Oh how far we've come in the seven years since this site has begun. Co-Op wasn't even considered a major feature for some, barely a bullet on the back of the box. Now? A major AAA studio is hiring a designer who's sole responsibility is to create cooperative gameplay. Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted series and The Last of Us have the job posting.
- Co-op AI & encounter design - designing and
scripting co-op combat encounters, AI behavior design, and difficulty balancing
- Co-op system design - creating mechanics, game
modes, progression systems, reward structures, social features, etc. to serve the co-op experience. Creating and iterating gameplay designs with the team, and working in script to implement and/or tune them
Yes. Yes! YES!
The posting goes on to describe the requirements, which include not only some basic game development experience - but some co-op specific stuff that I know our readers are always looking for. It's not just a positive co-op reward structure (aka Achievements/Unlocks/Saves etc) that we all know and crave; but they are looking for someone who truly understands how to integrate a cooperative game into a something that may be a single player experience too. The holy grail of co-op gaming so to speak.
Both Uncharted and The Last of Us were ripe for co-op; and while Uncharted added additional multiplayer modes that were cooperative, it never featured any in the game's greatest strength, its narrative. The same holds true for The Last of Us, a game in which 90% of it takes place with a "partner" by your side.
Our fingers are crossed that a next-gen Uncharted finally brings us a true co-op adventure.