Veteran games consultant Mark Cerny says we may only be three years from the death of single-player games – but warned that doesn’t mean a world dominated by what we now think of as multiplayer.
“I believe the traditional single-player game experience will be gone in three years. Right now you sit in your living room and you’re playing a game by yourself – we call it the sp mission or the single-player campaign. In a world with Facebook I just don’t think that’s going to last,” Cerny said in a Eurogamer-organised panel.
The consultant, who has worked on several prominent Sony games including Crach Bandicoot and Ratchet & Clank, pointed to games which already blur the line between single and multiplayer experiences – like Demon’s Souls, which sports messages, “ghosts” of other players, and even a player-controlled boss as well as co-op and competitive multiplayer.
“We’re already seeing the wall starting to crumble a bit,” he said. “I believe three years from now, if you aren’t doing that, you are being criticised in your reviews for your lack of innovation.
“A game without the presence of other players in it – you go out three or five years, I believe that is unthinkable given how connected we’re becoming.”
Cerny said the industry doesn’t yet have the terminology to describe blended user experiences, and this is hampering innovation.
“If you don’t have any word for freedom you can’t have a revolution. How can you be talking about design when we don’t have the words to describe it?” he asked.
“Yet, that will be the standard, I believe, in 2014.”