Just a few short generations ago, the biggest multiplayer function that a console could include would be four controller ports. Things have changed quite a bit since then, and nowadays, online multiplayer functionality is a huge part of a gamers decision on what console or games to purchase. Playing against actual people has several advantages over computer controlled opponents. For starters, it’s a lot more challenging (read: fun) to play against an enemy that can think dynamically and not rely on a list of if/then statements to decide on the best course of action against you. Secondly, trash talking the AI just isn’t nearly as satisfying as really giving a good jab to your friend over the headset.
Ubisoft’s upcoming Prince of Persia promises to keep the player just as engaged with its single player story as any multiplayer experience out there, so perhaps that’s what prompted producer Ben Mattes to comment on the future of single-player experiences. Mattes spoke recently to Eurogamer and responded to Atari frontman Phil Harrison’s feelings that solo gameplay is a dying breed, “I read that, and I don’t totally agree. I know where he’s coming from – I certainly see a lot of the industry moving in the direction of more community, more multiplayer, that sort of stuff.”
He continued, “But in my opinion, there are things you can do in a carefully crafted single player game – experiences you can create, emotions you can elicit and magnitudes of engaging the player – that you’re not going to reproduce in the uncontrolled environment of multiplayer.”
I would certainly have to agree with Mattes on this point. A quality single-player game can give you an experience that no multiplayer mode can touch. The entire history of videogames leans on single-player titles and that’s not likely to change, especially with solo titles like BioShock jumping platforms just to keep the fans appetites in check.
[See also: Prince of Persia gallery]