Remedy Entertainment’s Head Of Communications Thomas Puha recently said in an interview that making games is hard and that single-player games are dying out. He mentioned that single player games are not as profitable as they once were and while that might be the case in some instances I do not completely agree with what he had to say.
The following is what Remedy’s Head Of Communications Thomas Puha had to say about single-player AAA titles:
“There’s the crazy part of making a game where it takes four or five years, and then the game is over [for the player] in like a weekend. From a creative perspective, even when we made Alan Wake, it was like we spent all this time creating the characters, the universe, the rules and everything. It’s a place where you want the player to spend a longer period of time, and that’s hard to do in the traditional single-player space.”
I do agree, making a game takes a lot of time and resources and it can take years to perfect a game and figure out all the mechanics and how things are going to come together. While Alan Wake was an impressive title and should get the credit that it deserves, I have to say that it was not as great as the critics would have people believe. IGN gave the game a 9 out of 10 but then again then people at IGN are not gamers. They are tech journalists that are hired to write about this. Alan Wake is deserving of a solid 7 but a 9 is just going too far.
While there are players that speed run through the game, there are those that stop and enjoy the attention to detail that the developer has put into the game. So you cannot just simply say that it took a lot of time and effort into a game and the environment and the characters and what not and that it was not all worth it.
The characters, the environment and every single bit of detail that is added to the game is part of the mix and all that is what makes a game special. I am pretty sure that these things do not go unnoticed and that people to actually hold on to stand and stare at the view.
All in all, that is what happens, there is a huge difference between making a game and playing it. Playing a game takes a significantly less time than making it. Making that comparison to start with makes little sense to me. That’s like saying someone can hear faster than you can talk. That does not matter.
Obviously, the audience can decode more words than you can speak but that does not mean that you give up and stop talking. You figure out ways of keeping the audience engaged so that the mind does not wander off. The same concept applies to games. Making a game and perfecting it might be time-consuming and might cost a lot of money but that does not mean that it cannot be done.
Coming Up With A Great Concept Or Story Costs Close To Nothing
Coming up with a great story or a unique concept that players would like to experience costs relatively close to nothing at all. Puha further went on to say that:
“The reality is the traditional AAA single-player experience is just really expensive to make. The expectation level from gamers is really high in terms of how long the game is, what sort of features it has, how good the production values are. All those things are very expensive to do. And if you go back 10 years, you could still say the console market is roughly the same size. In the end, the audience you’re selling to is relatively the same size but the cost of making the game is ten-fold these days. So that’s an obvious problem.”
The market might not have grown as expected but claiming that single-player games don’t sell in accordance with the cost of making them is something that I do not agree with. There are plenty of single player games out there that do well and that people play again and again because they are that good. Even though Darksiders did not do as well as expected it is a great game and did not have a huge budget at all.
The second game turned out to be even better and years later people bought the definitive editions of both games in hopes of encouraging the developers to make another part of the Darksiders franchise. While $60 might not be a lot of money in terms of the cost of making a game you have to see that coming up with a concept costs nothing. An idea is free and costs nothing. How you implement that idea has adds the cost into the equation.
Darksiders had a unique concept to offer, the execution was great and the story was what I loved the most about the game. Everything from the narration to the voice acting can be admired and the game can be played over and over again and even after that you will find things that will fascinate you. That is the essence of a great game.
Single-player Games Are Not Dead
There are plenty of gamers out there that cannot play multiplayer games because of the learning curve and the time you need to invest in the game. There can be numerous reasons why that is so. People have families that need time and attention. Other people have jobs that don’t give them enough time to invest in games.
I myself have invested 1200 hours in DOTA2 and that is nothing compared to other people that are still in college. But one thing is clear, I do not have the time to learn how to play new games. I just need a game that has a good story, decent game mechanics that I can jump into at a moments notice and start playing. That is not just me, there are plenty of people out there that are facing the same issue on a regular basis.
I have played numerous games in which I have only played the campaign and never even touched the multiplayer aspect of the game. Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider are great examples of the games that have great story and gameplay. I have played both games and finished the story but never have I wandered off into the multiplayer aspect of the game.
I do not think that there is anyone that can deny that Tomb Raider is a great game. It has done very well since it first came out and while people have mixed feelings about the reboot the game in itself is worth the money. Fun fact, I bought the game twice. Once on the Xbox One and later on for PC.
Make Great Games And People Will Buy
It all comes down to whether or not the game is good or not. You can make shitty games all you want but don’t complain about sales not being as expected. You can invest as much money as you want into a game, if it is a shit game, it is a shit game. There is no denying that. It is what it is. While I am a huge fan of Max Payne and Alan Wake was great, why Quantum Break did not work out is pretty obvious.
“While we worked on Quantum Break and did the creative work on that, it’s still Microsoft’s IP. It’s their baby. They put the funds into it so they had a lot of say into what kind of game that would be. In the case of Crossfire, the nice thing was we were approached by Smilegate. They saw Remedy did good story and they wanted that. Remedy had a lot of people who were interested in doing a first-person shooter even though the studio hadn’t before, and they got a lot off creative freedom to do it.”
I don’t think Cuphead had a huge budget but even though it was not a AAA title, it is a single player game and it has sold because of the concept and the challenge that it has to offer. There are plenty of other games that I can mention but you get the idea. If Remedy thinks that getting into multiplayer games will solve their problem then they should think again.
While single-player games have their issues, so do Multiplayer games. If developers are worried about not being able to justify all that work for $60 then how much content are developers willing to put into a multiplayer game that costs the same. Not everyone is willing to buy loot boxes and not everyone likes the idea of paid DLC and expansion passes.
Destiny 2 is a multiplayer game that I have spend more than 250 hours in, even though it has a lot of following, it has declined over time and people have complained about the lack of content. So multiplayer games have their issues as well.
Let us know what you think about Remedy Entertainment’s Head Of Communications Thomas Puha’s statement regarding the matter and whether or not you agree with what he has to say.