I’ve got a lot more respect for Spec Ops: The Line‘s creative lead, Cory Davis. He’s not afraid to speak his mind about multiplayer.
His wonderful war game Spec Ops: The Line was meant to solely be a single player experience, and the team had dreams of redefining the emotion gamers feel when dropping into a virtual battlefield. By and large, they succeeded greatly. Spec Ops: The Line is not a comfortable a video game to play, showing the harsh realities of war and terrible decisions trained men must make in the name of freedom.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a single critic out there who didn’t shower Spec Ops: The Line‘s magnificent story telling in compliments. The gameplay is another matter, with most of the flak being taken by the “tacked on” multiplayer.
And you know what, Cory Davis agrees. In an interview with Polygon, he lambasts a future where developers are forced to shoehorn muliplayer into games where it was never intended to be, going so far as to call his own multiplayer “a cancerous growth.” Awesome!
“The publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened – even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game.”
There is a large movement in video gaming which decries needless multiplayer as a pointless drain of resources that does nothing but detract from the core single-player experience. Some games are built around multiplayer with the campaign being an afterthought, and some miraculously work thanks to popular developers being backed by wealthy publishers.
But then there are first time developers like Yager Development trying to revive a reviled and dead franchise like Spec Ops, and a mid-level publisher like 2K can still demand a multiplayer component. Spec Ops: The Line‘s multiplayer was outsourced to Darkside Studios and not developed by the core team. How does Cory Davis think his multiplayer holds up after a few months?
“There’s no doubt that it’s an overall failure. It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience. And it was a waste of money. No one is playing it.”
For shame, but hey! At least you have a second-tier Call of Duty knock off with that marvelously crafted campaign, right? Lucky you!
The interview is long and very interesting, but spoils quite a lot about the game. Read at your own risk. Our impressions of Spec Ops: The Line can be found here. It’s available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.