“Seriously, does every game need multiplayer?” I’m sure some of you said this when it was revealed that The Last of Us and Tomb Raider would have a multiplayer component. Now it would be easy to assume that Naughty Dog and Crystal Dynamics are only going after the coveted Call of Duty crowd, and that these modes will come across as ‘tacked on’. But I believe that the multiplayer for both of these games could turn out amazing, if handled correctly.
The multiplayer must be believable within each game’s world. In The Last of Us supplies are limited, the same should be true in multiplayer. Turning it into a standard death match mode with enough ammo and guns to support a small militia wouldn’t make any sense. The same goes for Tomb Raider, Lara and her crewmates are shipwrecked on an island, and unless they were on a ship ran by Koko Hekmatyar (a fictional arms dealer), guns should also be in limited supply.
All of this seems limiting, but it’s why both games could feature great multiplayer modes. If you find a gun you’d have to conserve ammo, and since they’ll be in short supply you’ll also have to use things like bricks, sharp sticks, bottles, homemade arrows, etc. to bring down your foes. Actually, guns should be looked at as an inconvenience, and gamers should be rewarded more for killing the competition with regular objects.
Elsewhere The Last of Us could have an infected vs. survivor mode, while Tomb Raider could have a shipwrecked crew vs. island mercenaries mode. We’ve seen infected modes a few times already, so I don’t have to really explain that one.
Tomb Raider’s shipwrecked crew vs. island mercenaries mode (or whatever you want to call it) could be more about stealth. The crew would obviously be outgunned so they would have to outsmart the mercenaries and pick them off one by one. Eventually, they’ll have enough of the dead mercenaries’ guns to launch an all out assault on the ones who are still alive.
Crystal Dynamics and Naughty Dog are smart, I’m sure they can come up with some good ideas. The point I’m trying to make is – they can’t copy and paste standard FPS modes into these games. Now that would be ‘tacked on’ and a waste of everyone’s time, if they’re going to do multiplayer it needs to be somewhat unique. Sure, if they go the traditional route they could explain why there’s now an abundance of guns, but they would come across as lazy – an all too convenient plot twist is a major cop-out.
Okay, I know some of you are still wondering, “Seriously, does every game need multiplayer?” No, every game doesn’t need multiplayer, but in this day and age the average mainstream gamer wants multiplayer. We all know someone who refuses to buy single player games, it’s silly, but they aren’t alone.
It’s kind of like what Ken Levine said about Bioshock Infinite’s boxart – you have to appeal to the people who don’t sit around reading gaming blogs all day. Believe it or not, there are people out there who make a purchasing decision based on a game’s boxart and if it has multiplayer. Publishers want to accommodate these gamers because the truth is they can’t survive from our support alone.
I’m indifferent when it comes to multiplayer, but it’s becoming a necessary evil. And I’m fine with it as long as it doesn’t hurt the single player campaign. Each part of the game should have it’s own team. I know this has led to disaster before (outsourced multiplayer modes can go either way), but it frees up the main team, now they can focus on polishing the single player campaign.
So, are you looking forward to Tomb Raider and The Last of Us‘ multiplayer modes, or will you just ignore them?