Japanese devs must not ignore multiplayer - Gears of War designer

Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski says lack of multiplayer in Vanquish was a "crime," praises Demon's Souls and Dark Souls as being innovative.

Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski has made a living from multiplayer in the Gears of War franchise and others, and now he is calling on Japanese developers to follow suit. Asked by Gamasutra about what Japanese developers can do to boost their business, Bleszinski said the key is implementing multiplayer options.

Vanquish would have benefited from multiplayer, says Bleszinski.

"My advice to Japan is that in a disc-based market right now, you cannot [ignore multiplayer]," he said. He went on to qualify that thought, saying, "I'm not saying tack multiplayer onto every game."

He later explained that he found Grasshopper Manufacture's Shadows of the Damned to be a "wonderfully crazy adventure," but lamented its lack of multiplayer.

Bleszinski does not think Japanese developers are universally ignoring multiplayer. He cited From Software's Demon's Souls and Dark Souls as examples of "innovative" titles that offer "mingle-player," where the lines between single and multiplayer are blurred.

Bleszinski also shared some cutting words about Platinum Games' well-received third-person shooter Vanquish. He said it was a "crime" that Vanquish did not have a multiplayer mode where he could perform the high-flying and fast-paced actions found in the game's campaign.

He said whatever reason Platinum Games had for not including multiplayer in Vanquish was "paved with good intentions" but at the same time made the game "[handicapped] by the fact that it was seen by many gamers as a campaign rental or a used game, and not the $60, day-one, gotta-have-it game."

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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556 comments
green_abobo
green_abobo

after getting smoked an obscene amount of times in tactical challenge, coop (local @ the very least) would've been neat. that's all.


especially considering your AI teamates are nothing more than potential ammo dispensers, if u can get there in time.

Sampawende
Sampawende

Arrogance...

Fact is, I finished Vanquish and barely played the first GOW.

Good marketing doesn't mean better game careful on who you're giving advices to.

NightsOwl
NightsOwl

-cough Pokemon cough- Seriously. A co-op adventure would be awesome. Just make all trainer battles double battles. Not that hard. =l

nedrith
nedrith

I believe it goes both ways.  While JP devs might be ignoring multiplayer, all the rest of the devs are ignoring single player.  Most no JP games that I see have so-so SP just so they can have something of a decent multiplayer.

DeadPlanet
DeadPlanet

Nothing really innovative about MP. We've had MP for a good decade or so, often in better forms. (LAN for one)

 

Besides, like others have said - I'd rather have a GREAT SP experience than a decent MP one. Do not EVER sacrifice the SP for the MP. Ever.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

i think that the japanese culture isn't big on multiplayer as of right now aside from your mmo's....or at least the type of multiplayer that westeners like, so its a bit harder to develop to the western market if the eastern market has a different taste

Uiltetwr
Uiltetwr

He's right in some cases but wrong in many others every other generation did fine without multiplayer

isshiah
isshiah

get your grubby multiplayer hands out of my old fashion singleplayer experience.

gellis08
gellis08

But i would rather they make a good singleplayer then put in a half arsed multiplayer. I wouldnt expect skyrim to have a multiplayer. When i want to play multiplayer games i mainly play games that are designed for it. Halo, call of duty, world of warcraft. These games that are not big multiplayer contenders always end up the same way. A big new game comes out, The multiplayer will get played around with for a few months then everyone will go back to their proper multiplayer games leaving the servers dead and making it hard to find a game. Making the whole thing pointless. Uncharted 3.

 

varunvikram1
varunvikram1

It's like his word is the law. I mean if he says so it must be done. Jap devs have angered the Law.

Overlord93
Overlord93

He's right. People may not like it, but a game without any form of connectivity is dead in the water in today's market. Games don't necessarily need a PvP element, but some sort of trading system, or co-op is a must to succeed in the western market.

As Cliffy said, it shouldn't be tacked on, but rather should be something that works alongside the game to make it better.

IgotEpixx
IgotEpixx

Forcing multiplayer into games is a cancer that has killed franchises and does more harm than good.

 

Build a new franchise from the ground up to focus on multiplayer (Battlefield)? Great. Don't shoehorn in a tacky single player either though.

 

Create an expansive, well-known and renowned single player RPG (Mass Effect)? Great, but don't take resources away to slap on a half-arsed MP so EA can make money off Spectre Packs.  

Gusz2
Gusz2

He's right, some games must have a multiplayer, like Vanquish, the campaign isn't that long and the history isn't so good, so it should have a multiplayer, i know that there're a lot of people who don't care or like multiplayer... but what do you do when you finish the game??

tightwad34
tightwad34

You know Cliff, not everyone likes multiplayer, like me. Quit trying to delve into other people's business.

Mayleene
Mayleene

I don't care for multiplayer.

jamyskis
jamyskis

Cliff might have had a point if he hadn't quoted one of the games that really would have suffered had multiplayer been implemented. The essence of Vanquish relies on time manipulation, which for obvious reasons is not feasible in multiplayer. Had this focus element been removed, you would have been left with a bog-standard run-and-gun game...like Gears of War.

 

I see plenty of people screaming "multiplayer" is the future but I can only refer them to the thousands of games out there whose multiplayer servers are dead these days. And I'm not talking ancient games like Unreal Tournament. I'm talking about games like Everybody's Golf 2 on the PSP, which is barely 3 years old. There are perhaps only a couple of hundred games these days with an active online community, while there are hundreds of thousands of games you can still play without such an online element

 

Multiplayer is great if you're trying to make money, but single player is where it's at if you're trying to make a game.

First_Gen_Gamer
First_Gen_Gamer

Japan is stuck in the old days, they need to realize the American market is where the cash is at... MP isn't going anywhere,

its hardly in the Alpha Stage in the gaming timeline. Japanese devs are stubborn

 

American devs greedier, & smarter

ShangTsung17
ShangTsung17

go fvck yourself cliff!!!   i am sooooooo fvcking SICK of videogames being ruined by stupid @ss dumb fvcking multiplayer!   it needs to stop!   nearly every videogame sucks balls nowadays thanks to annoying mp having to be shoved in EVERY GAME to satisfy the multi-geeks!   its redicules!!!     the ONLY reason vanquish did as well as it did was BECAUSE it wasn't plaqued with multiplayer!   had they forced mp into it like every other game the story would have been an hour long,  gameplay would have sucked,  and it would've been a mediocre piece of sh!t to be forgotten in less than a month,  game designers-  STOP FORCING MULTIPLAYER ON US!!!!!    

strawhat1987
strawhat1987

fuck that, there have been enough games with unnecessary multiplayer.

Maelsthur
Maelsthur

The only good japanese good multiplayer is the arcade and that shit have like 25 years.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

It funny how people curse Call of duty for it short campaign but when Vanquish does it , oh it brilliant. Got to love the gamers today.

RunningMansKid
RunningMansKid

While not every game needs multiplayer, I kind of thought the same thing about Vanquish. My friends and I at least wanted to play that kind of game co-op. The "option" would be good to have. Not Resident Evil 5 co-op where you'd have a constant partner but Halo-ish where you're just a clone!

shadowkiller11
shadowkiller11

I think his talking about this commercially not the actual quality which is understandable. Even though I don't really care if a game contains online or not.

rarson
rarson

SHUT UP, Cliff. Every time you open your mouth, you illustrate what a giant blowhard you are. Not every game needs multiplayer. I'd rather have a company focus on providing a great singleplayer experience than waste time cramming in a multiplayer mode "just cause Cliffy B said so."

734M4n9
734M4n9

Keep in mind he's talking about eastern games, not western.

To you gamers voicing concerns about devs shoehorning MP into games, you're absolutely correct; but my friends and I have noticed a very distinct lack of Multiplayer coming from Japanese studios. Consider recent, or soon to be released games from Japan, such as the FF series, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.

All AAA titles, yet no MP. Would these games be better with MP? Not necessarily (probably not), but still . . . It's almost as if Japanese studios have an aversion to letting people sit down and play with friends.

Also, 'gamers' is indeed a word, Google Chrome. Stop underlining it.

zinoalex
zinoalex

There's enough excellent multiplayer, disc based titles on the market. Waht the market needs , and most gamers want, is more great co-op play and co-op play  development

done in titles. Look how good Hunted The Demon's Forge was in Co-op mode. Some titles do both very well. Infinity ward perfected the  two in MW 2!

bluemoon6
bluemoon6

Vanquish is such a brilliant game and yet Cliff's totally right. The lack of multiplayer was a complete travesty. The sheer potential of a Vanquish multiplayer experience is mind-boggeling.

chikahiro94
chikahiro94

I have to agree with him. Multiplayer, be it versus or coop, is a good way to extend the life of a game's replayability. Its not universally applicable, but it should be considered. Japanese developers don't seem to "get" online like Western or Korean developers. And honestly? The following:

 

"but at the same time made the game "[handicapped] by the fact that it was seen by many gamers as a campaign rental or a used game, and not the $60, day-one, gotta-have-it game."

 

Really nails it for me. Games make their money on sales of new games and DLC. In the current economy, spending $60 for a game I can beat in a short period of time means I'm going to rent or simply buy used and cheaper. If you don't have multiplayer, then you should at least have a year's worth of DLC (free or paid) planned. The only thing I see for Vanquish is a weapon pack, and that's it.

Getbacktogaming
Getbacktogaming

Screw online multiplayer. Bring us more splitscreen capable titles and stop ruining the great single player games with sad multiplayer excuses.

acidjam
acidjam

This is a load of bullsh't. This gen has seen way too many games being nerfed by devs shoehorning in MP instead of focusing on making the SP as solid as possible. Don't get me wrong, MP can be a good thing if a game is focused around it(or if there's resources to make both parts equally good) but this trend than every god damn game has to have MP is ridiculous and has to stop.

markvons
markvons

Not every game needs multiplayer!  Make a game with a solid single player story with good game play that lasts more than 8 hours and I will be happy. Is that so hard?

Hurvl
Hurvl

Games with sloppy, tacked on multiplayer or singleplayer are a crime, not a lack of multiplayer (imo, a singleplayer focused gamer).

IanNottinghamX
IanNottinghamX

I liked Gears of War 1 I feel that Epic and Cliff just blasted through making Gears 2 and 3 without EVER fixing Gears 1's mistakes(Glitches,Exploits etc)all show up in later sequels of the game. So for him to be telling other developers how to make THEIR games is LAUGHABLE...simply LAUGHABLE.....

Ishtaros
Ishtaros

Vanquish operates largely on a slow-mo time dilation mechanic. That's not something that works in MP. So just take out the slow-mo, the jet boost, and make Sam weigh about 300 pounds and throw a chainsaw in there, eh?

 

Did you play the game, Cliff? Are you just looking to rip on it because it's 100x more fun than Gears of War? :P

Gusz2
Gusz2

 @jamyskis "he hadn't quoted one of the games that really would have suffered had multiplayer been implemented. The essence of Vanquish relies on time manipulation, which for obvious reasons is not feasible in multiplayer."

 

Buddy, have you ever heard " Max Payne 3"... see that, and then you come here again and say what you think, thank you very much!

Corrupted_Wolf
Corrupted_Wolf

 @First_Gen_Gamer The only problem is that lot of game devs in Japan do fine without multiplayer. It's a problem they are well aware of but they aren't sure how to address it.Especially when there are companies that specializes in multiplayers games in Japan and Korea - and people much rather play those than to play a single player game that has a multiplayer as a bonus - it's hard for them to compete and lacks incentive to make those kinds of games.(you see fighting games with online because you HAVE to have it for fighting games because it's meant to be multiplayer. Games like Vanquish... you can find games like that in arcades that's just right down the street except hell of a lot better).Even without the American market, they still have Korea, Japan, and China. The big problem in Asia right now isn't "multiplayer." This dev is way wrong about that. It's about massive amount of CHOICES that players have. Which led companies to start specializing. Gaming choice in America is utterly minute compared to choice you have in Asia from free to play games to console games.  People have different tastes and with so much choices became naturally selective over how they spend money and time. 

Coconutmunkee
Coconutmunkee

 @ShangTsung17 What's "redicules" is your comprehension of the English language. OBVIOUSLY your issues extend far beyond just simple reading and writing (typing) and instead of badmouthing game developers that have far more intelligence and vision than you'll ever have, you should be spending your time fixing yourself.

 

Go have some you time.

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

 @Jestersmiles I don't think CoD is a bad game, but there are visceral mechanics going on in Vanquish that make CoD look like "just a shooter." In Vanquish there are multiple melee's each with pros and cons, there's the boost mechanic, the dodge mechanic, the AR (AKA Bullet Time) mechanic both manually and auto-triggered all of which are well worked and balanced in a game that has more variety in opponents as well. Not to mention it has most of the pros of CoD anyways, namely being well paced, fast paced, with fun set-pieces\boss encounters\climactic moments (however you want to phrase it). It also offers more challenge in its God Difficulty than recent CoD's games on veteran. In other words, its everything CoD is, plus a lot more. Part of my perception and feeling about the game probably stems from the fact that my first play-through wasn't on normal or casual, nor is it with most games, since many mechanics don't actually shine or become necessary until harder difficulties, which is true of many well made single player games.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

@rarson

did you read the same article as I did? He said not all games need MP, but as a whole it seem Japanese developers are ingoring it and it turn it hurting them. 

 

He dead on about vanquish, and before you open your mouth read the article or risk being viewed as a blowhard yourself.

 

GreggD
GreggD

 @734M4n9

 Dude, Tomb Raider and Deus Ex are Western-developed, they're just published by a Japanese company.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

 @734M4n9 the games you just listed don't need MP......The example Cliff gave could have.

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

Max payne 3 would like to say Hi on that Slow mo does not work on MP bit.

DESTROYRS_F8
DESTROYRS_F8

I beg to differ.  'bullet-time' worked well in F.E.A.R. 1 MP PC.

MurphysGhost
MurphysGhost

 @Gusz2 Max Payne 3 uses the 'bubble' system - it doesn't work like Vanquish at all.

ShangTsung17
ShangTsung17

 @Coconutmunkee  ah..  the grammer nazi comeback..  cute..  lol   yea i didn't pay too much attention in english class,  i was too busy beating up nerdy little bitches like u...   :)

MurphysGhost
MurphysGhost

 @Jestersmiles - Max Payne 3 uses the bubble system.

 

If I go into slow-mo and you're in my line of sight, so do you... that's nothing like Vanquish... try again, though. There is no game where every player has access to exclusive on-demand time dilation online. Because... *drum roll* it wouldn't work.

 

So again, the idea is that they should've changed the essential mechanics of their game to please multiplayer crowd. There are enough MP games already.

vault-boy
vault-boy

 @ShangTsung17  @ss Hey, you can cuss on the internet, your mom isn't going to see it. Shes to busy being fucked... by me.