If you’ve been holding your breath waiting for confirmation that the highly anticipated Star Wars game Star Wars: Battlefront would include a single-player campaign in addition to the multiplayer mode we’ve already seen in action, you can exhale now. Not because a single-player campaign has been confirmed, but because if you do not exhale and continue to hold your breath waiting, you will die.
But why would DICE, the makers of the Battlefield games, not include a campaign for you to enjoy when you don’t feel like dealing with other players, even if it were the shorter six to eight-hour or so campaigns they usually offer? Because this is also published by Electronic Arts, and they have “data” that says you don’t play those silly single-player campaigns.
EA COO Peter Moore did an interview recently talking about many things, including the multiplayer-only Battlefront. See what he had to say below.
The Battlefront discussion was just a small part of a much larger interview, but here’s what was said about it:
I want to switch to Star Wars Battlefront. Surely yourself, and the rest of the EA executive team, must be kicking yourselves for not including a single-player campaign?
Well, you never kick yourself about these things. You make a decision, years out, and you plan for what the world looks like when a game ships in two or three years. That’s about the intuitiveness about the executive producer, and his or her vision for the game.
Between when a dev team starts work on a game, and when it finishes, the world becomes a different place. I remember when we started work on Star Wars: The Old Republic; at the time, the model to go for was subscription. By the time we had the game ready, the model to go for wasn’t subscriptions. That’s why we had to stop the game, and rebuilt it as a free-to-play title with microtransactions, but even then there were some people who said they wanted to keep their subscriptions.
I totally understand that you have to think ahead when planning games. I was more thinking about Battlefront with more crude algebra, in that, triple-A games with single-player traditionally sell better than those with multiplayer.
So, there’s two phenomena with that statement. The first is that yes, you might be right. The second is that very few people actually play the single-player on these kinds of games. That’s what the data points to.
Now, to be fair, maybe there is some kind of data out there that indicates that games like this are more popular for their multiplayer than their single-player campaigns. But that doesn’t mean those who prefer the single-player campaigns should be isolated completely, either.
I’m someone who very much prefers playing games for their stories, by myself. Whatever happened to closing the door, shutting the lights off, and losing yourself in a game like we used to? It’s all about being always online and socially connected these days. Is it a lot of fun to jump into a game with other players sometimes? Absolutely it is, even for me on occasion. But we should never abandon what first made us fall in love with gaming: the connection between us and the game itself (as opposed to other players), and disappearing into another world away from real life.
Instead of looking forward to the next game in a franchise we already love like Star Wars and Fable or a new IP like Evolve and Titanfall, single-player gamers are left wondering and worrying if there will actually be anything in them to be excited about more and more often these days. The sting of it all is then intensified when you see these games, their heart and soul excised, still costing full price with content withheld for pre-order bonuses and additional costs down the road, or plagued by microtransactions. It’s all truly depressing to witness.
And let’s not forget, while this game is made by the same people that make the Battlefield games (which do come with single-player campaigns, though some would argue not very good ones), this is NOT a Battlefield game. This is freakin’ Star Wars. Fans don’t just want to run around shooting other players inside this world that means so very much to them; they want to be transported into that world, experience it from the first-person perspective, and be able to actually take their time and appreciate it away from the chaos that is multiplayer matches. That’s what was so exciting about the potential of this game, at least for people like me. And now we don’t have that. Yes there are other Star Wars games being developed that will have single-player campaigns, but if none of them are first-person games then we’ll be left wanting.
Many other topics are also discussed in the interview, which you can read over at Gamespot if you wish. There are some more positive things covered, such as EA helping small developers make games like the lovely looking puzzle platformer Unravel. Let’s just hope when that game gets released it’s not bloated with microtransactions. Sigh.
What are your thoughts on EA’s assessment that gamers don’t play single-player campaigns in a game like Star Wars: Battlefront?