Gear of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has spoken out against Japanese game developers for ignoring multiplayer options.
When asked what Japanese developers needed to focus on to grow their industry, Bleszinski told Gamasutra that the role of multiplayer in Japanese games was lacking.
"My advice to Japan is that in a disc-based market right now, you cannot [ignore multiplayer]."
"I'm not saying tack multiplayer onto every game," he qualified.
Nevertheless, Bleszinski highlighted the recent Suda51 and Shinji Mikami collaboration Shadows of the Damned and Platinum Games' Vanquish as two titles which could have performed better had they had multiplayer modes.
Shadows of the Damned was a "beautifully crazy game with really fun gameplay", Bleszinski said, "but no multiplayer co-op experience in there. I'm not saying tack on versus; there's a billion different ways you can do some sort of 'players interacting with other players.'"
"And if you're going to make a third-person shooter... the fact that Vanquish didn't have a multiplayer suite was a crime. That IP, it was pretty good as far as being Western, but the gameplay was great, the vibe... and I've often said on record that if Gears is the kind of Wild, Wild West coal train chugging along, that Vanquish is the Japanese bullet train, with style and everything.
"And there is absolutely no reason I shouldn't have been zipping around, doing the mega slides, diving up in the air in an arena with other players."
Bleszinski did however offer praise to From Software's Dark Souls, labelling its passive multiplayer offering as "innovative".
"That game is going to continue to inspire a lot of Western developers to figure ways that you can have connected elements in campaign games, and have more of a blended experience," Bleszinski concluded.
Cliffy B photo credit: Jarle Hrafn Grindhaug