Multiplayer is Getting Creative

It seems like every new release has multiplayer these days.

But unless a game was made for multiplayer and has a vibrant online community, death match and capture the flag like games just aren’t as fun. Games like Call of Duty, the Battlefield series, and Halo are all great examples. In their prime there are no better FPS games to play death match in. They were crafted to give players a fun multiplayer experience by having diverse weapons, abilities, and levels. But as soon as a new one comes out, the community in the previous titles drops off. And while I’ll admit I still play Halo 3 online sometimes, it will never be as fun as it once was.

So it’s important for games to move beyond the classic multiplayer mode. Unless there is something really special about it, it’ll never get lifted off the ground. It will always have only a handful of people online, because everyone that’s interested in serious multiplayer will be on one of the big title games. And even if they do get off to a great start, the online community will always fade, and eventually disappear. Especially for games that are focused on single player, it’s important to find creative ways to add multiplayer that keeps the heart of the game alive.

Dead Island is a great example. This zombie themed RPG is defiantly a single player game. Trying to add a classic death match multiplayer to it would have not gone over well at all. Especially because the game never got that much popularity, it’s online community would have been small and wavering. Instead, they made it easy for players around the same area to jump into each other’s single player worlds. It’s easy to group up with players you don’t know and adventure through the zombie apocalypse. This creative multiplayer makes Dead Island a fun game to play with friends, without using the classic multiplayer game modes.

Another great example is Dragon’s Dogma. Here people create an NPC side kick that can is very customizable. Then, you hire two other NPC sidekicks that other players created. While you are using an NPC, or your NPC is being used, the NPC is gaining experience. They are also gaining quest knowledge. So, if your side kick does a specific quest with another player, when you do that quest later he’ll know where to go and be able to lead you to the next objective. When you’re done using another person’s side kick you send them back with items and a score depending on how well they performed.

Its multiplayer modes like this that we’re going to see more often. People playing single player focused games don’t care about classic multiplayer. If they do, they’re going to be playing Sabotage and Capture the Flag in a different game anyway. Developers are finding creative ways to blend the single and multiplayer experience into one. And there is no doubt that we will see more creativity in multiplayer with new releases to come. And this is a really good thing, because it’s the start of making games have online communities that last years longer than Call of Duty’s.