Why Games Need to Have a Single Player Narrative.6 months ago
There was a time when gamers would request to have a multiplayer mode slapped onto every game, even though that game's mechanics are not meant to work in an online environment. Observing this trend, developers soon began to lean more towards games that are built from the ground up to work only for online multiplayer. Hence we got games which are online only such as World of Warcraft, League of Legends, and more recently Destiny, and The Division. This is where some game companies are wrong.
As time goes by, everything becomes mundane. How many "strikes" and "raids" can gamers repeatedly do every day before they get bored? Or they have already accomplished everything the game has to offer? Games such as Destiny and The Division have you repeatedly completing the same "modes" over and over again to earn "gears" so that you can have the best for your character. However, that kind of motivation doesn't last long, because the core of a game is the gameplay, and people will get bored fighting the same enemies every time. This is when gamers yearn for something else that can drive them to want to play a game which is a comprehensive and engaging story. Sure, one can argue that even online driven games have a story in them. Online games may have a story, sure, but how many have we seen so far which actually had a good story?
A good story will make people want to keep playing the game because they want to know what happens next and how it will end. Sometimes a game with a good story can even carry an entire game, even when the gameplay isn't that great. An example is Mafia 3, which was slammed for having repetitive gameplay structure, however, people kept playing because it had a good story. Gamers wanted to know how the story ends despite it being repetitive. Not only can a good story compensate bad gameplay, but when paired with great gameplay, it's icing on a cake. The Uncharted series have won numerous awards for having a great narrative, and sales numbers show it.
Game companies realize this and are slowly leaning towards having a story driven campaign when creating their games. One prime example is Titanfall 2. Although the first Titanfall was great, it fell short of expectations because it lacked a single player campaign, one major complaint from gamers who played it. This is the reason why Respawn Entertainment made a story campaign, and EA heavily marketed this as its selling point alongside the online portion of the game.
What's more, not every gamer has blazing internet speed or even internet for that matter. Many people that found a game interesting are put off by the fact that the game they like is actually online only. Any interest is immediately foreshadowed when one does not get a good connection when playing. Problems such as lag and lack of player base from the same region take away from fun one may have. From a business standpoint, this is bad because of lost sales. Having a single player campaign ensures maximum exposure and a wider market that caters to both offline and online gamers, which will lead to more sales and revenue.
In the end, the single player narrative should not be a thing of the past as some would say, but should be kept and improved upon. Creativity in storytelling should not only be constrained to movies and books, but also in games.