Spec Ops: The Line’s multiplayer is a “cancerous growth”, says Yager staffer

Wednesday, 29th August 2012 07:00 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Spec Ops: The Line suffers for its “tacked on” and “bullshit” multiplayer component, says lead designer Cory Davis.

Speaking to Polygon, Davis said Yager was never interested in adding multiplayer to Spec Ops: The Line, which has been highly praised for it single-player narrative.

“The publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened – even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game,” he said.

Davis described the multiplayer component – developed externally by Darkside Studios – as a “low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person”, also calling it “tacked on multiplayer” and “bullshit, [which] should not exist”.

“There’s no doubt that it’s an overall failure,” he added.

“It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience.”

The designer argued that the multiplayer component ignores the core design pillars of the single-player, has a different tone, and subverts Yager’s mechanics.

“And it was a waste of money. No one is playing it,” he added.

“I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package – it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”

Despite his disgruntlement with 2K’s decision to bring multiplayer to the game, Davis has a lot of respect for the publisher.

“They took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take,” he said.

We’ve asked 2K for its thoughts on the matter.

Spec Ops: The Line is available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It holds a Metacritic average above 75 on all three platforms.



  1. YoungZer0

    “It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience.”

    He’s definitely right about that. Still, not what i’d call subtle. I mean Darkside Studios also invested a lot of their time into it. There’s simply no real way you can have the same narrative in the multiplayer. Coop, maybe, but not multiplayer.

    “They took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take,” he said.

    Indeed, i’ve no idea how they were able to sell the idea.

    Has any of the VG247 Staff played it?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. absolutezero

    A small part of me is glad the multiplayer is in there because of the possibility of someone somewhere buying solely for the multi. Then trying out a little bit of the single player and having their tiny minds blown.

    It is slightly odd that Edge was the only reviewer thats attempted to treat it with a modicum of respect. Its been widely written off and ignored in most areas of the industry. Damn shame because its the most challenging and interesting title released this year.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. YoungZer0

    Extra Credits did some thorough analysis of the game:

    2 Parts actually.


    “Damn shame because its the most challenging and interesting title released this year.”

    Absolutely agree with you on that. For me personally, it’s one of the best videogames of the last 10 years. Though i’ve finished it 4 times already, i still keep going back. The narrative is just soooo damn good.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. absolutezero

    I would watch the Extra Credits but the guys voice and over all tone make me want to smash my monitor into little teeny tiny pieces.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Docker Al

    Well I love the multiplayer. Has a unique feel and has had almost no issues. Unlike other recently released 3rd person shooters[MP3 & GRFS]it runs like a charm. Sadly though it’s slowly dying due to the tiny map count and a complete lack of support from 2K.
    And in no way does it detract from the campaign.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. YoungZer0

    @4: Too bad. You’re missing a lot. I guess it takes getting used to, but it pays off. Extra Credit does some amazing stuff.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. ps3fanboy

    i was looking forward to to this game to, but then i tried the controls. it was a nightmare, the third person controls sucks. play the uncharted games and you will see how third person controls should be done proper.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    @7: Wow, who cares? Seriously, if you dismissed the game just because of the controls, you shouldn’t call yourself a gamer.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Deacon

    I’m a sucker for a strong narrative, but don’t really play FPS/TPS shooters in general… I was aware of the game but thought it was just another COD/BF-clone.

    Thanks guys – I’m going to check this out when I get the time :)

    #9 2 years ago
  10. YoungZer0

    @9: Do that. Part of the reason why you thought it’s just another CoD/BF-Clone is because the developer wanted you to think that. You play it thinking it’s just another CoD Clone and suddenly the game does a 180° and you would’ve never seen it coming.

    Seriously, i can’t praise this game enough.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. ManuOtaku

    Iam waiting for the arrival of my copy here in my country, it did have quite a few delays, but reading this now i know i made the right choice pre ordering this, cannot wait and it will make the waiting time a painfull one, i hope it comes prior darksiders II, but knowing how customs clearance departments works some times, there is a chance darksiders II Will be arriving way earlier.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. YoungZer0

    @11: It’s worth the wait.

    To be honest, i’m actually surprised that VG247 never wrote a piece about it.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DSB

    @2 How do you reckon? They pretty much called the writing dumbed down, the moral aspects of the game ordinary, and the gameplay merely competent.

    I didn’t read that review as uniquely positive.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. YoungZer0

    @13: I think what absolutezero is trying to say is that the review did go more into details than the obvious “Great story, clunky controls, same old combat.”

    And i think it’s very positive, actually.

    Have you played it yet?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. ArithonUK

    Afterthought, bolt-on multi-player is par for the course with FPS titles in this multi-platform climate. Just look at the state of BF3. The game is primarily multi-player, yet the VOIP and game browser are fundamentally broken and clearly show no thought was given to the design beforehand.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Gigabomber

    The game was fantastic. Dark, Gritty Narrative, even if the ending was a bit off. The landscape was also quite varied, even though they didn’t move between countries.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. YoungZer0

    @16: What do you mean the ending was off?

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    @14 Nah, I haven’t played it. I know you highly recommend it, but I think the reviews come with a lot of reservations, like the Edge one, and together with the demo, it’s just not a game I’m dying to play.

    I reckon it would have to be a really good sale before I bite.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. YoungZer0

    @18: You can always rent it.

    Seriously, it’s one of those rare games that actually tries something with its narrative. It’s so more than just a game inspired by Heart of Darkness. To be honest, i think i completely underestimated the game.

    Some of the articles i read about the game made me rethink the whole experience. I’ve missed a lot of elements, because i was just focusing on the story alone, but there’s so much to be seen here.

    The more i read about the game and the theories of other people, the more i realize just how ballsy the whole game is and how insanely awesome 2K Games is for publishing this whole thing.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Erthazus

    I played Spec-Ops The Line and story is the only thing that is good about this game, everything else just sucks ass. Gameplay is just your everyday third person shooter on the Unreal Engine 3.0. Nothing special. There is absolutely nothing that is good about this game.

    Plot is nice with interesting twists and interesting ending, but characters in this game just kill’s it. I don’t remember them anymore because they are so cliche in my opinion.

    Btw, choices in the game are lame, they are at the level of Battlefield 3 storyline. You shoot the US marine there too.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. YoungZer0


    “I played Spec-Ops The Line and story is the only thing that is good”

    “There is absolutely nothing that is good about this game.”

    Dude, you must have like the attention span of a fly.

    And really, you saying that the character are cliche make me think you never played the game. Either that, or you were completely oblivious to the character extreme development.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. AHA-Lambda

    I’ve said this before but the game was not good, and the praise for the story is also overblown. It tries something different and in many ways doesn’t succeed, let’s move on.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. YoungZer0

    @22: No.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. gameSucks

    Can there be anymore fan boi’s for spec ops out there? Methinks not since this game is a complete and utter wreck of an attempt at something different. The mechanics suffer, the storyline is cryptic and disjointed (on purpose to give it an edge, sad) and the bugs, well let’s just say they should have s**t canned it before production.

    Look, just because the story is dark doesn’t mean its a good game. How can there even BE a line when the player isn’t given a choice? Yeah, wrap that around your heads you 13 year old fan bois. And the guy slamming the MP in the article, believe me sir, the MP actually is the only saving grace of this POC!!

    In otherwords, thank GOD for gamefly.

    #24 2 years ago

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