Atari scrapping the single-player experience

When it was announced that Phil Harrison was leaving Sony in favor of Atari/Infogrames, a lot of us thought one of two things could come of this — either Atari would go belly up and Harrison would contest he came along too late to save it, or Atari would undergo some serious changes to keep itself afloat. It’s safe to say Atari is still alive and well, and they’ve taken a rather bold step forward.

In an interview with Gamasutra, Harrison spoke of Atari becoming a major player in the online gaming community. “I think Atari is part of an industry in some transition from pure packaged media to an online business model and social communication and community model. If we are part of that transition, perhaps we are going to take a slightly aggressive, leading-edge role in that transition,” Harrison said.

“I don’t see that we’re going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn’t mean that we won’t have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won’t be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.”

With that being said, it seems that Atari’s last single-player experience will take the form of Alone in the Dark. Harrison is known for singing the praises of the future of gaming where people from all around the world are able to interact as a single digital community. My guess is, since Atari is taking the all digital road now, there could be more impressive and original titles coming to PSN, Xbox LIVE Marketplace and WiiWare. Or at least that’s my optimistic thinking once again.

As for Alone in the Dark, the game is scheduled to be released on June 20 for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PC.

[See also: Alone in the Dark gallery]