Bleszinski: Japanese Developers Shouldn’t Ignore Multiplayer
Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski believes that in order to have their games attract attention in the West, Japanese game developers should implement a multiplayer component into their titles.
Bleszinski told Gamasutra that this doesn’t necessarily mean just instilling a tacked-on multiplayer, but to ensure it’s being created to offer intriguing experiences. He cites Vanquish as a prime example of a game that missed an opportunity with multiplayer:
My advice to Japan is that in a disc-based market right now, you cannot [ignore multiplayer]. And if you’re going to make a third-person shooter… the fact that [Platinum's] Vanquish didn’t have a multiplayer suite was a crime. That IP, it was pretty good as far as being western, but the gameplay was great, the vibe… and I’ve often said on record that if Gears is the kind of Wild, Wild West coal train chugging along, that Vanquish is the Japanese bullet train, with style and everything.
There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t have been zipping around, doing the mega slides, diving up in the air in an arena with other players.
Grasshopper Manufacture’s Shadows of the Damned, which was headed by Suda 51 and Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, is another example of a game which would have benefited from multiplayer, according to Bleszinski:
The dialogue had me laughing out loud, just even the key-door systems in there; it was a beautifully crazy game with really fun gameplay, but no multiplayer co-op experience in there. I’m not saying tack on versus; there’s a billion different ways you can do some sort of ‘players interacting with other players.
He also used From Software’s Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls as an example of having a multiplayer component that is “innovative” because of its unique “connected elements.” In what he believes is “one of the most innovative games” for its multiplayer, he stated “that game is going to continue to inspire a lot of Western developers to figure ways that you can have connected elements in campaign games, and have more of a blended experience.”
While it seems that many games released into the market features some sort of tacked-on multiplayer mode, which has arguably become the norm for developers due to its demand, Bleszinski does have a point in regards to incorporating multiplayer into games which would genuinely benefit from it. Vanquish, for one, was a refreshing experience with its over-the-top fast-paced gameplay; multiplayer would have been a natural fit for the shooter.