PC Gamer Shares 'The Joy of Co-Op'
Ahh, co-op. At some point within this decade it seemed as if co-operative gameplay in video games was going through a period of waning. Whether it was due to the fact that games were getting ‘too complicated’ to slap in a co-op game mode, or developers were intimidated at the thought of including a co-op feature, it’s pretty evident today that co-op in games is a viable investment. Gears of War, Halo 3, Rainbox Six: Vegas, and Lego Star Wars are just a handful of recently successful titles that have proven co-op as selling point feature. Upcoming titles Left 4 Dead and Army of Two ambitiously plan on co-op being their primary selling point.
While we were partying away these past few days, PC Gamer whipped up a well written article discussing the joys of co-op. The article is an excellent read that not only covers the pros and cons of co-op from the perspective of a gamer, but also the game designer as well. In fact, PC Gamer gathered a few responses regarding the subject of co-op from some notable developers themselves. Harvey ‘Deus Ex’ Smith (BlackSite), Jonathan Sutton (Alien Swarm), and even the infamous Cliff ‘CliffyB’ Bleszinski (Gears of War) share their experiences as game designers.
One response that caught my attention was from Harvey ‘Deus Ex’ Smith, lead designer of Midway’s BlackSite: Area 51:
“It’s amazing how you can be in a room full of MIT grads, and people who have been working on games for ten years and play all the games, and look at the helicopter with one turret on it and then someone finally says ‘What about player two?’”
A sad annotation here is that co-op was ultimately dropped from BlackSite. Somewhat proof that if you are going to design a game with a successful co-op feature, you’d best do it from the ground up. Slapping on co-op as a last minute thought just doesn’t cut it these days.
Despite any preconceptions of co-op as a gamer, I’d suggest anyone to give the PC Gamer article a read. I for one am a huge fan of co-op games. In fact, co-op is the very reason Pterodon’s awesome multiplayer co-op game Vietcong has remained on my hard drive this long. Discovering a co-op game you and your friends constantly enjoy playing is like finding treasure. Ahh, and the gaming memories…. I think I’ll end on that note.