I know I vented about this in my last blog (which for some reason was double posted), but I want to talk about it again, since Titanfall is only a week away. I know lots of people are excited for Titanfall, as from what I've seen, it looks like a great game. The only problem is, it's online only. I'm a single player gamer, although I used to play online multiplayer a lot. Hell, I never touched the single player in Quake 3 on the Dreamcast, as every time I turned that game on, I jumped online. Speaking of Dreamcast, I LOVED Phantasy Star Online, but the thing about these Dreamcast games is that I can still power them up and play them without the Dreamcast servers. They have single player modes, even with Online being in the title of Phantasy Star Online.
So I'm looking at Titanfall in the future; three, four, five, however many years down the line. There's going to come a point where the online community is no longer buzzing enough to keep the game interesting, or EA will simply shut down servers (and they do that, a lot). What appeal will Titanfall have at that point? None. Respawn has made a game that can not be played because no one else is playing it. Why is our entertainment medium - video games - the ONLY medium that does this? It's effectively the same as making cars that cannot be driven unless there's a passenger in it, or eating a pizza only when you have someone else at the table. Why on earth can't you just drive yourself, or enjoy your pizza by yourself? I know these aren't the best analogies, but you get what I'm saying.
Now, Respawn would have you believe that no one plays single-player campaigns anymore, but that's ridiculous. There ARE very successful single player FPSs, and single player ONLY ones at that. Bioshock Infinite was a huge success, after all, and that had no multiplayer whatsoever. So obviously, people WILL play the single player campaigns, if you make them good enough. There's a reason most COD players skip the campaign, because they're worthless. How is that OUR fault, though? Why blame single player gamers who don't want to pay 60 dollars for a five hour campaign? There's your problem. You want more sales? Make your single player worth playing, and you'll attract even more sales. This is Titanfall's misstep. They're missing out on sales, because it has nothing to offer for single player gamers. Even if it had, say, a run of the mill five hour campaign, I'd have at least bought it at 30. I'm sure millions of others would, too.
I get that may MMOs and MMORPGs are still doing fine, and have been for years, but those are different beasts. Many of these are designed around subscriptions, earning a steady income for further development to expand the game world. These online worlds have their own stories as well, so there's something to be enjoyed by someone who's just playing by himself, even if he's online. Multiplayer only games like Titanfall don't have that. They're just full of maps where everyone goes around killing themselves, regardless of how shiny your guns are and how big your mechs are. Believe it or not, though, MMORPG and MMOs will come to an end. World of Warcraft is still going, but there will come a time where we'll see even their servers shut down.
Even then, MMORPGs could have had their own offline worlds. FFXII proved to me that you could have an MMORPG-like experience in an offline game. The gambit system was a great way to govern the AI of your party members, and I think it would be in Blizzard's and every other developer's best interests to devise an offline mode to keep their games alive well after they kill their servers. There just isn't any reason for games to cease to exist. How are we to view games as art if we simply throw them away like that?
It's not just Titanfall I'm upset with; it's Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare also. It just irks me that people say, "Stop asking for single player! The game doesn't need it, because it's designed to be a multiplayer game!" You do realize that it was the single player that attracted gamers to the franchise, right? Garden Warfare most certainly could have had a single-player mode, because it has an awesome world full of enemies that could have easily been incorporated into a story-mode, but it's far more easier to focus on simple repetitive mutliplayer experiences... And that is Respawn in a nutshell. "No one plays single player campaigns." No, you're just too fucking lazy to give us a good one.
In my eyes, multiplayer is an extension of the single player game. I've always viewed it to be the other half of a game, so when I think of multiplayer only games, I only see half of a product. Then, I see it going for 60 dollars and I'm saying to myself, "Are you kidding me?" So you pay 60 dollars for a game that's dependent on A) Your ISP never giving you crap, B) The game servers never giving you crap, C) A community busy enough to still fill lobbies D) The servers still existing in the future. You're not paying for a game anymore; you're paying for a service.
And that, my friends, is where you're going to get screwed. We lost net neutrality, and I believe it was a Verizon CEO who said that gamers should pay more for their Internet because they're always online. So, expect to see this happen. If you live in an area where you have mandated data caps, how are you supposed to continue to enjoy your hobby? Did we not revolt when MS tried to make the Xbox One always online? Can you imagine what it would have been like if it were DD only? Because of where you live, you might not even be allowed enough BB to download all the games you want in a month. It just seems weird to me that we made MS change their Xbox One always-online policies, yet most have no problem with always-online Xbox One games...
So, we really shouldn't settle. We should be demanding strong single-player experiences AND strong multiplayer experiences. Games simply must continue to exist when online support is shut off. I guess my philosophy of games is different than the masses, because I want to see them preserved as an art form, just as with books, music and movies. People 100 years from now can go to libraries and read up on J.K. Rowling, and listen to the Beatles and watch The Godfather, but do you think a single one of them would know what the fuck a Titanfall was? No.