Over the past couple of years, many first-person shooters have dropped single-player, moved towards being multiplayer only, but continued to charge full price. It’s a trend Overwatch continues.
Starting largely with Titanfall in 2014, and catching on last year with the likes of Evolve, Star Wars: Battlefront, and Rainbow Six: Siege, more than a few gamers found themselves asking if any of these games were actually worth it. With each one still full price, questions like ‘Why should I pay full price for half a game?’ became common.
The arguments against having a single-player campaign couldn’t have been more solid though. Before the release of Titanfall, Respawn co-founder Vince Zampella explained, “We make these single-player missions that take up all the focus of the studio, that take a huge team six months to make, and players run through it in 8 minutes… And how many people finish the single-player game? It’s a small percentage. It’s like, everyone plays through the first level, but 5 percent of people finish the game.”
Meanwhile, people spend hundreds of hours in multiplayer. Taking the resources that would have been wasted on single-player, and funneling that somewhere more productive just makes sense.
With that said though, each time, regardless of their eventual sales numbers, there was a push back from the video game community. The conversations around each game always started with quantity instead of quality. How many maps? How many game modes? How many unlocks?
Out of all of that negative sentiment ‘multiplayer-only’ became a dirty word unless it was preceded by ‘free-to-play.’ That’s right. It somehow gave ‘free-to-play’ a positive connotation. And what do you know? One of the very first things we ever heard about Titanfall 2 was that it was going to have a single-player campaign. In truth, we already know more about the single-player than any other part of the game.
But with all of that baggage and all those ‘half-game’ remarks, Blizzard just walked up and dropped Overwatch in our laps. Still a full-priced game (on consoles at least), Overwatch has not only nabbed multiple perfect and near-perfect scores on Metacritic, including receiving a 5/5 here at Twinfinite, but it has won over massive swaths of the gaming community without a single-player campaign in sight.
So… crazy magic on the part of Blizzard? In a way, yes.