Does multiplayer have a place in traditionally single-player experiences? For every game like Mass Effect 3 that successfully introduces multiplayer to the formula, there are a dozen BioShock 2’s released that tarnish the franchise. Those resources could be put to better use right? Or is multiplayer itself a good use of those resources, adding infinite replayability to a game.
In the first ever Leviathyn debate, our two Senior Editors take opposing stances on this question. We asked them to argue their sides, and present the results here. Whose argument do you agree with?
Jason: For Adding Multiplayer
I don’t understand the issue with added multiplayer.
Mass Effect is one of my favorite franchises of all time. When I heard Mass Effect 3 would be getting online co-op multiplayer, I was jazzed. Mass Effect 3 would get more time in my console, meaning I’d be able to play more of my favorite franchise. When the game finally came out, the multiplayer was even better than I thought it would be: squad-based co-op combat, competition through overall score not through head-to-head combat, and varied character selection. Perfect for Mass Effect. What’s wrong with this?
Look, I understand the uneasiness that comes with added multiplayer. No one wants a shoe-horned in mode just because that’s what everyone else is doing. However, if a game presents a multiplayer mode that not only makes sense to the franchise it’s coming from, but it’s also FUN, what’s the problem? I saw God of War: Ascension’s multiplayer at E3 last week, and it looked AWESOME. How can that be a bad thing?
Oh, and the “they should use development resources on improving the single-player” argument? Don’t get me started.
Cassidee: Against Adding Multiplayer
I am not against multiplayer in any way. I myself enjoy jumping into multiplayer matches occasionally and getting my ass kicked by gamers who are far more skilled than I am. My problem with multiplayer in traditionally single player games is this; I don’t like it when it’s shoehorned in and reeks of money grabbing.
Single player games are single player for a reason. Take a look at a game like Mass Effect; with multiple endings and story-altering decisions, that is a game that is unique to each player that picks it up. I could play it and have a completely different experience from ten other people in a room. Because of this, I have a certain ownership of it, an immersed feeling that allows me to call that game my own.
When Mass Effect 3 came around and we heard about its sudden multiplayer integration, that news did not sit well with me. It sounded more like the ploy of the publisher than something BioWare really wanted to put in. That’s where multiplayer in single player games falls apart. Multiplayer is one of the many tactics used to combat used game sales; they figure that if people want to play the multiplayer, they’ll hold on to the game longer, which prevents GameStop from making a pure profit off of their creation. It makes sense, and I don’t consider it a shady business practice. In fact, it’s a smart move.
But only if it’s implemented correctly.
If developers of a traditionally singleplayer game decided to add in multiplayer in an attempt to do something different and actually built upon the multiplayer to make it a fresh and unique gaming experience, I’m all for it. It’s when its nothing more than a carbon copy of other modes and is tacked on in a goofy attempt to jump on the multiplayer bandwagon that I don’t want to see it. Think of BioShock 2′s multiplayer here. It felt more like an uninspired afterthought than a legitimate gameplay mode.
So sure, put it in a singleplayer game. But make sure it’s just as carefully considered and weighed as the singleplayer experience itself.