The Order: 1886 doesn’t need multiplayer, but 30FPS is a riskier decision
The news that Ready at Dawn’s The Order: 1886 will not include a multiplayer mode is in stark contrast to a growing trend among modern shooters. Demonstrated today by series like Call of Duty and Battlefield and Killzone, but dating back to titles like MAG for the PS3, the shooter genre has steadily drifted away from single player elements and placed greater emphasis on online play. In spite of this, the decision to deliver a “SP experience you will enjoy” with The Order, as Ready at Dawn co-founder Andrea Pessino put it, is far from a detractive move.
Plentiful (and beautiful) screenshots aside, we know very little about The Order outside of it being a third-person action adventure game following a squad of soldiers. Ready at Dawn’s decision to forego multiplayer, however, speaks volumes about it, namely that it intends to deliver the level of atmosphere and narrative that make names like BioShock and Dishonored and Borderlands so memorable. Pession reinforced this notion in his talks with Play3, saying “for us, the cinematic experience is in the foreground.” It’s a welcome reminder that next-gen developers will approach first- and third-person shooters with a sense of exploration rather than with a matchmaking checklist in hand.
From the position of a young studio, prioritizing the single player experience—especially in the case of such an anticipated title—is a wise choice indeed. Multiplayer design and maintenance comes with its own set of hurdles, and is likely the last thing Ready at Dawn wants to shoulder as they make their PS4 debut. However, that’s not to say that multiplayer will never come to the IP; it’s entirely possible that, upon securing a foothold, The Order could deliver a multiplayer experience as well through future releases.
Remember this scene? We all thought this was a clear hint at co-op multiplayer
But while it’s certainly not a pre-order canceller, The Order’s cap of 30 frames per second isn’t quite as sweet. Studio co-founder Ru Weerasuriay explained the FPS ceiling as being appropriate for The Order’s third-person nature and their intent to make use of “spectacular effects and the highest resolution” rather than a high frame-rate alone. In any case, the fact that a game thus far predicated upon its graphical quality will not be aiming for the deified bar of 60 is sure to set high standards for the title. Consequently, it sets The Order up for unwarranted dismissal.
The new cycle of consoles has yet to enter full swing, meaning developers are still looking to establish par for the course—to show gamers what it means to play a next-gen game. And although it’s undeniable that a fantastic experience can be built within a 30 FPS window, not delivering a higher frame-rate will almost certainly spawn cries of inadequacy in comparison to other forthcoming titles—presumably not from followers of The Order, but from individuals who are heart-set on getting the maximum power and fidelity out of the PS4 they dropped three digits on. It’s nonsense to fault a game for focusing on style, or for not pushing any technical aspect for that matter, but expecting improved performance from a drastically more powerful machine isn’t unreasonable. Moreover, beyond adding fuel to the inferno of criticisms coming from the PC audience (which carry all the impact of a dandelion seed), 30FPS could prove off-putting to truly finicky users.
Of course, this issue vanishes the moment Ready at Dawn proves that the fabled 60 isn’t needed, which, looking at the confidence the devs have demonstrated already, looks to be a safe bet. Sixty frames weren’t needed in the last console era, after all; just a nice trinket to flaunt in press releases and at game events. Be honest, is it a problem to you?