Yerli: Single-Player Games Must Be “Online Single-Player”

By Jim Rossignol on March 1st, 2013 at 12:30 pm.


CryTek’s Cervat Yerli is a man with a lot to say, and he is now demanding that single-player games evolve into their new online context. Speaking to IGN, he said:

“I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away. However, I’m not saying that there will be no single-player experiences… It could be it’s called Connected Single-Player or Online Single-Player instead.”

This assertion is perhaps less worrying when you look at the games that made this work – Demon’s Souls or Journey – but it’s nevertheless a big statement from one of the industry’s most ambitious studio heads. Personally, I think whenever people proclaim anything dead, or evolved-beyond, or outdated, or similar, they are pretty much consistently proven to be wrong. Evolution can mean diversification. If the past decade taught us anything, it’s that there’s no one clear future of games. Single-player will include online, but not be defined by it.

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270 Comments »

  1. Rawrian says:

    Right after there will be affordable, stable and fast wireless connection everywhere.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      Yes, the only way this will work or be accepted is if those of us living in Bumfuck Nowhere suddenly and magically get a massive infrastructure upgrade.

      But, man, fuck me for not living in central London.

      • Ansob says:

        I live in central (-ish, zone 2) London and my connection’s shit, so not even the capital has affordable high-speed broadband for everyone.

        • Hoaxfish says:

          Same deal here (zone2/3 border). I think last year I had the lovely experience of being told nothing was wrong with my connection by my ISP, even though it was constantly timing out… for about 4 weeks (before it magically fixed itself).

          • Risingson says:

            First time in years I feel somewhat related! I live in eastern zone 2 and the connection is depressing, just depressing. What happens with internet in London?

          • DrScuttles says:

            Living in north Zone 3, I get almost no problems with my internet. We use O2. Not sure what’s up with your connections but it only serves to reinforce that we’re not quite there in terms of having mandatory connections forced on us.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            Where I work actually ran into problems trying to get a decent connection because the neighbours protested the planning permission needed to add another box down the street… the box needed to enable what the UK considers “high-speed” broadband. So instead we have to run 3 decent broadband lines onto our site, and combine them to handle our traffic effectively.

            It was only late last year that the government (who are basically aiming for a “digital economy”) decided that supposedly important technology shouldn’t be stopped by a 4-foot tall metal box being a bit “ugly” (i.e. it is no longer possible to protest their installation via planning permission).

            There’s also some weird “black holes” in service where one telephone exchange won’t have the needed equipment installed (no reason, just “we don’t offer that service in on your side of the road”).

            I simply think nobody is in charge of this going anywhere, but everyone is willing to take the money involved.

          • D3xter says:

            I have perfectly functioning 50MBit Internet and can download rather large games within an hour or so, I still refuse to buy Always-Online games because of the principle.
            I don’t want to be beholden to the internet infrastructure, their servers and brother luck when I don’t need to (e.g. MMOs or Online-FPS games and similar). Trying to force “Always-Online” on a singleplayer experience is just anti-consumer and doesn’t even have that much to do with how good my Internet connection is, but with what kind of DRM and practices I will accept from companies trying to sell me something. And this ain’t one of them.

        • wyrmsine says:

          Zone 2 here – not only does my net connection occasionally drop, I have to call my ISP to bring it back online. Who no longer have 24-hour support, and are closed on Sundays.

          • Llewyn says:

            Ouch, time to change ISP I would say. There’s no reason for an ADSL connection to need manual intervention to connect.

      • The Lord of Leisure says:

        Afraid I have to back this up too, In Shepherd’s Bush, there were bits were it’s was way worse than what the folks got in Sunny Wales! They only just added Fibre to the area now which has made a world of difference, but the story is going to be the same: Internet not be 100% everywhere yet.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        Indeed, I don’t know where the hell these developers and publishers live, but they seem seriously sheltered from the rest of the world in terms of global Internet avaliability.

        • Shakes999 says:

          Hell I live in Austin Freaking Texas and my internet is crap (Att, Time Warner both awful) Gaming is neigh impossible. Time outs about every 15 minutes.

          • CodeineFiend says:

            I live in ATX as well and I have time warner cable as my ISP and I never get timed out or have any problems and have a great connection (20mbps). So I don’t know why yours sucks so bad.

      • Jonesy says:

        I grew up in Bumfuck, Nowhere! In the US it’s called the midwest.

    • JabbleWok says:

      I disagree. The fact that I have fast internet should in no way determine that I MUST be online for SP games. Given that we have been gaming off-line since before the existence of the internet, it’s a completely unnecessary requirement that must be regarded with serious suspicion. And that’s not to mention the degrading of customer service by denying them the ability to play while, say, taking a train.

      And for what possible benefit? Certainly none for the customer. If I choose to connect to be part of a “connected story-mode”, that’s fine, but I don’t accept that I should be forced to, or that all games be limited by having such modes.

      This is up there with other recent deluded claims that people don’t want to use mouse + KB. If certain companies go that way, so be it – they’ll have lost me as a customer for such games and I suspect I’m far from alone. Some other gamesmaker who doesn’t do that will get my money instead.

      • Niko says:

        Of course it doesn’t, I’m just saying that talking about “everything online” is still kind of early at this point, there’s not enough infrastructure.

        • JabbleWok says:

          Sure, but even if/when there is enough infrastructure, it’s still folly to try to impose the idea. It’s about the intent rather than any practicality.

      • Vercinger says:

        Precisely. And I hadn’t even heard someone was claiming M+KB was unwanted. Fools.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Ugh. The funny thing is the majority of North America has absolutely terrible internet. It’s literally worse than most third world countries.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        It popped up with the PS4 event… the talk of pre-downloading and streaming runs into the problem that a lot of the USA has a cap on their monthly data usage.

  2. Paroxysm says:

    I’ve got a question. You’re crazy.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away”

    Take yourself with it.

    • Shivoa says:

      It can go away if he likes, but I’m not paying ‘buying game’ prices for rentals and always-on is a rental.

      Edit: if there is an offline mode option then this is totally fine. Optionally connected experiences in solo games can be great (even the very limited form of sharing achievement data with friends for comparison and competing for high-score tables or the equivalent if a game wants to track my solo play) but mandated always-connected solo is simply not something I have any interest in paying for.

      • Cinek says:

        +1. My thoughts exactly.
        If they want single player online – make it optional. Otherwise: better stop talking before half of the world hates you.

    • nbringer says:

      Cervat Yerli needs to go away, fuck himself and leave us one shithead less.

      • TimMc says:

        He is quite clearly retarded, and should not be made fun of.

        Jokes aside, I play single player games to get away from idiots like this. I don’t want them being involved in my single player games in any fashion.

    • Archipelagos says:

      Wow. That’s some military grade stupidity on display right there.

    • Phantoon says:

      What’s outrageous is that his games are being compared to Journey and Demon’s Souls.

      Which were both infinitely superior to his drivel. Just because someone else did it right doesn’t mean you get to do it wrong.

      • Tuor says:

        Besides, you can play Demon’s Souls (and Dark Souls) in Offline Mode if you want (and there *are* reasons for doing so).

    • Lemming says:

      I concur. Looks like the future holds mainly retro gaming for me. It’s 60/40 in favour of that now, anyway.

    • Zogtee says:

      CryTek’s Cervat Yerli said “DRM, DRM, DRM, DRM, DRM”.

    • Consumatopia says:

      In one sense he’s right–this new thing he calls “Connected Single-Player or Online Single-Player” is a completely different thing from what we know as Single Player. I happen to think it’s a much inferior thing even without the DRM or connectivity requirements–I don’t want my solo game experience to change depending on what other people are doing, if I did I would be playing a multiplayer game.

      It’s a free country and they can do what they want, and I’m free to point out that every developer hour spent adding these “connections” to single player games is an hour spent making the world a stupider place.

  4. roryok says:

    I think the notion of a single-player experience has to go away

    That is just outrageous. I think.

    • roryok says:

      From the original:

      “Online and social can reignite single-player in a new type of context and provide benefits that will make you want to be a part of a connected story-mode rather than a disconnected story-mode. Sure, if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn’t make sense but if it’s offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it.”

      Lets not blow this out of the water, he basically means that in his opinion, single-player games should make use of online stuff to make them more fun.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I think there is a less innocent slant on it. As far as I can see, many devs and publishers – especially in the big AAA sector, desperately want to turn gaming into an undeniable service so that they can settle the question of ownership firmly in their favour. I think a lot of the attitudes that the industry are displaying towards multiplayer, dlc, microtransactions, and connectivity all stem from that.

        • MichaelPalin says:

          You sir, have said exactly what needed to be said.

        • Bhazor says:

          Oh it’s more underhanded than that. This isn’t about ownership of games we buy. This is about the ownership of the people who make them.

          Just as indies grow more lucrative, crowd funding takes off and more and more studios go indie along come attempts at streaming from the dinosaurs of publishing. Suddenly if you want to be in the industry you need to be with the streaming services. Want to get on our streaming service? Well you’d better sign our contract. Want to know what keeps Bobby Kotick awake at night? Its thinking about Notch. Its thinking about League of Legends. Its the thought that the next break through indie game will makes hundreds of millions and he won’t be getting a penny from it.

          This is about Activision and EA and their ilk setting up alternates to Steam where anyone who wants to reach the mass market *has to* reach it through the Origin/Battle.net/Uplay store front. Not on their service? Then you’re in the same position as those poor sad sacks who can’t get on Steam now. The difference between the two though is that Valve don’t have full ownership of what they sell but the dinosaurs will be in complete control of what they stream. And the people who made it.

          Thankfully this will never work and its just the old dinosaurs pissing their money away.

          • JabbleWok says:

            This highlights the anti-competitive nature of having a near monopoly on outlets, where they can try to impose such restrictions on paying customers and studios. If they impose that, what’s next?

            However, I don’t see how they can eliminate offline games as long as there’s an indie sector, including outlets. I suppose it’s up to us as customers to ensure that such independents stay alive and flourish.

      • Veeskers says:

        “he basically means that in his opinion, single-player games should make use of online stuff to make them more” — Profitable.

        • frightlever says:

          Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with profit. Secondly, maximising it probably has less to do with forcing people and more to do with captivating them.

          • Veeskers says:

            “Captivating” them to the point where they’re willing to part with money to buy meaningless trinkets for inflated sums, and preferably keep doing so- the whole thing turning into a exercise of coaxing the cow not to walk away from the milking process.
            And there’s a great deal wrong with profit when it becomes a far more important goal for the developer than making an actually worthwile experience. It’s just wrong for the person they’re expecting to provide that profit, who will hopefully know better.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Why let people drink water out of the tap, when we can sell them water of dubious quality out of a plastic bottle?

          • Phantoon says:

            There’s plenty of things wrong with profit. For instance, most people focus on it above all other things, like ethics.

          • Bhazor says:

            Ha.
            No.

            Microtransactions are about milking. They aren’t about captivation they’re about addiction.

            Like that Chinese business woman who spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to keep up with the grind in an MMO. That wasn’t enjoyment, that was a treadmill. Look at Deadspace 3, the salvage system is clearly intended to be grinded with a big “BUY IT NOW” sticker on top. It was only saved by being so cackhanded that the whole thing was broke within hours of release. Next time it won’t be.

          • roryok says:

            There’s plenty of things wrong with profit. For instance, most people focus on it above all other things, like ethics.

            That’s a silly sentence. Might aswell say games are bad because lots of people focus on them above other things, like eating healthy or getting exercise. The thing is not bad because it detracts from other good things

          • Emeraude says:

            Firstly, there’s nothing wrong with profit.

            With profit in itself ? Probably not. Though I’ve never seen such a thing.

            With the way it is being made, particularly at what cost to others one actually turns out a profit ? Yeah, totally, there can be many things wrong with profit.

          • Kamos says:

            Billy, remember the time when they would put love into games, and if they did it good, then they’d make a profit? (Looks towards the horizon, a sad, longing look on his face). Now those were the days.

      • RaveTurned says:

        Yes, but he’s saying this connected experience should replace the offline “single-player experience” rather than coexist with it. Online should be an option, not a requirement.

      • tobecooper says:

        I may be misreading, but I think Yeril wants some single player features to be online-only. Ubisoft has dabbled in this. I dislike it immensely.

        • NicoTn says:

          Yeah, anno 2070 had the trading post disabled if you played offline, which was a terrible idea.

          • GiantPotato says:

            That’s what kept me from picking up the game. I have a feeling Anno 2070 was hurt worse by that decision than most other games would be, just because there would be a lot more overlap between people who like that type of game and people who dislike the implications of online gaming.

            Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see what happens to the next Sim City title.

      • Bhazor says:

        Crytek are owned by EA.
        EA is a company whose next game requires online bullshit to play single player

        Ergo: Fuck both companies.

        Between this and “Every game will now have microtransactions” I am officially done with EA.

        • Phantoon says:

          I can’t imagine being such an optimist to have hoped they’d have become any better, but then again, I never played Mirror’s Edge.

          • roryok says:

            If you take one thing away from this silly debate, it’s that you should play Mirror’s Edge because it is great.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            roryok is as correct as it is possible to be in this crazy, mixed up universe

          • MattM says:

            Starflight was a pretty great game that EA published.

        • Eddard_Stark says:

          Hate to burst your bubble but Crytek isn’t owned by EA.

        • Brosepholis says:

          Crytek are NOT owned by EA. They just have a publishing relationship.

          Also weren’t you officially done with EA in the last 5 minute hate thread? I forget. Maybe it was another brony.

          • x1501 says:

            Exactly. Just because they’ve just been in a “partnership agreement” since 2004 and EA funded, marketed, and published every single game in Crytek’s flagship series doesn’t technically mean that Crytek are in any way owned by EA. Just like becoming somebody’s prison bitch doesn’t technically get one owned by their master.

      • Lemming says:

        Except that if that’s true, that’s talking more about emergent game play, and doesn’t mean that all other forms of game play are now obsolete. He sounds pretty definite that offline should no longer exist, as if anything that online experiences can provide are automatically better.

        To me, that’s like saying one genre is better than another. It’s completely narrow-minded.

        • MattM says:

          Uhh FPS is better. Haven’t you played COD? (Joke)
          Crytek has only ever made FPSs so I can see why they might not be big on diversity.

  5. sdancer says:

    The point is, of course, easy to see: you get distracted from bad design or bugs. Studios no longer need to create a compelling, immersive environment for the player to enjoy, but they can instead focus on much cheaper and easier small-scale elements that provide immediate bragging rights.

    Coming from the head of what is basically a studio churning out a slightly interactive version of 3DMark, it’s not a surprising statement.

  6. Merlkir says:

    It’s nice that these big guys are much more open about their insane ideas these days. First EA, now this dude. Like, thanks, I wasn’t going to play Crysis 5 anyway, but now I really won’t. Fuck you, man.

  7. Ironclad says:

    Hey CryTek, see this pile of money I got here? It’s the cash I set aside for gaming this year. You’re not getting any of it.

  8. rustybroomhandle says:

    Whenever this sort of shit comes up, and it seems to be a lot recently, one must read their words with a ‘what’s good for us’ undertone and infer from there. The craft, the art, the consumer – these are not the things these people care about.

  9. Tim Ward says:

    His opinion doesn’t count , because he made Crysis.

  10. Jannakar says:

    Offline single player will always exist.

    It is extremely frustrating that otherwise intelligent people insist in expanding their view on how some games might benefit for an on-line component into ‘everything is online’.

    Listen to your customers or just go away, Yerli.

  11. bit.bat says:

    I really do not understand what the point of making these broad, overgeneralised statements is.

  12. MuscleHorse says:

    We should all stand and listen. This is from a man who helped make such sterling examples of single-player such as the Crysis series.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Crytek – The company that made a brilliant game (Far Cry), heard the feedback that the non-linear stuff was awesome but the aliens were a bit shit and decided that in the future every game should be more linear and have more aliens.

      • Prime says:

        Nicely summarised. :)

        This failure to listen is exactly what I’d expect from the man who believes that “open world” means “no buildings/streets”.

    • roryok says:

      Oy! I edited my comment and it told me it was spam! All I did was change “they make” to “they would make”. I guess correct syntax is a sign of spam bots now. We’re all in trouble.

  13. Baboonanza says:

    I’ve never been a doom-sayer about AAA games or DRM but between this and EAs recent ludicrous proclamation it is genuinely getting to the point where the stuff they’re adding to games makes then so much less enjoyable that it’s just not worth playing them anymore.

    Thank god there are so many decent games from small studios and indies and that I’m not particularly into man-shoots.

    • faelnor says:

      As you said in your second paragraph, we’re also getting to the point where indie devs or small studios put out productions that are almost on par with AAA titles, and these guys usually have a much more sane idea of what single-player experiences are.

      We’re in the middle of a new paradigm change where interesting experiences and, simply said, the best games won’t come from those much-publicised people with bold statements that are irrelevant to the deep gamers. Deep, as in “not the core gamers anymore, but the ones with more than a passing interest in immersive experiences”.

      Don’t worry, everything will be fine. This is the advent of popcorn Michael Bay gaming vs. indie, crowd-funded gaming and I, for one, am welcoming it with open arms.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Well said. You can bemoan the popularity of Twilight or Michael Bay, but you really don’t need to, because good books and movies still exist. Michael Bay didn’t kill them off. And as long as there are people out there who are passionate about games, there will be good games.

        • faelnor says:

          Exactly. And, like in film, there will always be people that are a bit between the two, large in scope and workforce but realising that an experience doesn’t necessarily have to be something you share with your friends. How would The Witcher benefit from online components, I wonder. Films, books and video games can be very personal, and social features sometimes actively work against that.

          I’m of course taking Yerli’s words at face value when he says that he wants an online component in all single-player games for the sake of the experience. We all know there’s something unsaid behind that: DRMs, piracy and complete control over the customers’ experience. These are interesting to discuss but probably irrelevant because, once again, many other people who create games out of love do not think that way.

          • Ernesto25 says:

            To quote Mr Plinkett “Exceptionalism is the exception my friend”.

          • Phantoon says:

            My brain read that as “taking swords at Yerli’s face” and I thought it was an acceptable response.

        • roryok says:

          Triplanetary, there should someday be a statue of you in front of an institute of games with a plaque underneath that reads

          “as long as there are people out there who are passionate about games, there will be good games.”

        • Universal Quitter says:

          You’re right, of course, but I still can’t help but feel like the existence of things like Twilight and Transformers movies means that I’ll see fewer and fewer of the kinds of films I love.

          Aside form retreads (err, reboots) and sequels, I doubt there’ll be very many movies in the future that capture the feeling you got from watching Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time, or Jurassic Park. Or Aliens. There’s a combination of story, enthusiasm, production, and state-of-the-art (in their time) visuals that create a very unique experience, one that is rarely expressed in words, but subconsciously hoped for by millions of movie goers.

          I’ve never seen an independent film that reaches those heights, even if they are free to explore directions that mainstream films are not. I think the same can be said of the Indie gaming scene.

          I can come to terms with the fact that I’ll never again be into a game like I was when I was a kid, but I still think games in many ways are getting worse.

          Before, something stupid or frustrating about a good game was probably because of technological limitations of the time, but these days they almost always seem to come from rushed development or extremely poor publishing decisions.

          Now get off my lawn, you @#*!^ kids.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Very well put.

        On the subject of EA, it’s interesting to me what they’ve done on iOS, which is to take a game for more hardcore gamers (Real Racing 3) and then fill it with incredibly extreme free-to-play trappings, namely timers. I say interesting for several, but worrying reasons:

        1. The game has been heavily criticised by the ios gaming press (such as it is)
        2. Despite this, and some quite vocal comments from players, the game is an overwhelming critical success, at least if you go by the average 4 1/2 stars across 3,500 or so ratings on the app store. People are telling EA that they’ve done the right thing.
        3. The game is a phenomenal financial success. It’s currently the #23 top grossing ios app. That equals an awful lot of money.

        There is simply nothing that can be done to turn the tide against this trend. People insist on spending money on this garbage, and you can bet more and more companies will be eager to take it. It’s just a question of whether Indies will alway focus more on gameplay than on money.

        • Phantoon says:

          EA, Ubisoft, Activision, etc, can’t be killed.

          But we can hope the indies survive so gaming doesn’t become absolute schlock. I mean, did you see the new Killzone trailer? Looked like absolute garbage. Just high graphic, churned out crap.

    • MattM says:

      Yeah its all doom and gloom in the AAA coverage, but when I actually sit down to play I feel like I am spoiled for choice.

  14. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    It’s odd that the popularity of indie games has these publishers going in the opposite direction. My hope was that the trends of indie games to have less of these cynical business practices would show publishers that doing things right can be profitable. But it seems like publishers are treating indie games the way they treat piracy… no solutions, just push so hard your games suffer.

    I’m sure a lot of single player games will include online features, and that is cool. Honestly it’s better if there is a feature or something like Dark Souls instead of simply online single player as DRM. But seriously, I believe most gamers who enjoy both single and multiplayer games appreciate when their single player experience doesn’t require any internet or online function.

    A lot of the things said recently by publishers, especially EA (and this developer of Crytek, also) seems like they’re saying, “Not enough people pirate our games…how do we make everyone pirate them?” Microtransactions and online single player!

  15. Incanus says:

    I think Cervat Yerli has to go away.

  16. Tim Ward says:

    You know, as a web developer I’m not allowed to get away with assuming *anything* about the users setup. Do they have javascript turned off? Should be a contingency for that. What if they don’t use a mouse? What if they have a screen reader? etc.

    Yet certain developers just feel they can go “and if they don’t have a reliable internet connection, then fuck ‘em. It suits us better this way.”

  17. buzzmong says:

    Aaaaannd that’s another person added to my mental list of “People who can go fuck themselves”.

    I assume the next big step in entertainment media as designed by people like him will be forcing me to connect my DVD/Blu-ray/Whatever-is-next player to the internet before I can watch a film. That’ll be great.

  18. ChromeBallz says:

    Because everyone knows that singleplayer is dead. Skyrim desperately needed people screaming in your ear about how you’re a newbie, it’s easy to see why that game failed.

    That said, Skyrim had an “online” portion in it’s creation kit and mods… Though that’s probably not what Yerli had in mind.

  19. mr.ioes says:

    outraged comment

  20. Berious says:

    Publishers are convinced they’d make a billion zillion dollars if only piracy was all but impossible MMO style but after seeing lag and connection problems in single player Diabo 3 it’ll take a very special game to make me put up with that shite again. Luckily there are multitudes of indies running in the opposite direction and often cranking out more exciting stuff too.

  21. NathanH says:

    Sounds like orc-mischief to me.

  22. The Dark One says:

    I can’t wait for EA to close down the online servers for a bunch of two-year-old games, thereby shutting out access to even their single-player content. Truly, a glorious future.

    • GiantPotato says:

      It will be glorious if EA actually does this. It would be a completely inexcusable decision that would demonstrate the problems with online single-player in the most infuriating way possible.

      And I’m not completely sure they’re smart enough to avoid doing it.

  23. DK says:

    “This assertion is perhaps less worrying when you look at the games that made this work – Demon’s Souls or Journey – but it’s nevertheless a big statement from one of the industry’s most ambitious studio heads.”

    That’s complete and utter bullshit by the way. He was ambitious twice – FarCry and Crysis. Since then, and I’ll remind you that was YEARS ago, he’s been the opposite of ambitious. He’s been running to the lowest common denominator as fast as he can move his compromising carcass.

  24. Rian Snuff says:

    That was painful to read.. But it made me laugh my ass off!

  25. 1Life0Continues says:

    No.

  26. roryok says:

    Can everyone please read this before we all start chanting about DRM again

    “Online and social can reignite single-player in a new type of context and provide benefits that will make you want to be a part of a connected story-mode rather than a disconnected story-mode. Sure, if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn’t make sense but if it’s offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it.”

    Jim, you troublemaker you! *shakes fist*

    • 1Life0Continues says:

      It’s not about DRM from my perspective, it’s about the inconvenience of a required online connection to play a single player game. Benefits be screwed, if I want to take my damn internet connection off the hook, I should be able to. Not everywhere has stable fast internet, and even in places that do, this isn’t taking into account places where ISP’s have bandwidth caps and download allowances. Leave your social crap out of my single player experience. Full stop.

      • roryok says:

        and again

        if the technology forces you to play a traditional single-player game online, that doesn’t make sense

        he agrees

        • malkav11 says:

          Does he? You appear to be interpreting that statement as “obviously we must allow our games to be played offline”, whereas it’s just as easily (if not more so) interpreted as the same madness that Blizzard and Ubisoft manifested, where clearly their terrible, anti-consumer DRM that will prevent their games from having any sort of long term future will be a-okay as long as it lets you share your progress with your Facebook friends! or whatever the fuck.

          • roryok says:

            are we reading the same sentence? where he says it doesn’t make sense for technology to force you to be online to play a traditional single player game?

          • GiantPotato says:

            Blizzard said something very similar to this in the run-up to Starcraft 2. You see, the technology shouldn’t force you online. But if it inconveniences you to no end, provides limited functionality when disconnected, and nags you constantly to use its online features, then it’s just making you want to be online. Which is much better, obviously.

            Online SP worked in Dark Souls because it didn’t have that push to it. But I have very little confidence that a person talking about what “needs” to happen with gaming is going to take that kind of passive approach.

          • malkav11 says:

            Yes. The sentence that doesn’t stop there but goes on to say ” but if it’s offering actual benefits to be online then you want to be part of it”. So, if it’s an arbitrary requirement, then of course it’s not okay, but if it has “benefits”, then of course you’ll actively want it! Of course! Nevermind that there is no benefit I can conceive of that’s worth the game having an off switch.

            Also, I like my traditional singleplayer games, and I don’t want them to go away. So there’s that.

        • Emeraude says:

          The problem is that we have to trust he actually means this on an enforceable level, and is not just trying to find a way to justify the online portion in ways that morally discharges him, as we are won’t to do in those situations.

        • solidsquid says:

          Depends what he means by a “traditional” single player game. After all, game development is all about “innovation”, isn’t it?

          • roryok says:

            Now that’s more like it. Yes, the word traditional is probably open to interpretation here.

    • RandomEsa says:

      So i guess its fine to have online single-player if you get share your experience on facebook and can ask people to take care of your cows while you’re playing. Its DRM with wacky social benefits!

    • Shooop says:

      But he doesn’t say there will even be the option to play single-player offline which is troubling.

      It’s great that he knows if you want people to play online, you have to give them incentive, not strong-arm them to do it. But if the option is still removed completely, it’s a bad deal.

  27. Kimau says:

    This is a response to the thing no-one wants to talk about. An inability to stop used game sales, adjust game pricing and piracy is a huge factor in the rise of MTX culture.

    This is why Steam and App stores look disproportionately successful.

    Most indies don’t have to deal with 2nd hand sales, can freely adjust pricing but they still get hit with piracy. It’s no mistake the big call out successes like Minecraft have an online component (though not all servers enforce auth with mojang most reputable ones do.)

    This is just the industry trying to adapt, because whenever they say DRM, or mention 2nd hand sales gamers froth at the mouth like mad entitled children.

    • Llewyn says:

      AAA publishers don’t have to worry about used sales on the PC either – Steam, Origin, UPlay etc take care of that.

      I could give you a sensible analysis of the effect of used sales on the console market, but that’s a story that the publishers desperately don’t want to hear.

    • Emeraude says:

      This is just the industry trying to adapt, because whenever they say DRM, or mention 2nd hand sales gamers froth at the mouth like mad entitled children.

      I’d say this is just the industry trying to adapt at the expense of their consumers, because they feel entitled to spendings they cannot justify, but still have to if they don’t want to be forced to acknowledge their incompetence.

      Loving how consumers wanting to protect their rights is them being “entitled children” by the way.

    • RobF says:

      If you’re going to suggest something is a thing no-one wants to talk about it’s probably best to make sure it’s not a thing that always gets talked about, surely? What you mean is “no-one wants to talk about in the terms certain quarters of the videogame industry would truly like”, which is SLIGHTLY different.

      And also, obviously, as it is a thing that gets talked about by the people who buy games and keep publishers in business, it’s worth mentioning that it’s often with them saying “you know, fuck that, we don’t want that”.

      “It’s the industry trying to adapt” is a bullshit excuse to justify antagonistic behaviour towards the people who pay for and play videogames. Away with it. You make it sound like they have to do this and like cock they do.

    • Shooop says:

      Since you used the word “entitled” any and all credibility you could have had vaporized.

    • GiantPotato says:

      If this is the industry’s chosen way of adapting then it’s going to have a rough time of it. There’s too much choice in the market right now to make consumer-hostile decisions and have them stick. What I’m hearing you say is that the industry is looking for a way to have tighter control over distribution without making it look like that’s what their doing. But that’s already understood by the childlike, entitled masses, and they don’t want the problems that come with it.

  28. MichaelPalin says:

    I think I hate this guy, I don’t remember a quote from him that has not antagonized me.

  29. dE says:

    You know what I enjoyed most about the Dark Souls connected Singleplayer? That I could turn it off at whim, well on consoles anyway. Not so much on PC. I don’t bloody want people around me at all times and I don’t want to see what they left behind. It’s actually a pretty strong argument AGAINST connected singleplayer to me.
    Countless hint messages telling me to “Try Jumping” off a cliff, in what amounts to be the most repeated “joke” ever within a game. I don’t want invincible twink nitwits in my game, nonstop fucking up coop as well as pvp. I don’t want to deal with the angry bile from folks that don’t agree with how I tossed them out of my game. I play singleplayer games because there are times when I absolutely do not want to deal with people. I’m not one for fake social interaction, as heralded by an army of smartphone drones and facebook addicts.

    So long. Btw Yerli, did you pay for your Maya Copies in the end?

    • Veeskers says:

      Do you mean that the online part of dark souls can’t be turned off at all on pc? That would make me lose interest pretty fast.

      • dE says:

        Yes and no.
        It all circles around the humanity idea in Dark Souls. In human form, you’re generally open to player invasions. In non human forms, you still saw their ghosts and hintmessages. Dark Souls had a couple of places where you would want to be human, because of specific events and storylines.
        So on the consoles, you could go human and just pull the internet cable. Nothing lost. On PC, if you pull the internet cable, GFWL will instantly logout. You can choose between an online or offline profile, but the two can’t be matched.

        • Veeskers says:

          I see. Without asking for spoilers, is it a big loss story-wise when you go non-human?

          • dE says:

            /edit:
            Nonhuman, you start Nonhuman, as a so called Hollow. That’s how you’ll spent most of your days. You go human for specific reasons:
            NPC Summons, some few NPC Encounters, PVP, COOP, increased Loot, not looking like a Zombie all the time.

            The biggest part of the story in Dark Souls is the actual world itself, told through visuals, short dialogs and item descriptions. The part you miss out on, when you never go human, are generally those of the other characters to a degree. Summoning NPCs for bossfights, progresses their story one step.
            If you want to make sure, you can create an offline GFWL profile though and go human all you want. That way you will avoid Invasions, Messages and Coop and still get the NPC encounters and summons and thus their storylines.

        • DPB says:

          In my experience, you can still load up your saved game offline with the same profile. It might not work if you disconnect during a game, but as long as you quit first and then load the game up it works. I did this after getting fed up of being invaded repeatedly outside O&S, when all I wanted to do was summon Solaire.

          • dE says:

            Are you absolutely sure about that? My GFWL online and offline profile have an entirely different set of characters. Maybe it’s a feature of the newer DSFix that moves them over or something?

          • bwion says:

            Yeah, when GFWL was having network issues recently, connecting to my profile in offline mode (it seemed to shift there automatically when I couldn’t get online, not sure if it’s possible to swap manually) allowed me to keep playing unimpeded either by said network issues or by people who’ve cheated themselves to immortality, people whose idea of fun is to do everything in their power to ruin your game, and other such fine benefits of this wondrous new connected single-player experience.

            It’s more annoying when you start out online and you lose connection and the game panics and kicks you out. It’s almost impossible to lose progress in Dark Souls, though, so less annoying than it might be.

            Anyway, to answer the previous question, no, you’re really not losing anything at all by avoiding going human most of the time. You need to go human to kindle bonfires (which basically gives you more uses of your primary healing item in the game), and to summon help for fights (this can include NPCs), but you can largely ignore the multiplayer stuff even if you’re human. (If you’re invaded and you really can’t be having with it, you can, in a pinch, quit and restart the game, which has the added hilarious benefit of sometimes provoking REALLY ANNOYED messages over GWFL.)

          • DPB says:

            I played the game immediately after it was released and my computer is too slow for Dsfix. Like I said, just use the same profile for online and offline mode. GFWL lets you create a separate offline profile but this is only of any use if you never intend to go online, since saves are locked to profiles. If you’re offline and don’t have another profile it uses the online one. It’s yet another poorly thought out feature of GFWL. You can at least delete offline profiles though.

    • tobecooper says:

      It was funny in Neverhood :P
      “Don’t jump off the cliff – you will die” and everyone jumped anyway.

    • Azdeus says:

      Quite, I play singleplayer games because I don’t want to interact with people, if I wished to do so I’d, you know, go and be social with people – or play multiplayer… I want my alone time, and I don’t want to be penalized because I wish to be so by missing out on content.

      Fuck, I don’t even have facebook, twitter or whatever.

  30. bill says:

    I don’t really want other people in my single player game.

    • Emeraude says:

      No only in, but also surrounding.

      One (not the only, but one) reason to play single player games is to get away from all that.

      Online elements imposed to single player games is like escapism on parole.

  31. MOKKA says:

    I like it when a single person simply decides what everybody else has to do.

  32. Milky1985 says:

    This is the sort of thing that is happening a lot on the WiiU , with mario showing posts and info from out players, ZombieU having random other players zombies in your game. Its the sort of multiplayer that I actually like so I am all for this on one condition.

    You MUST be able to play offline without these features and it not negatively impact the game-play (no “you must be online to access this level stuff), it should be a choice. Something saying “OK look we want you online so we can track what you do etc, so we will give you these extra things if you are online, but you can still play offline” would be fine.

  33. InternetBatman says:

    That’s silly. Not all companies will have the resources or volition to get the internet stuff working.

  34. Kinth says:

    How convenient, a mostly EA published developer who once had a good reputation with PC gamers suddenly thinks Single player always online is a good idea just as EA’s PC only SimCity is around the corner and will be launching with the fairly controversial always online single player.

    Yeah Crytek just dropped off my list of respected developers. They were already dropping anyway after they had gone from pushing PC to it’s utter limit with interesting games to console developers pumping out endless quick sequels for EA.

    Here I have tomorrow’s news for you: Bioware head claims online single player is a must, appears to have EA’s hand up his ass at the time.

    “This assertion is perhaps less worrying when you look at the games that made this work – Demon’s Souls”
    Demon Souls and Dark Souls didn’t require online it was optional multiplayer you can play both games offline and still have a great experience.

  35. sinister agent says:

    Well, I think the “notion” of single player forms about 98% of my game time, and that of millions of others, and the idea that it “has to go away” or suffer some enforced hamstringing just because some greedy people want to milk it for even more money can fuck right off.

    But hey, go ahead and pretend it’s obsolete, whatever. Someone else will come along and prove you wrong anyway, and we’ll all just give them the money instead.

  36. Gothnak says:

    Ok, going to try an experiment here… I’ll pretend to be a developer (Which i am, but anway i’ll pretend to be one making a PC single player game) and you explain to me how i can fix the problems i see in the industry…

    ‘To prevent piracy (Which i have data to back up that 75% of people that played my previous game pirated it compared to 50% on the prequel) i have decided to enforce remote server architecture to my next single player game. Considering that at some point over the next 5-10 years a majority of games will be download only, i am assuming that a majority of my potential customers have an internet connection and therefore will notice very little difference in their play. I will admit that people who want to play my game offline (such as when they are on holiday, or on a laptop on a train) will not be able to.’

    What is a better solution for me?

    I run a multi-million dollar project and therefore get less goodwill than indie companies do as the potential pirate feels as if they can’t survive without payment whereas we are big enough to be fine.

    My other primary option is to not make a single player game (meaning players will need to be online anyway and won’t complain).

    • malkav11 says:

      Well, the first problem is you’re pretending to have data you couldn’t possibly have about a phenomenon that’s mostly irrelevant to your actual sales. Your second problem is that you’re deciding to do something that will cost you additional money and keep costing you money over time while lowering your sales, and you think that it’s going to be more effective at boosting your sales than just making the best possible game you can make. Thirdly, you’re assuming that the market for a multiplayer game is anything like as large as for a singleplayer game, which isn’t the case.

      • Gothnak says:

        First of all, you can often see how many people are downloading a game on a torrent site and get an idea of the number of pirated copies of a game vs games sold.

        Secondly, the vocal minority visit websites and forums, these people complain about all and sundry (I’m not having a go, look i frequent these websites too!), the majority of games don’t care if it is internet on all the time as in most cases they won’t notice and it won’t affect their purchase of the game. Yes, i do agree that many of the outraged gamers on here WILL boycott a game if they don’t like an aspect of it, but for example, i know i won’t. If i want to play a particular game, i won’t avoid playing it if i have to be online, i’m online all the time generally.

        Also, pirated sales aren’t lost sales, i completely agree, but if a game reviews well and CANNOT be pirated as you’d need to host your own server, many people who did pirate will have to buy the game. It’s especially useful if you put a free demo out and let people see how awesome your game is.

        Thirdly, depending on the game, multiplayer games can generate more money and although they do indeed need more upkeep, they generally need less content, as the players themselves generate the gameplay rather than having to create a lot of levels or quests.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          What game cannot be pirated?
          Adding all your online stuff just means the pirated version is better. Unless of course your online stuff is more than a call home type thing. But then that’s not the type of single player I think people are talking about.

        • malkav11 says:

          You can look at a few torrents and see that some people are downloading your game, sure. The gulf between this and useful data is vast. You have no way of extrapolating that to an accurate number of people who’ve actually downloaded your game, you have no way of telling what they do with it afterwards, you can’t tell if those people have or will ever pay for your game, and you certainly can’t claim they’re lost sales.

          Similarly, you can’t force pirates to buy your game. If piracy is not an option, not buying your game is still on the table. You can’t guarantee that a single person shifted from piracy to purchase as a result of DRM, but you can guarantee that sales are lost. People can and will tell you so.

          Thirdly, the operative word is “can”. Sure, WoW prints gold, and a couple of other franchises (Halo, Call of Duty) are widely considered to sell in the millions primarily by virtue of their multiplayer, but they are massive exceptions, which (WoW aside) still have yet to give up what must surely be production-cost-intensive singleplayer content. (And WoW may not cost what it takes in, but it is nonetheless an intensely expensive game, one of the reasons why attempts to compete with it have tended to fail, because they have the budget but don’t achieve the subscription base.) If you want to risk it, go right ahead. Best data indicates something like 90% of gaming still takes place in some sort of singleplayer mode.

    • Emeraude says:

      Proving that piracy actually impacts your sales significantly, and by how much, would be a prerequisite. to answering how to deal with your problem

    • Kinth says:

      Yeah sorry but your piracy data is bullshit unless you are wiling to show it.

      I have data that David Cameron is actually an American. see how this works? I’m sure you have seen the old 75% of all stats are made up ad for whatever product it adorned. Which in itself was a made up stat.

      Anecdotal evidence is fine sometimes but not in this sort of case.

      Taking numbers off pirate bay seedings and leeches etc doesn’t work. Just because someone pirated your game does not mean they didn’t eventually buy it. I pirate some games myself I use it to demo games (even if that game has a demo, because demo’s are very rarely an accurate representation of the full game) Now I will admit there have been about 2-3 games I have completed which I never purchased and I have my reasons though they certainly don’t justify it, should I ever have some spare cash I will probably buy a copy of them to make it right.

      My main criteria is basically have I played it for longer than about 5 hours (this varies on price point of course) and did I really enjoy it. If it meets those I will buy it as soon as I can afford too. If I stop playing it after one or two sessions I won’t bother buying it. Now I’m not every pirate of course and some never buy the game at all.

      Pirates actually tend to buy more products than non pirates though(http://torrentfreak.com/file-sharers-buy-30-more-music-than-non-p2p-peers-121015/) From my own perspective the reason I started pirating is because the hobby of gaming got far too expensive due to the flood of games. I would expect many pirates are the same, people who love a hobby but can’t afford to keep up with every possibly decent game that will be released. I got sick of basically gambling £30-£40 on a game I have never played and only seen videos that were made by the developer to make the product look good.

      The best option is not to piss off your buyers and make a game people actually see as worth paying for or people will pirate your game simply out of spite like many did with Ubi titles. Adding intrusive DRM only ever hurts your paying customers (it all gets removed for the pirate) and stops potential customers from buying your game.

      Basically think of it as this, not every pirate is a lost or no sale. Some are just customers that aren’t easily won over by trailer videos, hype and 10 minute demo’s that tell them nothing about the actual game. Want me to buy your game? Make it good enough to buy, some indies have enough faith in their games to release them with no DRM and host the torrent themselves, do you? If not then your game probably isn’t worth buying.

      • MarcP says:

        “From my own perspective the reason I started pirating is because the hobby of gaming got far too expensive due to the flood of games. I would expect many pirates are the same, people who love a hobby but can’t afford to keep up with every possibly decent game that will be released. I got sick of basically gambling £30-£40 on a game I have never played and only seen videos that were made by the developer to make the product look good. ”

        In 2006, I could have empathized with you. In 2013, I’m having a hard time relating to that.

        So many games are sold for peanuts a year or two after release, if not sooner. My Steam library has 78 games, for which I’ve paid 448.84 euros. That’s 5.75 euros per game. According to Steam stats, I’ve spent 1423 hours in all these games. That’s 0.31 euros per hour.

        The above is just Steam; indie bundles and the like tend to be cheaper than Steam sales. GOG is cheaper as well. Then there’s F2P games, like LoL in which I must have spent close to a hundred hours by now, without spending a dime, or random mobile apps. No hobby is more accessible than gaming nowadays.

        Youtube is omnipresent, and news travel faster than ever. Videos of unedited game footage pop up mere hours after a game is released. Quality press sites like RPS and forums do a good job at pointing out issues. Misinformation can hardly work anymore, save for user error.

        Outside of the AAA bubble, there’s so many great games with affordable price schemes, enough that no single person could possibly have enough free time to try them all, much less play them to completion. Morally justifiable piracy falls flat there, because time is the real currency in today’s market. For every AAA title someone pirates, it’s likely they skipped an indie game to do so; and not only a pirated game isn’t a lost sale, it can be helpful to the developer, word of mouth and all that. In the end, those who are supposedly doing the bad thing (AAA devs using obnoxious DRM or what have you) win, and indies lose. Compulsive behavior isn’t an excuse, it’s a problem.

    • GiantPotato says:

      The safest and most common answer in the current environment is to not make a single-player game. But if you do make one, there might be a couple of ways to get people to accept being online:

      1. Address the perceived problem of longevity. One of the most common complaints about online requirements is that when the servers go down, the game will end. There’s really no reason this needs to be the case, provided it’s not actually your goal. Communicating that you would be willing to distribute that server component if/when the servers are forced down might help to get people to accept a compromise.

      2. Limit the amount of feedback provided by the online component. If you’re making a single-player game than it should not be necessary to have a storefront blinking at you, or a widget showing the current humidity in Spain, or a ubiquitous Facebook button to remind you that yes, Facebook still exists. Buying a single-player title is a deliberate choice in the current environment, so you might want to think about what actually provides value for these people instead of adding features they’re trying to avoid.

      3. Buy a residential-tier internet connection and tunnel all of your client-server traffic through that. A majority of game buyers might have internet but still have big problems if you require a persistent connection. Downloads don’t care about interruptions or latency, but the game will, and you won’t see those problems running everything on the same local network.

      By the way, you’ve listed your piracy rate independently of the number of copies sold, which makes it very difficult to evaluate whether your company actually needs this client-server architecture. It’s a lot of extra hassle for you, and no indication that it will affect sales.

      • malkav11 says:

        Empty promises that you will patch out server requirements if you have to take down the servers are just that, empty. (And any product where enough of the code is executed offsite to make a real barrier to piracy or hackers is going to be nontrivial to recode to work offline.) There is simply no way to know if you will actually make good on it.

        The only way I can see to make that sort of DRM palatable (and as far as I can tell any DRM at all is either a complete waste of time and money or an unacceptable violation of consumer rights and deliberate artificial obsolescence, with no middle ground at this stage, so I seriously question whether it’s worth bothering) is to promise to remove that DRM after X period of time (presumably whatever magical arbitrary number you feel does the most to get people to pay for your game instead of just waiting ’til a crack shows up), and then actually follow through on this. So far, the number of companies that have done this are vanishingly small and none had egregious server-based DRM to begin with.

  37. Hoaxfish says:

    comment system is eating mah comments?

  38. mrdan says:

    Your ‘games that made this work’ Demon’s Souls and Journey can both be played offline with no noticeable change to gameplay. In fact, Demon’s Souls is argueably better offline

  39. fish99 says:

    TBH quoting just that one sentence is a bit misleading.

  40. MeestaNob says:

    Wish the gaming industry would stop telling it’s customers what they want.

    Seriously, 90% of my gaming is single player. And when I play games by myself, I don’t want friend requests, chat, collaborative achievements, store fronts, DLC, scoreboards, or any other shit that distracts from the game and the immersion experience that has been tailored for me and me alone.

    FUCK OFF.

  41. Master Solon says:

    I have no problem with them wanting to add multiplayer aspects into a single player game and although i dont foresee and internet problem for me there are others that do. I’d just wish they wouldn’t put so much time into these new and great features that they leave older features that were good and not improve on them or end up leaving em out entirely. And for the love of god for a single player game with these mp features allow me to turn them off, im a hermit and i like that way and so are most people who play videogames, thats why we play video games

  42. Iskariot says:

    I give up on Crytek.
    I have been gaming for multiple decades and I spend far, far above average on games.
    But that will stop when they force me on-line.
    I am glad that many good gaming studio’s have other ideas about PC gaming than Crytek.
    Even Sony has said that they would not want to force gamers online with PS4, because they understand that many gamers do not want that at all.
    Crytek you are stupid.

    Come to think of it, he is just talking about Always Online DRM, without actually saying it.

  43. Jakkar says:

    Well said, Jim. Nothing like that crude-mouthed wastrel Grayson. Your words are like wine, except… Less expensive, and tastier.

  44. Kickdrum says:

    Jim, quick typo correction:
    The man’s name is Cevat, not Cervat :)

  45. ukpanik says:

    I socialize with people all day. When I escape into my games on an evening, I want to be as far away from people as I can be.

  46. Wodge says:

    I think these people speaking on behalf of “Big” studios should keep their opinions to themselves, the days of all successful games requiring huge budgets is over, Indie is where all the innovation and, dare I say it, fun is nowadays.

    I will not have some guy who represents a company that made 2 good shooters, and 2 so-so sequels and an engine used by next to no one telling me I can’t play offline. Crytek is already going F2P, so this guy is just after our cash at this point.

    “Connected Single Player” is basically a way to pipe micro transactions at you constantly. Get out of here with that nonsense.

  47. Ernesto25 says:

    Some of his example of less intrusive online single player would be the walking dead which just gives you stats at the end of the game of the choices so i don’t really mind that. However i can’t help but think of micro transactions when the single player games are online that he would love to do.

    Although then i don’t see how TWD would be better in a f2p model.

  48. Caiman says:

    How can you call this guy “ambitious”? Ambitious would be doing something completely different to pumping out nothing but generic manshooters with pretty graphics.

  49. bigjig says:

    Umm… both Journey and Demon’s Souls can be played offline though soooo….

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