Spec Ops Lead Hits Out At “Tacked On” Multiplayer

Polygon’s interview with Yager about their 2K-published shooter Spec Ops is worth a read, and not just because the lead, Corey Davis, attacks the practice of tacking on mandatory multiplayer to an ostensible single player project. He reportedly describes it as “bullshit”, and delivers this descriptive ankle-bite:

“The multiplayer game’s tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don’t even feel like it’s part of the overall package — it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating.”

Blimey, er… Discuss?


  1. AlwaysRight says:

    Good effort mate, I mean… everybody knew this was the case anyway, but he’s got some balls coming out and saying it so publicly. The revolution WILL be televised.

    • Styles says:

      Absolutely. Sick of publishers forcing developers to tack on multiplayer because they think it will make the game sell to the foaming at the mouth, attention deficit disorder online shooter kiddies who were never going to play it anyway

      • Ateius says:

        +1 to this. Not everything needs to be bloody multiplayer. More resources for well-crafted single player experiences, please.

  2. CaspianRoach says:

    I completely agree.
    The devs didn’t even include any multiplayer achievements to the game, all of them are singleplayer.

  3. GameStunts says:

    There’s far too much expectation put on games having multiplayer when some games do just fine as a single player experience.

    Look at games like Deus Ex Human Revolution, Sleeping Dogs or the original Bio-Shock. All of them were single player experiences, and are brilliant in that right.

    I’m not saying that these games couldn’t have had some multiplayer component, but just that they don’t need it to be a successful game. They should have let Spec Ops be the game it was designed to be instead of worrying about it having a multiplayer component.

  4. LTK says:

    When talking about Spec Ops, the guys at Extra Credits recently made a point of saying that a tacked-on multiplayer portion doesn’t need to make the single-player game worse as a result. There’s sense in that, certainly, so I think the guy is seriously overreacting. Obviously he’s disappointed that it had to be included, which entailed spending resources that could have gone into the main game. But I get the impression that Spec Ops did what they set out to do with their single-player campaign, and that’s an achievement regardless of how good or bad the multiplayer is.

    I mean, does playing the multiplayer really actively detract from your single-player experience? I don’t know, since I haven’t played it, but Bioshock 2’s forgettable multiplayer didn’t erase the enjoyment I got from the main game.

    • LegendaryTeeth says:

      It’s time and money they could have spent doing more stuff in the single player, or used to ship early.

      It’s just a big waste of resources no one cares about, so why do it?

      • Alexander Norris says:

        His actual complaint, if you read the full piece on Verge, is that the multiplayer doesn’t fit in with the single-player thematically, at all.

        And he’s right. It’s just some rubbish multiplayer third-person shooting. It’s mediocre and it wouldn’t necessarily make the game worse… except the game it’s tacked onto is Spec Ops, which tries to have a message.

        Having rubbish generic mediocre multiplayer tacked on actually does hurt Spec Ops’ message. It could have been thematically-appropriate tacked-on multiplayer and all would have been fine.

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    • Xocrates says:

      He does bring up the point that the multiplayer has a different, and perhaps even opposite, tone to the single player, and that’s a bit harder to ignore when they set out to make a game with a very specific message.

      In most cases tacked on multiplayer is essentially “harmless”, i.e. adds nothing and detracts little (depending on how many resources were spent on it), but I do not begrudge a guy who set out to make an commentary on war games, who then got upset when he was forced to include the same thing he was arguing against in his game.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      From what I hear the single player takes established gaming mechanics and brilliantly turns them on their head to make a point about the power fantasy, modern shooters, and how war isn’t this glorious thing we should all worship. Wouldn’t a mindless shooty multiplayer be detrimental to everything they were trying to say?

    • The Random One says:

      The Extra Credits dude is talking out of his ass, as usual. So we shouldn’t give the game a lower score because it has bad multiplayer, because too many resources are spent on it otherwise? No – we [i]should[/i] give the game a lower score, to let publishers know that if it had no multiplayer it would have a higher score.

      • danielfath says:

        That only works if publishers are sentient beings, guided by the love of games and not money being made. When they see reviews that are lower and see that some of them critique the multi-player for it’s lack of quality, what would be a more probable decision?
        – Force Yager to make another game but this time with focus on multiplayer
        – Give Yager full creative liberty

      • dysphemism says:

        What you’re saying only makes sense if people had complaints about the single-player that could be tracked back to a lack of resources (as opposed to, say, creative direction or choices in design).
        So say a game has nigh-perfect single-player, with a totally rubbish multi-player mode obviously tacked onto it (at no small expense). Do we dock a great single-player game because not enough “resources” were devoted to it? Even if there’s no evidence that additional time and money would have significantly improved upon it? That position seems unnecessarily vindictive.

    • YohnTheViking says:

      The question isn’t if the multiplayer detracts anything, but if the overall package is worth the asking price.

      We tend to forget that a reviewer is per definition an appraiser of sorts. The idea is to show you whether or not this game is worth a purchase. (Different from a critic who doesn’t look at the value.) If the single player can be completed in five hours and your asking price is a $50 equivalent, you better have a good multiplayer to back up that asking price.

      Brilliant though the campaign may be, you’d feel cheated if you paid $50 for Spec Ops: The Line and all you got out of it was 5 hours worth of carefully planned out story. Was 2K wrong in their decision though? Certainly, but I think the reason why they made the decision is slightly different from “all shooters need multiplayer”. I honestly believe that the people at 2K are smarter than that, and did realize that they could have released this game as a single player experience for a lower price point, but they wanted the full triple A price, thus tack on multiplayer.

      Just a point of note. Whenever you hear the argument made about games not needing multiplayer tacked on, the games mentioned Deus Ex, Bioshock, etc. are long single player experiences. Don’t forget that when making the argument.

      • Baines says:

        If the single player game might not be worth the asking price alone, then I wish publishers would have developers find other things to increase its value than just arbitrarily tacking on a multiplayer mode.

        These tacked on multiplayer modes tend to be a false value, because most games aren’t going to develop much of an online presence. Some games are okay with that, but genres like competitive (or even some co-op) first/third person shooters tend to have their online dead in the water the moment if they don’t reach a certain threshold of players. And even if a game can reach that threshold in its first weeks of release, what about afterwards?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’d argue that it does detract from the game’s message if it’s included with the overall package. I’m not sure if Schindler’s List comes with a blooper reel, but it would detract from the film’s potency to have footage of SS officers cracking up in the middle of brutalising civilians included on the DVD.

  5. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    I was hoping we could not talk about that.

    The phrasing was unfortunate. That is all.

    • obie191970 says:

      Thankfully, the word legitimate was found nowhere in the rant…..

      • Strangerator says:

        Hopefully this off topic side discussion won’t take, since none of us want to have it.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          On the contrary, the topic in question is a fine piece of dark comedy if I ever saw one.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      No, it was deliberate. And people should be called on it.

      • QualityJeverage says:

        At the risk of setting myself up for a flaming to end all fire forever, is it really something he should be called on in this context?

        I would argue that this is, for once, a reasonable use of the word. Certainly more reasonable at least than, say, a kid on Xbox Live yelling at an opponent. The word is certainly controversial, but I think it was a completely conscious choice on his part, to convey his feeling that the Multiplayer game represents a wholly unnecessary abuse/exploitation/perversion of the artwork that his team really put their hearts into. There’s a long history of that R word being used to describe such things without backlash.

        I am absolutely, completely in favor of tearing down the culture that allows gamers to throw the word around at each other casually. But I do fear overstepping our bounds and making it off-limits entirely when there are legitimate, reasonable contexts that aren’t necessarily related to the physical abuse.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          No, it is not reasonable. He was not using it in the context of pseudo-humorous hyperbole. He was using it in the context that might be used by a raging 12 year old CoD player. Saying that it was that bad, in such extreme terms, is not witty, or clever, or even reasonable. It is pure attention-whoring through the association of “OMFG dirty wordz=random dude on internet is right!!!111!!!11”. I agree with the core idea. I VERY STRONGLY DISAGREE with the way this was expressed. People really need to stop doing this.

          And this coming from a guy who swears at people in TF2 allchat.

        • mike2R says:

          No, he is using the word correctly. It does have other meanings beyond forced sexual intercourse. A gemstone mine can be raped, for example. If crude explosives are used – blasting out a small amount of material for a profit, but damaging its long term potential. Which is what he is saying: his precious game was damaged by a foolish attempt to extract value from it, not that it was held down and buggered. Hyperbole perhaps, but not something to get upset over.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Who said anything about being upset? Did you rush over to the reply box without reading the addendum? I`m just saying that, while it is a problem, it is not an issue large enough to resort to such language. And yes, I am aware that the word rape has a connotative meaning as well as a denotative one.
          I simply believe that the context is not appropriate, since it is implying that the game was irreparably damaged by what is, by definition, a feature whose presence does not significantly affect the meat of the game. This is obviously not the case. You cannot even say that it was damaged indirectly, by pulling resources away from the SP, since the MP side was outsourced to a different studio, similarly to the MoH reboot.

        • NathanH says:

          Using the term “attention-whoring” is pure attention-whoring through the association of “OMFG dirty wordz=random dude on internet is right!!!111!!!11″.

        • EPICTHEFAIL says:

          Good eye. I smell an Inception joke in the near future. Or it could just be a day-old hotdog, not really sure.

        • Eddy9000 says:

          Well epicthefail, I know we’ve had our disagreements on here in the past but I totally agree with you. It wasn’t an acceptable word to use, he should and has been called out on it, and now we can focus on the other words. Bish bash bosh.

        • mike2R says:

          Apologies epicthefail, my comment probably should have been a reply to someone above you – I didn’t properly read yours in full. Just picked it because it STOOD OUT!!1!!, if you know what I’m saying :)

    • Alexander Norris says:


      The phrasing being “unfortunate” is a symptom of a problem. What is gained by refusing to address the problem?

      • Premium User Badge

        FhnuZoag says:

        Well, it is a problem. But is there particularly much to say about it? I just don’t like the sort of debate that develops in these cases, because there isn’t much to debate, save useless, divisive lines of argument like ‘exactly *how* bad he was by saying that’ and so on. (And also providing opportunity for some potential absolute arseholes to add their ‘contributions’) I kinda wish we’re gotten to the point that we can just shake our heads, suggest that he should be less dumb, and move on.

    • dE says:

      I love these discussions, the Ancient God of Blocking demands a fresh supply of sacrifices. And with these discussions, there’s plenty.

  6. sinister agent says:

    I haven’t played the game in question, but I’ve seen the same thing happen in many other games. Shoving in multiplayer just to tick the box is a silly practice, and I can see why it might annoy someone who worked on the game.

  7. Smashbox says:

    “the game mechanics were raped to make it happen “

  8. mehteh says:

    This is so true with most of the games coming out these days. Publishers these days are forcing devs to slap on shallow multiplayer portions simply because itll sell more to casuals and/or consoles since theyre so new to the world of online gaming. I find myself increasingly moving away from online games because theyre either catered to idiots/casuals/consoles or they slap it on at the last minute. the obvious console focused nature of BF3 was the last straw for me. We need more publishers like Paradox that dont compromise the creative process and direction of games

  9. mouton says:

    Actually, it isn’t that bad nowadays, you can make many a successful game without the multiplayer component. It was much worse in the later nineties were multiplayer was the great new thing and the lack of it was usually listed in cons and lowered the score.

  10. subactuality says:

    After all, is lazy multiplayer not, in a sense, the Hitler of gaming?

  11. Strangerator says:

    What is wrong with this guy? All games must have multiplayer. Who cares if it is meaningless and no fun at all… the word “multiplayer” is valuable to have on a box.

    So the Extra Credits addressed the fact that game reviewers docked points because of the game’s lackluster multiplayer, and that they should try to understand that the meat of the game was the campaign. I have to disagree, I don’t think the reviewers did anything wrong. They have to review the game in its entirety. If reviewers continue the practice, then eventually the message will sink in that you don’t need multiplayer, and that tacking it on will adversely effect your reviews.

    Also in this case, the multiplayer mode DOES detract from the game’s message. This one is all about “war is not fun, and not cool”. The whole point of multiplayer is to convey the opposite message, and thus a player might get a confused idea of what the game was trying to say. On the one hand you have heart of darkness and on the other you have the instant respawn hell of normal FPS multiplay.

    So to sum up… adding multiplayer detracts both from the game’s score and from its coherence of message. Secondarily it also costs development money and time. It would have been far better without, and the dev was right to be pissed.

  12. AlwaysRight says:

    I can’t believe he said rammed either, such a poor choice of words.

    • Lambchops says:

      Just be glad he wasn’t George Galloway or he would have been off talking about the “insertion” of bad multiplayer.

  13. obie191970 says:

    This bring’s up a good point through – What’s worse, a tacked on multi-player or a tacked on single player like you get in the CoD’s and BF’s of the world? Apparently a tacked on single player is acceptable seeing those game’s consistently sell like crazy. I’m at the point where I’d much rather have a compelling single player narrative than another run-of-the-mill, albeit well-done, multi-player game.

    • Xocrates says:

      The thing about single player is that, it doesn’t matter how shitty it is, you’ll still be able to play it whenever you feel like.

      Tacked on multiplayer is usually dead within a month, if it lives at all.

      So while I do believe games should focus on what they’re good at, ultimately tacked on single player adds more value to a game that tacked on multiplayer.

    • malkav11 says:

      Have you actually played a Call of Duty singleplayer? There’s nothing tacked on about it. Indeed, they’re a very carefully designed spectacle-a-minute thrill ride. Short, yes, extremely linear and very limiting of player freedom, and absolutely not worth the $60 ask, but it’s not tacked on. It is, in fact, the only reason I ever play Call of Duty games, whenever they creep down into the vicinity of a reasonable price for the aforementioned campaigns.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        You just can`t help but insult people today, can you? How can you possibly imply that a game with no FoV and textures sometimes worse than the original Half-Life can possibly “melt” anything made in the last five years? Truly I do not understand people like you.

      • obie191970 says:

        I played the first three and then couldn’t make it through 4, W@W or MW2. After about an hour with each I was just bored to tears. Not that I regret the purchase as I pumped hundreds of hours into the MP, the campaigns just didn’t do it for me. Though MW2 was the last I bought as I also got tired of spending $60 for the same game on a yearly basis – However, I’m considering jumping back in with BLOPS 2 after a 3 year break.

    • Gap Gen says:

      BF3’s single player was awful, hateful bullshit. STAB RAT STAB RAT STAB RAT GOBLESSMERICA.

  14. Bostec says:

    Everyone knows muitlplayer on a primary single player game is just another layer of DRM in disguise. Deadspace 2, Mass Effect 3, Bioshock 2 hell even Max Payne 3. No need..there was just no need. Plus Its all this connection bullshit nowadays. Have to connect, have to talk to each other, have to BE AMONG THE HUMAN RACE.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      The multiplayer in Mass Effect 3 is pretty good. Not only that, it actually fits with the singleplayer game thematically/mechanically.

      • The Random One says:

        I only played the demo, but ME’s MP was horrible. ME has always had horrible combat, and the MP was just the combat in a setting where your screw-ups also screw up for other people.

        • MSJ says:

          It’s actually quite fun. You just have to know what abilities and weapons to use, and to actually remember to cooperate. The multiplayer community for ME3 is pretty active even after the Extended Cut makes it less important to the single-player game.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        Indeed. ME3 MP is something I play quite regularly despite its tacked-on nature. It is proof positive that tacked-on =/= bad. The game has solid mechanics by itself, the combat is not only fun and fluid, but also quite varied, and it is actually challenging. About the only complaint I have are the ridiculous booster pack shop and the unbalanced nature of add-on classes, since the lack of text chat is not that big of a deal considering its ultimately simple nature means little is needed in the way of tactics.

    • Narbotic says:

      I’ve likely spent more than 10 times as many hours w ME3 multi compared to single player (which i did enjoy). I heart it big time. In fact, it’s so polished and fleshed out – it’s fairly obvious to see why the single player story was somewhat underdeveloped compared to ME2.

  15. Shooop says:

    I think I’m going to start up a Kickstarter to buy a plane ticket so I can personally high-five this guy.

  16. Skabooga says:

    Davis is saying what we’re all thinking. Perhaps saying it with more vehemence, but given the circumstances, he is entitled to that.

  17. Heliocentric says:

    I hope he doesn’t get fired for saying this, but some of my favourite games are my favourites because of the tacked on multiplayer.

    Halflife(via mods), Splinter Cell, Rome: Total war, RTCW: Enemy Territory, Dungeon Keeper 2

    I admit, that these examples are the exceptions not the rule, but there are other near misses, like Bioshock 2’s multiplayer which was horribly crippled by GFWL+Peer2Peer and Giants Citizen Kabuto which were just a buggy mess.

    • AshEnke says:

      Splinter Cell’s multi wasn’t tacked on : it was an innovative decision, it got the full attention of a separate studio (Ubi Shangai), and was one of the main features from the beginning of the development.

  18. SirKicksalot says:

    rape (n,v) – an act of plunder, violent seizure, or abuse; despoliation; violation: the rape of the countryside.

    cancer (n) – any evil condition or thing that spreads destructively; blight.

    • X_kot says:


      1.implied additional meaning: an additional sense or senses associated with or suggested by a word or phrase. Connotations are sometimes, but not always, fixed, and are often subjective.

      Yay dictionaries!

      • NathanH says:

        I don’t think we should go around abandoning useful meanings of words just because some people take them the wrong way.

        • X_kot says:

          The civil rights movement in the United States would beg to differ.

        • NathanH says:

          I have no idea what you even mean.

        • allen says:

          yeah because “nigger” has so many uses. oh wait.

          edit(this was in response to x_kot)

        • X_kot says:

          ‘It was while giving a speech in Washington, to a very international audience, about the British theft of the Elgin marbles from the Parthenon. I described the attitude of the current British authorities as “niggardly.” Nobody said anything, but I privately resolved — having felt the word hanging in the air a bit — to say “parsimonious” from then on.’

          [Christopher Hitchens, “The Pernicious Effects of Banning Words,” Slate.com, Dec. 4, 2006] .

        • Sleepymatt says:

          X_kot, you are an ass, and I don’t mean a relative of the donkey. If you are going to raise racism in your argument then at least have the decency to be right first – the word niggardly has an entirely different derivation (as evidenced by the difference in spelling). A =/= E.

          “Niggardly” (noun: “niggard”) is an adjective meaning “stingy” or “miserly”, perhaps related to the Old Norse verb nigla = “to fuss about small matters”. It is cognate with “niggling”, meaning “petty” or “unimportant”, as in “the niggling details”.

        • MikoSquiz says:

          An actual civil rights leader’s comment on one of the many ‘niggardly’ kerfuffles:

          “Julian Bond, then chairman of the NAACP, deplored the offense that had been taken at Howard’s use of the word. “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding”, he said. “David Howard should not have quit. Mayor Williams should bring him back — and order dictionaries issued to all staff who need them.””

        • X_kot says:

          I brought up racism as an example of how words with other meanings become stigmatized due to social changes. At no point did I suggest that “niggard” comes from the etymology of “niggar”; my point in bringing up the Hitchens quote is that he was struck with the realization that a term he used with no malice could have unintended effects on his audience due to societal differences. He found another word to express his meaning that would not have the same issue.

          You want to insult me, fine, but don’t expect to be taken seriously.

          That is a very valid point about people assuming they have the ability “sense the offense” for others. However, the counterpoint is “can a person of a community speak for the entire community”? One of the failings of second-wave feminism was to acknowledge that “women” are not a homogenous group and that not all members would benefit from the same goals. Going back to my example, Hitchens resolved to exercise a rhetorical choice that avoids stumbling into potentially offensive phrases.

        • aepervius says:

          Ha , the bullshit rethorical about word, yes x_kot soemtimes a fork is just that : a fork, and not a spoon. And since youa re in the meaning of word, your username *is* offensive : in the country I live it means excrement (Kot=Excrement in german). That does not mean I will attribute any double meaning to your choice of username x-kot, just like raped , violated, is a perfectely standard meaning to “force something”.

        • Gap Gen says:

          It’s also down to context. I’d argue that it’s almost always worth avoiding emotionally charged words because there are other words you can use that have the same effect, and it distracts from what you’re trying to say. It’s important in games because we have a long-standing problem of casual misogyny in the community that needs to be tackled, and developers using words like “rape”, whilst being a valid use of the word, isn’t going to help matters.

      • SirKicksalot says:


        the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.

        • X_kot says:

          terministic screen

          The terms or vocabulary we use constitute a kind of screen that directs our attention to particular aspects of reality rather than others (see Kenneth Burke).

        • MikoSquiz says:

          Bzzt! Not a dictionary word (or real thing).

        • X_kot says:

          It’s a concept put forth by Kenneth Burke in a treatise titled A Rhetoric of Motives. It is a neologism.

  19. NathanH says:

    Acceptable usage, in my book. It’s not at all lighthearted, the whole excerpt is quite venemous and using some tough words is fine by me.

    • The Random One says:

      I agree with NathanH. There are other points of view other than ‘never use that word, ever’ and ‘it’s just a regular word exactly the same as destroy’. It should be used sparingly, but this one seems to warrant it.

  20. 7hink says:

    Way to stand up for himself after he made it anyway. Seems a bit hypocritical to me. If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. Don’t say you didn’t want to do it after you just did.

    Then again, I’m sure he has his reasons and I don’t say I wouldn’t have done the exact same thing. It’s hard to stand up for what you believe in and potentially give up financial security.

  21. NathanH says:

    They could have had some fun with the multiplayer. Trying to make it so the winning team gets to feel like a bunch of dicks.

  22. Unruly says:

    When will people learn that there are multiple definitions for words? Just because one definition means one thing, which is perhaps terrible, doesn’t mean that it’s the only meaning for that word.

    People blow the use of the word rape way out of proportion. Yes, sexual rape is terrible, and not something to be taken lightly. But the word rape also has other meanings which basically turn it into a synonym of despoil or pillage, but which imply much more force in the action.

    The same thing can be said of the word retard as well. It has other meanings beyond being a prejudicial term for the mentally handicapped. In fact, it’s not even really a prejudicial term because calling someone retarded just means that they’re slow to develop, which is the meaning of the word. It can be used in a hateful way, yes, but not every usage of the word instantly makes it hateful.

    • aepervius says:

      In fact I used retard/retarded a lot in my previous job (look up retarded waves, in physic section, as an example).

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        I used the word rape a lot in my previous hobby *cough*BF2142 Gibraltar*cough*. This thread is getting far too serious for its own good. Ah well, `tis the Internet after all, so people have a habit of blowing everything out of proportion.

  23. Isair says:

    Wait, the multiplayer button actually did something? I just assumed it was another decoy, like how they made the first two hours intentionally generic.

  24. Jimbo says:

    Right, but the reality is that a ~6 hour SP campaign/cutscene and nothing else just ain’t gonna cut mustard, which the publisher is obviously well aware of. It won’t sell because most of the market doesn’t consider that a good value proposition, and the copies it does sell will be back up for sale as used copies by the end of the week.

    He’s probably right that it adds nothing meaningful to the game whatsoever, and the publisher was probably right to insist on having it anyway. The game this guy wanted to make just isn’t a realistic proposition, which is why nobody makes what he’s suggesting.

    “And it was a waste of money. No one is playing it.”

    Non sequitur. Just because they aren’t playing it doesn’t mean they didn’t take it into consideration when they were deciding whether or not to buy the game.

    • nERVEcenter says:

      That’s not what the developer finds rewarding, however. More often than not, a developer this passionate wants to make the best game they possibly can, and having the full funding and resources to be able to do that will help them create the most satisfying experience possible, something they can be proud of.

      If they were able to create in-depth multiplayer that fit the game’s tone and had really unique and satisfying mechanics, and PLAYERS also found that interesting and fulfilling and were playing it because of that, he might feel more justified in the decision to include it. But, although he’s not necessarily concerned with securing a $60 purchase simply by including multiplayer, the investors and the suits are. He’s only allotted so much time, money, and resources to bring the multiplayer to fruition, and it largely seems that he and other lead devs rarely get more than the bare minimum to tack it on.

  25. Aaax says:

    What’s that “unique experience” everyone is talking about? I played first 7 hours of the campaign and failed to find anything noteworthy. It’s pure-blood generic TPS with good-handsome-heroes versus bad-rogue-enemy, I still regret the time spent with it.

    • ChrisN says:


    • Fincher says:

      you’re supposed to feel bad about killing people because it subverts your expectations or something something


      • JackShandy says:

        You’re telling me that killing people is wrong, and war is bad?

        Well, my world-view has been flipped.

        • Droopy The Dog says:

          Wait, you’re telling us you treat all games exactly like reality?

          Your worldview may be flipped, but a whole bunch of crazy politicians just had their justified.

          The point is (ostensibly, since I’ve not even played it) that spec ops actually makes you feel like the war on the screen is almost as unpleasant as the real thing. Compared to most other military shooters it’s like the difference between “Platoon” and “Rambo”.

          So yes most people know war is bad, but unless you spent all your spare time pondering it, having the details laid out in front of you can still hit a nerve.

          • JackShandy says:

            I just wonder what kind of person is genuinely shocked or moved by the revelations of Spec Ops.

            I really shouldn’t criticize it, I haven’t played it either. On principle, though, I hate any game that forces you to do something, and then tells you to feel guilty for it. Shooting games that say “Shooting is wrong!”, such as Spec Ops. Linear games with the message of “Linear games are bad!”, such as Bioshock.

            I think people make linear shooting games because they enjoy them. If you don’t like that type of games you should make some other type of game, instead of making one and just tut-tutting shamefully about it the whole time.

          • Fincher says:

            I’m not saying -I- was shocked by it, but the vast majority of people were. If your world view becomes so warped that you’re shocked by such a portrayal then I do worry for those people.

            Apparently guys shooting at you that you shoot at will shout “murderer”, and late in the game you might shoot someone and your character will say “he was going to die anyway”.

            It sounds awfully vindictive no matter what you do, and randomers shouting “murderer” while you shoot them can only be described as try-hard.

      • Gap Gen says:

        It’s a comment about the default morality in shooters, not about the default morality of people in real life.

    • danielfath says:

      I know, rite?

      And stanely’s parabola is all about pressing buttons and following orders. IT never TOUCHES you on the hearth.

    • Aaax says:

      From RPS WIT:
      This is a game where the man you’re shooting at might shout ‘murderer!’ at you with clear distress, and that makes for a sobering look at yourself in the mirror of the mind’s eye. I do wonder with some discomfort whether repeatedly placing a cursor over pretend men’s heads and pressing fire is truly an appropriate medium for the questions Spec Ops poses (and only poses – it does not lower itself to answering them), but perhaps doing, rather than merely watching, is a necessary evil on the path to understanding. One thing’s for sure: I feel sick at the idea of playing another shooter any time soon.

      I never had any moment even close to this, it was always just generic bad guys being shot by generic good guys. Can anyone explicitly tell me what those remarkable moments were?

      • Snidesworth says:

        If you are seven hours into the game and have to ask this question then you are either being willfully dense or are exactly the sort of person who would benefit from finishing the game. Especially if you really are seeing Walker and his squad as “generic good guys” despite the events of the game.

        • Aaax says:

          How come? As I remember the plot: Wilson and his squad arrive to Dubai to reconnaisence mission(if I remember correctly) only to find out that someone is trying to kill them and death is all around. Not much later is revealed that behind all this chaos stands some “rogue” american commander, and our heroes are set on the goal of dispatching him from this world.

          Where is the moral dillema in this? You have evil guy, you kill him and everyone is happy. The nicely branded “rogue” other guys are repeatedly shown slaying civilians and binded captives, while Wilson never does anything bad AFAIK. So who is good and who bad is terribly clear.

          This plot premise, together with totally bland whack-a-mole gameplay, really killed the game for me. I stopped playing at the point where there were civilians being shot in a sky-scraper.

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            “Totally bland whack-a-mole gameplay” I’ll grant you, but the plot is not over yet, and there are certain details it seems you’ve not noticed (that will become clearer in hindsight). It’s worth finishing.

          • Snidesworth says:

            You’re still very early on in the game. How it took you a whole 7 hours to get there I don’t know, but there is far more to the plot than what you have seen so far.

          • Aaax says:

            I played it on hard difficulty and was enjoing the vistas. I think I won’t return to the game, since even a nice story is not worth enduring that gameplay. The story is just too slow with too much padding. You kill all the enemies in some room, only for second wave of identical enemies to run to the exactly same places… and then again… and again. Games wasting my time like this make me want to kill. Waitaminute, maybe that’s the point.

        • Gap Gen says:

          It’s not that amazing of a game in of itself, and the main draw is the message that becomes more evident towards the end. My advice would be to dial it back to normal and blast through it to get to the end.

  26. Marik Bentusi says:

    Dear god, Yager’s got some balls to first push out a risky game like that and then speak the truth like that. I’m gonna keep my eye on them just in case 2k doesn’t ground em.

    • orionstar says:

      I’d say if it was any other publisher, they’d be crazy to throw away developers over a comment, but then again, this is 2K…

  27. Kestilla says:

    You can’t put multiplayer in a game if you’re not willing/able to do it right or from the ground up. Baldur’s Gate is a good example of ground up multiplayer implementation, so good you can play it coop or singleplayer and if you like singleplayer, you don’t even have to think about the multiplayer, but it’s there and polished for anyone who wants it.

    The original Deus Ex, people asked for a multiplayer mode, and after release an adversarial mode was indeed developed that no one played because other games, like Unreal Tournament, had better offerings. People were actually asking for a coop implementation, but it was impossible because you can’t jury rig an entire multiplayer system into an already finished singleplayer game.

    Mojang started early with their multiplayer in Minecraft, but it still took them months to convert the SP content to MP. In a project that’s farther along? There’s no way.

    • Jimbo says:

      Can’t or shouldn’t? Because plenty of games can and do treat SP and MP as completely seperate entities.

  28. Big Murray says:

    Double points for saying what he did. Half points for the single-player of Spec Ops not being that good.

  29. dave_salmon says:

    I’ve actually joined after lurking a fair while to comment on this.

    My opinion is that, should someone instigate a reaction like this by questioning the quality of a multiplayer experience in a game which has been marketed as and quite obviously built as a single player experience, this person and the stink they kick up should be ignored.

    Same principle as “Don’t feed the troll” – By all means ask about the state of the multiplayer, but don’t make a big deal of it when it is obvious to all that it was tacked on (and there is a very good chance it was done at the mercy of the people wielding the checks).

    Just in case this seems inflammatory, I will say that my comment about not feeding trolls is not directed at Jim, rather writers who knowingly poke the bear.

  30. Slinkyboy says:

    Hire This Man!

  31. MD says:

    I think there are significant differences between this sort of usage of the word ‘rape’ and some others.

    In the case of, say, telling an opponent that they were or will be ‘raped’, it’s either disingenuous or idiotic to suggest that usage is not linked to the sexual definition of rape. The word is clearly used for its connotation of violent personal ‘domination’.

    The way in which Corey Davis used it, though? ‘Rape’ in its non-sexual sense is arguably fairly appropriate there, and you can conceive of the same word being used even if it had never come to prominence in the sexual sense. Importantly, too, it’s used impersonally.

    I would certainly steer clear of using the word ‘rape’ in any colloquial sense, and probably even in its literal non-sexual sense. But I do think there’s a big difference between the sort of usage quoted above, and ‘lol I raped you’ idiocy.

  32. Muzman says:

    As others have mentioned, the impressive part is a lead dev publicly talking about the artistic integrity and cohesiveness of the work. Forcefully.
    Which isn’t to say other devs don’t think this but by the time it gets to the press they’re still mostly talking in feature lists and you can’t tell one from another..

  33. MadTinkerer says:

    “it’s another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth”

    Did this remind anyone else of Portal 2’s back-story concerning Wheatley and GLaDOS?

    Spec Ops Multiplayer: Durrrr, shooting baddies am fun!

    Spec Ops Singleplayer: Will you shut up, I am trying to read this Joseph Conrad book!

    Spec Ops Multiplayer: I will pwn all da n00bs!

    Spec Ops Singleplayer: Now I know how Bioshock 2 feels…

  34. Yosharian says:

    Holy shit. I wonder how long it will take before 2K fires this guy.

  35. Tei says:

    I enjoy these parts. I suppose a cow with cancer is still edible.

    • Blackseraph says:

      They are, but those cancer parts aren’t actually fed to people. Those parts are cut off.

  36. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    This person is hella fired!

  37. Gap Gen says:

    My take on it is that while it’s a correct usage of the word as a metaphor (to refer to wanton destruction), I’d probably just avoid it completely. It’s not necessary, there are other words that work just as well and it distracts people from the issue you’re trying to raise.