The eternal question remains: Are single-player games dying? It’s not as simple as that, at least according to Amy Hennig. Hennig is a veteran games developer, having worked on games like the first three Uncharted games, Jak 3 and the Legacy of Kain franchise. She has been in the games industry for more than two decades, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about. She recently discussed single-player games in an interview at Gameslab with host Geoff Keighley and PS4 architect Mark Cerny.
Developing single-player games has not gotten easier. In fact, Hennig said that “the traditional ways we’ve done that are getting harder and harder to support.” The problem is how the games industry can keep making single-player games “when they’re getting prohibitively expensive.” She continued by saying that: “We don’t want to break the single-player experience, but there’s pressure to provide more and more at the same price point games have always been.”
Hennig believes that making single-player games at their current price points are not sustainable and she thinks that “it breaks the purpose of a single-player game.” Like many gamers out there, she simply wants to “finish them” and “see the story.” However, she finds it “heartbreaking” that only “a fraction of the audience sees the end of the game.” This is all despite the fact that these games grant players what they want in single-player games, which is “narrative.”
Now that we know what the problem is, Hennig also spoke about what can be done to help solve it. She said: I hope that we see more shakeup in the industry. We’ll open up the portfolios — maybe with a subscription model — so we can see that there can be story games that are four hours long at an appropriate price point. We have digital distribution. That should be possible. We shouldn’t be stuck at this brick and mortar price point and trying to make more and more content, breaking the spirit of these games.”
In other related news, Ubisoft North America studio head Laurent Detoc spoke about the same issue last month. He said that games like the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Odyssey can still survive and even thrive thanks to its accessibility and strong narratives.