The Single-Player Campaigns Are Alright

Eric Frederickson writes for Games Are Evil about if we’re approaching the end of single-player campaigns.

About the difference between CoD: Black Ops and previous titles:

One little change, though, could have a big ripple effect. In the multiplayer menu, there’s an option to skip the initial menus altogether and boot straight into multiplayer; none of the start-up logos, and no option to hit the single-player mode.

Say what you will about Activision, but this is a great read of their audience. They know exactly what sells their games. While so many games are adding multiplayer on as an afterthought – Dead Space 2, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood – to varying effect, this change to Black Ops makes it clear just which mode is the afterthought in the Call of Duty games.

If there’s a trend to completely skip single player it didn’t begin with Call of Duty. Remember how big a deal it was when Quake 3 was announced without a major single player campaign? Same thing with Unreal Tournament. They did have single player campaigns, but it was really just bot matches. That was over 10 years ago.

I think this is just Call Of Duty. All the games on my list to play (Mass Effect 2, Amnesia, Alan Wake, others) have engrossing single player campaigns, or so I read. Maybe that’s me – a guy who had to spend 20 minutes calling Xbox Support to cancel my Live auto-renewal.

Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress are other multi-player focused series without much of a single player campaign, although they both come from a developer with two other highly-anticipated single player campaigns on the horizon (HL2: Episode 3 and Portal 2).