Online multiplayer has been the major addition to nearly every console game this generation. But do all games need it - does it actually make them better? Skyrim survived without, as did BioShock.
In the case of Spec Ops: The Line - a dark, twisted and thought-provoking shooter - multiplayer actually ruined the overall experience, independent developer Yager has declared.
So why was multiplayer there? Because the suits at 2K Games forced it in, farming its development out to a another studio called Darkside.
Yager's lead designer Cory Davis had some strong things to say about the whole thing.
"The multiplayer mode of Spec Ops: The Line was never a focus of the development, but the publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened - even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game," lead game designer Cory Davis told Polygon as part of an engaging and expansive interview..
"It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience. The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No-one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package - it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."
Multiplayer was "tacked on", "low-quality", "bullsh**", "should not exist", and "tossed out the creative pillars of the product", Davis went on to say.
But while he may hate 2K's decision to include multiplayer, Davis otherwise praised the risk-taking mindset of the publisher. "They took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take," he said.
Davis added: "Maybe I'm an asshole, but I think there are plenty of COD games out there, and if you want one ... I'm sorry we didn't give you one, but I'm glad that some players went into [the game] and realised that it's something more.
"No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package - it's another game rammed onto the disc like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."Cory Davis, lead designer, Spec Ops: The Line
"Seeing gamers go into the experience hoping to have a fun, shooty bro-romp through a Middle Eastern environment ... killing soulless, villainous enemies who are difficult to relate to (and thus easy to pull the trigger on), and then slowly finding themselves falling down the rabbit hole into a darker, more contemplative, more surreal, and character-driven experience has been amazing for me."
As it was for our Christian Donlan, who's Eurogamer review of Spec Ops: The Line concluded: "There are such a lot of shooters these days, and so many tend to blur into each other if you're not careful. This one won't, however - and that's quite an achievement."
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