Pitchford: Multiplayer features should not be forced into games

Tuesday, 5th April 2011 17:57 GMT By John Callaham

Some games are well suited for multiplayer and some are not, according to Gearbox Software head man Randy Pitchford; and those that aren’t shouldn’t have online options forced upon them by publishers.

Speaking to Edge Pitchford said: “You have people that want co-op and competitive, and players who want to immerse themselves in deep fiction. But the concept has to speak to that automatically; it can’t be forced. That’s the problem.”

Pitchford called out the Dead Space series as an example of a single-player game experience that got an unnecessary multiplayer mode.

“It’s ceiling-limited; it’ll never do 20 million units,” he said. “The best imaginable is a peak of 4-5 million units if everything works perfectly in your favour. So the bean counters go: ‘How do I get a higher ceiling?’ And they look at games that have multiplayer.”

Pitchford said that kind  of attitude from game publishers doesn’t work, adding that those companies should become “comfortable with the ceiling, and get as close to the ceiling as possible. Put in whatever investment’s required to focus it on what the promise is all about.”



  1. Dralen

    I definitely agree with him in most cases, but there has been games that I thought “multiplayer just won’t work for this game” but it has. Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood is a great example, that multiplayer is brilliant and unique. In the case of Dead Space 2 I think that the multiplayer was just handled wrong, it should have been something more than your standard deathmatch.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. daytripper

    no multiplayer for mass effect please

    #2 4 years ago
  3. LOLshock94

    ^^^ couldn’t agree any more but shitty EA would probely put it in anyways

    fkn hate EA

    #3 4 years ago
  4. DSB

    Token multiplayer has been a fact of life for as long as I can remember. At least for as long as multiplayer has been a fact of life.

    I can see how that might get casual players in trouble, but I don’t think it’s that hard to spot where a game has its real focus.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. UuBuU

    I think it’s all a matter of opinion.

    For example, I personally thought the multiplayer in games like GTAIV and RDR just didn’t work the way it should’ve and would’ve been better left out.

    Others would disagree and probably enjoyed running around in a small area like a headless chicken killing for new unlocks…

    It works the other way around also – singleplayer isn’t necessary in all games in my opinion.

    For example, most FPS games. They should be multiplayer-only in my opinion. The singleplayer aspect is completely worthless to me, and just wastes time the developers could be spending making the best multiplayer experience.

    But again, that would upset people who like the singleplayer side of such games.

    Point is, you have to include ‘token’ multiplayer or ‘token’ singleplayer in pretty much all games if you want to please everyone… even if the game would probably turn out better with extra work put into just one mode.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    +1000 UuBuU

    Some games include multiplayer just so they can write that on the box, other games include singleplayer so they can write that on the box.

    In terms of quality, it’s a real shame though. If you look at some of the gamechangers like Counter-Strike or Battlefield 2, there was never any time wasted doing anything except perfecting the gameplay for that format.

    It’s our collective loss if people are so spoiled that they need absolutely everything in name only, instead of realizing that there is such a thing as focus when it comes to making a game.

    Honestly I don’t think that’s the case. As you say, people certainly do have preference, and I think they’d reward either approach accordingly.

    There’s no such thing as pleasing everyone, and I think that’s fundamental to any kind of design, from weapons to economics to games. Either you focus and commit, or you venture into mediocre compromises with mediocre results.

    I think it’s for the sake of executive producers who just want to put a bunch of features on the box and talk a lot of crap to journalists, without giving a rats ass about what it means to their projects.

    It’s also another reason why I respect Splash Damage and their approach with Brink. Want singleplayer on the box? Just add bots to keep the suits off your back.

    #6 4 years ago

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