Mr. Barlog definitely gets it.
The refrain for the longest time had been that multiplayer games will become more and more prominent, leading to the death of the traditional single player experience- a refrain that has, over the course of the last year, and the success of games like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Horizon: Zero Dawn, NieR Automata, Persona 5, Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Super Mario Odyssey, and most recently God of War, become really outdated. Single player games have proven to be successful right alongside multiplayer behemoths such as PUBG and Fortnite– it appears as though both styles of games can, in fact, co-exist.
Speaking to IGN, Cory Barlog, director of the just released and massively successful God of War, also reiterated and restated the same view. “Single-player games are the phoenix at this point,” Barlog said. “We go through the ebb and flow. Games change by the different creatives that get involved and say, ‘I have this crazy idea.'”
Even though multiplayer games like Fortnite are all the rage right now, that doesn’t spell the death for single player games at all. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything else goes away, it simply says that’s the thing we’re paying attention to,” he said.
“I don’t want to work on any games that don’t have some kind of story component because that is the draw for me,” he said. “Competition doesn’t drive me. It’s not to say that competition is bad, it’s not to say that competitive games are bad because I love that those that exist, but it’s not my thing.”
“It’s not about a competition between multiplayer and single-player,” he said. “It’s not about any of them being alive or dead, right? It is Schrödinger’s cat. We are alive and we are dead at the same time, right? And we will always be that way. And it will be an ebb and flow throughout time.”
Barlog, to me, sounds like a wise man who gets it- multiplayer games, by their vary nature, are games where a player can only invest in so many of them. You can’t dedicate yourself to Destiny, Fortnite, and Monster Hunter, you don’t have enough time or money. As a result, a multiplayer only industry by definition is not possible- it will always be a mixture of both, multiplayer and singleplayer.
Given that some of my favorite games ever, such as Breath of the Wild and God of War, are singleplayer, I am personally okay with this state of affairs.