The folks over at GI continue to “poke” yet another veteran game developer on the subject of single-player narrative-driven video games. It’s an especially interesting topic these days, because a major shift is happening in the market. Competitive multiplayer shooters dominate the gaming scene, but as of 2017 we’ve witnessed a huge wave of battle royale games such as PUBG and Fortnite. Eidos Montreal boss David Anfossi had a few things to say on the subject of how single-player games are being made today. Maybe it’s time single-player games get a new kind of formula?
“It’s a question of maybe trends, or moment, or timing,” Anfossi said. “Every year there is a new trend. At the moment it’s Fortnite – which is a great game – and all the attention is around these kinds of games. But we just have to wait. I don’t want to change a Deus Ex game or experience. We want to be respectful to that.”
The last major release from Eidos Montreal was Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. While it may not have lived up to everyone’s expectations, it was still an engaging story-driven single-player experience. Anfossi acknowledges that the industry has changed, and that a huge chunk of the gaming community is now focused on multiplayer.
“There are these trends every year, or every two years. Whether it is multiplayer, co-op, MMO, or single player. If you deliver the right quality experience, you will reach the audience you want,” Anfossi explained.
“That being said, I believe that the story-driven experience is going through a generational change. Especially for people like me, the old guys… people who are 25 or older. Looking at God of War, that’s a pretty good example of a great single-player experience. I like it a lot, but I might not get the time to complete it. For me, that’s a frustration. Because when you start a story-driven experience you want to see the conclusion. So we have to adapt and try new models.
“For example – and this is just my opinion, I’m not committing to anything – let’s say that we develop a very good narrative, with a complex universe and strong characters. You start the game and then you complete it in three hours. That costs $30. That’s it. Maybe that’s the way to continue with story-driven games. You bring a strong experience, you make sure that the audience is interested by it, and that they can actually complete it.”
When it comes to single-player narratives, don’t forget that Eidos Montreal also has a chance to prove themselves with the upcoming multiplatform game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which is being penned by another veteran writer, Rhianna Pratchett.