Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini believes single-player-only games need to be cheaper. When they are, the pressure to justify cost will disperse and games can simply be.
"Single-player-only games are nowhere close to being doomed. The problem lies in how they're produced, through which channels they're sold and at which price points," Guarini explained to GameSpot Australia.
"I can't see in any way a single-player experience being less engaging or interesting because of the absence of multiplayer.
"Instead, I can definitely see how players who pay $60 or $70 for a game can be quite sensitive to the lack of additional features that can justify their investment.
"We're still selling at incredibly high price points because we're still operating like we were five years ago," he added, "with just higher production costs.
"We're still struggling to pack games with features, extras, bonuses, achievements, in order to barely justify that price tag."Massimo Guarini, game director, Shadows of the Damned
"Instead of changing our perspectives, we're still struggling to pack games with features, extras, bonuses, achievements, in order to barely justify that price tag, which is given by excessively high development and licensing costs."
Guarini said the video games business "must learn" from the "huge, epic failure" of the music industry and digital sales.
Guarini went on to reflect on Shadows of the Damned, a game he directed at the behest of two great gaming minds: Shinji Mikami and Goichi Suda. "Saying sometimes 'no' to Mikami was a really scary experience," recalled Guarini, from what was an otherwise smooth-sailing production.
Shadows of the Damned scored admirably but sold poorly. Guarini knew Shadows of the Damned would be "a niche title" and not "a million-copies seller", but admitted he "definitely expected to see bigger figures than the ones I can see now". Apparently the cost of an "excessively long" game development meant the marketing budgeting wasn't "big enough".
Nevertheless, Guarini is "very happy" with how the game was critically received.
"I was positively surprised when I noticed that almost everybody understood the tone of the game and approached it with the right spirit," he said.
"When you have genuine fun creating something, failure is very rare."Massimo Guarini
"To be honest, I was initially worried about what kind of critical reception such a different and crazy game could get. We had an incredibly good time creating it, writing the cheesy jokes, planning every single detail to match the B-movie/grindhouse style we wanted. That's probably why people and reviewers themselves got it. When you have genuine fun creating something, failure is very rare.
"I was also positively surprised noticing how critics considered not taking itself too seriously like a big strength point of the game. I still receive many messages from fans and gamers all around the world, and it's quite amazing to see how this game has managed to engage people, putting a smile on everybody's face and making everyone feel refreshed.
"I am very happy about this. As a creator, this is the biggest reward I can get."
Eurogamer's Shadows of the Damned review awarded 7/10.