No Rage Against The Dying Of Metro 2′s Multiplayer Light

By Alec Meer on October 15th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Snow joke

This is scandalous! When I buy a shooter, I expect – nay, demand – for it to include a multiplayer mode that makes a mockery of the carefully-created fiction, is defined by the hollow pursuit of unlocks and is so rapidly abandoned by its players that it’s near-impossible to find a match about a fortnight after release. So hearing that Metro 2033 sequel Last Light has dropped its multiplayer really grinds my gears.

(It doesn’t. It seems like a very smart thing for a singleplayer-focused shooter to do).

Explains the THQ-published, Russian-made shooter’s site, “Throughout the development of Metro: Last light a small, dedicated team had been working on a number of multiplayer prototypes. After E3, we decided to fold this multiplayer team back into the main group and focus 100% of the studio’s resources on the single player campaign. As a result, Metro: Last Light will not ship with a multiplayer component.”

I can think of so many shooters that could well have been hugely improved if resources and humanpower hadn’t been spent on a keeping up with the Joneses multiplayer mode that was never going to steal many people away from yer CODs and Battlefields. BioShock 2 is perhaps the most notorious recent example of this, but even stuff like Fall of Cybertron or Syndicate could have made more fulsome singleplayer modes had box-ticking onlione shootybangbang been goggling up their budget.

(The same could be true of the inverse, mind – a multiplayer-only Transformers game with enormously customisable bots, for instance). So I’m glad to see Metro going this way. Even if the first game, 2033, got on my wick with its QTE bits and weird gun handling, it was a mightily impressive slice of atmosphere and strangeness that I hope isn’t too diluted by any aims to make Last Light more ‘accessible.’

The site also claims that they hadn’t gone too far down the multiplayer path before pulling the plug on that mode. “Fortunately, we never dedicated too many resources to the MP component beyond prototyping – it never entered full production. By making the decision when we did, we think the single player campaign will benefit as a result.” Hopefully we can take all this at face value, and not a sign of financially-troubled publisher THQ having to simply slice budgets aggressively.

The game’s still due for release early next year, apparently. Here’s the E3 footage to remind you how it looks, sounds and feels (so cold, oh so cold).

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56 Comments »

  1. skinlo says:

    Good news!

    • Quarex says:

      WONDERFUL news. Every multiplayer component killed from a single-player game’s development is a victory for storytelling over pandering.

  2. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    Very good news.

    I can’t say I wouldn’t support a MP or Co-Op being added after launch. I just don’t want it to take away from the SP part of the game

  3. mehteh says:

    Good riddance. I hate games with a slapped on multiplayer in a singleplayer focus game in order to appeal to the console gamers’ for easy money.

    • roryok says:

      Hear Hear. I’ve always thought SP and MP should be different games. The best (most successful) MP games have nearly always been their own title anyway. Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, Counter-Strike etc.

    • Lev Astov says:

      Indeed! And as Alec said, it goes both ways, too. I can only imagine how much better a game like Battlefield 3 could have been if they had not spent a ton on the singleplayer campaign most will never touch.

      • Bungo says:

        But the single player campaign supposedly drove sales, allowing a much bigger budget for the game overall. Not that I am a fan of the single player (or even the co-op for that matter) but I don’t think lack of resources caused any of the issues with BF3 multiplayer.

    • lordcooper says:

      Not sure what this has to do with consoles.

      • Brun says:

        Not sure if sarcasm…?

        • lordcooper says:

          Not at all. Of the ten Steam games with the most people playing them at this moment in time, five (Dota 2, TF 2, Counter Strike, Counter Strike: Source, CoD 3) are pretty much solely multiplayer affairs. There are many multiplayer games on both PC and consoles, and there are many single player games to be found on both PC and console. OP didn’t put forward any reason WHY this is the fault of consoles or the users thereof.

          There’s this horrible trend where PC gamers (I switched over from PS3 a couple of years ago, and probably spend under 1% of my gaming time in multiplayer btw, which isn’t rare for either PC or console gamers) to blame anything and everything they dislike about specific game or gaming in general on consoles. It’s really silly.

          • Calneon says:

            The trend is to slap a multiplayer component onto singleplayer games to make it more attractive (people will see it more for their money regardless of if it makes the singleplayer game suffer). The PC games you listed are multiplayer only titles and have nothing to do with the discussion.

          • lordcooper says:

            They were an attempt to show that PC gamers seem to value multiplayer too.

            “The trend is to slap a multiplayer component onto singleplayer games to make it more attractive (people will see it more for their money regardless of if it makes the singleplayer game suffer).”

            What does this have to do with platforms though? I don’t like it either, but it seems to be a pretty universal thing.

          • Codpiece says:

            While I agree that console gamers themselves are not the problem, unnecessary multiplayer modes seem to be added by publishers wanting add longevity in order to to reduce second hand trade ins, which is a console problem.

          • derbefrier says:

            @Codpiece

            while that could possibly be true I don’t think its the driving force behind adding a multiplayer component to every game these days. I think it has to do more with the idea multiplayer sells more copies period. I think publishers have the idea if a game has multiplayer people see it as more bang for their buck and are more likely to buy it. They think any PC or console gamer will see that and think. “I really wanna play the single player but I don’t want to spend 60 bucks on something I’ll only play for 8 hours and never pick it back up again i’ll just wait for a steam sale and get it for 5 bucks” I think the hope is the customer will see it and believe the game offers more value as people know a good multiplayer can last for years making a 60 dollar purchase an easier choice. I can admit its had that affect with me in the past. It got me to buy Homefront because the multiplayer looked like it could be fun and would be a big bonus to the single player campaign. They are trying to appeal to both types of gamers its a simple sales tactic. Maybe its more an effort to emulate the success of Call of Duty loved for its single player just as much for its multiplayer then it is to stop Gamestop from eating away at their sales. It just seems a bit unreasonable to me to put years worth of time and money into the development of a multiplayer mode just to try and prevent a few used copies being sold to Gamestop. I just dont think the numbers would add up that way and the bean counters would put a stop to it rather quickly. Thats my theory anyway.

          • Slinkyboy says:

            They do it to add MP DLC packs which cost less to nothing(started during development and scrapped for future DLC) instead of SP DLC packs that might add a quest mission campaign with scripting whatever.

          • Joshua says:

            MP on consoles is a very new thing – Single player FPses with added multiplayer have been around for a long while – such as… Half Life!

          • DrTy Words says:

            This is the sole reason that PC gamers blame bad games on consoles. Console developers, and I don’t mean game devs, I mean Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo HARBOUR outdated tech. The new Xbox for example, is going to use an ATI card that is available for PC now for only 149.00 dollars. That is a laughable upgrade. The reason that this card is so cheap is not because it is a bad card, it’s because the tech is a generation old and there are WAAAY better cards out now. Hence, PC game development suffers because of outdated hardware used. The software just follows the form factor.

    • TheSplund says:

      Agreed

  4. choconutjoe says:

    YAY!

  5. inthedarkarcade says:

    I really like (and condone further) the use of a torturous Dylan Thomas references in RPS titles.

  6. Cooper says:

    Well done THQ for not demanding the back-of-the-box ticking.

    No one plays MP modes on single player games unless they happen to be amazing. Not when there are multiple, different, and fantastic dedicated MP experiences out there.

    Even entirely MP games such as Brink and Gotham City Imposters can fall on their arse with empty servers after a matter of weeks. If dev teams dedicated to an MP game cannot break into the market, then a tag-on part of a game made with a smaller dev team will never amount to anything.

  7. Artist says:

    Nothing of that does change the fact that reviews will be full of “… but it lacks multiplayer” or like. Game reviews are so stupid, arent they? ;)

  8. Roz says:

    Co-Op I would have been ok about, but I’m happy they got rid of the no doubt tacky MP.

  9. AJ_Wings says:

    “Explains the THQ-published, Russian-made shooter’s site”

    Ahem, Ukrainian-made. 4A’s not Russian.

    • Marther says:

      Exactly!

    • DickSocrates says:

      Next you’ll be telling us Canada isn’t part of the USA, New Zealand isn’t Australia and Wales isn’t England.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        Ouagadougou is, however, twinned with several cities, including Taipei, China.

  10. AlwaysRight says:

    I wonder if the sales of Dishonored have given devs a helping hand to show their publishers that single player games can succeed without bolted-on multiplayer?

    • Cytrom says:

      Or Skyrim, or Human Revolution, or The Witcher 2, or Batman Arkham City or Bioshock Infinite, or Hitman Absolution, Darksiders 2 and a bunch of other huge singleplayer only games… they never really went out of fashion tbh, its just EA and a few other clueless publishers that try to give that impression.

      • Brun says:

        With the exception of Arkham Asylum/City and The Witcher, all of those titles are sequels to or descendants of extremely successful single-player games from the (Second) Golden Age of Single-Player Gaming. Sequels are another thing that publishers jump on because they will sell by name recognition if nothing else.

  11. wodin says:

    Hurrah..now for Chris Roberts to change his mind and make a sandbox single player game..rather than an MMO with a tacked on SP missions part aswell..

  12. tobecooper says:

    Multiplayer? Down with this thing!
    I can play by myself, even with myself if such opportunities present themselves!

  13. Paul says:

    Screw MP. Hate the fact I had to pay for MP in Mass Effect 3 and many other games despite NEVER EVER playing it. I want experience, not mindless purposeless shooting. That is not fun for me at all.

  14. Hoaxfish says:

    This sort of news is up there with “we’ve decided to not make it an MMO”… good.

  15. Continuity says:

    yay!

  16. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Dear 4A Games

    There is a trilogy, now some years old, that is held closely to many gamers hearts. It has a thriving community, who create content of a depth and quality seen on few other games. It is a cult hit, that continues to attract new players year upon year, despite the ageing of the titles and even the disappearance of the studio that created it – an event which its community never wanted to see, and which at least for me inspired not just irritation, not just anger, but an actual sense of loss. Every piece of news that related to its next episode and resurrection, wherever it came from, was siezed upon and relayed. Gamers WANTED this game.

    It is set in the countryside surrounding the Chernobyl Nuclear Powerplant. It teems with life, despite its tragic history, life which goes about its day whether you care to look or not. It feels like a real place. The world creates mystery. It creates a blissfully painful sense of aloneness, and it takes you to a place that feels like some part of your humanity could never return from. It can be brutally hard, and balances that risk with considerable reward – of finding more about a compelling world, whilst making the player stronger. Whilst making them part of The Zone. It set out to accomplish things that no other game series has even attempted. And despite some bugs, that its devoted community soon ironed out, it achieved them in spectacular fashion. It is a firm favourite and highly respected by many games journalists, who still to this day write about and analyse its singular accomplishment, in tones reserved for only the truly unique. It is a game that you feel changed by for having experienced it.

    You, 4A, have a pedigree. You can produce worlds. You can create mystery. You understand the importance of place, and the people that occupy that place. More specifically, you are part of the history of that place. You know how to create beautiful worlds that best take advantage of the PC as a platform. What I am saying is, RIP OFF STALKER. There, I said it. Plagiarise. Stick a new brand on it, change some names. We will stand by your side in support. Some of your own DNA is inside it already – take the brothers of Metro 2033, and give them a home in the outskirts of the Ukraine. Or the Russian Urals. Take advantage of the still untapped potential that the Soviet Technological Legacy represents – with all its mysticism, fascination and fear.

    This would truly be a love letter to PC Gamers, and one we will be happy to read again and again. Fill the hole left sorely unoccupied. Accomplish this, we will reward you with dedication and our wallets.

    • Cytrom says:

      The legacy of stalker lives on in a pretty healthy way.

      Survarium looks amazing and seems almost the same kind of game as stalker was (hopefully with a smoother and less glitchy technical background and support for larger but similarly detailed areas… although its gonna be a free to play mmo for some reason), and these metro games aren’t half bad either (although much more scripted, linear and story driven, but with a similar atmosphere and emphasis on survival and scavenging)

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        As much as I would like to be able to agree with you, the recent news of Survariums mutation into a single-map-at-a-time team vs team type multiplayer, as opposed to a coherent world you can explore, sadly means for me that the most attractive elements of STALKER will not be preserved. Not even mentioning that personally, I do not play MMO’s or multiplayer games, for me the loss of the likes of a freely discoverable Shadow of Chernobyl’s landscape, on my own time, is one that will not see me wanting to play.

        Metro is a wonderful creation also, but it left me with a hunger to see more of the place, to not be restrained by story, pacing or map boundaries, and to allow me to return to and form relationships with people and places that its ‘always forwards’ approach denied me.

    • captain nemo says:

      Huzzah for common sense !

  17. BreadBitten says:

    Thirty three cheers for common sense!

  18. aego says:

    I don’t know, this could have been something, if done right. I mean, given the atmosphere and gameplay mechanics of the original, a multiplayer match could have been something very different from other games.

    Imagine a game in which you play against other players in dark tunnels (where else?): everything pitch black, your headlight your only aid and 10 rounds in your rifle. The fights would become a cat and mouse game, with each player trying to detect the others’ light while keeping his own light turned off for as long as possible to avoid detection, or maybe to try and sneak in and blind the enemy up close just long enough to stick a knife in his throat.

    And given the limited ammo available, frantic firefights would be few and far in between, with more focus on precise single shots (preferably before the other guy sees you and wastes precious lootable ammo trying to kill you).

    • Geen says:

      Yeah, shooting out lights, having to scrounge in no-man’s land for bullets and medkits, and then knife-fights in the dark as they try to save bullets to get decent weaponry. That would be cool.

  19. magicwalnuts says:

    I guess we already knew THQ doesn’t like to make money.

  20. Stackler says:

    If you make a game, make it with 100% commitment and don’t waste time to please every single customer out there. Concentrate on a gameplay style and make it absolutely perfect. I’m very pleased they don’t tack on a multiplayer mode, just for the sake of it.

  21. GuitaringEgg says:

    I agree that they shouldn’t have announced the multiplayer component, but they defiantly went around it the right way by putting a small team onto it. The thing I love about Metro 2033 is how immersive it is. I don’t know how you could have brought that into multiplayer. They made the right decision.

  22. Vurp says:

    The gameplay is apparently not good enough too stand on its own legs. Thus we get a game with a lot of scripted events and no multiplayer.

    • Orazio Zorzotto says:

      You’ve obviously played the whole thing then?
      Please, tell me more.

  23. frank3n says:

    Have to applaud them for the bold decision. The console crowd will get over it soon as their moms come home from the grocery store with another bottle of Sunny D.

  24. Dominitus says:

    That is definitely some good news. :)

  25. grellanl says:

    As somebody who has no interest whatsoever in multiplayer, I still have to wonder if sometimes these days, sales of a game for its multiplayer features are actually subsidising the single-player campaign.

  26. Rukumouru says:

    Even though I have zero interest in METRO, I have to say this is a delicious thing to happen.

    I hope this game does very well in this and future endeavors: See if the trend catches on.

  27. TheWordinator says:

    Not good news at all. A multiplayer mode should extend the life of a product, and without it, you just play the single player game once and then never touch it again…

    This is what happened to Metro 2033 – complete it (last time I played it was on the 23/1/12) and never played it again. Do wish I could resell my copy…

    I suppose if you are an ardent achievement hunter you would play it multiple times to do everything, see everything and buy the T-Shirt – but it’s not something that interests me…

  28. TheWordinator says:

    I also hope it’s a lot more frightening this time around – Metro 2033 was unsettling, but not really scary