I’m mainly writing this for some friends over at Enemies Everywhere (update: site is no more), It’s a gaming blog and I offered to do a guest post. This is it:
I’ve covered multiplayer gaming before - sadly, it's something that’s held back by so many gripes it’s often hard to know where to start. I made the point that there are some aspects that need more attention. Today I’ll cover some things that distract from the real work towards the perfect shooter.
Customisation is the first snag, it sits forever at the figurehead of marketing campaigns because it’s easy to sell. It’s easy to show off the variety of the new weapons, perks and power-ups you’ve coded in, really easy. Thanks to this they have been moved to pole position and are often all that is talked about the new game. You can’t blame developers for this and there have been some really original and noteworthy specimens from this cycle. However I think it is taking up too much time and is only obscuring from problems closer to the core of the system being sold.
Graphics is next on the hit list. Don’t get me wrong, the work on high end graphics is making the world a better place not only for your eyes but for science too. It’s crucial that we keep improving our graphical technologies, both hardware and software, but I feel they bear little relevance when it comes to multiplayer shooters. Sure we don’t want to run around an untextured world but we’re aiming for 0 lag with a high frame rate and complex meshes don’t help and seriously hinder dated console performance. High end graphics should remain the forefront of PC gaming, fantastic immersive campaigns and sandboxes are what people want. However to expect the same visuals in the other-worldly multiplayer space would be naive.
The wish for a ‘multi-talented game’… All games have a speciality - some have great stories, some have huge replay value, but none have consistent acclaim in all play spaces. I say games stick to what they’re good at. Appealing to the wider demographic with secondary many modes is a cheap trick. Just because a game has an extra mode doesn’t make it worth playing. In my opinion Call of Duty’s campaign and Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer are prime examples of this. These again are distractions, and subtract from rather than building great games.