That’s not hyperbole. Some people say shit like, “I hate this company! I’m never buying another one of their products again!” even though you know deep-down that they are. Like every idiot who says “I’m never eating at McDonald’s again!” Bullshit! You already debase yourself by eating there. You’re going again. Don’t lie to us. However, for me, this isn’t just some design decision. This is a personal issue that I refuse to be a part of.
I got into gaming because of how lonely I was, growing up. I didn’t have many friends, and escaping to fiction was better than real life of being all by myself all the time. Some of my favorite stories, growing up, were told in video games. I got lost in the fantasy world of Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I felt myself captivated by tragic and beautiful narrative in Final Fantasy X. My youth was all about my best friends and I escaping into fiction. Later on in my life it was me and my cat. Her name is Lizzy. She is extremely old and it’s pretty clear her health is declining. The parents keep talking about her losing her mind, and while I shrug it off, part of me does wonder. When I had my big chair, my kitty would sit on the arm. I’d play games and watch movies and she was always with me. A loyal friend, whose idea of perishing fills me with genuine pain.
In college, I played the Mass Effect trilogy so many times that I know most of my favorite character’s dialogue by heart! I got through some unbelievably painful personal moments with those games. Does this make me sound pathetic? It wasn’t just games. My favorite movies, books, TV shows, long walks where I get to look at beautiful things, it all helped me get through horribly difficult times in my life. But gaming is a big one.
So when I see articles talking about how single-player gaming is going the way of the dodo, it genuinely fills me with a pit inside that I cannot describe. Here’s the thing – I will NEVER be into multiplayer games. Moreover, I’ll never be into MMOs. Why? Because I game for stories. Guess what kind of story Destiny had – a shit one. How about Destiny 2? That story was shit too. What about The Division? Shit. Or how about all the Call of Duty games? The last time I enjoyed a narrative from them was Modern Warfare 2. Hell, even the Assassin’s Creed games are trying to make themselves multiplayer. It kills me inside.
Now, plenty of people have pointed out all the fantastic single-player only games that have come out lately. This year has had some real standout examples of the genre. My favorite game thus far has been Persona 5. To see a AAA JRPG is something I NEVER believed I’d see in my lifetime. It’s incredible that such a thing now exists, and it was a massive hit. All the dates it was pushed back clearly was the right call, because it got everything right. There was also Horizon: Zero Dawn. While it has its flaws, it is a unique concept that really put forth the effort to make a different experience. We also got a truly fantastic remake of Doom, where the biggest lesson the developers got to take away is that people loved it beyond words for the singe player, while hating its multiplayer components. So there may be hope.
But it does seem like more and more AAA developers wants to move away from that kind of game. We also have microtransactions seeping their way into single-player games. This disheartens me for a lot of reasons. For starters, just think of all the great visions that will be stifled by companies who only want to cater to markets where they can make as much money as they can, all the time. What kind of gaming market is that setting up? That’s simple – one that isn’s sustainable. After all, people move on from games. How many of the servers for the old CoD games still run? Are there any servers for EA’s shit-tastic remake of Sim City? Oh, right, they patched single player in because everyone hated their half-assed excuse for multiplayer.
Part of me thinks that all of this talk is indicative of a medium that can’t sustain itself anymore. The cost of game development has just gotten so huge that unless they make games that are money-factories, they lose money on making games. Because after all, you gotta make the most cutting-edge properties all the time, right? Middle-tier games that may not have the best visuals or maybe have some funky controls or what-have-you, where devs can find ways to experiment and try new things? Nope! Can’t have that. That might involved having the guts to sink money into something and not get it all back. Because Hollywood refuses to take risks, so why should we?
I will never want to play games for multiplayer. It doesn’t matter what bullshit the desiccated husks at Bioware put out, I still don’t want it. EA decided to shit-can Visceral Games and turn their latest Star Wars project into a new Destiny game. Because why try to make an interesting game when you can make a cash cow that the Star Wars fanboys will cum in their pants for because of the license. I swear, it’s the only reason EA’s new Battlefront game made any money at all. Same with why the second will make money. Because if they can shove the name in your face enough, it’s gotta be good…right..?
So when I say that if single-player in games dies, I’m done, I mean it. I’ll just collect all the games I loved and will just die off in nostalgia, because what the fuck would I want to play the latest MMO sandbox game? That’s not why I game. It will NEVER be why I game. Desperately hoping I’m not alone in this thought.
Until next time, a quote,
“Words are how we think; stories are how we link.” – Christina Baldwin