Despite recently publishing an article based on the social aspect of gaming there is no doubt that it is generally considered something you do alone.
That being said there are some games that scream out for multiplayer options. Take Call of Duty, for instance, they took the bold move of creating a version of their game with no single-player mode at all. But in this day and age do we need single-player games?
For as long as we have had modern games and flashy graphics we have had campaigns. When you really think about it, even Super Mario had some kind of story underpinning it, even though literally nobody gave a crap about it. But in modern games, especially in shooters, it has become expected. In fact, even sports games have dabbled with some form of campaign mode. But why do we need them?
It’s fun Jim, but not as we know it
Single-player modes are great for gamers who aren’t great. They usually come with a difficulty setting and if you still stuck on the easiest mode at least you don’t have to face the scrutiny of your peers. Generally, single-player games can be more in-depth. There are seldom multiplayer games with cut scenes and character interactions. The exception to this is MMORPGs which have sadly become less common in the modern era.
But we are social animals
Of course, this is a truism. We are social creatures by default. We like to spend time with our fellow man (and woman) so with that in mind perhaps Activision was right in making their franchise without a story mode? It is just a shame because actually in the past their campaigns have been memorable. Who could possibly forget the infamous airport scene where you gunned down waves of innocent civilians in Modern Warfare 2? But there is a lot to be said for throwing on a headset and trash-talking your enemies or coordinating strategies with your teammates. Some of my most memorable gaming night come in the form of late-night sessions on Gears of War or the multiplayer on Red Dead and GTA.
So do we need multiplayer?
So often these days games shoehorn in some kind of multiplayer or single-player facets because they fear a backlash if they don’t. Some games work well with both. Take Gears of war as a for instance, but some games just really don’t need both elements. The recent Star Wars effort is a prime example. Sure they could have given us some kind of multiplayer element, but we have Battlefront 2 for that.
Because the game knew what it was it was able to focus solely on that. In the video game world it is far better to master a trade then be a jack of all of them. Games work best when they are focused and that is what makes Jedi fallen order so captivating. Of course, you can make a game of a similar ilk and give it a multiplayer mode, but so often when that is done, it feels tacked on, so why bother? Why not just have a game you can throw on when your mates arent online?
So we are saying games don’t need to be multiplayer?
I mean, no is that short answer. I’d rather play a single-player game that works well then a multiplayer effort that works less well. In the future I’d like to see more games like Mass Effect, and what’s more, games like Mass Effect where you can play the campaign in a multiplayer way. Just how devs would handle interactions with those dynamics is beyond me, but in an era where game evolution seems to have stuttered and where multiplayer is becoming more highly sought after, perhaps this needs to be the direction gaming is going.