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Gearbox Boss Bemoans Superfluous Multiplayer Modes

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the i-don't-need-to-play-minesweeper-with-my-friends dept.

Games 136

Speaking with Edge magazine, Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford lamented the tendency of game publishers to force multiplayer modes into games that don't need them. Quoting: "Pitchford points to the likes of Dead Space 2 as evidence that decisions are often motivated by the desire to tick boxes on a feature list, rather than for the good of the game itself. 'Let’s forget about what the actual promise of a game is and whether it’s suited to a narrative or competitive experience,' he tells us. 'Take that off the table for a minute and just think about the concept-free feature list: campaign, co-op, how many players? How many guns? How long is the campaign? 'When you boil it down to that, you take the ability to make good decisions out of the picture. And the reason they do it is because they notice that the biggest blockbusters offer a little bit for every kind of consumer. 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.'"

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Couldn't agree more (5, Insightful)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35729952)

Oh god yes, I couldn't agree more. The real problem I have with multiplayer modes forced into games that don't need them is that they often end up forcing the game design down particular pathways, which don't always improve the experience.

Take weapon balance, for example. Multiplayer gamers these days being too lazy to actually find and pick up weapons like we had do back in the days of Doom and Quake (yes, yes, get off my lawn etc), the trend is for game designers to try to make sure that all of the weapons in first and third person shooters are "balanced". And yet for me, part of the appeal of a decent first person shooter is upgrading my arsenal as I go along; picking up better weapons and managing the limited ammo available for them. Remember the first time you found a BFG in Doom? You don't get feelings like that too often any more, as there's an absolute terror of allowing one weapon to be "better" than any of the others. I suspect that similar considerations force the adoption of my least favorite trope of modern action gaming ever - the 2 weapons limit. This absolutely ruined the campaign in Resistance 2 (sequel to what I still maintain is the best console fps ever) by making it far riskier to actually experiment with all the weird and wacky weapons that are Insomniac's speciality - if you can only carry two weapons at a time, you're going to stick with the rifle+shotgun combo 95% of the time and trust the game to put a sniper rifle in your path if you come up on one of the obligatory sniping sections.

Then there's the ridiculously short campaigns that are often justified on the basis of multiplayer. Look at something like Homefront; a game which is ostensibly all about its plot and setting has a ludicrous campaign that I beat in less than 4 and a half hours, which doesn't do anything to actually delve into the world they've created. And the excuse - there's multiplayer. It's noticable that Bulletstorm, which de-emphasises multiplayer as far as a modern marketing department will allow, bucks this trend and actually has a pretty decent campaign length (I brought my first playthrough home in a little under 11 hours).

I know there are people out there who really dig multiplayer in these things. But there are a lot of us who don't; after being very, very heavily into the Counter-Strike scene 8-10 years ago, I have had enough experience of being sworn at in German by 14 year olds for this lifetime. Multiplayer these days is limited to occasional co-op with real-life friends - and that doesn't require absolutely every game to have a tagged on multiplayer modes. Besides - pick a random "yesterday's big thing" shooter - 6 months old or greater - that wasn't a massive multiplayer phenomenon like a CoD or Halo and then try to find a server with more than 2 people on it. I did this with a few games on my steam list and in most cases, it just wasn't happening.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0, Troll)

spyder-implee (864295) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730014)

Yep, pretty much, or you could sumarise that by saying games are just too piss easy these days. I blame console gamer scum.

Re:Couldn't agree more (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730060)

Not sure I agree with that. Short and easy are different concepts. Plenty of modern games - including console games - which typify everything I said above are actually quite difficult. Halo Reach was one particular example - I found it a good bit harder than many other fpses, including a lot of old ones. But it's hard for all the wrong reasons - it has a serious hard on for inflicting cheap deaths and 1-hit-kills on the player, combined with a moronically broken checkpoint system.

In fact, old games are often a lot easier than you might remember. If you're used to modern fpses, you can probably blast through the original Quake (perhaps the original "game whose campaign was crap because of the multiplayer focus") on the top difficulty setting in a couple of hours. Doom, Duke Nukem 3d, Quake 2 etc all fall into the same category. The Halos and Call of Duties of this world are actually a good bit harder by comparison - but mostly because they rely on cheap Dragon's Lair-style game mechanics.

The same holds true for RTSes. The original Command & Conquer and Warcraft 2 feel ludicrously easy these days. Play Starcraft 2 and Supreme Commander 2 on anything above the minimum difficulty and they are much harder. Probably the only genre which has gotten consistently easier is the RPG; generally because gamers outside of Japan no longer tolerate the insane amounts of grinding (and sometimes sheer bloody obtusness) that these games used to require in the 80s and early 90s.

Re:Couldn't agree more (2)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731122)

Your last sentence describes precisely what I love about Demon's Souls -- it's a genuinely difficult RPG (albeit an action-RPG, but still). It's *hard*, but it's not grindy unless you are trying to unlock goodies that require specific world alignments, in which case you need a bit of grinding to get what you need to change the zone alignment to what you need. Even that is different than old school JRPG grinding -- you aren't grinding to be powerful enough to complete content, you're grinding to treasure hunt more thoroughly.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 3 years ago | (#35735520)

Oddly enough, I've been playing through Quake for the first time in awhile and having trouble specifically with the number of one-hit kill traps - spikes that run you through, etc. Not that easy.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730158)

Oh please don't forget the rubber band AI, mustn't forget that. I actually had hope when I played the first Far Cry that finally, Jesus tap dancing Christ, FINALLY we'd have some AI that would put up a good fight. But I have noticed that multiplayer seems to give the developer a free pass to use rubber band AI which frankly breaks a game bad.

And what I mean by rubber band AI, which I'm sure every FPS player has run into, is where on normal level you have grunts that will line up to die and not seem to even notice the huge body pile in front of them. So does ramping up the difficulty make them behave ANY smarter? Nope instead what you get is grunts that can take a half a dozen 20mm to the face while hitting you from half a map away with a crappy bolt action while you're behind cover.

And I have to agree with what the other poster said, good luck finding anybody to play with even 6 months later if they let you play at all, because some like EA simply shut down the servers on all games more than a year old so tough shit.

So there are plenty of us that like single player games developers, hell I bought Bioshock II knowing it would suck just to see where they went with the story! Not all of us are Halo fratboys, and those that are frankly aren't playing YOUR game, they're playing Halo or the latest CoD. So don't abandon us developers, because while I appreciate how many games I have yet to play that doesn't mean I only want to play old games. But personally I have had enough trolls and campers for one lifetime, keep your MP mode, thanks anyway.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730282)

That's not rubber banding. Rubber banding would be compensating for poor AI by 'seeing' you through walls (which they no doubt do). Making them stronger isnt cheating to simulate difficulty.

In racing games rubber banding is the enemies managing to catch up to you when you leave them in the dust, not them just being faster to start with.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730704)

And in MMOs, rubber-banding is when you get lag, and moving mobs bounce back and forth as the client guesses at their new position, then the server corrects it. Often repeatedly.

And in porn, rubber-banding is... uh... let's not go there.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732588)

In online FPS, what you might call rubber banding is the effect felt when you're scrambling around a corner only to be shot by someone with a 150 ping and the server drags you back due to their latency. It's a phenomenon I first saw in Counter-Strike after a major netcode update and I quickly dubbed it "bungie bullets". I encountered situations where I saw myself run into cover half a dozen times, only to be dragged back out into the line of fire and be shot by the same lagging player again.

Now I don't want the poor guy with a 150 ping to never get a hit just because his ISP sucks. It's probably not his fault. But I've seen a number of games "correct" my position on the map so that the guy who is more than 1/10th of a second behind me can get his hit. It doesn't happen in all games so I know it's not the only way to resolve ping differences.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734436)

I hear that. In MW2, due to the benefit of killcams, it was apparent that I often got killed by people who started firing as much as 1/4 second AFTER I should have been landing hits. Pretty frustrating when it's a guy who just goes around knifing everyone--you unload half a mag into his face from 15' feet away, and *shank*. Of course, the game browser is more than happy to connect you with folks from Europe or South America. At least a legitimate server setup could weed out high ping players.

Re:Couldn't agree more (2)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730778)

Bad AI is, I think, a deliberate feature of many modern fpses, particularly those in the Call of Duty mold. What these games are selling is a "cinematic experience" which involves allowing the player to mow down vast numbers of enemies with relative ease. It's unrealistic as hell - and it hardly contributes to the whole po-faced "serious and thoughtful treatment of war" that the likes of Medal of Honor pretend to be - but it's integral to the game and, going off sales figures, it seems to be what a lot of customers want.

The problem with better AI in shooters is that, unsurprisingly, it means that the designers can't throw as many enemies at the player at one time. This in turn means that they don't get the same kind of cinematic experience. Which means they don't get the "oooh flashy" screenshots and promotional videos. Which means that the marketing department tells them it won't sell.

To be honest, I can see both sides of this one. The original Doom is great fun and a large part of that hinges around the player's ability to cut a swathe through huge numbers of braindead demons. If you couldn't take out 5 imps with a single rocket, the game would lose something. That said, the few instances of decent AI in shooters out there (such as the original FEAR) have also produced some fun games.

What does annoy me is when a game pretends it's in any way realistic, but then still insists on the "vast numbers of dumb enemies" trope. This is why the Medal of Honor remake annoyed me as much as it did and why I'm pretty much through with the Call of Duty series.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Your.Master (1088569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730810)

You could always go the opposite route. Instead of cranking up the enemy hit points and keeping them dumb compared to the player, you could make opponents with very good AI but who brittle as a rose dipped in liquid nitrogen while the player has superhuman endurance.

It's much harder because AI is hard, but I think that, too, would be cinematic.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35731206)

The difficulty in that concept is in whether your AI enemies will ever survive long enough for them to demonstrate their intelligence. If they die the instant the player sees them, there's not much point in making them smart.

Only allowing the player to have melee attacks might work to fix that.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Novus (182265) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731344)

If they die the instant the player sees them, there's not much point in making them smart.

There's still a point, if it means they can sneak up on the player and shoot him in the back before he sees them.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731540)

I actually found the AI in Far Cry to be atrocious. There were plenty of times when I'd be fighting in a camp, and I'd run into a building and simply camp one doorway and watch as the idiot soldiers eventually streamed in one at a time. The first time I did that, I was also periodically checking behind me because there were two ways into the complex, but eventually gave up as it was clear the AI was incapable of coordinating an assault. The final level is also a massive exercise in tedium, by then I had God mode on because the game had simply gotten that boring. I think the first 1/3 of Far Cry is absolute gold, but it starts to get pretty generic after that.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730710)

Far Cry I was good enough and diverse enough that I completed it twice - once when I bought it and 3 years later - and then one more time when I got fed up with Far Cry 2.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Pax681 (1002592) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732434)

Yep, pretty much, or you could sumarise that by saying games are just too piss easy these days. I blame console gamer scum.

in one sense spyder-implee is right.

we have multiplayer games in PC that are BLATANT ports from console which implement P2P multiplayer.

this severely limits the multiplayer modes to 18 players.

as we all know a standalone dedicated server for PC games can handle MORE players

so this trend to have small maps and a small amount of players is tragic

in summation games for PC are being made but made with the limitations of consoles in mind...

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733020)

I see this a lot, and you've been modded troll already, but I will ask you this: why blame the gamers? It isn't as though there have been all these deep and amazing console games that the market snubbed in favor of watered-down garbage; they play the best games they're offered. The closest they have gotten to a real FPS (e.g., Halo) has been embraced (perhaps over-)enthusiastically. Seems to be that your ire is misplaced; if console games are to blame then the responsibility lies with developers and publishers, not the gamers themselves. Gamers didn't design Oblivion's interface. Gamers didn't design Dragon Age 2 so that it could run in my video card's RAM. Gamers didn't ASK for easier games... they just got them. Ninja Gaiden is one of the hardest games I've ever played, and it met with both critical acclaim (91 on Metacritic) and solid sales (Ninja Gaiden and its first remake/sequel sold 1.5 million copies.)

Easy games are fun, but I think the console gamers have spoken and said that they would like harder games as well. Devs and publishers may not be listening to them. If all you get are easy games, of course you will play easy games. But it seems to me that this is an assumption being made by the game makers, rather than a concerted effort by the consumers.

(Disclaimer: I don't own any consoles and haven't touched one in over a year. This is an outsider's view, and I could be wrong.)

I blame Call of Duty (1)

hsjserver (1826682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730050)

For the philosophy that STYLE IS SUBSTANCE (300 not withstanding).

Re:I blame Call of Duty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35731402)

I blame Quake 3. It didn't even have single-player.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730076)

I have had enough experience of being sworn at in German by 14 year olds for this lifetime.

You mad, bro?

If you don't like a server just pick another. I live in HK and hates all the HK, Taiwan, Mainland TF2 servers because there's no talking. It feels like you're playing bots all the time. So I switched over to a great LA server despite 180ms ping, enjoying every minute of it. If kiddies gets you mad just switch. Kiddies can't deal with lag and will not bother you in the new one.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732592)

Kiddies can't deal with lag and will not bother you in the new one.

Unless they kick you for high ping.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35735700)

That reminds me of two things I've heard in the past week about my Dallas, TX TF2 servers:

Last Friday on my Event TF2 server, red.ocrtf2.com:27015, one person said they liked the server "because people talked." This was during my Medieval Madness event Medieval Mode was on for all maps in addition to alltalk, nocrits, nodmgspread, and fixedweaponspread. This server is also available for when our normal server is full, but crits are enabled by default.

I saw someone yesterday playing on my normal TF2 server, blu.ocrtf2.com:27015 (alltalk, nocrits, nodmgspread, fixedweaponspread) yesterday, because there "were no good TF2 servers in Japan."

Now, Japan is a bad example because of the recent disaster, but it just goes to show that people will connect and return to certain servers due to it.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730088)

Agreed, for the most part.

R2 pissed me off more because of the removal of the ability to play through the game in split-screen.

R1 had been great fun to play through with a friend and few beers. The two gun thing, to me, was them trying to be Gears of War.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730120)

The good news is that it seems Insomniac have heard this loud and clear. The third game is bringing back the weapon-wheel and, I believe, split-screen modes (though would need to check the latter).

I think you're right about Gears of War. They probably compared R1's sales to GoW's and felt envious, forgetting that GoW was released for a mature platform which already had a large installed base, while R1 was a launch title for a system that proved a bit of a slow-starter.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730292)

Unfortunately life has moved on since then, and I now live a couple of continents away from my gaming buddy, rather than in the same house.

Timezones are as much an impediment to online gaming as distance, too.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

homb (82455) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730254)

The 2-weapon limit is utterly moronic and problematic for any game that doesn't try to be "realistic". And that's about 90% of the FPSes that should NOT have the weapon limit. I just finished Bulletstorm (had a bucketload of fun, first time in years with an FPS), and even with the myriad ways to switch weapons after pretty much each encounter, I still felt like if they'd given you all the weapons all the time it could have been even more fun.
"Kill with skill" is good, but killing with skill by drilling a guy to the ceiling, shooting a timed exploding flare in his belly and then terminating him with massive 4-barreled buckshot is better. (yes, it's all doable in Bulletstorm, but not the buckshot... You can't have more than 2 weapons + the assault rifle)

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

RogueyWon (735973) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730892)

Bulletstorm does at least allow you three weapons (albeit with one of them always locked to the assault rifle - which is at least useful). But yes, it would have been even better if you could have done longer multi-weapon chains.

I wonder if there's a consolisation issue here. A keyboard has lots of buttons for quick weapon selection - a console controller doesn't, so designers tend to retreat to a single "switch weapons" button. The original Resistance and the likes of Ratchet & Clank have shown that weapon-wheels work just fine, but for some reason few developers seem willing to go in this direction.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35731756)

thats because in game menus and real time combat are pure suck. i went to type more, but that about sums it up. menus and real time combat = FAIL.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730750)

Man you took long to finish Bulletstorm, it was 8 and half hours for me with some unneccessary deaths. Also I hated the 2 weapon thing in this game, in lot's of parts I wished I would've been able to use the gun I left in the pod.

Otherwise I really enjoyed the game.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731246)

I demand multiplayer. I also demand a good singleplayer experience. Any FPS which cannot deliver both does not need to be purchased. I am remarkably unlikely to buy any FPS which does not have co-op, which to me is the best thing in FPS.

I don't see why gamers don't expect a game to not suck any more. Just another lame game that doesn't build on the past? Throw it back!

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#35735692)

Couch co-op is important to me. Multiplayer is not -- for the simple fact that there are only so many players out there and pick-up lobbies get emptier the more game titles they are spread over.

I'd prefer if the game companies left multiplayer for a limited number of games specifically designed/playtested for it. Speaking of which, why no 3D first-person Joust? You'd think...

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35736256)

Speaking of which, why no 3D first-person Joust? You'd think...

That actually sounds like something you could pull off relatively easily as a mod for some other game... I bet somebody crafty could do it in Garry's Mod.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

Rossman (593924) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734998)

I largely agree with your post, but, one correction: the BFG was actually balanced. Sure, it was powerful as shit, but it was also super slow, comparatively.

Re:Couldn't agree more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35735294)

Besides - pick a random "yesterday's big thing" shooter - 6 months old or greater - that wasn't a massive multiplayer phenomenon like a CoD or Halo and then try to find a server with more than 2 people on it. I did this with a few games on my steam list and in most cases, it just wasn't happening.

Try Team Fortress 2. At 4 years old there are still thousands of players in game. It won't have the "weapon pickup system" that you like, but it's probably the most balanced class based shooter I have ever played.

Re:Couldn't agree more (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 3 years ago | (#35736106)

You have some valid points, however I would like to add another 2 perspectives as a game programmer and game designer.

- Single Player vs Multi-Player. You must consider the audience. For a single player game, a linear increase in power works great! In multiplayer not so great .. which dovetails into my next point:

- "Proper" Weapon Balance has become a Rock-Paper-Scissor approach.. Otherwise what happens is that you [literally] get a death-spiral for who can find, for the sake of argument lets say the Weapon X (i.e. Doom/Quake Rocket Launcher) is the baddest weapon, find weapon X first AND gib people. There is nothing wrong with this approach -- it is the "old-skool" FPS experience, ala Quake and Unreal, and a lot of fun, but it does get old after all these years. The trend is that you want to balance weapons so that one person has certain strengths AND certain weaknesses -- this _dynamic_ nature of power is _much_ more interesting in the long run then a linear perspective where there is no weaknesses. i.e. Shotgun = uber damage up front and in your face + instant hit, Rocket Launcher = Slower but great damage from a distance.

Take a look at Team Fortress. The weapons you use depend on the _situtation_ you are in. Rightly or Wrongly, it is the evolution of game design.

> Then there's the ridiculously short campaigns that are often justified on the basis of multiplayer.

You can blame publishers for that --due to most people never getting past 50% of the campaign. Why waste time develping content when the majority of players NEVER finish it?

Borderlands and Diablo are great examples. Long single player story AND you can play co-op campaigns. It really is the ideal match.

These days I pretty much refuse to play shooters that don't have at least 2 or 4 player co-op. I've been there, done that, killed it excessively, in single-player.

> that wasn't a massive multiplayer phenomenon like a CoD or Halo and then try to find a server with more than 2 people on it.

Uhm, L4D, RB2LV2 (Rainbow Six Lost Vegas 2), and Borderlands, but yeah, point taken.

Cheers

Take him and Todd from Bethesda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730000)

and ship them both off to a desert island. Neither one of them should ever talk about computer games ever again.

Dark Space 2 is a bad example (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730038)

I rarely play multiplayer modes for single-player games, but I got DS2 off of Steam at the beginning of the month and poked at the multiplayer maps after finishing the campaign the first time. All of them corresponded to sequences in the game where there would have been armed soldiers battling through endless(ly respawning) waves of necromorphs and against the clock. As for weapon potency and wackiness-- come on, Jesus. There's a gun that lets you hold a spinning circular sawblade at the end of a tractor beam, or fire them into the distance, and goofier weapons besides. Plus the weapon modification system makes it easy for the devs to tweak multiplayer properties and keeps the players from assuming too much from the single-player campaign.

Homefront is another bad example, because it was a shitty game with an amazingly terrible design philosophy, and focusing on single player or multiplayer would have been polishing one turd instead of squeezing out two.

Not just games. (3, Insightful)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730052)

It's not just games. Everything is ruined by bullet-points; from software to politics to porn. I don't know how we can solve this problem as a society. People want quick summaries, sound bytes, standardized tests, but they never tell the whole story. It's easier to produce to the bullet points, just like it's easier to teach students to the test.

ideas.ppt (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730202)

* Teach critical thinking, starting at a young age.
* Actively promote deep and creative behaviors.
* Promote your ideas through subtle irony.

Re:Not just games. (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730426)

If you don't like bullet-points in porn you're clearly not watching the right stuff.

Re:Not just games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730432)

tl;dr

Dunno if it's just bullet points (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730894)

Dunno if it's just the summaries a bullet points, as just the idea that the more stuff there is in, the better. That if a game/car/phone/product has X and Y, it's obviously worse than one which has X, Y and Z. Something with just two bullet points is worse than something with three bullet points, and both are worse than something with four bullet points. You're getting less for your money, right?

Basically the difference I'm getting at is that people often don't even as much care what those bullet points are and what's the implication, as basically are just acting like hoarders. The more the better, no matter what they say.

E.g., I remember in ye olde days, when MS Office hadn't quite won yet and there still was some choice, I was trying to tell someone that he doesn't really need to ditch their old editor and buy the whole MS packet for what that small company does. There were far cheaper alternatives, not the least being to just keep what they already had. His answer, and nothing would move him, was "but it has more features!" He wasn't going to use something with less features.

Now I'll be the first to admit that some of the features there would actually be useful... if anyone there were actually using them. The thing is, they weren't using even what they already had. I actually watched him and a few others write stuff, and really there was nothing they did that required more than WordPad. They didn't even use styles, or even any formatting above the bare basics, much less stuff like macros or whatever. All they did was type some text, select and bold or underline such parts, and at most copy and paste. That's it. If they even wanted some paragraph indented, they'd actually hit tab.

But God forbid doing the same in a program which has less features.

I think many people do the same with games. Even if they don't play much multiplayer, it has to be there on the box, because otherwise they're getting less bullet points for their money.

The first problem is that basically there's no such thing as a free meal. Especially for games, where budgets are finite and already spiraling out of control, and basically doing three things instead of two, is often still on the same budget as doing two. It's basically like getting the same builder team and for the same cost to build you house, a garage and a pool, instead of just a house. It may sound like you're getting more for your money, but in reality don't be surprised if it's a smaller house than if they were building just that.

Re:Not just games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35732466)

The problem is that corporations are generally led by a marketer or salesman. Rarely if ever by a designer, or engineer.

Marketers and salespeople know that as the number of bullet points increases, the probability that any given customer will be interested in a product with one of them approaches 1. As such an ideal product to a marketer is one with infinite bullet points. They don't care how well the product factions because their training is in selling the product, not in solving a problem for the customer. And they're the ones who get to decide what the objectives of a project will be and where the cuts are made if it's coming in over budget, or behind schedule.

Part of Apple's success is that they're run by a designer. And their products reflect this. They are often light on bullet pointed features but the bullet points that are there are well implemented. They also keep their mouth shut until the have a product in hand ready to sell, rather than blabbing to anyone who will listen about their in development products (which both tips off the competition and gives the customers expectations that the developers have to live up to). This is also why Apple's success seems so mind boggling to a lot of people. They aren't making the sort of choices that marketers think are good decisions, because they aren't led by a marketer.

Re:Not just games. (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733312)

If by porn bullet points, you mean boob jobs that jut out like Madonna's bra, then I agree. Otherwise, I don't follow you.

Could you get us more co-op multiplayer? (1)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730084)

I don't care if it's balanced; it can be slapped together for all I care, just as long as I don't lose connection with the other player(s). That's a multiplayer mode that I can get into. Can't say I like all the weak competitive multiplayer in games that don't need it.

Co-op? (4, Interesting)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730100)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?

Some of us aren't interested in competitive gaming against random *sshats, instead some of us wish to be able to share the story campaing with a close person. There's plenty of games that actually would offer huge amounts of fun if there was co-op included. A great, deep and insightful story is all the more worth it if you can share the tale with someone, but you don't always even need that; I remember back in the days when Unreal 1 was still new. The story was nothing too fancy or epic, it was mostly just a straight-forward FPS game. But when you set the difficulty level up a notch and joined in a co-op game it felt like a totally new experience compared to single-player. I think we eventually played it through something like 5 or 6 times, simply because it was fun every time.

Or am I just the odd one in the bunch again for wishing for good ol' co-op mode in games?

Re:Co-op? (4, Informative)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730150)

I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc.

A quick look at my library of games in steam reveals the following games that allow co-op through the story line.

Alien Swarm (admittedly only one fairly short campaign by default, but there are community made maps).
Borderlands.
Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead 2.
Magicka.
Serious Sam HD First and second encounter (Technically re-releases of games from 2000)
Sol Survivor.

I'm sure there are others out there.

Re:Co-op? (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730238)

Call of Duty World at War.

And then there's other games which offer non-campaign co-op modes like Splinter Cell: Conviction, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 etc.

Re:Co-op? (3, Insightful)

indiechild (541156) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730252)

Call of Duty World at War.
Rainbow Six Vegas
Rainbow Six Vegas 2
Resident Evil 5

And then there's other games which offer non-campaign co-op modes like Splinter Cell: Conviction, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 etc.

There's surprisingly numerous co-op games out there if one bothers to look.

Re:Co-op? (1)

JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734126)

GTA IV
Saints Row 2

Many LOLs were had.

Re:Co-op? (1)

Briareos (21163) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730358)

DeathSpank
Shank
Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light
Trine

Re:Co-op? (1)

DeadboltX (751907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730430)

saying that any of those games have a story mode is a stretch

Re:Co-op? (1)

TechnoFrood (1292478) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730450)

That's odd I distinctly remember a story line in Borderlands and Magicka.

Re:Co-op? (1)

zeroshade (1801584) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733180)

As much as I enjoy Borderlands, the story is kinda non-existent beyond "go here, do this". I love the game, but calling it's "plot" and story line is being dishonest.

Re:Co-op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35735004)

concur

Re:Co-op? (4, Informative)

Buggz (1187173) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730918)

Ok, but BESIDES Alien Swarm, Borderlands, Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Magicka, Serious Sam HD First and second encounter, Sol Survivor, Call of Duty World at War, Rainbow Six Vegas, Rainbow Six Vegas 2, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, Shank, Deathspank, Trine and Resident Evil 5... WHAT have the Rehashes Of Manshoots And Needforspeeds ever done for US?

Re:Co-op? (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731016)

Halo 3 and Halo 3 ODST

Portal 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35736414)

I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc.

A quick look at my library of games in steam reveals the following games that allow co-op through the story line.

Alien Swarm (admittedly only one fairly short campaign by default, but there are community made maps).
Borderlands.
Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead 2.
Magicka.
Serious Sam HD First and second encounter (Technically re-releases of games from 2000)
Sol Survivor.

I'm sure there are others out there.

I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc.

A quick look at my library of games in steam reveals the following games that allow co-op through the story line.

Alien Swarm (admittedly only one fairly short campaign by default, but there are community made maps).
Borderlands.
Left 4 Dead.
Left 4 Dead 2.
Magicka.
Serious Sam HD First and second encounter (Technically re-releases of games from 2000)
Sol Survivor.

I'm sure there are others out there.

^you know you want it.

Re:Co-op? (1)

hsjserver (1826682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730162)

I agree, and what the fuck happened to counter-op? To my knowledge Perfect Dark is still the only game with it.

Re:Co-op? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730504)

There are lots of things Perfect Dark did right that I miss in modern games, like interesting weapons and a main female character who didn't dress like a whore.

Re:Co-op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730614)

And there were a lot of things it did wrong, too. Like being a Nintendo 64 game.

Re:Co-op? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734030)

There are lots of things Perfect Dark did right that I miss in modern games, like interesting weapons and a main female character who didn't dress like a whore.

Since when does Samus Aran of Metroid series dress like a prostitute outside rule 34?

Re:Co-op? (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730606)

Splinter Cell. Especially Conviction.

Re:Co-op? (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733406)

God I miss Splinter Cell. I LOVED the first one and played through it many times using different styles (ghosting, full assault, etc). I had a ritual where when a new Splinter Cell would come out I would play through all the previous ones one by one just to remind myself of the storyline, then I would play through the newest one completely up to date and aware of the history and characters. Then came Splinter Cell: Double Agent which ruined the series completely because of how show-stoppingly buggy it was. After the initial release I don't believe Ubisoft Shanghai released a single patch despite all the Splinter Cell fans begging for one, there were so many bugs in it that I was never even able to complete the game because they hindered my progression. The sad thing is Ubisoft Montreal had already started Double Agent in the same awesome "traditional" style that had made it succeed, but it was PC only. Ubisoft Shanghai made the game Xbox 360-centric and the PC version was a port of that. Splinter Cell was the epitome of gameplay style I love, but I've never touched another Splinter Cell game since and I miss it sooooo much. :'( My lesson from all this: Steer clear of any game produced by Ubisoft Shanghai. They just DON'T CARE. :(

Re:Co-op? (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730166)

There's plenty of Coop in the FPS genre I find, just look at Halo, Gears of War, Army of Two, Splinter Cell etc, Call of Duty also has coop although there the coop missions are seperate.

There's some coop in the RPG genre, but I find it all lackluster, especially Fable.

Generally it feels like I have to wait atleast 6 months between a game with decent coop to come out (Usually a sequel to Halo/Gears/Army)

Re:Co-op? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730206)

There's plenty of Coop in the FPS genre I find, just look at Halo, Gears of War, Army of Two, Splinter Cell etc, Call of Duty also has coop although there the coop missions are seperate.

Do you actually get to play the single-player campaing co-operatively with another player? If not then I atleast don't count those as co-op.

Re:Co-op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730314)

In the first three, yes. If I recall correctly, Splinter Cell had a separate co-op campaign and Call of Duty had some co-op missions.

Re:Co-op? (1)

Skywolfblue (1944674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730400)

Do you actually get to play the single-player campaing co-operatively with another player? If not then I atleast don't count those as co-op.

Gears of War and Left4Dead were built with Co-Op campaign first and foremost in mind. It really shows and they're great fun to play.

Halo isn't DESIGNED around being a co-op game, but it's co-op campaign is still pretty fun.

Army of Two I really didn't like, and Call of Duty doesn't have a co-op campaign.

Re:Co-op? (2)

Warma (1220342) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730724)

Army of Two effectively does not have a single player campaign, as the mechanics and design of the game emphasize co-operative play with another male human, with whom you have a healthy, intimate relationship (ie. the aggro/baiting/diversion combat, stage design with split routes, and the blatantly homosexual themes). It plays very well, as both planning and synchronous effort are mandatory to survive most scenes. Having also played Gears of War, which had a much worse mission design, I would specifically recommend Army of Two for these very reasons.

The other games are not built around co-op gameplay, so concerning them your point is valid.

Re:Co-op? (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730446)

Diablo 2 had some good co-op (and it definatly was co-op in that you could have multiple players in your party all wandering around the world with you and fighting the same bad guys as in the SP campaign, only harder)

Re:Co-op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730232)

Didn't most of the coop fanfare move over to MMORPG's?

Re:Co-op? (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730294)

It ain't the same thing.

Re:Co-op? (2)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730354)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?

Some of us aren't interested in competitive gaming against random *sshats, instead some of us wish to be able to share the story campaing with a close person. There's plenty of games that actually would offer huge amounts of fun if there was co-op included. A great, deep and insightful story is all the more worth it if you can share the tale with someone, but you don't always even need that; I remember back in the days when Unreal 1 was still new. The story was nothing too fancy or epic, it was mostly just a straight-forward FPS game. But when you set the difficulty level up a notch and joined in a co-op game it felt like a totally new experience compared to single-player. I think we eventually played it through something like 5 or 6 times, simply because it was fun every time.

Or am I just the odd one in the bunch again for wishing for good ol' co-op mode in games?

Um, Halo?

I mean, pretty much every single thing you're pining for is in every Halo game. Shit I can't even count the number of hours I've spent playing co-op through all five of them. On a bang/buck point alone those games have been the single best entertainment purchases I have ever made.

Re:Co-op? (2)

rwv (1636355) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732148)

Borderlands comes to mind. I played through that with a buddy. Good times. Funny game, too. Very entertaining. A bit repetitive, but what FPS isn't?

Re:Co-op? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730452)

Killzone 3 has coop for the singleplayer story.

Re:Co-op? (1)

thrash242 (697169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730568)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc.

Then quite honestly, you haven't played many games in the last several years.

There are several very popular games designed from the ground up for co-op: Gears of War, Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil 5, etc. In these games, even in single-player, you have AI team-mates. You literally can't play them solo.

I have no idea what you've been playing if you think no modern games have co-op. Co-op was pretty dead in the early 2000s, but it's been back more than ever for the last five or so years.

Re:Co-op? (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730610)

Resident Evil 5 and Splinter Cell: Conviction. Well, the latter's story mode, not so much, but there's an entirely separate co-op campaign.

Re:Co-op? (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731620)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?

Umm, Halo series, Gears of War, OFP Dragon Rising and upcoming Red River, Armored Core For Answer, Borderland, Saints Row 2 all say hello. You can play full story mode co-op in all those, and that just on 360 and just off the top of my head.

Re:Co-op? (1)

mordred99 (895063) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732050)

Army of Two .. both of them. The premise has you and your best friend as Mercenaries doing missions. You have to do a lot of "you do this, I do that to get past this obstacle." It is not the best game from a graphics perspective, but it is actually a good play and you can get it used for under 15 bucks.

Re:Co-op? (1)

glassware (195317) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733462)

Interestingly enough, Randy Pitchford's super successful game Borderlands was probably partly successful due to its multiplayer co-op, which was tons of fun.

Re:Co-op? (1)

seigniory (89942) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733868)

so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc.

Gears of War series. This is how CoOp should be done.

Re:Co-op? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734336)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?

Halo, for one, on all games. Some of my friends went through story mode on harder settings because of it.

Halo 3 ODST and Halo Reach offer co-op multipleyer competition modes too - Firefight mode where the basic premise is you versus a pile of computer controlled aliens. (I think Reach goes one further and lets you be the aliens).

It's a great mode too for single player. Sometimes I get home and the only thing that calms me down is blowing off steam killing a pile of Covenant over and over again. Just the mindlessness of it seems to make me feel better for whatever reason.

And heck, in Reach they added co-op campaign as a game mode so you and 3 other random people online can play through a campaign mission.

And that's one game. Many games now are into co-op and online co-op. There'll always be competitive play, but co-op modes seem to be getting a lot of steam.

Re:Co-op? (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#35735820)

How many games these days really do offer co-op gaming? I mean, so far I haven't seen a SINGLE game in years that offers the ability for you to play through the story mode with a friend/spouse/etc. No, they're all just rehashes of CTF or deathmatch, and those are stuffed in every single god damn game, regardless of whether it makes sense or not. But why, oh, why no co-op, ever?

There's a big budget game right around the corner that, while it doesn't have you go through the single-player campaign in co-op, it has a completely new campaign for co-op that's supposedly just as long as the single player campaign. This game is called Portal 2 [thinkwithportals.com] . Maybe you've heard of it?

Oh, and every MMORPG ever made is a co-op game that for part of it you can do single player, part of it requires multiplayer... although those are really easy to just ignore the plot points.

It's come full circle (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730386)

Back in the VGA gaming days, games were all single-player. We had modems that could talk to other players, and if you had access to an office you could use a network to play. That is, if any dang games ever had multiplayer capability. Game designers didn't like the idea of multiplayer and said it would never sell. One famous game designer stated, quite bluntly, that his customers didn't have friends. Now, the idea that gamers would play alone is heresy and gamers are complaining about the lack of good single-player games. One thing hasn't changed: game companies are usually moronic and 95% of games are still crap.

Re:It's come full circle (1)

venril (905197) | more than 3 years ago | (#35736240)

Back in the VGA gaming days, games were all single-player.

The original Doom game had multiplayer support over a LAN - coop. Was a bit unstable though...

This is not only a problem in games. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730424)

The entire software industry suffers from box-checking syndrome.

Thanks, my list is now complete! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730626)

Restate summary and apply its concerns more broadly to either maximize impact or water down the concern.... CHECK!

(Note to self: Fix comment.load() AJAX protocol in Slashdot bingo browser plugin -- slash.parse.js:227 )

Gearbox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730434)

It's a bit rich this coming from Gearbox, who are themselves guilty of designing games such as Call of Duty's United Offensive that contain infinite enemies as a way of making up for half-assed level design.

How about a multiplayer "Thief 4"? (2)

cvtan (752695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35730764)

A dozen players wandering around in complete silence trying not to bump into each other. OR A dozen people slinking around in a circle trying to pick each other's pockets. It could work.

Waiting for Thi4f...

How about that Tetris (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35730834)

Yeah, I mean, come on, we could like, have one player controlling one block falling, and another controlling the other block.
That would be insaaaaaaaaaaane.
What do you mean we can't do that? Why not?

Fine, screw it, put two Tetris grids down on screen.

Re:How about that Tetris (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35734054)

Co-op Tetris is easy to imagine: two players send garbage to the two other players.

Re:How about that Tetris (1)

damnfuct (861910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35736278)

Sounds like tetris attack, which is a great game.

Re:How about a multiplayer "Thief 4"? (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731188)

Isn't Assassins Creed: Brotherhood's multiplayer kind of like this?

Maybe I'm just old... (2)

aeroelastic (840614) | more than 3 years ago | (#35731536)

...but I hate the recent trend of having different game mechanics and controls for single player and multiplayer. Off the top of my head I'm thinking of Starcraft 2, Medal of Honor, and I know there's others.

All I can think when I play those kinds of games is that the game was cobbled together from a broken set of priorities. It ruins the experience for me, I expect the single player be training for multiplayer. I would never dream of playing the multiplayer first, even in a game series I was intimately familiar with.

And I definitely agree with Randy, games should be built with a purpose and intent. When you start tacking on features last minute, or adding game play mechanics that don't fit with the world of the game, you're telling your customers that you really don't care about them.

LOLlimewire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35731688)

tick off boxes? noooope. its to combat piracy. piracy is amazing. we get things like itunes, netflix, steam, dlc and multiplayer from it. its awesome. but we do occasionally also get stupid things like ubisofts evil "always online" DRM, or *shudder* red faction guerrillas multiplayer LOLZ. gotta take the good with the bad. still, multiplayer is usually better than single player IMO. just finished dead rising 2. ya, late i know. playing it single player is basically a chore tho, whereas co-op is really fun :) i dunno if this guy needs to bemoan superfluous multiplayer tho, when shit like assassins creed brotherhoods multiplayer is basically DRM. multiplayer is good. DRM is bad. "always on" DRM disguised as 'multiplayer' is pure suck.

Missing the reason, I think (2)

Necreia (954727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35732106)

Purely conjecture, but I believe it's less to do with "checking off a feature" and more to do with the following:
- Save time & money on content generation, since people who play multiplayer will use the same map over and over.
- Form of DRM / Piracy Protection, if there is 'server validation' then there's an indirect 'purchase validation'

Personally, I don't buy a game for multiplayer unless it's split screen, and those are few and far between. I'd play an older game like Goldeneye 64 with 3 buds long before playing any shooter over xbox live.

I only play multiplayer (1)

jago25_98 (566531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733474)

...because I like to feel somehow social.

And I find there aren't that many multiplayer only games... especially games designed specifically only for multiplayer; they tend to be mods & community driven

What the heck are you guys talking about? (2)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 3 years ago | (#35733894)

Nearly every game for the Xbox 360 is single-player (or online frag fest).

Damn, where the hell are the Baldur's Gates, the Dungeon Heroes, the multi-player co-op dungeon crawlers. The platform has been out for years and there's practically nada for it.

Seriously, I am sick of single-player + fragfest. Why? Well, I'm married. I've got kids. I can't find the time to play through a super long campaign. And I sure as heck can't find the time to hone my death match skills. So not much fun there to be had.

I want a game I can play the campaign through in a a day or two of being sick. Better yet, I want a game with a good co-op campaign that my wife and I can play and that doesn't immediately become super-repetitive and boring.

When I look at the shelves....90% of the games on the shelf are single-player + online deathmatch or online co-op. Of the few remaining games with co-op, it's basically sports, racing, or crap.

I WANT BALDUR'S GATE III

Re:What the heck are you guys talking about? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35736202)

I want Champions of Norrath III (4-player shared screen).

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