Horizon: Zero Dawn Proves Single-Player Games Are Far From Dead, Dev Says
"It does seem like maybe there is a business shift in other parts of the industry. But at Guerrilla, we're just focused on telling amazing stories."
The other day, Xbox's head of publishing, Shannon Loftis, made a statement about single-player games and their growing cost of development. While she said they're likely not going anywhere, she did call multiplayer games more economically viable. But games like the PlayStation 4's Horizon: Zero Dawn have been causing questions about that logic.
In an interview with GameSpot, Guerrilla Games' principal game designer Tim Stobo talked about single-player games staying put, but having to deal with business considerations. He stated that some of the most highly rated games of 2017 have been purely single-player experiences. He listed a few games, including his own Horizon: Zero Dawn. But as to not show bias, he also listed The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.
"I think Horizon proves that there is a future for a really high quality single-player experience. [The upcoming story expansion Frozen Wilds] proves that again," Stobo explained. "We're really committed to delivering that high level, quality experience for players. It does seem like maybe there is a business shift in other parts of the industry. But at Guerrilla, we're just focused on telling amazing stories."
The worry seems to be that while single-player games will remain, their frequency may diminish, or their content may be piecemealed into microtransactions. But Stobo sees it playing out differently.
"I think it's better to look at it from the other perspective. I think we'll see more games like Destiny and I think there is a place for those," he said. "But you look at the best, more lauded games that have come out this year--there is Horizon, Zelda, Shadow of War. There are a lot of amazing single-player experiences. If we also get more always online experiences, I think that's great for the diversity of games."
The comments from Loftis and Stobo stems from the closure of EA's Visceral Games, which was working on a high profile, single-player Star Wars title. It seemed safe to assume that such a lucrative IP would have been a cash cow, but the fact that the development studio behind it shut their doors has raised questions about the single-player experience.
Ex-Visceral dev Zach Wilson, on the other hand, stated that "The assertion that single-player linear games are going to disappear is totally absurd."