If you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.
All mammals aside, nobody would argue that games that are developed with both single player campaigns and multiplayer elements present a great value for your dollar, but more often that not, one of these modes fails to be as strong as the other (with a few rare exceptions to the rule).
Most recently, developer EA DICE recognized this problem when they ditched single player to strictly focus on a strong and detailed multiplayer experience in the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront. Whether its the right move is yet to be seen, but anticipation for the title is ever growing.
What I’ve quickly grown tired of is developers feeling the need to include multiplayer modes that are left feeling weak and tacked on, leaving me relieved to learn that numerous games releasing this year are leaving the multiplayer behind and doing what is necessary – focusing on the single player campaign.
It’s not the addition of multiplayer that concerns me, as it’s typically simple to ignore. It’s when it begins infringing on the single player mode that becomes troublesome, especially when the campaign is what a series was built on. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate is coming this year as the first main Assassin’s Creed entry without multiplayer in years. Was it scrapped at the last minute after the buggy mess left by last year’s co-op heavy Unity? We may never know for sure, but knowing Ubisoft is focusing efforts on the characters, gameplay, and setting in an AC game has me optimistic and feeling excited for the upcoming title. The co-op missions in Unity could be fun when they worked, but often felt forced onto you and disconnected.
Sure, adding a multiplayer component to games adds appealing replay value to a title, but only when its really worth it. I would rather time be spent perfecting the single player campaign, especially when that is what makes sense for a series. A successful solo player campaign adds incomparable replay value when they run perfectly and are just fun to play. Rise of the Tomb Raider is arriving this year with only Lara Croft’s devastating campaign. Multiplayer was the one weak spot of the title’s 2013 reboot, and knowing that resources will be utilized “to make the core campaign as entertaining as possible,” makes Lara’s next title even more appealing.
As online capabilities grow and the social elements of this generation of consoles continues to innovate, new options for multiplayer are revealed and worked on. You can play with literally anyone, anywhere at anytime, but it doesn’t mean it’s for the best. Here’s hoping developers continue remembering those of us who have no friends.