If you were to ask most gamers what their most memorable moment from video gaming would be, you could get a huge myriad of answers. And rightly so, gaming as a mainstream form of entertainment has come on leaps and bounds in the past 25-30 years. From basic platform games, side scrollers, and basic arcade-style racing games to epic blockbuster titles that seem, in a lot of ways, more thought out and structured than a lot of what the movie industry pumps out.
Think of some of your favourite memories to look back on in gaming. It could be something like Mordin Solus’s last stand in Mass Effect 3 (including that song) or when you first climb up onto one of Bowser’s Airships in Super Mario Bros 3 or when you find out the cake is a lie in Portal. Whatever it is, I doubt your best gaming memory is when you topped the leaderboard in multiplayer on Modern Warfare, or scored an epic goal in Rocket League against someone talking trash.
Basically, gaming is about more than playing and it has been for quite some time. It’s more about experiencing, feeling and immersing. I remember Ghost being betrayed in Modern Warfare 2 more than completely decimating an opposing team online on the same title – and to be honest, I would play through CoD Modern Warfare 1-3 single player again tomorrow before going back to see if any of the online servers are still running. What I’m trying to say is that the heart and soul of gaming is in the stories that they tell. Even a game like FIFA, when you play a career, you could, I don’t know do something outlandish like win the English Premier League as Leicester City if you wanted to, because that is a story that would be worth tuning in to…oh wait…
So to think that the developers (Epic Games) behind Gears of War and memorable moments like Dom’s sacrifice are turning their backs on producing games with single player campaigns is painful to read, and hopefully isn’t a trend that will spread across to other studios. The studio CEO, Tim Sweeney, recently said the following in an interview with Polygon:
“The economics of those games forces developers to work with major publishers to succeed, and that seems to be irreversible,
“We realized that the business really needed to change its approach quite significantly… We were seeing some of the best games in the industry being built and operated as live games over time rather than big retail releases … so we began the transition of being a fairly narrow console developer focused on Xbox to being a multi-platform game developer and self publisher, and indie on a larger scale.”
Epic Games are focussed on developing smaller, free-to-play games such as Paragon, Fortnite and Unreal Tournament, with no single player campaigns in sight, also commenting on “live” games – with that he means incomplete games, that have more content pushed out in the months after initial release.
It’s a sad state of affairs if you ask me, as the Gears of War games had a brilliant story-arch to them that kept you involved as much as the action driven gameplay – but if that’s the way Epic want to go, then I wish them the best of luck – but I doubt in 5 or 10 years time I’ll remember much of Paragon, while Dom’s sacrifice will still come to mind.
What do you think? Do you enjoy the single player element of gaming more than multiplayer? Or do you think this is the natural progression of gaming? Comment below or in the RGM Forums!