Tag Archives: singleplayer

Today’s Gaming Chatter

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Has anyone reading this ever gotten the feeling they’re becoming disconnected from the main conversations about video games online? I mean that in terms of the kinds of video games being talked about and how they’re being talked about on all kinds of gaming websites. Maybe it’s just that everyone writing about games is headed in one general direction that doesn’t exactly represent how everyone is playing games, maybe it’s just that I’m currently enjoying games in an unusual way.

The most talked-about games right now include hits like OverwatchPlayerunknown’s Battlegrounds, MOBAs, Rocket League, or Rainbow Six Siege, none of which I play. I’m not saying that to be smug, I’m just pointing out that most of the time what I’m playing is something no one is currently talking about. I see two main things happening when I look at the games everyone is tweeting or writing feature articles about: a move towards multiplayer games, and a move towards human interest stories. Both are completely understandable… just not something I’m extremely interested in. Continue reading

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Do We Need To Rethink Solo Offline Game Modes?

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With Overwatch now out, the forward march of $60 games with only multiplayer continues. On the one hand, I don’t think every shooter should be forced to have a campaign with a story. On the other, I also think games like this ignore a lot of people who could potentially enjoy these games but don’t care about player versus player gameplay. Continue reading

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Does Games-As-A-Service Have To Be Multiplayer?

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It looks like Tom Clancy’s The Division is going to be Ubisoft’s next Assassin’s Creed II — that is, the next template for its games going forward. If it wasn’t already obvious enough, this seems to seal the deal that blockbuster video games are headed towards a service model primarily made of online games customers keep paying into. It’s probably smart business but it’s also to the dismay of people who don’t care about online or multiplayer games. I’m starting to wonder if there’s a service-based path for those consumers too. Continue reading

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The Potential of Call of Duty’s Singleplayer

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Last time I talked about the Battlefield franchise trying to find its way in regard to singleplayer, but I honestly always thought there was some potential left on the floor with Call of Duty as well. That franchise already has a formula that works, but that doesn’t mean they can’t add something new.

At this point the main reason a lot of people buy COD is to rank up and unlock stuff in multiplayer. Infinity Ward designed a pretty addictive feedback loop that’s been so successful the entire industry is ripping off of it. Why can’t they bring some of that into the campaign, or make a new singleplayer mode with that feedback loop?

Maybe that’s basically what the Zombies mode in Treyarch’s games is, I’ve never actually touched that mode so I don’t know. From what I do know it’s mainly a co-op game. One of my favorite modes in Modern Warfare 3 however is Spec Ops Survival. Spec Ops also happens to be an affair balanced for co-op — you can’t get very far playing it solo.

I personally find survival mode to be more comfortable without having to deal with human competition, and it has the same feedback loop that makes multiplayer so successful. I just wish there was a version of it balanced for solo play. I think Activision could go further if it tried though.

COD’s unlock system basically works like an RPG. Your weapon loadouts are essentially equipment upgrades not unlike those of, say, a dungeon-crawler.

If Activision could somehow work in some long form level design for players to fight through while earning XP and loot I think it could be a unique take on both first person shooters and RPGs. The closest thing we have to this right now is probably Borderlands 2.

It’s perfectly sensible why Activision would stick to its current singleplayer formula though. It’s successful and is technically the core of the franchise.

COD didn’t even become especially known for multiplayer until the first Modern Warfare game — the earlier entries mostly being acclaimed for their superior singleplayer campaign design — that rollercoaster formula that everyone else has tried to copy. I still think Infinity Ward is one of only a handful of studios actually able to properly design shooter campaigns that way. It should still be a part of COD, but that doesn’t mean they can’t put new modes on the top. I remember the first Modern Warfare game having an “arcade” version of the campaign. Do later COD games still have that?

COD has become known for the ridiculous amount of content packed into each disc — the campaign alongside many multiplayer and co-op modes, almost like three complete games really. Some kind of singleplayer mode that leverages Activision’s patented multiplayer and co-op upgrade systems in my opinion could be an excellent addition to modes like spec ops and zombies.

BULLETS:

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The Future of Battlefield Singleplayer

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I’ll start here by admitting that I’m not at all a big Battlefield player. I basically just did the campaign in Bad Company 2 and played a few hours of multiplayer, and haven’t played Battlefield 3 at all despite owning it. This here is just me musing over what might be some missed potential for the future of the franchise’s singleplayer modes.

EA’s talked a little bit about singleplayer Battlefield 4 and from that it seems to be going in a direction I think makes sense. I’m still afraid DICE will just go half-way there in its bid to go pound-for-pound against Call of Duty.

Battlefield is probably the one shooter franchise that can even do this right now, but that’s mostly because its multiplayer already has an established fanbase going back over a decade. Campaigns are a relative newcomer to the franchise, and DICE hasn’t yet proven they’re even necessary to Battlefield.

Respawn entertainment, also under EA, is trying to sell Titanfall as a $60 multiplayer-only game. That move is a bit controversial, but it proves that they can do it. People complain about tacked-on multiplayer all the time, but what about tacked-on singleplayer?

I’ll be an optimist and say that singleplayer Battlefield is possible, but it has to be Battlefield. It shouldn’t try to be COD, which is what EA and DICE have tried too hard too often to do. For starters, the rollercoaster level design style that COD’s campaigns follow is something that only maybe three studios in the world get right, and Infinity Ward is one of them. DICE should just stop trying. Most importantly, I think part of the reason Battlefield does so well in the face of COD is because of how different it is. Its multiplayer is slower-paced, more strategic, and on a larger scale.

This is what DICE has at least hinted at in what little they’ve said about BF4’s singleplayer (despite how much footage we’ve seen). In the middle of the “Fishing in Baku” video I saw what looked like fighting in a large, open environment, and I picked out what DICE later confirmed to be the player giving AI squadmates commands. DICE needs to go all the way in that direction if you ask me.

Battlefield multiplayer is about squads getting together and completing objectives within large open maps. The singleplayer should essentially be about the same thing, even if you’re only handling one squad.

Not only would this differentiate BF4 from Call of Duty Ghosts, but also from most other shooters these days. It could be seen as something different and possibly even innovative – the feeling of managing a group of fighters in a large, dynamic battlefield (no pun intended).

People from DICE have also said however that Battlefield 4 will have somewhat more linear sections to its levels for the purpose of telling a story.  I guess they can do that, but what I’m afraid of is that they’ll still try to jack the game up with a bunch of set pieces and scripted events that they think will be memorable.

Really, if a game has to have additional modes beyond where it originated, it should still stick to its strengths. DICE shouldn’t just put in “some of the elements of the multiplayer” like they say they’ve been doing. They basically need to make the campaign a singleplayer version of the multiplayer base.

BULLETS:

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