Prototype Multiplayer Scrapped

By Jim Rossignol on March 30th, 2008 at 9:29 am.


From this interview:

Why was multiplayer cut from PROTOTYPE?

Tim Bennison: From its inception PROTOTYPE was planned first and foremost as a single player open-world/action game. Naturally, with Alex’s genetically mutated shape-shifting abilities, we started to explore what would happen if he were to sub-divide into two PROTOTYPEs and what kind of multiplayer gameplay we could create around that concept. We’ve been looking at this potential multiplayer idea much more closely as PROTOTYPE’s development has been progressing, and while it’s a great concept and gameplay bonus, our conclusion is that we won’t be able to pull it off with the same level of quality and polish that we’re aiming for with the original single player story.

And yet something tells me that a slightly rough-around-the-edges city combat game where you’re playing alongside a friend would still be more compelling than the single player game, no matter how polished. Just look at Crackdown. This seems like a really unhealthy decision, and I wonder whether co-op actually broke something major in the game’s innards.

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30 Comments »

  1. Mike says:

    So it – a hah – fell apart at the prototype stage?

    Yes?

  2. roBurky says:

    Booo!

  3. TheBard says:

    I don’t care about coop, multiplayer etc.

    Sure, I often play with friends. But I have a Wii for that. Games like Prototype, I prefer to play alone, for the story and for the experience.

    I also have problems getting into the story when I play with someone else. I tend to see games more abstract when in multiplayer.

    Also, nearly all my online multiplayer experiences, over the internet on a PC, Xbox Live or whatever, haven’t been something I’d like to repeat.

    So I hope this whole online multiplayer boom just washes away and more companies put out a compelling single player experience. Not stuff like Call of Duty 4, which was absolutely gorgeous, but rather short.

  4. Arnulf says:

    Surely, not everything has to support multiplayer, right?

  5. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Surely, not everything has to support multiplayer, right?

    Seems some people believe they should. I also couldnt care about multiplayer or co-op either and feel sorry for the devs when journos and gamers in the forums make it such a big issue. Just give me a decent single player experience and I’m a happy chappy, just don’t shoehorn multiplayer cos a vocal group of gamers demand it so.

  6. Git says:

    Jim, you disagree with their design decision, put it down for not being another Crackdown, and criticise their ability to code? One can only hope that you’ve mastered irony and sarcasm to the point that it’s indistinguishable from magic.

  7. Ging says:

    Wondering if coop broke something in the games innards isn’t criticism – I don’t see anywhere else that might be considered so either.

    I have to agree with Jim – Crackdown is a shining example of how a sandboxy game like this can work with coop. That was way, way more fun with a mate in tow to throw a car or two at.

    My understanding of this though is that they’re considering tacking the multiplayer on as a bit of DLC / an expansion, but that depends on how well the game performs at retail.

  8. Jim Rossignol says:

    Or I’m just disappointed. I’m not criticising anyone’s ability to code, I’m just speculating as to whether the implementation of co-op was actually a technical problem. It could be, it’s tough to do.

    And ultimately I don’t really want another Crackdown, I want Prototype to be awesome.

  9. Git says:

    And ultimately I don’t really want another Crackdown, I want Prototype to be awesome

    That’s what I wanted to hear! You didn’t state that in your comment, which is why it comes off as more of a general criticism of multi vs single player gaming. Disappointment in an upcoming game is something we can all identify with. Group hug!

    Personally I prefer a studio to either focus on Single or Multi. Less points of failure, more polish in the direction of their focus. I can understand them dropping multi for the sake of focus on single. If they fear that the work on multi will detract from single then they’ve made a sensible decision as far as their aims are concerned.

  10. Alex says:

    I’m with TheBard – I couldn’t care less about multiplayer, in whatever form (and I used to play a lot of MP when I was a young’un).

    To me multiplayer is just another buzzword used by publishers, with coop being even buzzier.

  11. John O'Kane says:

    I think you’ve got to respect their right to allocate their own resources. It’s usually a brave decision to cull something like that for the improvement of other parts of the game, especially in this age where everything has to have a multiplayer mode whether it fits or not. Blind speculation isn’t really helpful.

  12. Scydow says:

    Well I thought the multiplayer part of this game was the much fun, creating havok with a friend.
    Now I don’t think I am going to get this game…
    To bad

  13. Ben Abraham says:

    But I *like* co-op… or at least… good coop. Any word on whether they are considering adding it at a later stage, or just gone completely?

  14. Jochen Scheisse says:

    The better you want the faction interaction to be, the more complicated a co op becomes. They probably let it drop because they feel implementation would not make the social interaction level they wanted possible.

  15. Alex says:

    Maybe the MP just wasn’t much fun – some games just don’t lend themselves very well to MP (another example might be BioShock, I expect).

  16. Mark Cook says:

    As a comment on Crackdown: that game was a blast in multiplayer just goofing off with a friend. Generally, I don’t play non-local multiplayer, but I sure did for Crackdown. It’s disappointing that Prototype won’t have the same capability.

  17. wcaypahwat says:

    from all reports i heard, multiplayer did look to be an absolute blast in Prototype. although i have to admit, i wouldn’t really even glance at the co op mode unless my mate had it on a console or some such. things just seem to flow better when the person your playing with is right next to you, plus split screen on a PC is just yucky.

  18. malkav11 says:

    The thing about Crackdown is that there’s not much to break by the inclusion of cooperative play. There’s virtually no scripting, story, or anything other than a world sim full of people that want to kill you/want your driving skill dead. So plopping down a second PC in the midst of that seems like it would be fairly trivial. (Aside from putting together the net code, of course.) And it’s still not exactly perfect, as your characters won’t be of equivalent power unless you’ve both maxed out and gained all the weapons, and you’re stuck playing the host’s version of the city, with all the bosses or lack thereof that that may imply. (Although at least they have a city reset option now.)

  19. Mo says:

    Smart decision. Technically, co-op is incredibly difficult to pull off in a shooter, let alone co-op in a gigantic city where (literally) hundreds of things are changing at every moment. That Crackdown was even able to do this is a wonder to me.

    Co-op and multiplayer of any form is challenging to code, and increases the complexity of testing dramatically. And Jim, while it’s acceptable to release “rough-around-the-edges” co-op for PC, the console manufacturers just wouldn’t have any of that.

    It’s a shame and all, but it’s a decision that most developers aren’t brave enough to make.

  20. minus says:

    You say that Mo, but how would you explain an MMO such as Tabula Rasa? Or Planetscape? Or even BF2?

    Games have had co-op since the dawn of time.

    It may be that one of the systems it was being developed for couldn’t handle it and an executive decided to drop it all across the board? Who knows?

  21. kuddles says:

    I can understand the notion of leaving out co-op or multiplayer. With two-person co-op, there is so much that would need to be taken into account including balance issues, level design, story, etc. It’s why most co-op games either have a poor story or is one of those open-ended games.

    And some games just don’t need multiplayer. Look at Condemned 2 as an example of a great singleplayer game being forced to shoehorn MP into a setting that doesn’t ask for it because so many people insist upon it.

    I know developers like Ken Levine have publically stated things like how he regrets many of his past decisions to cater to those insist that games need multiplayer before they are willing to purchase it. The result is that the single-player campaign isn’t as strong as they wanted it to be because so many resources had to be diverted to making multiplayer maps, and yet the game still is left competing against the more robust games that are multiplayer-focused, so all that hard work goes underappreciated. It makes sense, you see so many games that could have used a bit more polish instead have all these multiplayer maps created, and all it ends up with is the servers being empty two weeks later as everyone goes back to Halo or Counterstrike anyways.

  22. Velt says:

    I have to say…

    Without Co-op, this game lost 90% of its appeal to me.

    There aren’t enough co-op games in this world, and I’m pretty disappointed that the co-op has been removed from the game.

  23. Velion says:

    I think MP would be a great thing in this game but just like graphics multilayer dose NOT make a game. You can always talk with your friends while playing. You can see what there doing and things like that. So im dissipointed that MP wont be in it but its not that big of a deal.

  24. Jose says:

    MP is a very big deal,i bet a lot of people wont buy the game if MP isnt in it

  25. Briar says:

    Just thought and chime in that I thought the game sounded like it’d be a fun game to play…in coop. I mean it probably will be a lot of fun in SP, but it lost a lot of its appeal to me when I learned there’s no coop :(. Guess I was kinda hoping for another (hopefully better, especially performance wise) Saints Row 2, as that was alot of fun in coop.

  26. wolfie says:

    I’m disappointed that it is not MP,but I think that would make experience and gameplay worse. So I’m kind of glad that they took it out. I would like to see MP player on it later though. I hope people still buy it even though it isn’t MP.

  27. king says:

    YOU GUYS R STUPID, IVEN IF YOU DONT LIKE MULTIPLAYER YOU CAN PLAY BY YOUR SELF BUT DERS PEOPLE LYKE ME HU LOVE MULTIPLAYER, COZ AT DA END OF DA GAME WHAT DO U DO? HAVE YOU ask’d UR SELF DAT

  28. GeoDude says:

    (Loads 9mm pistol.Points to head) Later Dudes! (Pulls Trigger)

    They just took out the feature that would make this game sell out in every shop! Even if there was only free roam MP it wouldnt be that bad.

  29. crewdog says:

    Although I was dissappointed that there was no MP, the gameplay makes up for it. Try the game out b4 making a conclusion about MP. I would rather have the game all to myself anyway.

  30. akram says:

    Look at all the 30+ yearolds bitching about not liking co-op good for you just cus you get beat when you play on line by everyone. the fact is our right it is a grate game the way it is the olnly problem is that once you beat the game all you have left to look forward to is free play… whopty doo lest jump arownd and fly off buildongs and blow shit up for 40 horus straight how fun…! fucking boring as hell. give me Multi player please to relive my bordom! i paid 60 bucks for a gam i dont want to have to sell it after i beat it cus it is boring as hell when our done. how sick would it be to team up or go head to head with othr alexes flying and taging Pc alexes allover the map clearing out the city ith a buddy! that would be sick doing chalenges with your best frind who can kill the most fly the farthes Ext… point made. game sucks after you beat it without mulit go cry about single player to the vid game gods no one cares about you opinion if you dont want multi it dosent have it so shut up.