Randy Pitchford: Multiplayer isn’t always needed

| Apr 7, 2011

The Gearbox exec is sick of games that put multiplayer where it doesn’t belong.

Citing Dead Space 2 as a recent example of a game in which multiplayer was unnecessary, Gearbox honcho Randy Pitchford said that developers often get bogged down when they try to design with a list of “concept-free” features like co-op, multiplayer, and campaign length.

“When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer,” said Pitchford. “You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically, it can’t be forced. That’s the problem.”

Pitchford says developers need to acknowledge there’s a limit to what they can do, and need to focus creatively on the game’s core concept, rather than the extra features. Again referencing Dead Space, he said, “It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units. The best imaginable is a peak of four or five million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.”

“They’re wrong, of course. What they should do instead is say that they’re comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment’s required to focus it on what the promise is all about.”

It’s an interesting thought, and I, for one, am in complete agreement.

Source: Edge

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