This week has been littered with debate concerning the future of single player games, leading many to ponder if the death of the single-player game is nigh.
Some have argued that single player video games are still going strong, citing the success of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Horizon Zero Dawn, which were some of the biggest games of the year. However, EA’s recent decision to shelve a single-player Star Wars game helmed by a former Naughty Dog developer, Amy Hennig, has led many to question days of the single-player game are ending.
In a recent interview with Game Watcher, Wolfenstein II’s Arcade Berg, Senior Games Designer at MachineGames, agreed that many factors within the industry give multiplayer games an advantage over single player franchises. “A good solid multiplayer game will yield great revenue,” Berg said, “and people will tell their friends to get a game to play it with them.”
“A multiplayer game on console will require people to keep the disc, whereas a single-player game some people will return it or trade it once they’ve finished with it, and of course developers and publishers don’t see any money from trade-ins. That’s not the consumer’s fault, but there are a lot of aspects like that that get accounted for business-wise.”
The rise of online multiplayer is also a product of technology advancement, which has allowed most of the current-generation consoles to connect to the internet far easier than their predecessors.
“Technology is also a factor too. Broadband is de facto now, so that’s changing the playing field a lot.”
Regardless of the future of single-player-only FPS games, single-player campaigns remain an important part of the gaming experience. Even EA has to acknowledge the importance of a single-player campaign after the criticism it faced following Star Wars: Battlefront. The sequel to that game contains between five and seven hours of single player content, focusing on Iden Versio, specifically for that reason.
“A lot of developers still creatively love to do single-player campaigns just as much as ever,” Berg said, “because that’s how you can really tell the story.”
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus stands out as one of the few recent FPS games with no multiplayer component. However, this choice is more of a creative decision on the part of his studio, rather than Berg having anything against multiplayer games as a whole. “MachineGames just works on single-player games, but multiplayer [is] just as fun and exciting!”
While reviews for Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will be held back until release, the initial hype has been positive for the game. Furthermore, the original game was praised for promoting a strong single-player narrative, which will hopefully continue in the sequel.
If single-player games continue to be as well-reviewed, well-received, and well-loved, the single-player-pocalypse is unlikely to happen any time soon.