Yager Dev: Spec Ops: The Line Multiplayer ‘Cancerous Growth’

Maybe it’s that the industry, eager to squeeze the last dregs of money out of the current generation, have jacked up its expectations for what a game not called ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘GTA’ can really deliver, maybe it’s the recession, maybe it’s just poor luck. Whatever it is, major release games performing below expectation seems to be a running theme for the industry in the last year or so. Take Spec Ops: The Line. It wasn’t a flop, exactly, but it sure wasn’t a hit. I’m sure plenty of people at Yager and 2K have their own theories about what hurt it, but if you ask lead designer Cory Davis, it’s because of the “b*llshit”, “tacked on” multiplayer.

“The multiplayer mode of Spec Ops: The Line was never a focus of the development,” Davis said in an interview with the Verge. “But the publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened — even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game.”

Over Davis’ objections, 2K outsourced development of the game’s multiplayer, resulting in what Davis says is nothing but a “low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person.” Davis stated that the multiplayer discard key creative elements of the main game. “It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience,” he said. “The multiplayer game’s tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package — it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”

Ouch. I wasn’t in on the development, but I can’t imagine Davis isn’t right. The current landscape is littered with games that should have remained single player, but instead were crammed with superfluous multiplayer content at the expense of the main game. And in one particularly obvious instance, it probably ruined the game.

Via VG 24/7

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2 Comments on Yager Dev: Spec Ops: The Line Multiplayer ‘Cancerous Growth’


On August 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I can believe that some devs are resentful of MP showing up in their games. Some of them are just tacked on, and the general attitude is that it is something that “has” to be on their to meet a publisher’s expectations. Unfortunately, publishers have a hard time realizing that they hired devs because THEY know what to do. It’s certainly hard not to think of ME3, which seems like the poster child for single player games with MP tacked on because the publisher has unrealistic sales goals. Even if another team is brought on to do it, that is still money that could be spent on a better single player. When you see side missions in ME3 that use the exact maps from MP, it’s hard not to think that corners were cut.

This is why I have a lot of respect for Rocksteady. When they were planning Arkham City, they thought about MP, but realized that putting those resources toward the single player would make a far more satisfying experience for the players, and THAT would get them better sales.


On August 30, 2012 at 3:21 am

Publishers seems to think that everybody wants to play multiplayer all the time… Nothing is farther from the truth…

I play singleplayer most of the time, even in a MMO… Sometimes a few games with PUG or friends-only…

Too many ‘multiplayer’ (competitive, coop, F2P…) games will only bring less peoples playing your games on the long run, because they have so much choices and most plays (more or less) the same… Beside, why would I spend money and time on another multiplayer shooter (for example), when I’m quite good and I’m in the process of levelling the one I already have?… Especially if the multiplayer is indeed an afterthough and is condemned right from the start to be sub-par and low populated?…