Battlefield 4’s release is coming up quickly, as it is slated to be released on October 29th in the United States. As always, it will be released in the Fall when there are a lot of other huge releases coming out, never mind that this Fall will also see the release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, making this Fall even bigger than the past few. Electronic Arts and DICE have done everything in their power to ensure that Battlefield 4 is primed to be one of the biggest games of this year, but the real question is; why are we still bothering with expensive single player campaigns in these games, anyway?
The focus on these huge, big budget FPS games over the past few years has clearly been the multiplayer. It not only spans the Battlefield games but the Call of Duty games as well, as the last single player worth playing was Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Most of these games have simply moved beyond the idea of single player campaigns being a selling point, as most people just play the multiplayer and ignore the single player altogether.
In my over 120-hours spent playing Battlefield 3’s multiplayer on both Xbox 360 and PC there has only been one instance where I found myself playing the single player campaign, which was when my internet went down one afternoon and I decided to give it a shot. I believe that I played for around 20 minutes before I just stopped and never went back to it. There just didn’t seem to be a reason to want to play it. There have been so many games with similar settings over the last few years and the “arms race” within the industry to make a grittier, more realistic single player campaign has just made things miserable. This most likely won’t be changing with Battlefield 4.
Companies like DICE are spending millions of dollars and a lot of their resources on creating games like Battlefield 4, with a lot of that money and resources being poured into the single player campaign, which many believe is being played less-and-less by most players. It almost feels like a formality to include an expensive single player campaign, like it would somehow upset the balance of power and throw the industry into a tailspin to not include an overwrought single player campaign. I have no desire to play Battlefield 4’s single player.
It is clear to just about everyone that multiplayer is the bread and butter of these games, as the DLC is always multiplayer maps, modes and weapons. While single player campaigns were still valid for these games early on in the days of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, multiplayer has grown since then and internet connections have gotten progressively better almost across the board. Now might be the time to start looking at the alternative to selling a $60 retail game featuring a single player and multiplayer experience and instead simply offering a multiplayer on its own (for a discounted price) and possibly the single player on its own for those that are actually interested in it.
This isn’t unheard of, by any means, as we’ve seen Sony experiment with making multiplayer portions of games available on their own like Uncharted 3 and Killzone 3. The technology that is powering games is getting better, it might be time to catch up everything else and give players more of a bang for their buck. It might be too late for Battlefield 4’s retail release, but for the future? Please.