This is a warning to all developers and publishers out there:
If you release a game that isn’t an MMO and you claim the game has a full, robust single-player campaign, and you basically force me to log in, or somehow punish me for playing offline, I will not play it.
Yes, I know. I’m in the minority these days, and most publishers are looking at this and scoffing, “Go right ahead; millions of others will play it because online multiplayer is the wave of the future, and we know how to make money.”
I don’t deny the facts and I don’t accuse publishers because in fact, they’re simply meeting demand. I get it; I’m a dinosaur. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m the only one on earth…we’re not extinct yet.
Watch Dogs might be an indication of the future
…in more ways than one. According to a recent news tidbit, it seems those who don’t log into Ubisoft’s servers to play will be missing out on a portion of the game. Players won’t be able to gain Notoriety if they stay offline. Now, I don’t know if the lack of Notoriety has any impact on the single-player adventure; if it doesn’t, fine. There’s no problem. But it’s another step in a certain direction, I direction I’ve been dreading for years.
Take Dark Souls II, for instance. Great game, of course. But if you really want the full and complete experience, you sort of have to be logged in so other players can round out the adventure. Again, nobody says you have to be online to complete the game and in fact, it’s not a requirement for enjoyment. But it is saying, in some capacity, that if you don’t log in, you’re going to miss out on something.
This blending of multiplayer and single-player, which I believe began with Demon’s Souls, is interesting. It opens up new interactive possibilities. At the same time, thinking logically, it forever alters the single-player experience and attempts to turn all games into a cohesive universe.
If we’re all about “choice” these days, than don’t take away that choice
If I don’t want to be online and I want to play the latest and greatest, that should be my choice. Obviously, if the game is designed with online multiplayer in mind, that’s a different story. I’m specifically referring to games that feature a complete single-player experience alongside a multiplayer element. These are the games I like to play and no, I don’t usually go online.
Again, I should be allowed to make that decision. I really don’t want developers saying, “oh, it doesn’t matter if you go online or not” and then I do the research and I find that the non-connected gamers are actually treated as second-class citizens. Believe it or not, not every single gamer alive wants to be connected to other gamers at all times. I promise this isn’t true.
By all means, give the consumers what they want. Multiplayer is huge and millions demand it. Just make sure to give us lowly single-player participators a choice.