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Editorial

Peter Moore, You’re Dead Wrong About Single Player

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I haven’t seen a statement like Peter Moore’s recent comment to Gamespot in quite a while. Actually, I’ve seen quite the opposite the past couple years. During the previous console generation, we were getting game after game that either included a good single player campaign with tacked on multiplayer, or good multiplayer with a tacked on single player campaign. People let the developers of these games know they weren’t pleased, and wanted to make sure they were dedicating their resources to either one part of the game or the other.

The usual trend was the good single player with bad multiplayer, such as the case with Batman: Arkham Origins, or the gradual decline in quality for the Assassin’s Creed series when multiplayer was introduced. The other side of the spectrum mostly covers games like Battlefield or Call of Duty, where the campaigns usually feel like an afterthought and placed there just for the sake of being included with the base package.

Onto this generation, we’ve seen a resurgence of developers focusing on one mode or the other. Assassin’s Creed has returned to being a single player only experience, or games like Titanfall that have incorporated their campaign modes into multiplayer. And then, there’s games that are either single player only or multiplayer only where the consumer is left asking, why isn’t this mode in this game? The Order: 1886 comes to mind in regards to a single player title that could have had a potentially interesting multiplayer offering.

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But, of course you already know our topic of discussion here is Peter Moore’s comments regarding Star Wars: Battlefront not including single player, because “people don’t play the single player”. As you’re well-aware, we are a site focused on covering single player experiences so obviously it’s impossible to sound unbiased in this situation. I will say, however, that I’m very much looking forward to playing Star Wars: Battlefront, and my hopes for a single player campaign when it was introduced were pretty lofty, but I was content with the game not including an actual campaign until today’s comments by Peter Moore.

There’s a story on N4G running right now that sort of took Moore’s quote out of context in the title, as the full quote actually states, “very few people actually play the single-player on these kinds of games. That’s what the data points to.” What he means by that, I presume, is that people don’t play the single player campaigns in multiplayer focused shooters. However, in my opinion, that’s a completely short sighted comment that really doesn’t have data to support it other than critical reception and fan feedback.

Fan feedback, that is asking for BETTER single player campaigns, not to remove it entirely from the game. It’s really rather amusing to see games industry professionals like Moore be so out of touch with their fans when it comes to topics like this. People don’t want to bother with the campaigns in these types of games due to their lack of quality. Battlefield 3 and 4 had garbage campaign modes that were nothing more than basic Hollywood action flicks, even after they were billed as being emotional experiences.

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Most of the interviews I’ve read regarding Star Wars: Battlefront have inquired about a single player campaign being included, and fans are constantly asking what offline modes are available in Battlefront and so on. What Moore seems to not understand is the fact that if you make a campaign worth playing, people will play it. And with the Star Wars universe at hand, there’s almost an endless amount of canon material that could have been used to incorporate a campaign to add further value to Battlefront as a whole and open the game up to even more potential customers who don’t want just a mutliplayer only experience.

DICE’s and EA’s response to those asking for single player options in Star Wars: Battlefront is the game’s missions mode, which as of now, is nothing more than cheap survival missions. It’s lame and it’s really just redirecting the question as to why DICE isn’t including a real single player option in Star Wars: Battlefront.  These same questions were asked when it comes to games like Evolve and Titanfall. I would have thought EA would have at least learned their lesson considering they also published Titanfall that FPS games should include a single player option. You’re losing customers by not including it, and missing out on some much needed positive feedback if you include a half-decent campaign mode as well.

Just look at Halo, one of the most popular multiplayer games of all time, which also happens to have a huge focus on the campaign side of things and does it well. Whatever “stats” EA is using to decide whether or not a single player campaign is important to a game like Star Wars: Battlefront should probably be revised, because it’s clearly not true. How about, next time before you decide what your consumers “want”, you ask them? You might see a different side of the story.

OnlySP founder and former site owner.

Editorial

Five Single-Player Games to Watch Out for in August 2019

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August

August is packed with interesting titles big and small, so without further ado, go, go, go!

RAD

Release Date: August 20, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One

Want some glowy, mutate-y, 80s-infected roguelite action? Look no further than Double Fine Productions’ latest stylish action-adventure. Like so many of Double Fine’s releases lately, Rad combines a popular genre with the studio’s mildly-offbeat weirdness. 

In this case, Rad takes the winning “Not-Quite-Roguelike” formula of The Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy and makes it look a little like 2017’s underrated Hob. Players take on the role of a teenager sent out into a post-post-apocalyptic wasteland to forge a path for humanity. They must explore amongst a terrifying mutant bioscape that resembles Fallout if it took place in the pages of 2000AD.

That might sound like a hat on a hat, but Rad distinguishes itself by going full ’80s cheese: Double Fine Productions was practically made for this. Neon pervades the landscape, currency takes the form of cassette tapes, and being published by Bandai handily acquits them for using a Pac-Man decal on the avatar’s t-shirt.

As with other rogue-lites, players can mix and match powerups to experiment with different strategies, from spider legs to exploding skulls, to all manner of passive bonuses as well. With this rather standard progression in place, then comes the lore of the world and the story to be revealed; which in typical Double Fine fashion is much deeper than it seems.

Rad is less interested in innovating a popular genre than delivering what makes this genre so much fun with the added layer of Double Fine polish. Hopefully, we can all fall in love with the game the way its inhabitants seem to be infatuated with the ’80s.

Oninaki

Release Date: August 22, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Switch

Here is an unabashedly weird, smaller-scale game from Square Enix’s Tokyo RPG Factory, possibly the smallest developer under Square that is still making console-release games. Both of the studio’s previous games (I Am Setsuna and Lost Sphear) were essentially ‘budget’ titles, without the pretensions of matching up with Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest. Obviously, the team has a passion for old school RPGs like Chrono Trigger, Mana or PlayStation-era Final Fantasy, but Tokyo RPG Factory has not quite found its groove yet.

This could change with Oninaki, which despite a Final Fantasy X inspired story about liberating dead souls before they become monsters, has enough fresh ideas to stand out in 2019. To begin with, the game is an action-RPG, rather than another ATB-based affair (gamers have plenty of that this year with the re-release of Final Fantasy VII, VIII, and IX). Additionally, the world of Oninaki looks gorgeous, budget-release or no, less generic than the washed-out chibi look of Setsuna or Sphear.

However the game turns out, it looks to be more of its own thing than either of Tokyo RPG Factory’s other games to this point. Worst case scenario, Oninaki is a buggy but interesting failure. Best case, players have a dark and quirky RPG to sink their teeth into until the next major release comes along.

Control

Release Date: August 27, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

This is the big one. We have written before about how much we love Alan Wake, but the excitement for Control has become greater than any other title in Remedy Entertainment’s oeuvre. Of course, the fact that Max Payne, Alan Wake, and Quantum Break all boasted excellent action mechanics does help.

Max Payne famously made a banquet out of bullet time, while Alan Wake innovated the ‘action’ side of action-adventure almost as much as Half-Life 2. Quantum Break seemed like a speed bump on Remedy’s road to success—because no one asked for a series of television episodes in the middle of their game—but the time-based powers and fine encounter design were still a potent mix.

With the same high bar for action and level design, Control combines the best parts of its predecessors like a video game Voltron. Much more than Remedy’s design pedigree, however, Control simply ignites the imagination on its own merits.

Deep within the sprawling, non-Euclidean interior of the Oldest House, players must fight to stop a mysterious energy called the Hiss from invading our world. As with Alan Wake, the game draws from a variety of sources—this time weird fiction and in particular the ‘box of unexplained things’ tropes of The X-Files, SCP or Warehouse 13.

In the spirit of these episodic stories, Control is also Remedy’s first experiment with a Metroidvania structure. As the game progresses, protagonist Jesse Faden acquires skills that unlock new areas and side-missions, as well as just being cool powers for use in combat.

Above all, the best part is that the game is not a Microsoft exclusive but available on both home consoles at launch. Also, please send us a Switch release, pronto.

Astral Chain

Release Date: August 30, 2019
Platform: Nintendo Switch

Thank you, PlatinumGames, for always giving gamers that sweet, sweet spectacle action. Not a whole lot can be said about Platinum’s trademark design that has not already been more eloquently described elsewhere—but in an age where even Capcom’s Devil May Cry seeks the heights of meticulous detail and realistic human faces, the world could use more developers like Platinum.

Focused on varied and elaborate game mechanics rather than always improving graphics tech, Platinum has continued to turn out singular games that truly evolve the stylish action subgenre, from the precise and silly Bayonetta series, to Nier Automata‘s surprise hit, even through cartoony misfires such as The Wonderful 101 and Transformers Devastation (both of which were still very good, for the record).

Quite simply, Astral Chain is another helping of action heaven from the masters, though with plenty of interesting features to call its own. The game takes place during an otherworldly invasion of incredibly designed monsters; some of which have been harnessed for the humans to fight back. Each of these captured monsters, known as Legions, offer the player different fighting styles as they explore and defend a futuristic city modeled off Tokyo

Alright, fine, that last part is less original, but what makes Astral Chain more than just Devil May Cry wearing another costume is the investigative element. The player character is a police officer and can lose “duty points” if they cause too much chaos during the action portion of the game. To make amends, players switch back and forth between action scenes and mystery scenes where they explore the city and solve crimes.

Will this combination of hardcore action and police work mesh perfectly, or are we looking at a lesser Platinum—fun, but disjointed? Gamers only have to wait a month to find out.

The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan

Release Date: August 30, 2019
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Dropped at more or less the same time as this title back in 2015, Until Dawn seemed doomed. There had already been the wet thud of The Order: 1886 back in February, this game also seemed like a prime example of choice-based David Cage nonsense, and worst of all, it was too early for spooky season.

We were proven wrong. Until Dawn was not only fun, not only a pretty accurate video game adaptation of the teen-slasher horror genre, but also beat Quantic Dream at their own game in terms of delivering an engrossing thriller with a constantly (if sometimes illusory) branching story.

Now, Supermassive Games are finally back after their trip around ‘Weird Sony Land’ with a spiritual successor to Until Dawn, and Man of Medan sounds like it can fit the bill in every way. Once again, the story centres on a cast of disposable teens as players attempt to not have them all dead by the end, though this time taking place on a ghost ship: an upgrade over a cabin in the woods if you ask me.

Play functions more or less the same as Until Dawn, a mix of exploration and dialogue choices, switching control between the various characters as the story moves forward. There are a couple of multiplayer modes, but the single-player experience is strong enough.

According to Supermassive, The Dark Pictures is an anthology that will see new titles at a roughly six-month cadence from here on, so expect to hear about a followup to Man of Medan sooner rather than later. Spookums for everybody!


August is positively jam-packed with games, so maybe we can try and hit a few more interesting single player releases. There is cult-infiltration action game The Church in the Darkness coming on August 2, followed by the epic 4X Age of Wonders: Planetfall on PC, and the wacko President-in-a-mech game Metal Wolf Chaos XD on PC, PS4 and Xbox One, both releasing August 6.

On August 8, Nintendo Switch owners can dive into Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition, and on the 13th PC gamers get Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, a prequel to 2015’s space sim Rebel Galaxy. Fan favourite studio Gunfire Games has yet another action game coming, their procedural, Souls-ish Remnant: From the Ashes, releasing on August 20.

PS4 and Xbox One players finally get to play The Bard’s Tale IV on August 27, and come August 30 is the intriguing video game adaptation of Blair Witch releases on PC and Xbox One.

Have we missed anything that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below and be sure bookmark OnlySP and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also join the discussion on our community Discord server.

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