Recently we spoke to Arcade Berg, Senior Games Designer on Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Now unlike other id Software franchises or most FPSs, MachineGames' Wolfenstein games do not have multiplayer of any sort. We asked him about multiplayer in the game and if they'd considered it for Wolfenstein 2, and he responded that they didn't want to because it would divide their attention and the game would suffer for it, even if another developer was doing the multiplayer.
Wolfenstein 2 certainly sticks out for having no multiplayer or online components at all, but what did Arcade give as the reason for MachineGames' unwillingness to put a multiplayer mode in? Surely like so many other games, including Bethesda's other id Software franchise games Doom and Quake Champions, the multiplayer could've been handed to another studio to do? Arcade told us:
“MachineGames do what we’re good at, which are directed narrative shooter experiences, and we want to make the best game we can. We could add multiplayer, we could add more people or bring on another studio to do it, but it will divide our attention, even if it’s just a little, and we don’t want that. We have seen the sales of games like Prey, and people do want this. We’re putting our effort where it needs to be.“
Now this is an interesting statement. There have been many games with "tacked on" multiplayer, such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, Tomb Raider, Bioshock 2, Ninja Gaiden 3, Dead Space 2, Batman: Arkham Origins, where another developer has made the multiplayer for a great single-player game and it's usually gone pretty badly. We've always been assured that such extra multiplayer modes did not hurt the single-player game, but if Arcade is right, maybe those games would've been even better or been allowed to do more if the main campaign developers were allowed to focus all their attention and resources.
He's certainly not the only one to feel this way. Spec Ops: The Line designer Cory Davis called their game's multiplayer component "a cancerous growth".
Still, the good news is the Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will not have multiplayer and Bethesda are allowing MachineGames to make the game they want to make, with no compromises. We've already played it and the results are indeed pretty awesome. We just wish other single-player developers were allowed to do the same.