It’s been an incredibly disappointing year in gaming. Most of the big, hyped up releases have been overhyped. In the same way that Batman vs Superman and Justice League had great trailers, but didn’t quite live up to the potential. I wonder, in my own way, whether it’s only been disappointing to this humble writer, or whether others have also been feeling the same way. So this week’s WTT Weekend Musing will be dedicated to asking whether single player games are on the way out?
WTT Weekend Musing – Singleplayer gaming evolves into…?
Obviously, singleplyer games are not yet dead. But I do ask where the properly good singleplayer games are out there. Think about all the great classics that have come before and are enjoying remasters or just much love. Games like:
- Baldur’s Gate
- Neverwinter Nights
- Half Life
These are some venerable classics for computer gaming. And let’s not forget some of the great console classics like the Final Fantasy series and games involving Mario jumping on turtles. But in recent years, single player games of various genres haven’t sold all that well. That’s despite being pretty good titles.
Take for example, Prey and the most recent Wolfenstein. They’re both good shooters in their own right, but they’ve not had the commercial success they deserved.
Let’s be honest here, computer games are an entertainment medium. Good entertainment needs to draw your interest, and then keep it. Either the effort goes into making sure people keep playing and doing the same thing over and over again (Diablo 3), or companies look to story and depth to grab customer attention. Sadly, it seems the story and depth thing isn’t fashionable any more.
WTT Weekend Musing – Is this really the trend?
At the expense of seeming old, single player gaming is shrivelling in the minds of gamers. More and more attention is being paid to multiplayer games, at the expense of single-player titles. This is obviously not a new thing, the biggest releases for many years have been multiplayer-first titles. Stuff like Battlefield has a “storyline” in the same way that the English cricket team can bat.
While many games have had a multiplayer aspect to them, ever since broadband has become more and more prevalent, the balance of play has tipped towards the online interactivity and competition between players.
And with more team-based skill games like League of Legends earning the big money in tournaments, there’s not likely to be a resurgence in story, depth and choice.
WTT Weekend Musing – Where will our good stories come from?
The good news is that there are plenty of good games being developed with great single player stories and gameplay. But, don’t expect them to be coming out of large AAA developers and publishers. Expect them to surface on Steam. Or maybe with a successful, but dedicated group like CD ProjecktRED They’ll be built with love and passion from those who are independent of those big companies.
I think that we should be giving our support to those independent developers. These men and women are certainly going to be the future of single player, story rich games. Think of great titles like Divinity: Original Sin and Tyranny. Indeed, the most recent Divinity was a crowd funded title.
But boy is it good.
What recent gaming history shows though, is that you don’t need AAA budget, marketing or corporate structures to make a good, compelling game. May that truth continue for many years to come.