Earlier this month, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau proudly touted that he was finished greenlighting development on games that are only for solo players. The Insomniac-developed, EA-published Fuse, formerly OverStrike, certainly fits the bill. Like so many shooters these days, Fuse is playable solo but it’s built with four players in mind. Resistance 2 and Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One are Insomniac’s experiments in co-operative play that gave birth to Fuse, but the studio has a rich heritage in single-player games. Is it giving up the single player ghost?
Just like Electronic Arts, Insomniac is done developing single-player-only games.
Speaking with Gamespot, Insomniac CEO Ted Price said that the nature of the modern game industry means that the era of games like the original Ratchet & Clank is over. “I can’t imagine that any game we’d do from here on out will be single-player-only,” said Price, “The [industry] has changed. As gamers, we have always been social, but thanks to the way technology has evolved, it’s much easier for us to play together. And it’s much easier for developers to create experiences where you can play together. So we want to encourage that with all of our games because ultimately, in my opinion, it’s often more fun to play with a friend.”
To reiterate, solo campaigns aren’t disappearing from EA or Insomniac’s games. After Gibeau’s words circled the web last week, the executive was quick to say that EA would still make single-player content. “You can have a very deep single-player game but it has to have an ongoing content plan for keeping customers engaged beyond what’s on the initial disc,” Gibeau told Kotaku, “I’m not saying deathmatch must come to Mirror’s Edge.”
Price mirrored the sentiment. “We understand that a large portion of players are interested in that single-player experience. A lot of us gamers are interested in both. I love single-player games but I also love multiplayer games, and I think Fuse offers you the opportunity to do both without having to skimp on either side.”
Skimping on either side is definitely the concern when it comes to incorporating online and social elements into every game. EA’s SSX for example would have benefitted from a greater focus on how the game played by a single person rather than incorporating intrusive annoying social features and micro-transaction-based gear acquisitions. Insomniac games have often benefitted from that sort of focus. Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time is a crafted single-player-only game and it happens to be the finest thing the studio has ever made.