The baffling inclusion of multiplayer in games where it is completely unnecessary and may in fact be detrimental to the overall experience is a trend that seems unlikely to go away. Even developers traditionally recognized and respected for their single-player offerings are jumping on the bandwagon, perhaps most noticeably in the form of Square Enix, provider of the long-running (and largely single-player) Final Fantasy series. In a recent interview with Forbes, CEO of Square Enix Yoichi Wada said, “In all of the games we will be releasing going forward, some kind of multiplayer element will be incorporated one way or another.”
Multiplayer? In every Square Enix game? Apparently so.
To hammer the point home, Wada went on to say: “What we will encourage [Square Enix developers] to do is to incorporate some kind of multiplayer element even in single player games.”
Despite Wada’s apparent enthusiasm for the initiative, it is very difficult to see what this will bring to the Square Enix lineup that it actually needs. Multiplayer has the tendency to destroy any sense of narrative tension or drama that a game attempts to create, and since Square Enix games have traditionally attracted user bases via their twisting plot lines and alluring characters (okay, pretend Tidus never happened), it would seem that it is more at odds than most with the idea of shoehorning more than one player into the gameplay experience.
Evidently, appearances can be deceiving.