Battlefield 4: It’s Time to Stop Wasting Resources on Single Player


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29 comments, 858 points

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.


29 Comments

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  1. I play the single player in games didn’t know people didn’t. If your gonna make a single player game it needs to have a compelling story though (halo). COD is the same crap every campaign. If anything I play single player on all difficulties for the achievement points and I always finish the single player before going online. I guess I’m the minority lol

    1. Most people I know/know of jump right into the multiplayer and don’t look back. I gotta give you credit, though. I haven’t played a CoD story since World at War and a BF one since Bad Company. I always try and it just always feels the same.

      1. Yeah I have beat single player on all call of duty games on veteran difficultly. Don’t ask me to recall their very forgettable plot though. Something about a guy named Soap and a bad guy is doing bad things and the world has to be saved by me. Thats about it!

        1. I always feel like there are too many games with good storylines, like the BioShock games for one, that warrant a play, but not the BF or COD games. Granted, I play a ton of BF no matter what.

          1. Yeah, Activision and DICE might as well make their games MMOs to get like double or triple the cash they get now, but we both know they listen to their fanbases to a certain degree which means single player won’t go away anytime soon and maybe starting this year, BF4 and Ghosts will actually impress with single player, which is good for me since I almost never touch the multiplayer whatsoever in any game i get. And Bioshock Infinite was awesome…it was even more successfully executed than the Last of Us, which though was also a good game, is getting a little overhyped only because Naughty Dog included multiplayer while Bioshock Infinite didn’t, which isn’t cool at all. I bet you if The Last of Us didn’t have multiplayer, it would have bombed at launch. Guaranteed. BF and COD stopped caring because multiplayer got more money than the $60 people put out upfront to get the games. it was the money that corrupted their identities. Hopefully the next Bioshock doesn’t take half a decade to come out. It would be very cool if somehow single player and multiplayer were merged to enhance the single player and-or co op like Need for Speed: Rivals and Watch Dogs is doing then everyone would want to play the story.

        2. The only one I found unforgettable was Black Ops. though it seemed cliche to most people, it does stand on its own in the single player and was a lot of fun to do all the cool missions. Modern Warfare 1 was okay, though my favorite level from the game was All Ghillied Up, where you play the flashback of younger Captain Price when he was a private, which stood out to me very well also and was one of the moments that made COD stand out regardless of the level’s huge and intricately woven use of stealth.

  2. I’m sorry, but i totally disagree with the idea of forgetting single player, i have over 300 hours played on BF3, and i played through the campaign twice.

    1. I’d be fine with maybe having single player as an optional thing, like if you want it, cool, if not, then that’s OK.

      1. Single player IS optional, you don’t have to play it if you don’t want to but I enjoyed Battlefield 3’s campaign and am really looking forward to Battlefield 4

  3. It’s all about preferences i liked bf3 single player and am glad they don’t listen to idiots like the person who wrote this article, Thats the only thing i buy cod for is the campaign then trade it in..

    1. I don’t think he means to scrap single player completely, I agree that the single player in some games are great. It just that for people like me who just want to play the multi player of certain games, like he said Sony did with Uncharted and Killzone, just making the multiplayer as an option for a cheaper price would be good, even if it was a digital copy only.

      1. The poblem with that would be even more little kids playing the game and ruining it cause now it is more affordable.
        Also personally I play campaign first to get the feel of the game and then switch to multiplayer. It feels much better when i do that, instead of just jumping right into a match lol

    2. Exactly! I’m getting sick of people who only play MP cry about the SP campaigns they include with these games. At the very least they act as a long training session for MP. And you’ll most likely need it if you’ve never played MP before. Also, the stories aren’t bad at all. Are they Oscar award winning material, Not really. They’re certainly not that bad either though. And BTW, the campaign in BF4 looks really good to me.

  4. i see where you’re going but the business models currently present don’t fit that future yet. Possibly in a few years when digital increases and development costs go down, developers can start offering single player and multiplayer separate. Come to think of it, developers would make more money that way so it benefits both them and the consumers.

  5. All I can say is that 3 of my friends barely ever touch the single-player in games like Battlefield or CoD. And usually other people jump into the multiplayer right away, so I’m not sure if this guy is completely wrong here.

  6. I would love for them to forget single player campaigns and add offline multiplayer modes with bots. Eventually the servers get shutdown or there is cheating or you just plain suck at the game, this is where bots come in. Personally I don’t give a crap about a story mode, if I want a story I will watch a movie.

  7. Did God of War 1, 2, and 3 get popular because of the MP?
    Did Uncharted series win awards for the MP only?
    Is The Last of Us going to win game of the year because of the MP only?
    Do all of the Trophies come from MP only?
    The answer is NO.

    1. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t talking — at all — about games outside of Battlefield and probably Call of Duty.

      I mean, my favorite games are really story-driven games. I just think that military shooters with the Michael Bay plots need to simply go away.

      1. Too bad. They are not going anywhere. They make too much money and that is what is important. Money. Money. Money. They don’t care what u think as long as we don’t come together and start affecting their money supply.

  8. I like all games for story modes, and while I do spend most of my time on the multiplayer on some games. It is not true for all games (Tomb raider I’m looking at you). And some games like the Uncharted series, I can’t even imagine not having played the single player portion, it was amazing and I loved it. That being said, I also think that you have a point. Not everyone is interested in these single player experiences, and to be honest I did not spend much time on BF3’s campaign. To me if they give us an option it would be great, something like 40-45$ for Multiplayer and 15-20$ for the sinlge player. The more choices we have as a consumer, the better it is for us all.

    1. I prefer really strong, narrative-driven experiences with single player games. Everyone is trying to top COD4: MW with their military FPS games and it just isn’t worth the hassle anymore, in my view.

      I can’t find a single reason to be excited about playing as another soldier going through some war torn part of the middle east with my elite crew against impossible odds. It’s just been done to death.

      1. Bioshock 3, The Last of Us both awesome narrative driven games that are both (essentially) shooters. I agree though that FPS games have gotten stale thanks to the whole “copy-paste-cash-cow-scene”

        1. Yeah, those games are worth playing through the story and any multiplayer added on is just cake, really.

          I mean, I’d like to see games move beyond having to be shooters to have good stories, too, but that is a ways down the road, I think.

  9. Just scrap the campaign and give us Instant Action Mode with bots just like they did with Battlefield 2 and Star Wars Battlefront 2.

  10. Would love to see DICE go back to their roots where it all started with Battlefield 1942 – full online multiplayer and offline multiplayer with bots. Every multiplayer map with up to 63 bots was available to practice offline with. Singleplayer campaign, even if you play it, you beat sooner than later anyway, but with multiplayer bots the game can live forever. A game like MAG is proof of that – with Sony shutting the MAG servers down, and no offline bots to practice with – the disc (and your paid DLC) is nothing more than toaster.

  11. singleplayer is good, just the replay value is low. but seriously, the writer of this articles sounds like a whiny baby. plenty of people enjoy a good singleplayer campaign and just because you dont doesn’t matter. you’ve barely played any of the campaign so honestly you cant knock it if you haved completed it with the plot and everything.