Duke Nukem Forever is finally coming out, despite yet another epically announced delay on the part of Gearbox Software. As the title crawls towards its ever-distancing release date, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford is constantly popping up in interviews and headlines on gaming blogs everywhere.
His latest quote, and definitely the one I’m most inclined to agree with, centers around the notion that multiplayer shouldn’t be crammed into a singleplayer game just to make money. Pitchford, with this suggestion, has now earned my respect as an excellent persona for the gaming industry. Here’s what he told EDGE Magazine.
You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can’t be forced. That’s the problem…
It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units…The best imaginable is a peak of 4-5 million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.
Pitchford specifically offers up the Dead Space series as one that saw the forced addition of multiplayer to its already stellar singleplayer selling point. I’m more inclined to point towards BioShock 2 as another guilty member of the “this-really-didn’t-need-multiplayer” club.
And, Pitchford is absolutely right when he cites outstandingly successful multiplayer products as a source for shoehorning inspiration. Publishers see games like Call of Duty: Black Ops do so incredibly well in sales and they want to replicate the results.
But, for a project that doesn’t need multiplayer, and a team that isn’t seasoned in the concept, there’s no sense adding entire game mechanics that have no right being a part of a franchise.