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How Medal of Honor deals with multiplayer expectations Exclusive
How  Medal of Honor  deals with multiplayer expectations
October 18, 2012 | By Christian Nutt

October 18, 2012 | By Christian Nutt
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    8 comments
More: Console/PC, Design, Production, Exclusive



There's an undeniable split between multiplayer and single player audiences, and between those modes and the single player content of games. To meet the perceived demands of audiences, many titles require two different studios to build two different games, essentially, with little creative overlap.

Infamously, Yager Developments' Cory Davis, lead designer of Spec Ops: The Line, told Polygon that its multiplayer mode -- developed by Darkside Game Studios -- is "another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience."

Still, says Medal of Honor: Warfighter producer Luke Thai of Danger Close, having both is an inescapable reality for a triple-A game today.

"That really just all boils down to consumer expectation. If the norm now is that a shooter -- a quality -- shooter delivers high quality single player and high quality multiplayer, then that's the standard, and that's what every studio has to build for."

This necessity is driven by the realities of the split audiences that the games currently attract, says Thai. "We have to understand and accept the fact that there are two different types of players that are going to buy this game."

"To approach that [audience split] from a studio and development perspective, one of them is looking for a really compelling single player experience. The majority of the rest are looking for a multiplayer experience they can dump 120 hours into. And so there's really no compromising in either way."

EA's Danger Close, developers of Warfighter have taken the tactic of unifying the franchise's modes around one team and one technology.

In fact, a big part of the drive for this year's Medal of Honor iteration was consistency between the two modes, says Thai. "In 2010, Medal Of Honor was also perceived as two separate games in one box. And we've taken steps this year to really bring those two halves together."

Still, it’s a gargantuan undertaking.

"There has to be a heavy focus -- it very much is like building two games. So, you build a team that is twice the size of any one normal team."

Danger Close recruited specialists from EA's DICE studio in Sweden, best known for the multiplayer-focused Battlefield franchise, to transform its team, including multiplayer creative director Kristoffer Bergqvist.

Bringing together a strong multiplayer team with a mandate of consistency with the single player campaign "was just the natural way to address some of the concerns that community or consumers brought up," says Thai.

"This time around, the entire game, both single player and multiplayer are being developed by one studio, one team, in one location, on one engine."

It's lead to a "more streamlined development process," says Thai, and real gains, too: "the knowledge sharing there is a tremendous boon for the team." There's also a much greater consistency between the behavior of weapons, for example, with a central group handling weapon designs -- "it all feeds through one team, and they're experts at it," says Thai.

This is all part of the one true essential component of appealing to audiences these days, he says: polish.

"That's an absolute, crucial necessity," says Thai. "With... the landscape being as competitive as it is, polish is the thing that sets the top-tier products [apart] from the mid-tier products."


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Comments


Eric Geer
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Based on how EA (presumably DICE) has treated Battlefield 3, I dare say that many BF fans will likely stay away from this. I personally will be staying away from EA produced games for a while based on their "Premium service/decrease price sell as a single package only months later" strategy. Money grabs is what these companies are up to---fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. Never again EA.

Eric Geer
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scott anderson
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"In 2010, Medal Of Honor was also perceived as two separate games in one box."

Isn't this not just a "perception". Multiplayer and singleplayer were done by different developers with different engines.

Erin OConnor
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I am with Eric on this one.

Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, and now Medal of Honor are all lost sales until EA gets their act together.

Maria Jayne
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This just seems like another "multiplayer in everything because it sells" comment.

I have never purchased a single player game because it has multiplayer, the only time I even bother with multiplayer is when that is the focus of the game.

Is there really a huge consumer base that demands high quality multiplayer and singleplayer in the same game or is that publishers trying to force it on everyone so they can justify the high price and dlc milking?

Marvin Papin
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I think, DLC as to be considered independently from multiplayer and single. But, it's a reality today, games with MP sell better than only single player mode. The main reason is that the lifetime and quality/originality do not justify the price when you can buy the game later at lower price, used or with reduction.

Dishonored sells well because it's original and "quite" long but i'm sure many players think, i'll buy it at low cost because i not have much money and it's single only. I don't know how it's in US but in france video games are 60/70€ and the average salary (province) vary from 1400€ to 1800€for most people. With crisis and everything that come with living costs, that is much and sometimes you have to make a choice especially at the end of the year.

When you have to deal with a Lollipop chainsaw with some hours of play and a game like battlefield with the single campaign and multiplayer and with a limited budget, the first game has to be veeeeery good... BUT YOUR FRIENDS BOUGHT BATTLEFIELD -> YOU WANNA PLAY WITH YOUR FRIENDS -> YOU BUY IT or you wanna play in multiplayer but after month the "traffic" is not really hot so that's less interesting (or people have unlock a lot of &@"%§ thing and the game had past it's enjoyable period (:°) (CoD, Max Payne))

Marvin Papin
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Personally, i tried the beta on the 360 and ... ok that not much beautiful, in fact that awful and don't speak about HD pack. The matter is not here, with some friends we didn't manage to spend 30min on the beta, the sensations are bad (remind -> subjective) and they took the worse things from CoD (Rocket launchers, grenade launchers...). As the sensations with the 3Cs (just released article on gamescarrerguide in which i agree in a certain manner) are not here, you don't have time to understand what happens and respawns and ATH make you sink deeper. It SEEMS totally unorganized on the map through squads and you don't wanna try to play in team.

Finally when things go wrong and you spawn in a helicopter while enemies wait you next turn...

Charlie Helman
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I'm glad we're recognizing the need to have Multiplayer and Singleplayer modes developed by the same studio.

Except I thought that was obvious.


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