Posted on May 29, 2008,

Atari's Not the Only One Moving Away from Single-Player Games, Says Harrison

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Alone in the Dark might be an epic single-player action-horror title, but you shouldn’t expect Atari to keep pumping out games of that nature, according to Phil Harrison. He recently talked about how Atari would be moving away from “huge-budget, single-player games in the future.” He clarified that comment on how Alone in the Dark could be the last of its kind from Atari. Speaking with Eurogamer, he explained that it’s reflective of an industry-wide movement towards games that take advantage of community features.

“[The quote] was not uniquely about Atari; it was more about the industry as a whole.,” Harrison said. “Alone in the Dark is a beautifully crafted single-player adventure game. I don’t think the industry is going to make many more of those. I just don’t think consumers want to be playing games that don’t have some kind of network connectivity to them, or some kind of community embedded in them, or some kind of extension available through downloadable content.

“Now, that’s not to criticize Alone in the Dark – it’s just to recognize the industry is changing, and the role we play as creators and publishers has to reflect those changes. I don’t think I’m alone in having those views, either.”

I don’t think there’s much denying that there’s a real movement towards multiplayer-oriented games, and many people expect that when they pay $60 for a game, that there be some sort of multiplayer component. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room left for games like The Witcher, Oblivion or Final Fantasy, although I agree that there is a need to integrate some sort of online connectivity with them — whether that’s a multiplayer mode or something entirely different.

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12 Comments on Atari's Not the Only One Moving Away from Single-Player Games, Says Harrison

Mustikos

On May 29, 2008 at 6:36 pm

I don’t agree that every game needs some kind of multiplayer . The whole reason that I enjoy single player games in the first place is to get away from all the morons that seem to be on the internet. I don’t play games to socialize with people, I don’t want to hear about how crappy their lives are while I am trying to kill some mob or trying to read what a NPC is saying. Plus seems lazier on the developers part.

Chris

On May 29, 2008 at 7:12 pm

As I said, it doesn’t have to be a multiplayer necessarily. But some way to connect with others — leaderboards, a way to share things, etc. Being confined completely to yourself just doesn’t make sense though, except in certain cases, like BioShock.

Mustikos

On May 29, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Thats the thing though, I want the big Holy crap moments like the stuff in bioshock and kotor. I wouldn’t mind if they made games small co-op which I prefer but it always seems if they do mulitiplayer then its random death matches (which I do like). I wouldn’t mind playing the Witcher through maybe co-op style, one person can be Gearalt and the other person can maybe be Dandelion (sp) and that person can get you in trouble all the time like he does in the the books. The problem though still is I read somewhere that in a matter of few years people might start seeing “internet brown-outs” which will suck.

Spore probably has the best approach to some of this. Still a great single player game yet you still are basically with other people with out having to put up with their crap. But just like a movie, some times you want to watch them alone. Not here peoples idiotic comments through the movie etc.

Evismang

On May 30, 2008 at 1:11 am

I think Bioshock could have used a little bit of sprucing up. I mean, it was an awesome game with amazing visuals and one of the best stories in a video game ever, as far as I’m concerned, but I beat it once, and now I really don’t want to go through it again. I already know what happens. Nothing will really change. If I was able to play co-op or something, well then ya, I’d go through it again. I usually play online with friends from RL, so we have something to talk about, and that helps to spruce up a lot of situations. Like in Halo 3, we were going to get a skull. We go the skull, turned around to get out of the passage, and didn’t know how to get out. We were exploring, finding a way out, following one another. The first person ran off into a bottomless pit and died, and said “Don’t go there!” right as I ran off. I then said “STOP!” and the 3rd person said “Why?” and then ran right off the same spot.

Notme

On May 30, 2008 at 2:14 am

Alone in the Dark
Screw all you anti-single player gamers. It was single players that brought the Gamining industry the success it has now. Millions of us still like single player gaming. Maybe we don’t want to do battle with a bunch of gaming tech-heads that know how to cheat in online games.

Bounce

On May 30, 2008 at 2:41 am

Singleplayer games are much better. If you make crappy games all you need to do to lure those console kiddies is to add multiplayer. ing console kiddies are killing the entire gaming industry.

LoBo

On May 30, 2008 at 6:01 am

Truth being multiply and especially Pay2play MMorpg is a sauce pan the gold mine the new eldorado… but just for developers. Just look at the amount of crappy MMorpg`s that korea spitts out… all unreal2 engine all look the same but becouse the reccurency of payments they make soo much mone its feasible and now the companies we love for our single-play (i dont mind coo-op its great but non existent) waant a part of the cake… preatty rubbish if you ask me, I bloody hate those mindless hours of griding and no story line what so ever… armors that have a thousand spikes on them, weapons the size of buildings and all that chinease (no offence to the inteligent nation but im sick and tired of their infuence on gaming) girls with ears and tails wearing something that came uot of bukake childrape japanise porn waching 24/7 office workers dream. I WANT A STORY LINE AN ENDING AND FUN THAT WONT COST ME 15 pound a month (serwers cost couple of pennies a month to run per player head every expansion costss on top and its all just an addictive(payed, now you HAVE to play) bull… like drugs but legal)

LoBo

On May 30, 2008 at 6:13 am

P.S. MMorpg`s are a big con and nothing else… are you fat and you moma hates you, play world of warcraft and be a poverful beoutifull elf and SHOW THEM WHOZ BOSS,(15$ a month + 200$ for gold from a con company of gold diggers)

” Atari would be moving away from “huge-budget, single-player games in the future”
Great why make something of walue when you can get a team of 10 and make another ty mmorpg and make loads of money… if atari realises a mmorpg paid monthly its the las theyll se of my money (i was a fan since `atari 800xt` the wee gray komputer till my 50pound witcher limited edition)

Fenris

On May 30, 2008 at 7:41 am

1- Consoles are not killing gaming, they have created the 11 billion dollar a year industry. You may not like the console games (but my guess is you secretly do), but more players and more mainstream acceptance are not the issue

2- Xbox live gives me plenty of community while I am playing Mass Effect, Oblivion, etc. I can chat with my friends the entire time Im playing, get help, keep track of what they are doing, etc. Saying all games must have some kind of online component hammered in just to have it does not make sense.

3- Bioshock was a fun game and I liked it, but its not the best story ever, or if it is then System Shock 2 is the best story ever (since Bioshock is practically a clone of that game).

4- While I agree that there are games (like Bioshock) that I play once or twice and then not again, what is wrong with that? One night stands are great! Seriously though, story based games have this issue (though in RPGs less so) and you either accept it or not. Adding lets say a bunch of sandbox type multipayer modes to Bioshock would not keep me playing it for much longer. You can be a car or a horse but not both.

Binky

On June 1, 2008 at 4:02 pm

Really, have they forgotten about Half-Life(And 2) already? I mean, they had a (small)multiplayer component, but the main thing you got was the epic single-player experience. If there aren’t ever any games like that again, what will happen?

Resnic

On June 12, 2008 at 4:06 pm

I’d have to disagree with Multiplayer games being needed or even wanted. Though they’re lots of fun with your friends or you’re just a lonely guy who’s played halo way too many times on your own, ok. But for most of the people i know, single player games are loved because it’s a more personal experience. instead of going online and getting slaughtered by crazy halo players (who are yelling moronic things over their headset).

The market shows that there is a still steady, breathing flow between consumers and SP games. Don’t turn gaming into the equivalent of modern reality daytime television.

Reno

On November 18, 2009 at 4:17 am

It’s a sad day when you hear big name companies are moving away from Single player campaigns. What Attari is doing is setting a precedent and soon others will follow. I highly doubt this decision has anything to do with consumer preference because clearlt majority of people who are serious gamers still love a story driven SP campaign. This is all about money and who wants to pull their heads in work hard when you can get monthly subscription fees for crappy games.

The Call of Duty Series starting with the Modern Warfare and it’s sequels is a fine example of companies wanting us to pay a fat cheque for only a few hours of SP only because they have incorporated a supposedly good MP. I for one never play MP online. Sorry but I just don’t get my kick out of playing with random strangers who are not willing to play as a team or play fair or worse are looking to blow your head off with their uber characters. If I MP, it’s over LAN with friends and even that doesn’t happen very often because we all have jobs to do and not many have time to gather up and play games for hours on end.

Single player is a deep personal experience that stays with you far longer than MP. I hope the companies see some sense.