With the huge demand for multiplayer everything these days, games that are built around a single-player campaign run the risk of new-gen alienation.
But if the single-player experience is good enough, perhaps it doesn't matter ('cough' Uncharted 2 'cough'). Developers are aware of the balancing act; just ask God of War III director Stig Asmussen, who says that while SCEA certainly discussed the possibility of multiplayer options in GoWIII, it's not a focus. During a recent GamePro interview , Asmussen compared his game to Resident Evil 5 and asked if we thought the multiplayer there made the experience "better." The interviewer admitted that it kinda didn't, which led to Asmussen's response:
"Hmm, that kind of sets me up for my response, then. I'm a huge Resident Evil fan, but I got two hours into Resident Evil 5, and I wasn't playing multiplayer, either. I stopped playing, which I've never done before. Previously, I've beaten them all. With God of War 3, there's a story we want to tell and an experience we want to deliver, and multiplayer doesn't fit into that.
Does that mean we don't have conversations about multiplayer? No. Of course we have conversations about multiplayer, and there's a lot of things we think about. Imagine two Kratos characters running around at the same time. Once you do that, the story becomes something more about an experience between two players and less about something that we're scripting."
We've said it before and we'll say it again: when you open the door to multiplayer and freedom-oriented single-player campaigns, you essentially cripple the possibility of enjoying a well-written story. A story is linear; constant branching-offs cause almost insurmountable problems from a plotting standpoint. Therefore, SCEA rightly focused on the single-player campaign and story in GoWIII, but Asmussen did say there's a chance of seeing downloadable challenge rooms at some point in the future. That, we can live with.
Related Game(s): God of War III