Last week was an upsetting one for a lot of people, as Electronic Arts made the rough decision to close down Visceral Games and change direction of its Star Wars project into something a little more wide open. With that, a lot of gamers felt that we could be seeing the end of the single player experience as we know it.
Are we, though? Former Visceral game developer Zach Wilson doesn’t seem to think so. Speaking with GamesIndustry International, he explained that the idea that single player games are “dead” is a pretty stupid one.
“The assertion that single-player linear games are going to disappear is totally absurd,” he explained. “EA might not be the company that carries that torch, but there are so many groups out there that are passionate about this kind of game that they won’t go away. Personally, I’d like to see fewer games with higher quality across the board, whish is probably what will happen.”
He also said, "We're also going to continue to see developments in production pipelines that will dramatically reduce the cost of asset generation, which will benefit everyone. There's no one single narrative that can be derived from this event other than games are incredibly difficult to make, and the fact that any game or movie gets made at all is a cause for celebration."
So will games change as a result? Possibly. But calling single player “dead” is a bit much – especially considering this week’s game releases. Assassin’s Creed Origins, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Super Mario Odyssey all represent stellar single player experiences, without relying that much, if at all, on any sort of multiplayer features. And there are plenty more coming in the months ahead that will continue to provide said experiences, even while some developers focus more on the multiplayer game.
Finally, Wilson noted struggles with some projects, like Dead Space 2, which didn’t quite sell as well as expected. "Survival horror is hard. Horror games in general are expensive to make and hard to sell. People would give us the feedback that they love Dead Space but don't buy it cause it's too scary. Kind of works against itself. You can't sell games to a market that wants them to exist but doesn't want to buy them."
We do wish the former Visceral employees the best of luck.