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10-22-2017

Silent Hill

Earlier this week, EA announced that Visceral Games, the studio responsible for a new Star Wars game under Amy Hennig, was being shut down with immediate effect. This led to a lot of speculation as to whether this was the end for the fully single-player experience. There was speculation over whether this was greed on the part of EA, whether the consumer is at fault for not supporting one of the oldest formats of gaming, or whether other factors were at play.

Setting aside the fact that we can't extrapolate from one studio shutdown that an entire genre is doomed, single-player games are clearly less popular than they were 20 years ago, if you take a look at the different formats of gaming that are available nowadays. In past times, many people simply couldn't play multiplayer games, even if they wanted to, because the neighbour's kid had to go to their dad's at the weekend, or their siblings were too young to "get" how a controller worked. Now, servers full of opponents from around the continent, or even around the world, are available for bouts 24/7, and the vast majority of people have a good enough internet connection to support this (ahem, excluding myself).

This alone shouldn't mean that single-player games are dead in the water, though. There are enough people who yearn for simple, old-style Resident Evil games, or JRPGs that can only have a multiplayer experience forcefully tacked onto them. However, there are enough further problems with single-player games, beyond sheer popularity, that they are in grave danger, if both studios and consumers don't go out of their way to support the format. So, what can we do to keep the games of our childhood going? A few things, probably.

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