I'm a gamer who grew up in the days where online gaming didn't exist. If you wanted to play a multiplayer game, you and your friends had to cram together on the couch or the floor, with multiple controllers wired up to the same console and each staring at your own small section of the TV. The hardware limitations at the time meant that multiplayer certainly wasn't the main focus of games, so every game during this time had a significant single-player mode, be it a campaign or something like a sports career.
There were many great gaming moments. Beating Bowser before actually rescuing the Princess in Super Mario Bros
. Performing your first fatality in Mortal Kombat
. Finally making it across the heads of the giraffes to the sound of "I Just Can't Wait to Be King" in The Lion King
. Well, maybe not the last one but anybody who has ever played that game will know exactly what I mean. Campaigns were there to challenge you and they were the type that you wanted to play over and over again.
The other guy may as well be called "Campaign"
Move on to the current generation of consoles and there is a much bigger focus on online multiplayer gaming, especially of the competitive type. Campaigns are shorter and, in some cases, instantly forgettable to the point where they're starting to feel like an afterthought. The campaigns of both Halo 5: Guardians
and Call of Duty: Black Ops III
have divided opinion due to their quality. Even worse is that there is such an emphasis on multiplayer now that some games aren't even including any campaigns. Star Wars Battlefront
, a game set in a franchise full of lore and story opportunities, eschewed a campaign in favour of several multiplayer modes, a horde mode and the training missions that are supposed to pass as the single-player content.
The final blow came from one of my most anticipated games. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
scrapped the promising looking campaign that was introduced in the cancelled Patriots
in favour of a focus on competitive multiplayer, terrorist hunts and stand alone Situations that were afforded a mere mention towards the end of the game's pre-release marketing period; a franchise that was originally based on a Tom Clancy novel no longer has the story-driven focus for which it is known. In a recent interview
, the Senior Environment Artist for Rainbow Six: Siege
, Chris Hendry, stated that they had moved away from the single-player campaign because the team looked at what people wanted and "it's very much about multiplayer right now".
Concept art of what could have been in Patriots
There's just one problem with this -- I don't play games for competitive multiplayer. In fact, I will openly admit that I only play the competitive multiplayer modes if there are achievements for them. I'll play co-op modes with friends but they have to be engaging and provide a decent evening of gaming. According to some developers, I am part of a dying breed of gamers that play games for that immersive single player experience. I should be grateful for the fact that they even bothered to put in any single-player content. But I'm not - I want that Patriots
campaign - and we're not a dying breed. If last week's poll
is taken into account, many other people feel the same way as me. In fact, the results of that poll make me wonder from where Ubisoft got their information -- an eSports tournament? It certainly wasn't the opinion of the wider gaming community.
So what do we do? Personally, neither Rainbow Six Siege
nor Star Wars Battlefront
were day one purchases for me. I'll get Rainbow Six
when it comes down in price. Honestly, I'm unlikely to ever play Battlefront
. I tried the beta and I wasn't impressed. In other words, I'm going to be voting with my wallet and I suggest that everybody else does too. Campaign lovers aren't the minority and it's about time that somebody got that message. I'm happy to start the loud proclamations right here. After all, it worked for Assassin's Creed
, didn't it?