Monday, January 22, 2007

What do you mean there's no multiplayer in Bioshock!?

OK, I've gotta know: How many of you out there who were looking forward to (read: can't wait for) Bioshock expected it to have a multiplayer mode?

What's that? None of you? Yeah, me neither. But apparently Irrational Games felt compelled to justify their decision to not include multiplayer in a Q&A on the games Cult of Rapture community site. Cut and pasted for your reading pleasure:

"Will there be multiplayer or online gaming in BioShock?
There will be no multiplayer (hold on before you complain!!!!) but for a very specific reason. BioShock features a compelling storyline that revolves around the experiences of one man as he enters the decaying world of Rapture. Having a multiplayer component would have compromised the story we were trying to tell so we made the decision to keep this game as a single player experience. There will be an online component, however, where new content can be downloaded."

Anybody who complains about the game not having multiplayer is kind of missing the point of the game. It's a shame that every game, particularly if said game is played from the first person perspective, is automatically expected to have some kind of multiplayer no matter how out of place it is.

We've been through this before with Metroid Prime and Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay both of which are now considered among the best games for their respective platforms. Riddick on a system known for its online titles.

Retro actually caved in with Metroid Prime 2, following incessant bitching about not having it in the first game, and put in a local multiplayer mode that went on to be played by no one. Perhaps not coincidentally the single player game wasn't as good as the original either.

I applaud Irrational for not slapping together some half-assed multiplayer mode just because of some misconceived notion that every game has to have one.

The reality is that most games that do shoehorn in a multiplayer mode don't get played anywhere near as much as the games that specialize in it. Halo 2 is still one of the top games played on Xbox Live, 2 years after it was released. How many games have come and gone since then? And all you have to do is take a look at how much Halo 2's single player game suffered because of how much attention was focused on it's online play to see how difficult it is to get both right. Semi-important stuff, like having an ending, was completely forgotten.

Bioshock is my most wanted game of the year right now so I'm glad Irrational is completely focused on making the game the best it can be.

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