Published on May 8th, 2018 | by voxx0
Why Single Player Games do have a Future
EA stated in November 2017 that “linear single-player games are no longer as popular as they once were” in relation to why they closed Visceral Studios and canned the Star Wars game they had been working on. Though many titles have proven this wrong. Look at the games that were released in the same year as their statement; Horizon Zero Dawn, Resident Evil 7, and Nier: Automata are all critically-acclaimed games that focus solely on a single player experience and are heavily narrative focused. However, EA’s words seemed like they held some weight since games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite have become exceedingly popular and boast amazing player numbers each month, and consequently, Black Ops 4, the latest Call of Duty game set to release later this year, won’t launch with a campaign but instead include a battle-royale mode.
It would seem that Naughty Dog and Sony weren’t having any of it though and refuse to listen to anyone that says that single player only games are a thing of the past. They dropped an absolute bomb with God of War, a sort of continuation and reboot of the God of War series for PS3. We still follow Kratos, although he is now older and has his eyes set on Norse Mythology after destroying the Roman gods in the original series. The play style is much different now, with the action being over the shoulder and more precise as opposed to the wide-angled hack ‘n’ slash of the previous generation. It’s the same character, but not how we know him. He fights with disciplined anger instead of frantic rage, and he holds a full beard rather than the goatee he had before. This is an older Kratos that has seemingly found peace. To say this was a bold move by Naughty Dog is understatement, yet it’s evident that the risk has paid dividend. In its first week, God of War topped the UK charts, overthrowing Far Cry 5. Since God of War has sold 35% more than its predecessor, why did EA think that single player games are no longer that popular?
The numbers in online only games are staggering. Not only have PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Fortnite changed the industry so much recently, but games like Overwatch, Counter-Strike Global Offensive, Dota 2, and League of Legends all have player numbers in the millions, receive millions in revenue every single month and keep growing despite some being almost 10 years old. These are games that offer a single and competitive experience; a microtransactions market that is appealing to players will always make money and will attract a dedicated fan base that will play the game for months, even years. With EA always looking to scrape every cent out of the consumers pockets, evidenced by their plans for Star Wars Battlefront 2 and FIFA, they obviously saw that they can maximise profits if they lure people away from the rich worlds and deep lores of their favourite solo games.
So in a time when Battle-Royale and big multiplayer games have been grabbing all the headlines and turning many players’ heads away from the solo experience, the launch of God of War couldn’t have come at a better time. The feelings, the memories, the experiences you go through when playing through a story are so much better than any online game can offer. Players still remember the rip in their heart when General Shepherd betrayed them in Modern Warfare 2, they still feel the tears from the time Sephiroth killed Aerith in Final Fantasy 7, and they still remember that feeling when Toad told them that the Princess was in a different castle. It may be fun in the moment, but I can say with certainty that players will not be able to remember that win they got yesterday on Fortnite or that 20 man killstreak they got the other week in Call of Duty. Video games are an art form, they instill feelings of joy, sadness, hope, and despair. If the single player experience is extinguished then we will have lost the artistic medium with perhaps the greatest potential.
- By Ben Hanrahan