When EA announced the closure of Visceral Games, many took it as another sign that the industry was moving away from linear, single-player, story driven games, especially as it came to light that the Star Wars game in development there was being retooled into something bigger and broader in the games as service mold.
Find out why we believe single-player is here to stay.
While it’s certainly true that AAA development is moving increasingly toward types of games that can keep players hooked for longer, some folks feel that the rumors of single-player’s demise are greatly exaggerated. That includes former Visceral dev Zach Wilson, who tells GamesIndustry.biz that “the assertion that single-player linear games are going to disappear is totally absurd.”
“EA might not be the company that carries that torch,” Wilson continues, “but there are so many groups out there that are passionate about this kind of game that they won’t go away. Personally I’d like to see fewer games with higher quality across the board, which is probably what will happen.”
Wilson made headlines in the wake of Visceral’s closure by revealing the high development costs and relatively low sales associated with the release of Dead Space 2. While he wasn’t at the studio at the time of its closure, he was there for many of Visceral’s biggest releases. “There’s no one single narrative that can be derived from this event other than games are incredibly difficult to make,” he says, “and the fact that any game or movie gets made at all is a cause for celebration.”
Other developers have certainly taken up the torch for single-player, most notably Machine Games with Wolfenstein 2, who claimed that adding multiplayer modes to the game would “dilute” the overall experience. Bethesda in particular have stepped in to publish largely single-player focused titles like Wolfenstein, Prey, and Dishonored, though it remains to be seen if the sales of these titles will prove sufficient to keep them soldiering on.