Multiplayer shouldn’t “be forced” into games, says Randy Pitchford
It seems like it’s becoming somewhat of a trend these days for developers to put multiplayer into a game that really doesn’t need multiplayer. The president of Gearbox Software, Randy Pitchford, not only believes that these modes aren’t needed in some games, but that publishers are actually forcing developers to include multiplayer in an effort to keep up with blockbusters like Call of Duty.
Speaking to EDGE Pitchford explained that:
“You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can’t be forced. That’s the problem.”
Pitchford also cited Dead Space 2 as a game that had an unnecessary multiplayer mode, something I agreed with in my review.
“It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units. The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.”
So, it should be less about a desire to list as many features as possible on the box and instead “put in whatever investment’s required to focus it on what the promise is all about.”
Of course, there have been occasions when we thought multiplayer just wasn’t needed but actually ended up being a decent inclusion. Take Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood for example, an instalment in a series that was doing fine with a strong story driven singleplayer narrative. Before release we were apprehensive that the multiplayer mode would just be another wasted batch of resources, but we were wrong. It turned out to be unique and highly enjoyable section of an already impressive game, so it just goes to show that it can lead to a surprising turnaround. However, I’d be inclined to agree with Pitchford that this usually isn’t the case.