BioWare: Multiplayer improves RPGs
As consoles have been brought into the online age with the current generation, multiplayer has taken an ever more enhanced position in today’s videogames.
Whether or not the ability to play with others improves the quality of a given game is up for debate, but BioWare believe – as far as RPGs go – that playing with friends does improve the experience.
“The way we look at multiplayer online features is that they shouldn’t be dilutive or weakening the experience,” BioWare co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka told Wired. “They should be additive, they should strengthen it, they should enhance it.”
“Multiplayer … can’t be tacked on,” BioWare’s other co-founder, Greg Zeschuk, added. “That’s one of the pitfalls that some of the people who have done multiplayer have made. ‘Oh, what’s on our marketing checklist? Gotta have multiplayer, check the box.’”
BioWare’s upcoming Mass Effect 3 features an all new multiplayer element that aims to compliment and supplement the single-player experience, without making players feel as though they have to play it to get everything they want from the game.
It’s not an easy task, and many have failed at similar attempts before now. Indeed, our hands-on with Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer left us a little cold. Reports hint at the next Dragon Age title also including some form of multiplayer. Then, of course, there’s the recently released BioWare MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic, a game fixed squarely on multiplayer and communal play.
“There’s actually a compelling, rational gameplay narrative that explains why it’s there,” Zeschuk said of Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer. “That’s one of the differences in how we want to approach [multiplayer]. We don’t want to tack it on. We want to make sure it’s thoughtful and integrated really well.”
But, BioWare believe that multiplayer means more than online modes – it means a general sense of connectivity. Referring to the likes of leaderboards, Twitter and Facebook updates, Muzyka said that they’re “a way to bring your friends into the experience and share it with them.”
Muzyka didn’t rule out the possibility of some form of cross-platform integration between the their games and apps/social games on the likes of smart phones and Facebook.
Well, what do you think? Does multiplayer, in whatever form, make games better?