Happy April, single players. For those of you who haven’t been following OSP on social media (be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!), both Nick Calandra and I have been extremely busy at school and work respectively, so things have been a bit slower than usual around the site. I can’t promise that will change for me anytime soon, but I’m doing my best to resume some normalcy with my duties. To that end, I’m back with a (very late) update for the month of April, and I’m here with an interesting topic of discussion to mull over for 500-700 words: what exactly constitutes a single player game?
This is a topic that has come up time and time again amongst our writers recently. Ever since Destiny launched, the line between single-player and multiplayer titles has become infuriatingly blurry. Then the Division came along and caused us to once again question the nature of single-player versus multiplayer.
I’ve been told time and again that it is our dedication to the single-player market that brings people to our site, and I have seen a steady increase in our viewership lately, meaning that as word gets out about our site, people clamor to us for something they can’t get elsewhere: a single-player focus. As Editor in Chief, I take this very serious and it is one of my driving philosophies for everything I do on the site. Normally, however, my job is pretty easy. We have a pretty clear mandate so I don’t often have to question the decisions of my writers. But the Division has me at something of a impasse.
We’ve covered the Division several times before, but it’s always been in an editorial sense, and I maintain that the coverage we’ve been giving the Division has been within the purview of our site’s coverage: can the Division be played single player? I think we answered that a few times, and it was my understanding we were done covering it. But the topic arose again in our private chat and it got me thinking: how much coverage should we give a game like the Division? A game that can be played single player but that most of its regular users go to for multiplayer action?
I don’t mean to call anyone out in this discussion, leastwise my own writers. I may have differing opinions on some things but I value their input and, as I said before, I often trust their judgment. But in this case I wanted to give our readers a chance to chime in as well: are you interested in seeing news for games like the Division and Destiny on our site? Obviously we’ll continue to steer away from MOBAs and other clearly multiplayer-only experiences, but where does the line get drawn? After all, you can get quite a bit of mileage out of World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV playing by yourself (in fact, as I alluded to this in one of my first editorials at OSP). Meanwhile, games like Ark: Survival Evolved (which we have mostly ignored for now but will almost certainly write a review when it finally releases…my vote for the tagline is “You Have Defecated”) and the various Borderlands games get unabashed coverage on our site and yet I would guess 90% of people who play those games choose to play them with friends (Ark in particular is clearly made to be a multiplayer game).
Should we avoid games like Ark and Borderlands? Should we begin covering the MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV and Wildstar?
I’m mostly pontificating at this point. We’re not going to start covering MMOs (not if I have anything to say about it) and we’ll probably keep covering Borderlands. And I have absolutely no problem covering obviously multiplayer titles with a single-player bend – in fact, that’s part of what we’re all about here too. But it bears considering for the future of the site and I’d love to have a few of our dedicated readers chime in with their opinions.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, you should really check out our Spotlight for this month, an interview with Frogwares about their upcoming game, The Sinking City. We’ve had some success covering the bevy of Lovecraftian games that are coming out of the indie sector right now – which suits me just fine because I am a sucker for Lovecraft’s eldritch, cosmic horrors from beyond the stars – and this is a spectacular and exciting project that I can’t wait to try out.
In addition, you should check out Sep’s interview with Mindfield about their upcoming VR title, Pollen.
Keep your eyes on OSP for more in the days to come, including my second installment of Boss Tunes, featuring the smooth stylings of The OneUps.