Up For Debate - Game Devs Dropping Single-Player In Favour Of Multiplayer

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Aug 29, 2015 4:00 PM

Recently it came to light that DICE has chosen not to include a single-player campaign in Star Wars Battlefront for the simple reason that no one would even play it anyway. Now, clearly DICE and EA have done this market research on this front. Between the two of them they've probably built a pretty clear picture of how popular single-player has been in previous DICE titles.

What they neglect to mention, however, is that every Battlefield campaign, bar none, has been universally bad. That’s no slight at DICE; the team knows what it’s doing with multiplayer, but the single-player introduced after Battlefield 2 basically screams tacked on. If DICE went to lengths to include a solid campaign with Star Wars Battlefront in the region of Call of Duty quality you can bet your bottom dollar that gamers would lap it up. Where once we drowned in single-player Star Wars shooters, we’re now stranded on Tatooine without a drop of Bantha-blood fizz to drink.

It’s a growing trend of late. Exhibit A is Evolve, the Mary Celeste of games. Released to the world in February without a proper single-player component, it hasn’t been seen nor heard since. Now, I’m not saying that’s going to happen to Star Wars Battlefront, but for the majority of $60 games to really hit it off, they do need to tick both boxes. See Titanfall for Exhibit B, if you like. 

There’s always exceptions of course, and gamers are far more receptive to a single-player only title than a multiplayer-only game if it's a AAA release. CD Projekt RED just announced The Witcher 3 shifted six million units in its first six weeks on sales. A staggering achievement, and testament to just how many people want deep, engrossing single-player experiences.

What we’re finding now however is that developers only have the time or the money to focus on one of these experiences. Having a massive single-player component alongside multiplayer that can last the long haul is rare indeed, and perhaps EA and DICE were right to cut single-player entirely.

Evolve and Titanfall suffered because they were new IPs in non-existent worlds. We didn’t know anything about these worlds other than one featured giant monsters and the other giant robots. They had no identity to call their own, and none of this could be exposed during online play. Star Wars Battlefront is set within one of the richest sci-fi universes going. It’s got seven and counting films to draw on, dozens of games and hundreds of books. When you take your Snowspeeder out into the Battle of Hoth, you don’t need a cut-scene explaining why. You know where you are and why, and outwitting fellow gamers rather than brain-dead AI will always be more satisfying.

I guess where I'm going with this is that multiplayer (normally) games can't stand on their own without a rich universe to support them, but the act of creating this back story inevitably detracts from the development on the multiplayer itself. The effect is that we can't have our cake and eat it normally, with either the single-player or the multiplayer suffering as a consequence.

Over to you then, do you think DICE were right to cut out single-player from Star Wars Battlefront? If a game is lacking multiplayer or single-player, will this prevent you from buying it and why?

Should single-player have been dropped from Star Wars Battlefront?

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15:40 Sep-03-2015

Battlefield Bad Company 2. Do I need to say more?

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20:52 Sep-02-2015

For some games, I think they should forget single player, especially BF, because it ends up mediocre and just add bots. Some games offer all 3 and do it well imo. However, companies should not be alienating those who do not have internet.

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20:34 Sep-02-2015

Removing single player from any game is a sin to Gamers! I prefer single player to multiplayer unless it is a game like War Thunder that needs it, This is what happens when Disney takes over! They ruin everything they buy out!

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22:59 Sep-01-2015

They have no right denying the Star Wars fans their story they have been waiting for years. I personally played the previous Battlefront games and I feel hurt when they go into the hearts of fans and destroy everything in there for money.

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08:51 Sep-01-2015

If they realized the campaign was going to be sh*t anyway, I can't blame them.
Why spend more time on writing the singleplayer if people will only complain about it?

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10:01 Aug-31-2015

Well I prefer to play campaign first. cause it helps to get to know the game from the depth. U get to live a life of a character which maybe u always dreamed of. its like u are in a movie & u being the hero, take example of assassins creed.

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20:48 Aug-30-2015

I mostly play single player. Rich, narrative-driven campaigns appeal to me more than competitive dueling with people online. I suppose it's because I find single player more immersive. Multiplayer continuously reminds you that you're only playing a game. Singleplayer allows your imagination a little more freedom to get involved with what's on the screen.

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21:35 Aug-30-2015

Couldn't agree more. It's also why they push MP. It's cheaper to design than creating a compelling story for an immersive FPS experience. Plus, MP has less replay value, so players will be up for effectively renting the next $60 game.

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07:01 Aug-31-2015

"MP has less replay value" I completely disagre with you there. Take Battlefield 3 for example. Would you replay that campagin? Or would you be replaying the multiplayer. Same with COD. Most of the games with good single player mostly focus on the single player.
But, some games, like Tomb Raider 2013, has way more replay value on the campaign.

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03:20 Aug-31-2015

Not to mention online multiplayer communities can be sucks sometimes, You can get kicked a lot just because you make one small single mistake.

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08:22 Aug-31-2015

''Rich, narrative-driven campaigns'' is a good way to describe it. Totally agree and I do the same.

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19:08 Aug-30-2015

I believe this pattern in publishers making their first priority multiplayer in their games show the attention gamers give to a game. Who will invest 15 hours or more into a story? I will. I believe that narrative is the strongest element in a game. Gamers' interests have shifted (or is shifting) from long hours in a winding and big story to a quick online session. In and out.

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19:11 Aug-30-2015

I dont hate it. I enjoy it aswell. But it does affect the game's, how would one say, self-cognition. Sort of its self ideology. How we perceive it.

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15:36 Aug-30-2015

I'm not a fan of any SWBF games, but I still feel as though they should have given fans of those games more in this sequel, than they did in the prequels.

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15:31 Aug-30-2015

If they had time to come up and sell dlc to you before even releasing the game, they had more than enough time to make a proper story campaign.

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15:28 Aug-30-2015

They cut it out because they want to milk fans for everything thy're worth, by selling them story dlc down the line.

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14:13 Aug-30-2015

i love all Bethesda games, TES, and fallout. but i haven't played and never will teso if that tells you anything. and i love games like witcher, gothic.

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14:28 Aug-30-2015

Exactly. I am exactly the same. It is the same for Star Wars KOTOR 1 & 2. I love them both, but I refuse to play Star Wars TOR because it is online multi player only. Take away the single player & they push out people like you & I.

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08:28 Aug-31-2015

And me. There's got to be lots of us, surely.

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14:06 Aug-30-2015

Recently it came to light that DICE has chosen not to include a single-player campaign in Star Wars Battlefront for the simple reason that no one would even play it anyway.


Well tell that to the millions of people that buy Elder Scrolls, Fallouts, & Witchers. Better yet tell that to the millions of people that still play the original Star Wars KOTOR & KOTOR 2.

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14:13 Aug-30-2015

What they're really saying is "We don't want to take the time to design a proper single player campaign that people would actually play, so here are some maps, here are some guns, and here are some starwars textures all piled ontop of a generic arena FPS engine.... now give us your money, and we'll quickly churn out another effortless cashcow next year."

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14:30 Aug-30-2015

Well Mass Effect 3 is the last EA game that I have bought. They started running with this whole multi player craze way back then & I haven't bought a game from them since.

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14:46 Aug-30-2015

To be fair though, that's Bioware.... the part of EA that actually IS creative.... for the most part EA is just a lazy ass developer who releases games year after year that are minor upgrades of their previous game.... example... the Madden series.... so this is really nothing new by EA standards.

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15:14 Aug-30-2015

Bioware was great before EA acquired them. For a while now Bioware has been on a steady decline with the quality of their games, & I blame that totally on EA's interference. Compare any pre-EA Bioware game to post-EA Bioware games & it is very obvious just how bad things are getting for Bioware while being stuck with EA as the boss & publisher.

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14:00 Aug-30-2015

No single player always equals a no buy from me. I never play multi player unless it is co-op or local multi player on a fighting game like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter.


I was extremely excited for Titanfall & Evolve until I learned there was no single player. I skipped them both because of no single player. Now with Battlefront 3 I am on the fence. I have to decide if the few single player modes that have been announced are enough to warrant a purchase of the game.

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13:04 Aug-30-2015

I have no interest in this game anymore

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12:23 Aug-30-2015

SP + MP + CO-OP


GRAPHICS + GAMEPLAY + STORY + MUSIC


THIS IS A COMPLETE GAME I WILL GIVE 10/10 BUT IF GAMEPLAY OR STORY IS NOT GOOD THEN IT WILL BE 7.0/10
BUT IF THIER IS NO SP THEN IT WILL BE 2/10 AND NEVER BUY IT!!!!

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10:04 Aug-30-2015

"Recently it came to light that DICE has chosen not to include a single-player campaign in Star Wars Battlefront for the simple reason that no one would even play it anyway."


Is this a f***ing joke?

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10:05 Aug-30-2015

They are basically playing with our patience.

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09:05 Aug-30-2015

When they dump SP, they basically say "Is your internet crap? Will it not work for a period of time? Well WE DON'T CARE PAY US 60 EUROS!"
Unless they drop the price at let's say 30 euros, I won't be buying it.

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07:36 Aug-30-2015

its just a way to remove DRM , have more performance and prevent from piracy just like the upcomming need for speed ... they dont give a **** if you play it single or multi ( personaly i like single player more , poeple are such jerks in multiplayer games they think its the real life deal

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07:55 Aug-30-2015

Well.... online only is actually a form of DRM..... personally I think the reason is that the devs have gotten lazy and don't want to deliver any actual content.... single player games require a whole lot more time, research, imagination, and polish to develop, whereas multiplayer game design is largely just throw a few maps and guns together, add a few objectives and call it a day.

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08:02 Aug-30-2015

And I totally agree about multiplayer game communities being full of complete douchebags that would get knocked on their prepubescent arses if they talked to someone like that in real life.... I mean it's one thing to mess with someone in good fun in a pvp game, but to act the way some of these little freaks act? Seriously their mom should smack the stupid off their faces.

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04:47 Aug-30-2015

Personally I think FPS games with tacked on single player missions are just boring as crap....... I remember a time when FPS games had good single AND multiplayer, but these were single player games from the ground up.... maybe thats what EA needs to do, build them as single player games and tack on the multiplayer...... worked for Doom, Duke3D, Quake, and countless others in the 90s.

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05:35 Aug-30-2015

Makes me question how good Halo 5's single player level design is since 343 took out co-op. Also, family should be include in games also, yet even multiplayer is being crippled. It seems the world is becoming less personal.

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