It’s become a noticable thing that first-person shooters are being generally criticized for having a poor singleplayer campaign and a strong multiplayer–case in point the recent Battlefield and Call of Duty games, so I’ve heard.
It came to a point recently where I heard that first-person shooters shouldn’t bother with a singleplayer, and instead should have development time focused on their respective multiplayer modes.
While first-person shooters can have a good multiplayer and a good singleplayer, putting the two together usually seems to result in one suffering over the other and one coming on top by a noticeable margin; a first-person shooter can have a strong campaign and a poor multiplayer, and vise versa.
I pondered about how a developer might get around this predicament, and one night it came to me in a spark: build the multiplayer first, then use the funds generated from that to develop a singleplayer.
I wouldn’t be surprised if such methodologies and practices had already been performed in the industry, but hear me out.
Under the general concensus that first-person shooters have a poor single player campaign and a strong multiplayer, one might not see the point in buying a shooter at full price when they’re only going to play the multiplayer and ignore the singleplayer (if they do play the singleplayer then all the more power to them). Even at that, though, would it be worth buying into a game at full price that’s strictly multiplayer?
The way I think this issue can be solved is by utilizing the free-to-play model.
A free-to-play first-person multiplayer shooter won’t be all that different from the other free-to-play shooters out there; it’ll have microtransactions and it’ll be, well, free for all to play. However, this free-to-player shooter would be designed with the idea in mind of eventually being implemented with a singleplayer later down the line.
The idea is to develop the two completely separately from each other, but design them in a way so they’ll be easily integrated into each other.
The multiplayer component would come first, obviously, and with the funds generated through microtransactions its singleplayer counterpart would be developed afterward.
The multiplayer’s popularity would impact the development of the singleplayer as well as the enhancement of the multiplayer itself as well, so the singleplayer component may take a few years for it to be released.
That being said, when the singleplayer component is released, it’ll be available to purchase by choice as a microtransaction. Of course the singleplayer won’t be outlandishly overpriced for what it is, so it’d be reasonable priced for its content.
With this kind of practice in mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if the singleplayer was split up into episodic components–all funded by its free-to-play multiplayer counterpart.
Boxed copies could be made available for the singleplayer component as well, which’ll include access to the free-to-play multiplayer. It wouldn’t be all that different if it were vice versa, as the multiplayer would still be free to play and the singleplayer campaign would just be another microtransaction. Obviously the boxed copies would include the complete singleplayer campaign if it were split episodically–no point in spending money on an episodic campaign that’s not complete yet.
I’m still not entirely savvy with game development yet, and doubt similar or identical ideas to this have already been put into practice, but the way I saw it was so the multiplayer would come first and from the multiplayer would eventually come the singleplayer campaign–which would be available to purchase by choice.
You wouldn’t be paying for a poor singleplayer campaign game with a strong multiplayer, you just wouldn’t be paying anything for a strong multiplayer and paying a small price for a strong singleplayer–as the single wouldn’t just be tacked on so a few tickboxes could be filled in.
I think the idea could work, but I’m just speaking from the perspective that is just that: an idea.