The Decline of the Video Game Campaign

For better or for worse, some game developers are leaving out single player campaigns in favor of multiplayer-only games. This comes from a trend of campaigns seeing less play-time, and multiplayer being the bulk of the play-time as well as the largest part of DLC. Examine the cause and effect in games such as Titanfall, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Rainbow Six: Siege, which were criticized by some for not having a campaign. Discuss whether or not this is a wise decision for developers who see that disinterest, and address game consumers that still desire a single-player campaign. Also, look at the rise of games with a competitive focus such as CS:GO and League of Legends and their role in boosting the multiplayer community in video games, including aspects of player interaction and maintenance of an online persona/character.

  • I don't play games with anyone. I personally dislike engaging in multiplayer games. Or at least, I don't go out of my way to engage in them. I don't even have many friends around who could play along with me even if I wanted to. I'm a Skyrim, Shadows of Mordor, Half-Life 2 kind of guy, and none of those games, to me, would be better if I was playing along with other people. I like forging my own path, and not waiting around for others to catch up. Not that I don't understand the benefits and enjoyment of playing a game in a group. But it's definitely not a first or even second choice for me. Depending on the environment and the situation, I would be more inclined to do it. So with all of this stuff about single-player campaigns dropping from new games, it worries me that I'll have less options as new games come around each new year. Bloodbourne thankfully is still a single-player focus game, and I've been looking forward to that for ages. And there are still indie games like SOMA that are single-player only. So I guess I'm not too worried about it. But it is concerning. – Jonathan Leiter 5 years ago
  • With videogames becoming more popular among a wide variety of people, is it possible this new competition based lens for videogames is trending towards it becoming seen as a competitive sport? Starcraft is a national sport in S. Korea, and ESPN already aired a "Heroes of the Storm" tournament. Couple that coverage with the emergence of twitch, and it would appear very obvious competitive gaming is quickly becoming a huge economic force. With the influx of what seems to be a very neo-liberal idea in competitive gaming (both in the nature of competition and the economic implications), I worry that we might see the end of artistic "AAA" games. I really like this topic idea, and I think one more direction it could go in is whether or not this now puts the onus on indie developers to keep the 'heart' of gaming, if you will, beating. – Ftelroy 5 years ago
  • It's a fairly dismal outcome of the past several years, with more games eschewing story for favor of a vast multiplayer experience. While I assume this serves to cut down on costs and build a bigger community faster by devoting more resources to a comprehensive multiplayer network, this approach seems to have backfired on the developers as much as it's slighted the consumers. Quite a few people I know bought games such as Titanfall and others of its non-campaign ilk, and although they reveled in the the multiplayer for a short time, they came to tell me that it felt weak and baseless because they had no idea who they were, what they were fighting for, or why they even existed in the first place. What many developers seem to be ignoring is that campaigns help give players a foothold in the story world of the game, something an online database or quick summation in the Users Manual cannot do, at least not to the extent of an eight-hour single player story mode. Without that foundation, players flounder because, again, they have no idea why they're even doing what they're doing. Now, some games can survive on this lack of campaign, such as Battlefront--which is buoyed by its ties to the Star Wars Franchise--and MOBAs such as League of Legends or Counter Strike which have garnered reputations for their online experiences. So, obviously, the sans campaign system works, and quite well, it appears--for PC Gamers, where it's easy to install a mod or download new third-party content, affix it within the game files, and find yourself playing an entirely different game. Console games such as Titanfall are incapable of the more sophisticated modding communities PC Gamers are privy to thanks to the design of the consoles themselves. This hindrance prevents any kind of new community-driven development from taking place in most console games, and is therefore why console developers should not be so swift in their shirking of campaigns. – JKKN 5 years ago

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