Every year, it feels like there’s at least one mention that single-player games are dead and buried. Every year when that statement is made, single-player games wake-up and kung-fu punch their way out of the cheap coffin they’ve been placed in, going full Kill Bill Volume 2 only without having to endure at least two hours worth of waffling.
2018 has been a prime example of the genre not just being alive and well, but kicking ass at the same time. God of War, Marvel’s Spider-Man and Octopath Traveller are just a few examples of games rising to the challenge, and we haven’t even closed off the year yet with the sequels to Hitman and Red Dead Redemption.
What does the future hold though? Will developers ever cease focusing on single-player games and pump more resources into the potentially more lucrative fields where games exist as a service for new content and streams of revenue? With Bethesda releasing Fallout 76 soon, you’d think that at least one big name developer is bidding farewell to games where story comes first and online takes preference. Bethesda apparently, is far from done when it comes to making the kind of games that made the studio famous in the first place.
“We thought it was important to say: hey, new IP, single player, sci-fi thing coming, hey we are doing The Elder Scrolls 6 after that,” Bethesda senior vice president Pete Hines said in an interview with Eurogamer, addressing the lack of details regarding Starfield after it was briefly announced at E3 2018.
So that people didn’t start spinning off on, like, that’s the end of single-player games from Bethesda Game Studios. Bethesda’s next big game after this is going to be Starfield, which is decidedly singleplayer, our next game as a publisher is going to be Rage 2—decidedly singleplayer. We’re also doing DOOM Eternal which does have multiplayer, but is pretty staunchly singleplayer.
As for the actual details on Starfield and the sixth Elder Scrolls? They are coming, but they’re going to be “a while from now and a really long while from now! Respectively.” The main gist of what Hines had to say, is that while Bethesda was still devoted to single-player games, the studio couldn’t help but experiment from time to time with a bit of multiplayer dabbling. Such experiences were “usually the result of our developers wanting to branch out and try different things,” a breath of fresh air for the studio that wasn’t the result of their parent company looking to make a quick buck, said Hines.
I want to add co-op to our game to see what it does. I want to add online—they want to expand their skillsets and try to bring different experiences to their games as well, because they’re creative and they want to push the boundaries and try new things.
Variety is the spice of life after all. There’s nothing wrong with a touch of the ol’ multiplayer, especially if it doesn’t detract from the meat of the game. When done right, multiplayer is essentially the sauce on that bun, adding flavour and something different to the final product. When it’s done wrong, it’s the onion rings on a gaming burger.
I’ve got no idea where I’m really going with this analogy, save for the fact that I hate onions. Anyway, single-player games aren’t dead, the genre is going to be around for a while and Bethesda will still remain as a vanguard for the kinds of games that you should raise your kids on. That’s what I call a happy ending.
Last Updated: October 9, 2018
October 9, 2018 at 12:17
The day game developers stop single player games is the day I stop playing games. Period.
Let me edit this. I’ll stop buying any new games and play all my old ones.
October 9, 2018 at 11:50
What would the gaming space be without gems like Borderlands, Dying Light, Portal, Witcher 3. SP games won’t die, ever, and the less there are, the more hungry people will get for them.