9 single-player games that need multiplayer
(and one Multiplayer game that needs Single Player)
While it may seem like every game has a multiplayer mode these days, there are still some bastions of single-player left on the market. Some of these should stay set in their single-player ways, but others are missing some amazing opportunities to innovate. With a little bit of smart design, these games could open up multiplayer genres that we never even considered. Just look at Telltale and their work with Batman’s “crowd play.” Who would have thought that multiplayer point and click adventure games could be so fun?
Here are 9 games that we think could use some multiplayer functionality (and one multiplayer game that could use a single-player story mode, just for fun.)
Persona 5 has integrated asynchronous multiplayer elements into its system, but they’re little more than a message board and a way to help out when characters die. Expanding on these options would tap into the hugely underserviced market of multiplayer JRPGs. Atlus could allow players to trade their personas with each other, or sell them in an online shop.
The main theme of the game is thievery and stealth, so players could hinder or help each other by distracting or alerting guards. You could even let players meet each other in random battles if they are playing simultaneously. They could play Shin Megami Tensei’s iconic demon negotiation game with each other, or just kill each other for a huge XP boost. There’s a ton of room for multiplayer innovation here, and Atlus has barely scratched the surface.
Kingdom Hearts 3
Kingdom Hearts 3 isn’t about one spikey haired kid trying to save the world. Well, ok, it is about that, but it’s also about war; a keyblade war between 7 warriors of light and 13 warriors of darkness… and also all the factions from Kingdom Hearts Unchained X. It would be phenomenal if Square-Enix allowed us to port our Unchained characters to KH3 in full 3D and participate in multiplayer battle scenarios.
We have already seen how much fun it is to blast through hundreds and thousands of enemies at once in Kingdom Hearts 2. It would be great to be able to do the same in Kingdom Hearts 3, but with our friends at our side.
Sonic: The Hedgehog
Sonic has had more than a couple of problems recently, so asking the franchise to implement working multiplayer might be a bit much to ask. Still, Sonic grew up with multiplayer. Sonic 2 and 3 allowed a second player to play Tails.
The two-player race mode in 2D Sonic games was actually pretty fun, and it just made sense in a game about “going fast.” Let’s hope Sonic Mania has some nod toward the multiplayer functionality this franchise had when it was young.
During the early days of Until Dawn’s promotion, it was mistakenly reported that the game would have multiplayer. It was billed as a horror game where you got to play as a group of teens trying to survive a slasher flick. The gaming community theorized that different players would play different teens, and that their actions would somehow affect each other’s story. Unfortunately, this was a miscommunication, and we got a single-player cinematic experience instead.
But, unlike many of the characters of Until Dawn, the dream of a multiplayer story-driven adventure game is still alive. Hopefully an indie developer will step up and do what we thought Until Dawn was going to do.
One of the frequent gripes about Fallout 4 is that there’s too much to do and too little consequence for doing it. There’s no real impetus to build a town or set-up trade routes because it barely affects the single-player campaign. Multiplayer would add that impetus the game needs.
Instead of trading with NPCs you could trade with other players. You could stage raids on their cities and equip your own citizens to defend against raids. Heck, you could even devise your own quests for other visiting travelers to do.
Any Metroidvania Game
Castlevania: Harmony of Despair was a fantastic experiment that put multiple players into Dracula’s castle at the same time. It was a lot of fun, except it removed a lot of what made Metroidvania games enjoyable. There wasn’t any sort of exploration or progression. Instead, loot grinding, speedrunning, and combat took center stage. We have yet to see multiplayer implemented into a more traditional 2D Metroidvania title.
Players would be dropped into the map at the same point and then split up. They could use voice chat to communicate. If a player picks up an upgrade, like the high-jump or a new beam, they can give it to other players by touching them. The map would need to be designed so that it allowed players to get to certain key points using different paths that require different upgrades each. Players would then have to coordinate through voice chat to navigate the right players with the right upgrades to the right rooms to make progress.
Five Nights at Freddy’s
There have been a number of Five Nights at Freddy’s multiplayer fan-hacks and they are all a blast to play. Imagine this formula. Players are sitting in multiple offices at opposite ends of the map. You can use your camera system to make noise in certain rooms, turn the lights on and off, block other players’ camera feeds, etc. Different actions affect the movement patterns of different animatronics and your goal is to lure animatronics into your opponent’s offices and jumpscare them.
The catch is that looking at your camera makes it impossible to shut your doors or wear a mask or perform any defensive action that would prevent animatronics from getting you. So you’d have to balance offense and defense in order to survive the night.
No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky was another game that was originally advertised as having multiplayer but ended up being a single-player experience. It’s a shame, because multiplayer would really enhance this otherwise empty universe. Players could build bases, dogfight with each other, and attempt to blow up each other’s planets.
Even meeting up with other players and exchanging information about the universe would be interesting, especially if you had to decipher their language first. A gigantic sandbox is just way more fun when other people are playing in it.
Final Fantasy XV
Finally, we have Final Fantasy XV – an RPG explicitly about the friendship between four characters, and yet you can only play one. What an incredible missed opportunity this is. Why not let your friends play as the rest of Noctis’s party? You wouldn’t even have to change the story.
The Tales series has implemented multiplayer in this way for years, crafting its story around one character but letting other players control the supporting cast. There’s no reason why Square-Enix couldn’t follow that exact same formula. Isn’t a road trip with buddies more fun when your actual buddies are along for the ride?
And just to change things up a bit...
Finally, we have our one reverse example, a multiplayer game that needs a single-player campaign: Overwatch. The Overwatch world is so incredibly vibrant and interesting. The animated shorts that Blizzard has crafted have been artistic and emotional, like something you would see out of a Pixar movie. The history of the Omnic Crisis, Overwatch, and Talon is fascinating.
Unfortunately, you can only squeeze out the backstory of Overwatch by watching the aforementioned animated shorts and looking at the background scenery of maps. Frankly, your team isn’t going to respond well if you take time out of your important match to look around for hints about the existence of Sombra. Making such an interesting world and not letting us interact with it is just mean, Blizzard. Give us a story mode already!