Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is out October 27 and we're very excited, but as huge fans of the single-player story-based FPS, it hasn't escaped our notice that very few of them are being released these days, and most of them are from Bethesda. It didn't seem a long time ago that there were dozens of them, now they're rare. A little while ago we checked in with MachineGames Senior Games Designer Arcade Berg and he told us his opinion on why offline story-focused shooters are drying up.
Here's what Arcade had to say when we asked him why there aren't as many single-player FPSs these days, and unfortunately you can probably guess his main reason:
"Personal standpoint? A lot of it is probably money. A good solid multiplayer game will yield great revenue, and people will tell their friends to get a game to play it with them. A multiplayer game on console will require people to keep the disc, whereas a single-player game some people will return it or trade it once they’ve finished with it, and of course developers and publishers don’t see any money from trade-ins. That’s not the consumer’s fault, but there are a lot of aspects like that that get accounted for business-wise."
So to summarize, while the love for single-player shooters still exists it's very easy to finish a game once and trade it in, whereas a multiplayer or online game you have to keep, and you'll probably keep spending money on it. But that wasn't Arcade's only reason:
"Technology is also a factor too. Broadband is de facto now, so that’s changed the playing field a lot."
Indeed, it's only the last generation of consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3) where internet gaming on consoles really took off, and now in the PS4/Xbox One era you have to have a fast internet connection on your console otherwise you'll barely be able to turn it on.
Arcade also assured us that, despite these problems, there were still the same amount of developers out there who wanted to do single-player games. "A lot of developers still creatively love to do single-player campaigns just as much as ever, because that’s how you can really tell the story." Then again, he understood the love of multiplayer games. He said, "I’m sure that the developers also want to
With EA closing Visceral Games because they were making a Star Wars game that was "linear and story-driven" and the likes of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds continuing to grow and grow, it's sad to see the single-player-only story-driven shooter get less popular with publishers - and it's even more important to celebrate a game like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, which doesn't have any online functionality at all.
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is out on October 27, and if you want more single-player FPSs, you better buy it. We certainly will do.