It's a hot-button issue amongst veteran gamers, many of whom remain convinced that the multiplayer boom has had a noticeably negative effect on single-player adventures.
Many – including yours truly – dreads the day that single-player campaigns become obsolete and everyone only cares about online multiplayer. And although many designers and developers say there will always be a place for the solitary gamer, EA isn't buying it. In speaking with Develop , EA Games president Frank Gibeau said his company will remain focused on "connected gameplay experiences," and that the era of single-player entertainment is slowly dying away. Said Gibeau:
"Online is where the innovation, and the action, is at. I volunteer you to speak to EA’s studio heads; they’ll tell you the same thing. They’re very comfortable moving the discussion towards how we make connected gameplay – be it co-operative or multiplayer or online services – as opposed to fire-and-forget, packaged goods only, single-player, 25-hours-and you’re out. I think that model is finished."
Gibeau does clarify that he's not merely talking about multiplayer gaming, but other forms of "connectivity" with interactive entertainment. An example of that might be Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit , which doesn't require online connectivity but with the Autolog feature, it certainly encourages a player to be online. But of course, there are still plenty of quality titles out there that don't bother with multiplayer, including the recent Vanquish and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West , as well as premier, measuring-stick titles like God of War III and Heavy Rain .
But what concerns many is that the most popular games tend to be very multiplayer-driven; Call of Duty is only one example. Furthermore, the sheer amount of time players put into online multiplayer is reminiscent of…well, obviously, of the MMO mentality, which contains certain addictive elements. This may be what's driving the multiplayer explosion these days, but there's one thing of which we're certain: if EA is right (and we don't think they are) and the single-player campaign dies…millions of gamers – yes, millions – might stop playing tomorrow. Including me.