Multiplayer is something that is hard to ignore. It’s in almost every game, even the most abstract ones like Journey. But is multiplayer always necessary? Lately developers seem to be adding it into every game, reasoning that it adds longevity and a higher attach rate than a single player experience. I’d like to dispute that.
The main game that brought me to write this article was Batman: Arkham Origins. As a fan of the series and the writing I was more than pleased with Origins, though there was plenty of room for improvement. But instead of having a full team of developers focus on the very frequent bugs or even add some more detail to the world, they instead used their budget to tack on a very terrible multiplayer- a multiplayer that has little to nothing to do with the core game.
While I do commend the efforts of the team for doing something different with 3v3v2 matches, it’s all lost when you are forced play as a Bane or Joker goon. All of a sudden, the game goes from being a stealthy brawler to a 3rd person shooter with clunky controls; it just doesn’t work. So if developers say that Multiplayer adds to the longevity of a game, why is it I haven’t touched it since launch? One thing that is keeping that game in my collection is waiting for the single player DLC.
So much can be said about single player DLC. The Last of Us is a very rare example of a game with both an award winning single player and a fun and exciting multiplayer. While the season pass dishes out some maps every so often, the real meat of why people are keeping their game is for more of the story DLC.
(Now this is worth while content)
Single player DLC personally feels like it goes a long way over multiplayer, which brings me to Bioshock Infinite. Bioshock is deeply rooted in its lore and the world it has created, and Infinite has sparked more discussions amongst gamers than any other game in recent years. After his previous attempt at multiplayer in Bioshock 2 (which was panned by reviewers, though I really liked it) game director Ken Levine suggested a multiplayer for Infinite. However, this was later cancelled due to budget constraints, time constraints, and the fact that it just wasn’t working. In turn more time was spent on honing the story of Bioshock: Infinite. With no multiplayer, people are still holding onto their game and looking forward to the newest single player DLC, Burial at Sea(which you can find our review to episode 1 here)
Plenty of other games suffer from this forced multiplayer. SpecOps: The Line is heralded as one of the most emotional war FPS, but the one thing keeping its score down across all sites is its multiplayer. The same goes with Tomb Raider. If developers want their games to sell, they should avoid multiplayer when it’s not needed and instead focus on what they have and make what’s good great. It almost seems as plain as day. Let’s go back to Batman: Arkham Origins, a game that averages a 73 on Metacritic. If we apply this theory and take out the terrible multiplayer, fix the bugs, and add more to the story, wouldn’t that give you a better quality game? These changes could raise its score much higher, resulting in more people being interested in the game.