We're always worried about it. But in some ways, we have to disagree with such dire predictions.

With the multiplayer boom stronger than ever and gamers often accusing developers of a lacking single-player focus, many are wondering if solo campaigns will eventually bite the dust. Well, according to veteran game consultant Mark Cerny, they will.

In speaking to Eurogamer , Cerny predicted that the single-player experience will be extinct in three years. This is depressing for those of us who have never been bitten by the multiplayer bug, but maybe we'll be forced to accept it. Said Cerny:

"I believe the traditional single-player game experience will be gone in three years. Right now you sit in your living room and you're playing a game by yourself – we call it the sp mission or the single-player campaign. In a world with Facebook I just don't think that's going to last.

We're already seeing the wall starting to crumble a bit. Demon's Souls, even though on one level it's a single-player game, as you're walking through the world you're seeing the ghosts of everybody who died in that world via the internet. You can leave messages for them. They can leave messages for you. There's actually a boss you fight in that game which is controlled by another player."

As an example of Cerny's theory, Nintendo recently submitted a patent application for a "massively single-player game," which the consultant calls "kind of Orwellian." He says that games without other players will be "unthinkable given how connected we're becoming," and at the end of the day, the world may never see Single Player vs. AI again. At least, not in the purest form.

And perhaps, when that does does come, I drop the controller forever.

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big6
big6
9 years ago

Three years will be just in time for Uncharted 4, no?
I hope Uncharted can, at least, maintain its single player awesomeness.

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

I wouldn't worry about Naughty Dog or Uncharted.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Yeah, well the month long PSN outage proves the fallacy of such statements. If the single player campaign/story mode was no longer part of games, a network outage could become extremely painful, and also be extraordinarily limiting on gamers without reliable or available network connectivity.

I have also yet to see any multi-player game with a compelling multi-player narrative. Open world games perhaps, but nothing with a focused and progressive narrative. Single player games are no more likely to die out as suggested than the novel is.

But, I'll tell you this. If this ever comes to pass, I will yank the cord on my console, and put it away and find a good book to read, a paper book, the kind with pages and a binding, not the crappy kindle kind.

Fabi
Fabi
9 years ago

Exactly. This is ridiculous.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

I'd just continue…

Cant beat em' join em'

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

Soooooooooo ridiculous… =O

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

I am with you on that Highlander.

I mostly play singleplayer games. I do enjoy the multiplayer games as well, but the bulk of my gaming experience is by myself.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
9 years ago

If single player games die out, my game collection would shrink by about 90%.

I actually enjoy fun multiplayer games like GT5, Motorstorm, LBP 2, Gears 2 and Halo Reach, but there are very view games that excite me like a great single player game. Mass Effect 3 is the most popular game preordered amongst me and all my friends, what does that tell you?

If single player were to die, I'd play games far less than I do now. Most likely I'll watch more movies or read more books for my story fix, and just play online with friends once or twice a week whenever they are free.

GuyverLT
GuyverLT
9 years ago

That is something you and I can agree on Mr. Highlander. I play nothing but the single-player part of games, I literally never touch Multi-player, so if the that dreadful day ever comes I'll find a new hobby……

I've been looking into the whole male escort thing for older women…….. I hear it pays well also….

Er!! Did I type that out loud???? Well just scratch out that last part then and prtend you never saw it.

Peace


Last edited by GuyverLT on 8/17/2011 6:52:36 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Highlander:
"Single player games are no more likely to die out as suggested than the novel is." -> Exactly. That's how I see it too. No discussion there.

But you mention something I'd love to discuss a bit further:
"I have also yet to see any multi-player game with a compelling multi-player narrative."

This is a huge challenge indeed, and most multiplayer games have no narrative whatsoever for this very reason.

But I would like to point out that there is light at the end of the tunnel: Many multiplayer coop games follow the storyline regardless of being played single or cooperatively. And some of those are pretty well executed in that particular aspect.
Games like Mercenaries 2, Fear 3, Borderlands and Lost Planet 2 comes to mind, and the best of them all imo: Saints Row 2.

In all these games the storyline is the exact same being played single or with a friend. Cut scenes, scripted events, all the narratives remains.

And to use Saints Row 2 as the proof of concept here: The missions are cleverly made so that they can either be solved both solo or cooperatively, or a npc takes the place of your buddy when playing single, just like in any other game. During coop play neither of you feel "obsolete", the missions all have that extra room for you in the events.

Also I'd say the single player experience do not suffer from the coop option at all – actually it may be quite the contrary. The added efforts put into the making of the coop play may have dribbled down also to the SP.

And the cut scenes are done using the game engine, so each player see their own ingame custom character as the main character from their perspective of the story.
I guess it sounds weird how both players then feel like playing the main character of a story with only one main, but really, it works!

By all means, none of the mentioned games are nowhere *near* anything like the dramas in Mass Effect or <insert your fav here> when it comes to storytelling, but then again, the business is not that experienced with creating multiplayer narratives. I remain cautiously optimistic in these regards.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/18/2011 3:16:38 AM

Paolo Kutaragi
Paolo Kutaragi
9 years ago

"But, I'll tell you this. If this ever comes to pass, I will yank the cord on my console, and put it away and find a good book to read, a paper book, the kind with pages and a binding, not the crappy kindle kind." Says TheHighlander. Thanks a lot. That's what I'm planning to do as well.

telly
telly
9 years ago

Agree completely. I think online components will be more or less standard fare — they are already — in all games, but single player narratives aren't going anywhere. I think what you may see is the OPTION to have more co-op in "single player" games. For example, imagine LA Noire 2 lets you play as Cole Phelps, as did part 1. But the game gives you the option of having a friend play as your partner on any given case or cases, which would allow the two of you to crack cases together. Or, you can forego that option and just do everything on your own. Things like that sound just fine to me.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Beamboom says;
Games like Mercenaries 2, Fear 3, Borderlands and Lost Planet 2 comes to mind, and the best of them all imo: Saints Row 2.

Beamboom, you need to stop confusing genre.

Mercenaries 2 – Open world, sandbox, shooter
Fear 3 – horror, shooter
Borderlands – 1st person shooter prentending to be an action RPG
Lost Planet – Shooter
Saints Row 2 – Open world, third person shooter.

They're all shooters, open world shooters, sandbox shooters first person shooters, third person shooters. Note the commonality, shooters. Sorry, but I don't see why you're bothering to mention any of these games as some kind of counter to my point. The point presumably being this – "I have also yet to see any multi-player game with a compelling multi-player narrative. Open world games perhaps, but nothing with a focused and progressive narrative. "

None of the games you've mentioned counter what I'm saying. They're all shooters with single and multi-player modes that do not rely principally on the single player mode of the game. They're built to be multi-player shooters. What they lack is that focused, progressive narrative that you see in a single player focused game like Uncharted. Uncharted is a third person action/shooter. But the primary game mode is single player, and it has a very focused and progressive narrative. The game is focused on this story, and not on the multi-player action.

Without the single player experience, there's nothing, literally nothing, in the game for me at all. Each of the games you mentioned has single and multi-player modes, and the story (such as it is) plays out in those single player modes.

So, I'll say again;

I have also yet to see any multi-player game with a compelling multi-player narrative. Open world games perhaps, but nothing with a focused and progressive narrative. Single player games are no more likely to die out as suggested than the novel is.

But, I'll tell you this. If this ever comes to pass, I will yank the cord on my console, and put it away and find a good book to read, a paper book, the kind with pages and a binding, not the crappy kindle kind.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I don't understand… What exactly do you mean by "multi-player game" then? You say "ANY multiplayer game", and I reply with shooter open world games where the narrative is the same playing it single player or multi player…

Sorry, I just do not understand…!

Also I do not try to counter anything you say, I try to contribute to the topic by saying that maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel, and try to come up with examples that might indicate so… That maybe it is possible to feature a good narrative also in multi player games.

That's all…


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/18/2011 2:44:30 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

You and I come from completely different schools of thought if you think that those games have the kind of narrative I am talking about.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

I actually rather think this is a rare case of me being more optimistic than you! 😀

I don't mean to say that I think you should play the mentioned games. Not at all. Actually I'd not recommend a single one of them to you 🙂

I just think there is hope ahead, and that these games illustrate a small step in that direction.

For example, Uncharted, as you mention. I see no reason why those games could not have featured coop play. You usually have a companion anyway, and he/she is also participating in solving the puzzles. Why not let that character be playable as an *optional* feature? That would not affect the narrative in any radical way?
This is what I try to say: I believe a good narrative *and* a good multiplayer coop feature can be combined. One does not necessarily kill the other. Yes it does complicate things, yes it is a challenge, but it is doable. Or so I claim. But I may be wrong.

Like a wise man once said: It's hard to make predictions, especially of the future. 🙂


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/19/2011 3:05:01 AM

mastiffchild
mastiffchild
9 years ago

SP games will NOT be going anywhere and it's daft to imagine that they will. Definitely the level of importance that currently sees a lot of games try to do BOTh SP and MP will die down as developers learn which games suit which and some don't suit both modes.

Also, there's SP and there's SP. While there's online for games like Demon's Souls it's still BASICALLY a SP game and most RPGs will remain that way. Hell, unless you play PvP a lot of MMOs are still REALLY SP experiences.

I think the sales of games like Enslaved are what push things like this article but, remember, the SP in that game only had a story-there wasn't any gameplay. Combat was stiff and dull and the platforming? Don't get me started.

Anyway, a LOT of gamers want SP experiences while I imagine it'd be cheaper for devs to get people buying and sticking with MP games but even then I mostly like some SP meat to provide a frame of reference for my MP anyway.

Another thing is the games which have been KILLED by co-op lately. i love co-op and think it has it's place but it's not in games like RE and not in LP2 as AI(friendly AI esp) isn't up to the supporting role and we aren't at a place in time where online conections are stable enough to rely on full time either so what do you do if you have no Wifi? Waht if your ISP is down? What if Live/PSN/Steam fail?

Sure, online and co-op is more import5ant today but just as we all still like to play some classic game types(SMB is still as highly loved today as it ever was)there will always be a massive market for escapism of the lone variety. Even more so with the advent of better handheld gaming-look at the number of JRPGs on DS/PSP and iOS? Look at MGSPW? Look at the RE games for 3DS and, likely, for Vita? Look at Uncharted Vita?

For games to die out in three years as SP experiences we'd have to lose about a half of those gamers that buy more than two games a year. It's stupid.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

XD

Neo_Aeon666
Neo_Aeon666
9 years ago

He snapped? XD

OPHIDIAN
OPHIDIAN
9 years ago

I will predict his death if he continues to make illogical statements.

Kiryu
Kiryu
9 years ago

hehe that's funny Mr.mark kerny

cthulhu_spawn
cthulhu_spawn
9 years ago

Surely in a way though he's also disproving his own point. It's well known psychologically that people, though a social animal at heart, also need solitude and their own space as part of keeping a balanced and stable state of mind from time to time. In a digital age where everyone is so connected all the time by phones, computers etc the single player campaign allows people to escape from the enlarged and ever encroaching crowding of society and work through in private and disconnected from the throng and enjoy some much needed alone time

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Very much so. As the world becomes ever more 'always ON' it becomes more and more necessary to find some 'OFF' time, besides sleep.

But besides that, I'm utterly sick of the constant intrusion of the online world and it's 7.4 billion pairs of eyes watching my every move. There's a reason I don't use Facebook, Twitter or any of those other online fart counters. I don't want to feel like I am being watched. i don't want people asking me why I'm playing a game at 3am, it should be perfectly obvious that either the game is great, or I have trouble sleeping, either way, it's NONE of their business.

Yes, I called Facebook, Twitter, and the rest "online fart counters". It's a perfect description of the level of drivel that makes up the vast majority of utterances on any of these social sites.

TheAgingHipster
TheAgingHipster
9 years ago

Don't sugar coat it, Highlander, tell me how you really feel!

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

@cthulhu_spawn: So true. Also, it's funny that even the Facebook games has "single player experiences" – that goes to prove what you say here.
I play Mafia Wars practically entirely as a single player game. I just do "npc quests" and level up, spend my points and don't give a rat's ass about the rest of my "mafia" (guild).

@Highlander: Others don't know you are playing at 3 in the morning any more on Facebook than your friends do via the PSN friends list 😉
You can turn off your online status in Facebook just like you can log off PSN.
So your farts are not counted unless you want to share them with us. And please, don't. 😀


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/18/2011 1:38:19 AM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

You can turn off your status, you can block this and that. But then there is the trail of breadcrumbs from the game you play. Facebook in particular is bad for this because all those games want to publish the trivial achievements in your game on your wall, so no matter what you do, it's there.

Fundamentally, I see your point that you can restrict the eyes from following yo, but you and I both know it's not that easy to block all viewing eyes, and you and I also both know that's not really the point.

In security you can set up a firewall one of two ways, open everything and only block those things that become a problem, or block everything and poke holes in the wall for what is absolutely necessary. I view my privacy in a similar manner. I prefer the block all approach, but the majority in society seem blissfully unaware that they're running an open firewall.

Excelsior1
Excelsior1
9 years ago

i really dislike cryptic predictions like this becuase i think there will always be enough room in the market for compelling sp experiences. games like la noire demonstrate this. it sold 4 million copies and is a new ip as well.

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Exactly. These predictions are just bullshit. As long as there is a market for it, it will be made.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
9 years ago

I mean… with almost every new game you guys get you always complain about it one way or another for the most part…

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

You do not understand us, or what we're talking about. Have fun with your connected future when you can't escape the scrutiny of every friend of a friend of a friend on your friend's friend list.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Without the market pointing out flaws and praising positive accomplishments the games would all become crap. We, the consuming public, serve a purpose in our exhortations. If we didn't, then developers like Square Enix and Bioware wouldn't be so interested in altering their products to suit fan's desires.

It always adds up to better games, even if it means the game we complain about dies out so something better can come along. Each person maybe just a small voice, but together we can change gaming for the better even by whining at our computers.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/17/2011 5:07:37 PM

Beamboom
Beamboom
9 years ago

Post of the month right there, WorldEndsWithMe.

telly
telly
9 years ago

And also World, it's fun to have frank and homnest conversations about things you care about.

Claire C
Claire C
9 years ago

I guess I can consider all the PS1 RPG collecting I've been doing as planning for the future. :/

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Those artifacts will be worth something someday.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

Indeed – both of you. Time to start collecting, even if I don't play right now.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

I'm collecting them to play now, lol. Really, even if these horribly improbable predictions came true, we have decades of single-player games to play. Even if the entire games industry crashed tomorrow, we still couldn't play all the greats.

cthulhu_spawn
cthulhu_spawn
9 years ago

I spose in its simplest form my view would be this. If ya wanna interact socially-turn on facebook, ifya wanna game socially-play world of warcraft, ifya wanna play and challenge yaself with a game-turn on the ps3, ifya wanna game but do feel abit lonely, get some mates round with afew beers and play single player games passing the controller round the room and mock ya mates when you get to watch their little faces distort when they get stuck and have some proper interaction 🙂 All have their merits and all should be accepted and be allowed to thrive

FatherSun
FatherSun
9 years ago

Extinct? An endangered species maybe but never extinct!

If he were the first to say this then I would see why he is making the statement. But, he is not the first and definitely won't be the last. Another monkey seeing others and doing as they do.

Those making this statement have a point. But having a point does not make it correct. If the industry limits or eliminates single player experiences my gaming will be cut by 99% and I may lose interest altogether. If this tragedy does happen it would not last. Years later people would be sick and tired of the "Always Connected" lifestyle and will yearn to "DISCONNECT". They will crave the single player experience again and we will cycle back to where we are now.

It's the year 2021. Hey did you hear..? There is a new game coming out that is single player only. It does not utilize online at all. Wow! Such innovation!

SixSpeedKing
SixSpeedKing
9 years ago

Yes great thinking. I agree and hope you are right.

Bjorn77
Bjorn77
9 years ago

Facebook this, Twitter that… I don't have any of that! If future gaming means no singeplayer then I stop playing games. Don't like it, don't want it.

It is dumb, I think a great amount of money in the gaming industry is coming from people as myself. Educated people with expandable cash which they can waste on games. In my teenage years I had like 5 or 6 games which I played a lot… now I own 40+ games which I play hardly at all.

I don't think they can survive on the facebook generation in 3 years… it is a dumb remark. They are young, they are in school and have no money whatsoever. It takes at least 10-15 years imo.

Warrior Poet
Warrior Poet
9 years ago

bah, I'm 16 and I make money selling retro stuff on ebay. My friends chop wood for old people. It's not that hard to make money in high school…but yeah, I understand.

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
9 years ago

I think other SP mode gamers will agree when I say……

"Go straight to hell, Mark Cerny"!!!!!!!

Besides, if & when that day comes, so far I've already got 2120 "psychical" based cartridge & disc games in my collections that I'll just go revert back too….
Burgertime, Starfox64, Urban Strike, Frogger, Crazy Taxi, Bloody Roar, anyone?


Last edited by BikerSaint on 8/17/2011 5:01:22 PM

Clamedeus
Clamedeus
9 years ago

<3 Starfox, <3 Bloody Roar. 😀

Karosso
Karosso
9 years ago

Not as long as Sony and its 1st Party Studios have any saying on the matter. It might happen, but not that soon.
I will start buying HD collections of PS2 games games I haven't played and also get all the cheap PS3 greats I missed and save than for the rainy day, just in case 🙂

KNG201
KNG201
9 years ago

"And perhaps, when that does does come, I drop the controller forever."
Me too….

Teddie9
Teddie9
9 years ago

yeah I'll probably do the same after I clean out my backlog.

Some of the most memorable and beautiful gaming moments were meant to be experienced alone. If nearly all games had a prominent multiplayer aspect (and I mean having more importance than the single player) that would create too much competition for the multiplayer-oriented gamers. Most developers wouldn't be able to compete in that market against a publisher like Activision for Example.

For the record Demon Soul's has a unique multiplayer aspect but it has nothing really to do with connectivity. You can't speak with your co-op partners or hook up with specific people conveniently, It was designed so that you primarily still felt that you were alone on your journey – it was part of the atmosphere. Such a multiplayer experience wouldn't be accepted in this world that Mr.Cerny is predicting.

Cuetes
Cuetes
9 years ago

I predict this guy will be unemployed in 3 years and anybody who listened to him will be as well. Solo gaming made this hobby (arcades helped), so it's not going anywhere anytime soon. If it did go this way I'm putting my controller down for good.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

I agree with this man for the most part, but not on the 3 years thing. I think even the greatest SP experiences will feel the pressure to add some kind of multiplayer integration. I think Demon's Souls has set the bar for how it will work too. So long as these games still function WITHOUT online then little will change for me.

But if it all went to capture the flag crap like CoD then I'd be done with gaming too.