April 30, 2013
CD Projekt Red: The Witcher 3 Has “No Place For Multiplayer”
Studio head Michal Platkow-Gilewski has offered some further insight on the possibility of multiplayer in the upcoming title The Witcher 3. Fans of the series will remember the name from the previous action style RPGs that have gained critical acclaim from critics for their dedication to traditional European role-playing game design. My hat is off to you, CD Projekt Red. That is, if I had a hat, it would be.
Multiplayer has been the most sought after element in single player games for quite some time. It’s not a surprise that the popularity of the multiplayer boom in games such as Halo and Gears of War in recent years has inspired game developers to implement some sort of online aspect. Why do these guys feel the need to add online capabilities to games that clearly don’t need the features as a means of reeling in populations of loyal fans?
The answer lies in the ability of the game to harbor fans due to social contributions. For example, Gears of War began its multiplayer in 2006 with a nifty team death match that mirrored the game-play of Halo, another Xbox 360 console exclusive. And like Halo, Gears of War managed to attain a population of angry gamers that loved to return to its servers for some gory dismemberment action. Unlike Halo however, Gears of War made its mark as the second most popular video game on Xbox.
To do that, Gears of War needed to implement multiplayer to offer some replay ability.
The term replay ability in video games immortalizes the game-play for years and years to come, even as various other shooters like it attempt to challenge its title. A gamer playing Annex in Gears of War will gladly continue his exploits, for years at a time even, until the sequel of the game releases. With this strategy, game developers can keep players entranced in their elements for years to come.
Gilewski believes that multiplayer has no place in The Witcher 3, a game that has relied on its core single player design for years. Gilewski goes on to say that “We want to focus on the single-player experience, delivering more than 100 hours of truly immersive gameplay. Geralt can be only one.” These are very bold words, considering how effective clones of single player characters have worked for so many fans.
How many Master Chiefs and Marcus Fenix’s have we killed in a team death match? How many grenades have we planted inside enemy tanks to put some ease on our teammates for the capture of another flag on Ragnorak? How many 2.0 k/d ratios have we strived to attain for bragging rights amongst our peers?
The game design is as innocent as a baby dove, so to speak, but the goal remains the same; to continuously bring players back to a game for some social replay ability.
For CD Projekt Red, the goal is simply to make the single player the way that it was intended to be. That is, to be addictive and immersive. My hat’s off to you, guys, so to speak.
Image Credit: CD Projekt Red