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 Personally, I think whenever people proclaim anything dead, or evolved-beyond, or outdated, or similar, they are pretty much consistently proven to be wrong.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 »

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  1. SaVi says:

    What if we say, that future Single Player Games will gain so many advantages from being online, that it’ll be defining the genre? Playing offline would still be there, but most won’t do this on their own accord if they had the choice.

    • Nick says:

      What “advantages”?

      • mrmalodor says:

        You know, advantages. Like, online games are so much more awesome, dude. Can’t you see all the advantages?

        • SaVi says:

          Hypothetically speaking ffs. And anyway, why don’t we all try and think of a few things?

  2. mrmalodor says:

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

    Nope. Not a chance in hell. This is not how you get people to buy more games.

  3. JohnnyMaverik says:

    If it doesn’t add anything to my single player experience, I don’t see the reasoning behind it and see many reasons why I don’t want it. It worked in Daemon Souls because of how insanely hard (and occasionally unfair) that game was, so the hints system worked really well, adding to the single player experience. Would I want that in say, Crysis? No.

    Journey was a co-op game in my eyes, it forced you to be open to co-op and linked you up with people to play with, so co-op, but the way it was done was very interesting. Would that work in all games, say, Crysis? Hell no, the fact that you didn’t and indeed couldn’t “talk” to your co-op buddies in Journey is why it worked, it just wouldn’t hit the right tone in the vast majority of games.

    Finally, I and loads and loads of other people highly value single player experiences. More so than multiplayer in fact, most of my cherished gaming memories have come from single player only games and most of the games I’m really excited about coming out are also single player only, or heavily touted on the expected quality of it’s single player portion. I bought Dead Space 1 and didn’t think much of it, I bought Dead Space 2 on deal because people kept telling me it was vastly improved and a very good single player experience, I will never buy Dead Space 3, it just doesn’t interest me.

  4. Premium User Badge

    psepho says:

    Who the fuck does Yerli think he is? How dare he tell the world what games ‘need’ to do. If people want play single player games and other people want to make single player games its none of his fucking business to tell developers and players that they shouldn’t be doing that.

    • Emeraude says:

      Not sure why, but this what your comment reminded me of:

      • Premium User Badge

        psepho says:

        OMG, I’ve been tenuously compared to Frank! My life is complete.

        He is totally right! The prescriptivist attitudes that that are rife in the gaming field make me sick — cyanide for the medium.

        EDIT: Actually, let’s invoke Godwin’s law and call it ‘artistic Zyklon B’.

  5. Ninja Foodstuff says:

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

  6. bwion says:

    Eh, as long as I can ignore the social bullshit, I don’t particularly mind that it’s there.

    I am quite capable of ignoring things without having a dedicated off switch for them, though, which seems to be a dying skill.

  7. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    Crytek are just pre-empting their next statement about Crysis3 PC gamers pirated our game waahhh I am taking my toys & playing with someone else now!! I mean Far Cry 1 was a terrific looking game & reasonable gameplay experience. Crysis1 looked okish since then they have done nothing of note AFAIC & can go away & leave the PC alone if they like few will miss their incomprehensible storylines & poorly realised gameworlds which are multiplatform friendly above all else.

  8. F3ck says:

    Here’s the pulse, alright?

    …and here’s your finger far from the pulse jammed straight up your ass.

  9. brulleks says:

    Cervat Yerli, stop it.

    Just stop it now.

  10. S Jay says:

    So the notion of piracy will also magically disappear.

    And we will all ride unicorns to work.

    • Emeraude says:

      Even better yet, as long as we’re shooting for unicorns: we will be rid of copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secrets.

  11. Shooop says:

    He also said:

    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.

    Which is true. But it still shouldn’t be a requirement for single-player mode. I can’t tell if he’s in favor of giving people more perks just when they’re online or preventing them from being offline and offering consolation prizes for it.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Not necessarily true (short answer = No. Absolutely not). Online may allow for more tinkering and adding onto the single player experience. But one could also argue that a dev could also simply just make a complete game and release it all at once. Moreso, what benefits? I doubt these are significant enough that people will want always-online single player games over ordinary single player games every single time.

      No, I think he’s just full of it. And he and other AAA people are trying to convince the rest of the gaming community that always online is what we really want. I’d argue we don’t, with some exceptions within gaming.

      • Shooop says:

        Who doesn’t like tinkering with things after they’re made though? Remember those videos the developers of Skyrim made showing what they did after the game was released?

        If they offer enough benefits to being online people will go there. But if they make that their only way to play the game it’s stupid. Encourage people to use the new-fangled CryFace service thing but don’t punish them for not using it.

        He doesn’t clarify which approach he’s advocating which probably means the latter. Since he is the same guy who said his company would never make another PC-exclusive game again because of piracy isn’t he?

  12. Calabi says:

    I think these people think that they are so important, that they somehow define and create the landscape, when all they are doing is responding to it. By the time they have responded it has already changed. People like this are irrelevant.

  13. Skabooga says:

    It’s too Yerli in the morning to be reading news snippets like this.

  14. Kinch says:

    Yes, what I really want in my single-player game is hackers and trolls. All poorly veiled as forced DRM.
    GG, CryTek. Cry me a river. ;)

  15. Citrus says:

    Maybe if I actually enjoyed any of Crytek’s shitty SP FPS’s, I would care what their people said about them. Right now, no one cares, no will ever.

    Also, his views on why Crysis 3 sucked, I mean failed >>
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/187602/Whats_holding_back_Crysis_3.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GamasutraNews+%28Gamasutra+News%29

    • Shooop says:

      ” It is better than Crysis 1. Technical and creatively, and storytelling — all aspects,” he says.

      All aspects! Except, y’know… In gameplay.

  16. Premium User Badge

    Fitzmogwai says:

    I’ll consider the reasonable possibilities with this when I can play my single player game on – for example – a boat in the middle of the ocean thousands of miles from anywhere, without any interruptions or lag, and not pay a penny in connection or bandwidth costs.

    Or, in a more likely scenario, on a three hour train journey from London to Exeter.

    Until then, all these people can look forward to no money from me.

  17. RoShamPoe says:

    I know it’s the internet, but why do we have to view comments like these in a vacuum? This is also the guy that wants to take his company free-to-play, suggesting a different business model. Most likely, it would be something akin to League of Legends.

    Given that information, I’m not sure why most of these commons bag on Yerli. He’s probably looking to do something similar to a Dark Souls experience, with multiplayer, and surely pay features. So what? It’s generally proving to be a positive business model for mmos.

    I hate Ubisoft’s practices, but I just don’t see the same thing happening here. There’s absolutely NO evidence of that, either. Crytek has made some excellent games despite some of the people bagging on them here. I’m currently enjoying the hell out of crysis 3. And while they don’t really invent the wheel…oh wait, maybe they do. The original Far Cry was revolutionary, the first Crysis is still looked upon as a benchmark of modern PC games, and the subsequent two have pushed every piece of hardware they’ve been on. Crysis 2 and Crysis 3 have both wowed despite being a bit console-fied. Of course, they’ve all had they’re problems, that’s not the point. This is an accomplished developer with a proven track record. Maybe we could see what they’re going for before we judge based on a vague comment that taken with the company’s stated future objective may not mean the automatic negative.

  18. Emeraude says:

    I know it’s the internet, but why do we have to view comments like these in a vacuum?

    Physician, heal thyself.

    You’re making it sounds like our comments exist in a vacuum, and are not part of an on-going process/debate which actually discusses the validity of F2P games from an ethical standpoint, the level of overall damage that industry trend toward a service-based always online model maybe be doing to the publisher/consumer relationship, or the impact of DRM on sales.

  19. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    AAA Games Industry: crippling PC gaming, one dev at a time.

    Always online? No mods.
    Always online? Any and all money spent on the game will be lost as soon as they decide to pull the plug on the servers running it.
    Always online? Hooray for never-flagging internet connections. Wait, we don’t have those.

    Yerli can go f2p always online all he wants, but I’m not supporting Crytek.

  20. aliksy says:

    I like mods and cheats. Forced online doesn’t usually go well with that.

  21. Kefren says:

    How very peculiar. I play games all the time, and every single one of them is single player offline. I mustn’t be representative of gamers.
    [Off to play Desktop Dungeons 0.2 now, damn Lothlorien]

  22. FreshwaterAU says:

    I’d expires my outrage but my backlog is so long that I have enough single player experiences to probably last me for the duration.

  23. peterako1989 says:

    you spelled “EA says” wrong

  24. Jack-Dandy says:

    Fuck Crytek, fuck their notions and fuck their shitty-ass, graphics-focused games.

  25. impish says:

    And furthermore, enjoyable shooters with open environments are going to have to go away. They could be called “railroad shooters with bullet spongy monsters and lots of ‘mashing-one-button-to-feel-like-your-really-trying-to-crawl.'”

  26. JarinArenos says:

    “but it’s nevertheless a big statement from one of the industry’s most ambitious studio heads.”
    Wasn’t this the guy who turned Crysis into just another generic gray manshoot?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Indeed. It’s his ambition to make pc games as bland, empty and limited as possible.

  27. kalirion says:

    Translation: our games will have Always Connected DRM, but we’re going to call it something else to avoid a backlash.

  28. lijenstina says:

    Why developers don’t spend their f*cking time making a game in the present than contemplating about the future of gaming in a volatile industry.

    That stuff is less important. The main problem in games is not about delivering freaking data. It’s about the data itself. You can do it through internet, telegraph, radio, books, planes, nanobots, arranging billions of coffee cups, dating adverts and still a shitty game will remain shitty. Of course a bad delivery system can seriously hinder the game success, but knowing that is why, generally, the IT is all about choosing the line of the least resistance and gathering around whatever the dominant thing of the moment is. Make good games then carefully weight the available options.

  29. Necroscope says:

    I agree with Cevat’s assertion. I’d like to see the persistent world MMO technology harnessed for single-player games. A hypothetical game like Stalker 2 with a world that continues/evolves/matures/deviates/etc whilst you’re away from the game is mind-blowing. It would neutralise this whole bloated notion you’re the centre of everything !!! I prefer that these ideas are investigated rather than a bunch of people talking themselves out of it before it’s had a chance…

    • wodin says:

      The thing is he says thats all we’ll have, no choice. I have been playing computer games since ’83. It’s always been a form of escapism. I certainly don’t want idiots bunny hopping all over the place and when I have been on a multiplayer game that isn’t a FPS like RO2 the whole world thing falls apart when you see people running all over the place.

      So no I don’t want that. I want a great story driven single player experience where I can get away from other people for abit.

    • malkav11 says:

      An alternate way of looking at that is a game that changes without you, that can never be reverted to the game that you originally bought, an experience or experiences that future generations will never have. I’m dubious enough about this aspect of MMOs. I certainly don’t want it in my singleplayer games. Change things with optional downloadable content, mods, etc. Don’t just fiddle with it in the background.

  30. JD Ogre says:

    So CryTek joins EA, Activision, and UbiSoft in boycotting my wallet. How sad.

    • Shooop says:

      Since Crytek has an exclusive publishing deal with EA, them boycotting your wallet as well is kind of redundant.

  31. Totally heterosexual says:

    If there is always an offline mode, I don’t care. I don’t really buy EA’s stuff that much anyway.

  32. Vinraith says:

    I think the notion of a AAA developers who are more concerned about profit than good game design has to go away.

    • malkav11 says:

      But it won’t, because AAA funding primarily comes from either being or being funded by large publically traded corporations that exist to make profit for their shareholders, ergo profit is always going to trump game design and probably trump consumer rights and/or common decency (not that the latter is actually common as far as I can tell.)

  33. wodin says:

    Well he has become a nobhead with that statement. PC games started as single player escapism..and that will always remain. Sometimes i think these developers are so far removed from their customer base cos they are surrounded by PC’s all day linking them up and having a laugh they forget not everyone can do that for starters..multiplayer isn’t the same when you all not in the same room, very few story driven multiplayer games out there and those that try usually fail and everyone wishes they’d have been SP only and finally there are loads still out there who want and love single player games, to them it’s what gaming is about. To escape and get away from people for abit.

  34. solymer89 says:

    “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.” – Or how I play “online” “MMO” games already.

    As for wanting the single player experience going away completely? I want what your smoking so I can make ridiculous claims like, “the Sun has to stop rising so early every day!” or, “My cock is HUGE!” and not feel a bit of shame for uttering such nonsense.

    Could you imagine playing Arkham City, paying attention to the mob surrounding you, ready to react to anything they bring and some yahoo who hasn’t had a generous or decent thought since their morning bowel movement comes along sending you random, unannounced party or guild invites. Then after ignoring them you fly off to your next mission, only to wait for a respawn cause some assclown is camping the spot.

    I like the idea for certain games to be “connected single player” games. Most of Cryptic’s games seem to do this fairly well. But for other games it just does not work, and more to the point, other single player game designs would fade the way of the DoDo.

    My unqualified and non expert opinion? Start making vast improvements to AI instead of forcing people to play with others. I don’t care if that is not a quick path to the money you seek. It’s the best path to quality games in the future.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Continuity says:

    There is one crucial element missing from this: Why? Why does off-line single player have to “go away”?

    Also what happens to all these “online” single player games a few years down the line when the servers get switched off? I’m still playing games that are 15-20 years old… will that become a thing of the past and all new games are only transitory?

    Also, all computer game company executives should be permanently gagged, they’re walking PR disaster areas.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Single player has to go away because people figured out that the new Crysis game wasn’t very good and decided to pirate it to see what it looked like and then delete it after a few minutes of uninspired game-play.

      Funny, you don’t hear the developers of really good single-player games talking about how single-player games have to “go away”.

      People will pay for value. They will pay for quality. They will eventually figure out who gives value and quality and happily give those people money. Others will whine like Cervat Yerli.

      • Premium User Badge

        Continuity says:

        So its purely a piracy thing? well then its dumb. Its already been shown that the way to beat piracy is to make legitimate services more convenient than piracy, like Steam and Spotify. Sure there are always going to be a contingent of people who pirate anyway but most likely they weren’t customers in the first place.

        • RProxyOnly says:

          ” Sure there are always going to be a contingent of people who pirate anyway but most likely they weren’t customers in the first place.”

          If only the industry understood this obvious fact.

          • malkav11 says:

            More to the point, if only the industry’s shareholders understood this simple fact.

  36. Temperance says:

    Hello, I am in big business, and I am very out of touch. Also my name is Yerli which is quite a silly name.

  37. Yosharian says:

    This is an unsurprising statement coming from a company that hasn’t made a decent SP game for years

  38. Baf says:

    This is like the manager of a baseball team saying “Basically people have to stop watching football”.

  39. crinkles esq. says:

    Funny, I think the notion that anyone has to buy Crysis games has to go away.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      You’d think that someone who’s company just spent years putting out a game that’s crap, game-wise, would have a little more humility than to tell us what we’re going to get whether we like it or not.

      I am so glad that I didn’t waste any money on the new Crysis game. Thank goodness for reviews from RPS and others who made it clear that Crysis 3 was pretty but sucked as a game.

  40. PopeRatzo says:

    Shorter Cervat Yerli:

    “To hell with what you want. You’ll take what we give you and like it or shut up.”

  41. Ruffian says:

    aka – “no one is going to pirate our increasingly-shitty single player games ever again!” – I have a really hard time interpreting this any other way. I think I may be a bit jaded in regards to this old schpeil…

  42. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    every time his game comes out and it’s worse than the last one he just says “is cause we’re not fucking our users enough” then goes away and does nothing about it

  43. Brun says:

    Still pitching a tantrum over Crysis 1 being pirated, eh Yerli?

    Maybe one day you’ll grow up.

  44. dftaylor says:

    Imagine if all movies required you to be in the cinema to see them. This guy is an idiot to even suggest persistently online play. I’m nearly always connected but have very little interest in online multiplayer.

  45. dgz says:

    The Crossing. Valve already tried that years ago. For once I agree with Yerli, though.

  46. RProxyOnly says:

    Yerli is an noxious fool.

    I’ll NEVER pay for an online only single player game, but neither will I be excluded from main stream entertainment due to scurrilous acts of stupidity and anti-consumer behaviour, and if that is the only way games will be legitimately released, then I will simply wait for an ‘illegitimate’ version that will not include unjustifiable requirements.. and which will also happen to be free.

    These idiots shoot themselves in the foot every time they open their mouths.

  47. rockman29 says:

    Screw Crytek lol, all their games look so boring.

    Warface is multiplayer Crysis, but free… yay… I can hardly contain my excitement.

    They can moneyhats all the microtransactions they want, couldn’t care less…. they make boring games.

  48. Dariune says:

    I’m not normally this inarticulate but this guy can fuck right off!

    Although not as dilligently as with EA I think I might have to start a boycott here as well. Absolutely hate what he is saying!

  49. Jenks says:

    Thanks pirates

    • RProxyOnly says:

      You don’t think that the whole piracy accusation is just today’s excuse for doing this?

      Do you honestly think that these actions of restriction and control wouldn’t happen anyway sans piracy?

      Pirates are the only force which stops the gaming scene being an absolute dictatorship run by and for the convenience and benefit of the publishers… whatever else pirates may be, they are a necessity.

  50. scatterlogical says:

    Yerli is a frakking idiot – this is the second stupid thing I’ve read today that he’s spewed up. Over on Gamespot he’s claiming that Crysis 3 isn’t doing as well as it’s predecessors because of “gamer fatigue” – whatever that means – rather than Crytek’s abborhant lack of creativity having something to do with it. Sure, blame your customers, tell them they’re the ones who are wrong coz they’re not buying your product.

    Sorry for my ranting, but I get sick of studio execs who tout having some kind of prophetic insight into the industry, when any gimp on the street can see that they’re just plain wrong. Morons like this were claiming just a few months that the PC was dead – look how that’s going now.

    Play some more games Yerli, perhaps games made by other developers, and actually look at what is going on in the market before opening your wantonly flapping facehole next time.