virtual shooting galleries to test them and of course get other developers to come in too and test them on other players. The Multiplayer levels in Goldeneye are for the most part very deliberately designed with a variety of different features because this allowed the developers to test different scenarios. The developer stated approaching the end of development one of the team managers said how it was getting close to release so they’d better pull the plug of the shooting gallery and the rest of the development tools and begin cleaning up ready to send the game to be produced. The rest of the development team kept spending their break times messing about in matches in the shooting gallery and eventually they approached the manager and mentioned how they found the thing fun and they wanted to leave it in the game because hey who knows players might also find it fun to use. The reaction was that as time was getting tight and it would take longer to fully remove from the game and make sure it caused no issues than it would to clean up the mode a bit and make it more of a game that the mode could be kept it. The Developer admitted that honestly they thought it was a silly little extra mode they’d thrown in really and didn’t expect many people to take to it.
As most people reading this are probably aware Goldeneye 64 was considered the game that popularised multiplayer modes on console. It wasn’t the first multiplayer FPS out there but it was the first one to really do it well on console and have people really wanting to play it. Heck the game is so beloved there have been three attempts to revive it for more money, two have failed, the first being met with a universal “Meh” the second being on the Wii and considered quite good and the third got panned for being dire. There’s even a fan mod out there trying to recreate and update the game on PC which has actually become one of the best loved ones.
So were the developers wrong ? Should they have not had this tacked on multiplayer in game ? What most developers seem to say is they already have the models and the weapons so with a few modification of existing levels multiplayer isn’t that hard to add anyway and hey “Some one might enjoy it”. The obvious reason for pushing multiplayer from the Publishers angle is that if people enjoy the multiplayer its less likely to be traded in early so people have an incentive to hold onto the game. As I previously said I completely understand the objection people have that development time could have been taken from the main game just to deal with publishers wishes and it could harm the main game itself. However if there were never tacked on multiplayer it’s debatable if console multiplayer would be anywhere near as popular today at all as we’d never have seen it shown off so long ago in Goldeneye 64.
So I put it to you, are “Tacked on” modes really the issue that should be called out or is it compromising the games planned design that should really be the issue here ?