It seems that the days of having a traditional offline single-player experience with no DLC, no patches and no day one updates have almost all been lost as the age of gaming continues. It’s very obvious that the times, they are a changin’. And it seems they’ll be a changin’ once again as we embark upon the next-generation of console gaming. Can the sole singe player experience continue for the next-generation or will some form of hybrid of single player/multiplayer come into fruition? Let’s discuss.
The week prior to the PS4 release, I decided to watch all of the E3 2013 demos that made a big impression as a sort of way to hype myself up for next-gen. Games like Watch_Dogs, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Destiny, The Crew and Dark Souls 2 are what made my “must watch” list and while all were incredibly impressive and sufficiently had me pumped for the PS4 and Xbox One, I couldn’t help but notice a trend. Most of the games I watched had some form of multiplayer integration with the single player. Dark Souls 2 had the traditional “online” play from the previous game where you play the storymode of the game and you can use in-game items to connect with other players or even be invaded by other players who want your hard-earned souls. This form of multiplayer breaks away from the traditional form of playing with/against other players. Usually, we must select an option of single player or multiplayer before starting the game. Now it seems, you play singlepayer with elements of multiplayer easily accessible in game. There’s an element of integration between both modes but is it necessarily a good thing? As this site is one that was created for the single players of the gaming world, does this idea of having multiplayer in your single player experiences turn you off to certain games or are you willing to embrace the changes?
Let’s take a look at the types of the “single player/multiplayer” hybrid. Games like Dark Souls and Watch_Dogs seem to focus on having an enemy disrupt your single player experience. You can beat a boss in Dark Souls and walk away with a hefty amount of souls for your efforts but then suddenly the message “Dark Spirit ASS_KICKER has invaded” ensues panic/delight, depending on how well prepared you are. The invader can be both a welcoming challenge and a huge pain in the ass because it shakes up the game considerably. You planned to walk through the next part of the level and proceed immediately to the bonfire checkpoint and cash in your souls but the presence of another player has messed up your plans significantly. So this brings the question: is the level of unpredictable behavior that comes from a random human player as opposed to an AI something that you’d prefer in your single player experience?
The other type of “single player/multiplayer” hybrid is one that has players randomly drop in and out to help aid your quests in the game. You can have another friend or random player around the world help you fight through the story and complete quests and missions. The Division, The Crew and Destiny all seem to fall under this category. The multiplayer option seems to be the most suitable option to play the game but hopefully you can play through the games solo. Is the possible option to not have an “only single player experience” something that would turn you off a game? Is having to be connected online to get the best experience something that doesn’t appeal to you?
This is where you come in, single players. We want to know your opinions on the upcoming trend of single player games with multiplayer elements mixed in at random. Is this something that can lead to a progression in games or is it a feature that will hinder what you love about games? The floor is open for you and we want to hear your comments below or on our forums.