Valve project manager Erik Johnson is of the belief that not all games need a multiplayer component, but being able to share your experiences with other players through a connected experience is important as well.
Speaking with Gamasutra, Johnson feels you can create a game with community features easily without adding multiplayer to it.
“[It] could just mean that you want to be able to chat with other people who are playing through the same part of the game as you, or the fans can write commentary nodes in the game and everyone can experience those to take advantage of the fact that there is a huge community of people that want to interact with each other,” said Johnson. “I still think the analysis that every product needs to be a competitor in multiplayer, or an MMO, is incorrect; there are a lot of people who want an experience without the stress, so I don’t see that changing.
“If there are as [many] players that want single player experiences, you should go build that. I think there are plenty of people that still want to have single player experiences. Look at Mario -those games do really well.”
This is likely the reason Valve didn’t include multiplayer in Portal 2, but instead added a separate co-op campaign to an otherwise single-player game in which the story and objectives don’t support multiplayer very well, despite the core of Portal 2 being similar to the first one.
“This is getting tricky to talk about, because it’s about story stuff a little bit, but I think if you are telling players that the core of the story is ‘you are going do again what you did last time,’ for most people that is pretty unappealing,” said Johnson. “That’s not what is going to happen in the game, but there are definitely some things that are similar to the previous game.
“In implementation, they end up being fun and different. You’re still going to have a testing relationship with GLaDOS.”
Portal 2 is out on February 9 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.