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 Lord Of The Rings  Developer On The End Of Single Player
Lord Of The Rings Developer On The End Of Single Player
October 31, 2011 | By Staff

October 31, 2011 | By Staff
More: Console/PC, Design, Business/Marketing

In a new Gamasutra feature interview, War in the North lead designer Andre Maguire tells Gamasutra that "everything that we built is about teamwork... likely that you wonít get the most complete experience in single player" -- and muses on whether co-op is the future.

When asked if the game is intended to be played cooperatively, Maguire answered, simply, "Yes."

"Everything that we built is about teamwork," said Maguire. "Itís about working together as a team, and by doing that, you really get the best experience. If you were playing single player, we certainly support that, and thatís cool."

How does Snowblind Studios, the developer of the game, support single player? With AI bots. "Theyíll use those skills, theyíll upgrade their gear. You can direct them to attack your targets, or defend, or whatever you want, but youíll miss out on a lot of the loot, youíll miss out on the side areas. Itís likely that you wonít get the most complete experience in single-player," Maguire said.

So is single-player dead? "I donít think itís over, but I think [co-op is] certainly becoming more compelling for consumers, and for gamers. I certainly think its cooler but itís, itís just a different thing."

With War in the North he said, "thereís an incentive to playing online with your friends. Itís easy to connect up online; itís not a big thing. Making it accessible and making it worthwhile for players, I think thatís the key, and if you can tie that in with your core pillars, then thatís great. Iíd say itís a challenge, but itís worth it."

The full interview, which covers more about the development process of Warner Bros. Interactive's latest Lord of the Rings Game -- which releases this week -- is live now on Gamasutra.

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Matt H
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There is room for both, it is not black and white. Some people like single, cooperative or massively multiplayer.

Bruno Patatas
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"you wonít get the most complete experience in single player"

Shame because I was excited with the game. Now it's a no.

Eric McVinney
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Ahem... May I present to you, Mr. Maguire, two prime examples of excellent single player experience with the mix of online co-op: Demon's Souls and Dark Souls.

Josh Bycer
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The problem with this approach is that many people may not play the game online and their only experience is the less than adequate single player mode. There is a difference between playing a game that is from day one, advertised as a multiplayer game, and one that is offered both options. Case in point, most people don't complain that to get the full experience out of Left 4 Dead, that you need other people.

However, with Kane and Lynch 2, the single player had design issues mainly from shoehorning elements into the single player mode from the multiplayer. What happened was that the AI was only programmed to attack human players, meaning in single player, you were always the focus of the AI and not your AI friend. Rendering tactics like covering fire and suppression meaningless. Playing KL2 multiplayer was an entirely different experience which I'm sure most people didn't try after being let down by the single player mode.

Cordero W
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Sounds like an excuse to not do much work. What better way to speed up a game's development but by making the only opponents be a human player.

John McMahon
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Good design not only allows for both, but doesn't make either experience feel like they are missing something.

When a game is not designed to handle the requirements of single-player play, then it will falter on the co-op/MP experiences.

Robert Casey
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What I like about single-player experiences with RTS's is that you get gameplay that is structured and follows a storyline. I do like multiplayer as well, but find the experience to be relatively unstructured as far as game flow and has no sense of story flow. I like story. I like characters. I like an RTS to bring these out and let me develop my skills in a 'safe', campaign driven environment that I can experience again and again.

Single player is not dead, so long as developers will put the effort into making the experience happen.