Josh

Contributing writer for The Artifice.

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    Story-mode or Bust

    It seems the last years have brought several games that are merely multiplayer platforms for running and gunning, or some other vaguely unique multiplayer archetype. Rainbow Six Siege, Titanfall, Evolve, Battlefront, and the like. In previous years, these games may have simply been considered unfinished or still in progress; they wouldn’t have, or shouldn’t have, been released. In addition to games without campaign or story-mode, many titles have taken to increasingly short stories that can be completed in a day or two. Call of Duty and Battlefield are perhaps the most blatant offenders; and though most don’t buy a CoD game for its story, I can still remember the days of Call of Duty 2 and Modern Warfare 1 & 2, and the enjoyment of playing their campaigns. They may not have been exceptionally long, but they were far more thorough than what we see today.

    One could argue that not every developer has the money to implement a quality campaign and multiplayer platform, but this could be, in part, because most try to issue a new iteration, sequel, or game relatively every year. Is this good? I enjoy both story and multiplayer modes, though I hardly consider a game worth its money (especially $60) if it has only multiplayer. This is not to say there are not very long story modes that fall prey to repetitious mechanics and gameplay.

    • One issue people need to get over is the idea that every game needs a in-depth story-driven campaign, or campaign at all...As you mentioned, certain games, especially shooters, or played by people who buy it strictly for the multiplayer and don't care that the campaign was lacking or not there at all....You bring up a great point in this article, and it is something I believe is overlooked when it comes to the game design process. – MikeySheff 3 years ago
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    • I think the value of a game is often called into question in multiplayer only games or games that don't have a "single player component". I think this is not always a good thing but it is part of the some gamers consciousness.Additionally, thing to think a bout is how hard it is for a developer who specializes in making mutiplayer parts of a gam ego suddenly try to create a single player campaign, it is difficult to switch gears as it takes different things to make a single player campaign good compared to a multiplayer experience,they can be vastly different experiences.Amazing topic! – SeanGadus 3 years ago
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    • I love this idea! 'Super Bunnyhop' has a video related to this idea of story modes and multiplayer only games. I used to feel very strongly about games having some form of single-player content. However, after becoming obsessed with Rainbow Six Siege I have totally become convinced otherwise. It might be interesting to show how this idea of 'multiplayer only' started and how the trend evolved over time. – Daonso 3 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    It’s exciting to find articles like this, which validate the work of video games and video game characters as literary. There has always been the argument of whether video games are worth consideration as anything more than playthings for children, and though some still refuse to see them as art and proper fiction, it’s more than obvious what depth can be gleaned from video game worlds and their characters. This is not to say there aren’t shallow or otherwise unexplored games, but rather to help liken video games to other forms of literature and art. Just as there are horrible, terrible books, movies, magazines, and television shows, there are awful video games; the same can be applied for the opposite end of the spectrum. An excellent game and its world/characters can foster connections and investment as readily and thoroughly as any exciting novel or other such piece of prose.

    While I could continue rambling, I should rather thank you for your great article!

    Emotionally Investing in Games and Their Characters

    DLC and addon packs are, to say the least, disconcerting. I find myself missing the days when spending $50-60 left you with a game. A complete, polished game. Now, it seems you spend that same amount and are met with glitches, bugs, faults, and a blatant lack of content. $60 and you have to wait for the day one patch, countless other hotfixes, and you’re still almost guaranteed to run out of content in a week… Unless you buy the downloadable content. Buy the season pass for anywhere between $20 and $60 (the price of another game!), and you can have some stuff. Maps, skins, characters, gun camos, etcetera. What happened to quality expansions and content?

    Blizzard’s expansions for World of Warcraft have been successful forms of additional content. Although not all have been successful, they are not only relatively affordable, but they change the game — they add content, further the story, give you something to do that doesn’t involve skins or patterns. It seems few games have adopted similar policies with their expansion packs and DLCs. Rainbow Six Siege has, perhaps, one of the less obnoxious DLC platforms. Sure, you can buy the season pass to unlock the new operators a week before everyone, but you can save your real money and simply play the game, earn in-game currency, and unlock the same characters. This, plus free new maps and continuous updates.

    While additional content can be new and exciting for the right game, it rarely is. It’s a dreaded “Do I really want to spend double for this?” And if you don’t, you’re left with a title that will more than likely be exchanged for something else. DLC and expansions would be great if they added actual content, exciting and worthwhile content, story progression, new modes, new adventures.

    From Expansion Packs to DLC: The Evolution of Additional Video Game Content

    It’s refreshing to find this subject poised in the light, enough to (hopefully) open some eyes. I’ve played video games for the majority of my life, and, as an avid gamer, it can sometimes be frustrating to find people responding to games like “The Last of Us” and “Until Dawn” as they would a relatively mindless shooter or multiplayer game. The Last of Us, especially, is an exemplar of excellent storytelling and realistic characterization, more so than more lauded novels, T.V. shows, and movies. Of course, I did like that game and I do look forward to the sequel, and some may find it unpleasant, but it’s the first example to come to mind.

    There’s an odd balance between story-driven games and multiplayer-based titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield. Those games may have story modes or campaign modes, but they’re often brief and relatively rudimentary. It seems games, as a whole, are shrinking in an effort to streamline players into multiplayer content, paid expansions, and DLC content. But, on occasion, we’re given a game that exhibits exactly what can be accomplished with quality writing and storytelling. The shrinking of quality and playtime may be detrimental to these more literary titles, as, whenever someone discounts video games as childish and toy-like, they often use brainless shooters and the like to support their argument.

    I appreciate the content and quality of your article, especially in noting the ridiculousness of discounting the literary value of video game content as opposed to other mediums. I’m currently an undergraduate, though it’s my last semester, and I could only imagine the stares and incredulity with which I’d be met if I tried to use a video game as an example in an essay or during class. This skepticism will hopefully dissipate as older generations shift out of the classroom, and other such positions of power/literary finality, and video games advance.

    Are Video Games Worth Studying? (A Literary Perspective)