Horizon: Zero Dawn Proves That Single-Player Games Aren't Dead, Dev Says
"I think Horizon proves that there is a future for a really high quality single-player experience."
Lately, the viability of purely single-player games has been making headlines. Can games that have no multiplayer component survive in today's market where games try so hard to keep people engaged with a steady flow of post-release content? According to a developer from Horizon: Zero Dawn studio Guerrilla Games, single-player games are not going anywhere, though they could become challenged by business considerations.
GameSpot spoke with Guerrilla principal game designer Tim Stobo today at PAX Aus. He pointed out that some of the most highly rated games of 2017 have been purely single-player, listing off titles like his own Horizon: Zero Dawn, along with The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
"I think Horizon proves that there is a future for a really high quality single-player experience. [The upcoming story expansion Frozen Wilds] proves that again," Stobo explained. "We're really committed to delivering that high level, quality experience for players. It does seem like maybe there is a business shift in other parts of the industry. But at Guerrilla, we're just focused on telling amazing stories."
It seems pretty clear that single-player games will never completely vanish from the planet, but could they become more and more scarce as online-focused titles like Destiny continue to rise in popularity? Maybe, but that's not how Stobo is looking at it.
"I think it's better to look at it from the other perspective. I think we'll see more games like Destiny and I think there is a place for those," he said. "But you look at the best, more lauded games that have come out this year--there is Horizon, Zelda, Shadow of War. There are a lot of amazing single-player experiences. If we also get more always online experiences, I think that's great for the diversity of games."
Following the closure of EA's Visceral Games and the re-tooling of their Star Wars game--which was to be a linear, story-driven game--some took this as a signal that purely single-player games were going the way of the Dodo bird. Xbox boss Shannon Loftis said earlier this week that single-player games are here to stay, though she also acknowledged that their economics are "complicated."
Next up for Zero Dawn is the Frozen Wilds expansion, which comes out for PlayStation 4 on November 7. What do you think about the future for single-player games? Let us know in the comments below!
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