Last week’s news that Electronic Arts was shutting down Visceral Games brought take after take after take that single-player games were in big trouble. But here’s something: Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus is a single-player-only AAA game launching Friday, and developer Machine Games intentionally omitted multiplayer so it could optimize the campaign.
“The only way we can create these super immersive narrative experiences is if we can solely focus on the single-player,” Machine Games Narrative Designer Tommy Tordsson Björk told GI.biz. “Having a multiplayer component in this work process would just dilute it all. That’s the danger if you try to do two things at once.
“We just keep our heads together and focus on making a really good single-player game… Doing our thing is what makes the game great.”
Whether or not gamers and critics agree with Björk’s assertion that his game is great remains to be seen. If predecessor The New Order is anything to go by, however, then The New Colossus should at least be a good game. The New Order released in 2014 and averaged Metacritic scores ranging from 79 to 81 across different platforms.
Since Bethesda Softworks acquired id Software and the Wolfenstein IP with it in 2009, neither of the series’ two releases have featured multiplayer. This was a stark change for the series, as three of its previous four games had featured multiplayer modes with the exception being a mobile phone RPG. And speaking of genres other than shooters, Machine Games doesn’t consider its post-Bethesda Wolfenstein games to be shooters.
“We call them action adventures rather than shooters,” Björk explained. “Because we feel there’s so much more to them than just shooting.”
Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC Friday. A Nintendo Switch port will follow in 2018.