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Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev

An article on Polygon offers an extensive look at Spec Ops: The Line, Yager's recently released third-person shooter set in a windstorm-swept Dubai. This offers a detailed exploration of some of the game's themes (warning of spoilers for those who are yet to play), and hears from lead writer Walt Williams on the topic. An interesting aspect of this noted by VG247 is Williams referring to the game's multiplayer support as "a cancerous growth" forced on them as a checkbox item by publisher 2K Games:

Against Davis' wishes, development on the multiplayer component proceeded and was farmed out to Darkside Studios. The result, according to Davis, was a "low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person," which "tossed out the creative pillars of the product." "It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience," Davis said. "The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."

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12. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:51 Cutter
 
Creston wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 11:11:
It's about fucking time a dev stands up and says it out loud. Respect, Williams.

Creston

Yeah, mad props to him for that.
 
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11. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:47 RailWizard
 
Spec Ops has always been bargin bin material day 1 since it's inception.

The real story here is why or how they keep making it.
 
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10. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:37 Agent.X7
 
Multiplayer on the PC is so broken it might as well not be there anyway. The single player game was a lot of fun.  
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9. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:33 Jerykk
 
And no one here is blaming the consumer for not liking the taste. The blame is demanding extra effort be put into wasted areas. If multiplayer is a necessary checkmark on the back of a box in order to get a consumer to pay $60 instead of $30 then every game is going to get a half-assed crappy multiplayer the developer never expects you to play. Fine, whatever, it results in more industry jobs and keeps the product margin high.

Gotta disagree. The lack of people playing multiplayer in Bioshock 2, Deadspace 2, Spec Ops, Singularity, etc, shows that people don't really care about tacked on multiplayer. If you make a single-player experience that is compelling and has replayability, people will buy it. Instead of wasting time and money on multiplayer, developers would be better off spending those resources on extending and improving the single-player experience.
 
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8. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:29 Beamer
 
JoeNapalm wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 12:13:
Seriously, the article and your post both show that the industry KNOWS it's pushing out crappy product, and you're STILL in here blaming the customers for not being happy? Top marks for audacity.

Can you imagine if any other industry tried that?

"Hey, we made a car that only gets 4 miles to the gallon, and people weren't happy, so we put a 100 gallon tank on it, and still they complain! Our customers are assholes! BUY OUR CARS!"

WTF?


-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist

Who said customers weren't happy? The developer is saying he's not happy, but isn't saying the customers aren't happy.

Listen, you know what focus groups are, right? And you know that they're often done for basically any product, right? When customers are asked in focus groups why they did not buy a game, they often respond "because it had no multiplayer." When customers are asked what a game could change so that they'd purchase it, they often respond "add multiplayer."

So of course the studio goes ahead and adds multiplayer. The customer is WRONG in his desire for the multiplayer, per the developer, per you, per me, really per anyone, but it's one of the single most mentioned reasons for why someone doesn't buy a game. "Single player is cool, but the games I play the most are multiplayer!"

So multiplayer is added and it boosts sales.




No one ever said the customers weren't happy here. Please find the sentence in that article that says "the customers were not happy." It has nothing to do with making them happy or not, but has to do with making them spend their money or not. Those are not directly related. I have no clue how you came to this point. This isn't a discussion about making customers happy, the single player should be strong enough to do that. This is a discussion about making customers buy, and single player by itself is very regularly NOT enough to make them buy, regardless of quality.
Edit - oh, I said "no one is happy." The customer is still happy with the product, the developer is still happy with the product, but no one is happy with the tacked on multiplayer, but there's no way around that. Customers demand multiplayer. Some games don't really lend themselves to multiplayer, and adding it would be a distraction so it's outsourced. The developer isn't happy about this. The publisher isn't happy to waste the money. The final product feels about as good as forced multiplayer should. But it was the only way to get the consumer to buy it. He plays the crap out of the single player and enjoys it, tries the multiplayer and shrugs it off, and the story for him ends there.
But it's amazing to me to see people deny that multiplayer leads to more sales when, even here, people say there are games they won't buy because they don't have multiplayer.
 
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7. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 12:13 JoeNapalm
 

Seriously, the article and your post both show that the industry KNOWS it's pushing out crappy product, and you're STILL in here blaming the customers for not being happy? Top marks for audacity.

Can you imagine if any other industry tried that?

"Hey, we made a car that only gets 4 miles to the gallon, and people weren't happy, so we put a 100 gallon tank on it, and still they complain! Our customers are assholes! BUY OUR CARS!"

WTF?


-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist
 
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6. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 11:55 Beamer
 
JoeNapalm wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 11:46:
Beamer wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 11:11:
At the same time, plenty of people (even here) say "no multiplayer? I'm not paying $60 for a 12 hour single player game!"

So multiplayer gets tacked on, and it sucks, and no one is happy. Or, sometimes, an additional 4-6 hours is tacked on, and they suck and outstay their welcome, and no one is happy.


So, the takeaway is that the customer is wrong?

No. The industry has decided that everything has to come off the damn Lunch Specials menu. If your game can't stand on what it offers, make it BETTER. Don't tack on 50% content that is just filler, or MP components that suck or don't work at all, then blame the CONSUMER for not liking the taste of the crap you're shovelling.

There are too many successful indy projects out there for the "Oh, our customers are just whiners and will never be happy or supportive!" justification to carry water, anymore.

In summary, no, we don't want to pay $60 for a 12hr single player game...unless it's worth it...and we won't be happy to pay $60 bucks for the same game with +50% content and/or multiplayer, unless those are actually good. It's not rocket science.

-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist

Customers are often wrong, yes, it's one of the dumbest myths in the world that "the customer is always right." Customers very frequently have no clue what they want or why they like it. Customers act irrationally on a regular basis. I'm not saying the company is right more often than the customer, but yes, the customer is very often wrong. A lot of people on this board work in IT and ask them how often their customer, be it someone on the other end of the phone or the end user / project owner in their company is right.
Dude, it doesn't matter how much better they make it, people will still complain that the hours to dollars ratio is a key component. They'd rather 12 mediocre hours to 6 fantastic ones.

And no one here is blaming the consumer for not liking the taste. The blame is demanding extra effort be put into wasted areas. If multiplayer is a necessary checkmark on the back of a box in order to get a consumer to pay $60 instead of $30 then every game is going to get a half-assed crappy multiplayer the developer never expects you to play. Fine, whatever, it results in more industry jobs and keeps the product margin high.

You're wrong, regardless, you're asking for 50% more content and it must be good, but some games can't afford 50% more content. They're great in small, tight packages but would be terrible if they were 50% longer. Look at movies - so many are 30 minutes too long because the studio felt it needed to be 120 minutes instead of 90 minutes, so you end up with complete filler garbage. Or, well, every video game could go to open world, which gets tedious as hell in many cases as you traverse the same places over and over and over and over.

In summary, you're wrong, people don't want to pay $60 for a 12 hour single player game regardless of anything but will happily pay $60 for a 12 hour single player game with some form of multiplayer attached regardless of quality. It's how games get sold. Games with some form of multiplayer typically do well than games without, even if that multiplayer never gets played. It's not rocket science.
 
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5. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 11:46 JoeNapalm
 
Beamer wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 11:11:
At the same time, plenty of people (even here) say "no multiplayer? I'm not paying $60 for a 12 hour single player game!"

So multiplayer gets tacked on, and it sucks, and no one is happy. Or, sometimes, an additional 4-6 hours is tacked on, and they suck and outstay their welcome, and no one is happy.


So, the takeaway is that the customer is wrong?

No. The industry has decided that everything has to come off the damn Lunch Specials menu. If your game can't stand on what it offers, make it BETTER. Don't tack on 50% content that is just filler, or MP components that suck or don't work at all, then blame the CONSUMER for not liking the taste of the crap you're shovelling.

There are too many successful indy projects out there for the "Oh, our customers are just whiners and will never be happy or supportive!" justification to carry water, anymore.

In summary, no, we don't want to pay $60 for a 12hr single player game...unless it's worth it...and we won't be happy to pay $60 bucks for the same game with +50% content and/or multiplayer, unless those are actually good. It's not rocket science.


-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist

This comment was edited on Aug 29, 2012, 12:09.
 
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4. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 11:11 Creston
 
It's about fucking time a dev stands up and says it out loud. Respect, Williams.

Creston
 
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3. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 11:11 Beamer
 
At the same time, plenty of people (even here) say "no multiplayer? I'm not paying $60 for a 12 hour single player game!"

So multiplayer gets tacked on, and it sucks, and no one is happy. Or, sometimes, an additional 4-6 hours is tacked on, and they suck and outstay their welcome, and no one is happy.
 
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2. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 10:58 InBlack
 
One word: Skyrim

nuff said...
 
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1. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 10:49 Dr. D. Schreber
 
The first and only time I tried multiplayer my immediate thought was "I bet they had to tack this on to actually get the game made." The co-op, being bare-bones with no voice acting and only context clues with which to guess where the missions might fit into the plot, is better than the competitive MP.

I feel like I should comment on the overall publisher attitude of "MUST HAVE MULTIPLAYER!!!!!1!!!!11!!!!one!!!!" but really, it's not that complicated.
 
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