Rainbow Six has confirmed there will be no single-player campaign. This is unexpected with an established IP who has always delivered top-notch offline campaign modes in comparison to their rivals. This has been a progressive trend for current-gen consoles, particularly shooter games. There was Titanfall, Evolve and even now the heavily anticipated Star Wars Battlefront.
Soon it’ll be the norm whether we like it or not. We didn’t like DLCs but we’ve come to not only tolerate but embrace them. Maybe gamers will eventually be satisfied with multiplayer-only games….or not.
This trend rubs some gamers the wrong way
Based on what’s discussed on Reddit and the comment sections of IGN, Gamespot & co, we could say people are not very happy about this trend. But in the end gamers will vote with their wallets. Although, I can understand the negative sentiment.
Are AAA publishers cutting their losses?
I would hazard a guess that developing a single-player campaign is way more expensive than the multiplayer mode. Building cinematics, voice acting, custom scripting and large settings to accommodate 5-10 hour long stories requires a lot of investment. Whereas multiplayer modes mainly need custom maps and artificially intelligent bots. P.S. I’m not a game developer so I could be wrong. To me it seems like a cost-cutting exercise rather than giving the players what they want.
From a sceptical gamer’s point of view, the question is – why would publishers charge full price for something that’s taking them half their time and resources? Nowadays gamers have serious trust issues with publishers. It comes with the territory nowadays, especially as a AAA publisher with a bad reputation.
“No one finishes the single player campaigns anymore”
There is data that supports the notion that gamers rarely complete single-player campaigns, but does this mean players don’t care about the story? I would partly disagree with the idea gamers don’t care about stories when it comes to shooters. Partly because a lot of first-person shooter narratives are pretty awful and unoriginal. The data would probably show something different if Call of Duty and Battlefield gave us a bad ass – Wolfenstein esque – story that would actually be worth finishing.
While gamers don’t play them as often, I believe if your campaign is compelling enough then it’ll be worth the investment. A good case study is Destiny.
Originally, Destiny was viewed as a MMO with no substance, no story and definitely not worth the time needed to play online. Then with the recent release of the Taken King, we finally have a story. And all of a sudden, the game is scoring ridiculously high review scores from critics. This supports the theory that stories matter even in FPS games with a strong multiplayer element.
They motivate and give players a reason to shoot things. That’s the sort of data analysis, that a few metrics won’t tell you but doesn’t make it any less true.
Value for money
Not everyone has had their feathers ruffled. Many don’t mind this huge omission from Rainbow Six Siege as long as “there’s enough content” in place of it. That’s a fair request from people who simply want value for their hard earned cash. Because without the story, you’re paying for “half the game”. Now that’s debatable because you’ll most likely spend more hours online, on the other hand, you are effectively experiencing half the content. In the end each gamer can work out what’s worth £49.99/ $60.
Some Games need a story, some don’t.
In my opinion, Battlefront doesn’t need a story mode because most people are already familiar with the story. After so many movies and previous game entries the main objectives are clear. The universe is familiar enough for players to jump right in. On the other hand games such as Titanfall needed a story. Something to hook players.
Rainbow Six is a strong franchise but its popularity was built on its solo missions. Deciding to get rid of one of the game’s unique selling points is a dangerous move. From a strategic point of view, Ubisoft are sacrificing a major competitive advantage.
No story, no community
This is a major issue with new IPs. Probably explains why Evolve didn’t do as well besides its poor DLC policies. Even Titanfall eventually fell flat as people got bored of the bland multiplayer maps, thus there was nothing to fall back on. Even now they’ve resorted to giving the season pass away for free. A good narrative gives games a platform to build on when building a thriving multiplayer community.
When you’re totally reliant on multiplayer you’re taking a gamble. The publishers may be happy to risk it but it’s a different story for paying customers. That level of uncertainty doesn’t sit well with the cautious buyer who rather not be held to ransom by online issues. I mean we are still experiencing online issues to this day, so why should gamers believe you will provide a consistent online service?
Gaming is an experience. What’s an experience without a story?
There are many elements to the gaming experience. The story provides context, emotional investment that motivates the player while multiplayer provides community spirit, competition and replayability. This all comes together into a package to form a disc filled with an experience. When you remove one aspect of that, the package can have less value, it may even devalue what’s left. Something to contemplate.