The first person shooter genre has been thriving for over 30 years since the release of the original Wolfenstein (a game that is regarded as the father of all FPS games) for personal computers. Since then, the genre has been re-innovated time and time again with the addition of online play, bringing players global multiplayer, importance of team coordination, e-sports leagues, and an increased longevity of games in general. With the increased emphasis on multiplayer these days, Wolfenstein 2’s designer feels that the days single-player FPS are numbered.
In a recent interview that Gamewatcher had with Arcade Berg, the designer for the alternative-history FPS game discussed the grim truth about why single-player shooter releases are far and few between.
A lot of it is probably money. A good solid multiplayer game will yield great revenue, and people will tell their friends to get a game to play it with them. A multiplayer game on console will require people to keep the disc, whereas a single-player game some people will return it or trade it once they’ve finished with it, and of course developers and publishers don’t see any money from trade-ins. That’s not the consumer’s fault, but there are a lot of aspects like that that get accounted for business-wise.
Greater priority for increased revenue has become noticeable over the last few years in the gaming community. The cause comes as no surprise for the game companies, seeing as the production costs for creating a AAA game have skyrocketed in recent years. In order to combat this, lootboxes, DLC, and other microtransactions have become prevalent to alleviate the burden of production with steady streams of extra revenue generating well after launch.
While DLC has been added on for most games no problem, poor microtransactions in single-player games have been met with negative feedback, and season passes have garnered negative attention recently as well. Because of this, it has become easier to earn money back through microtransactions, which are most common and more accepted in online multiplayer games.
Although this claim might be intimidating at first, single-player first-person shooting will not be gone entirely. Star Wars Battlefront II and the upcoming Call of Duty: WWII will feature a single-player campaign. Games with a single-player aspect, however, will most likely come with a multiplayer component to help increase the lifespan of the game and generate additional income.
While the predecessors of online shooters are settling down, they still deliver a more story-focused game; something that is much harder to achieve in a multiplayer game. It is up to the fans to enjoy these gems while they still can.