It's a topic/point of debate that gets brought up often here at Co-Optimus: Does co-op make a game better? For a site that's dedicated to co-op gaming, you're surely thinking that the obvious answer would be, "yes, of course it does;" however, that may not always be the case. Bioware, developer of the upcoming Mass Effect 3 - the first game in the series to feature co-op gameplay - seems to agree.
In a recent interview with Wired magazine, the two of the company's co-founders, Dr. Ray Muzyka and Greg Zeschuk, discussed the addition of co-op (or "multiplayer") to the previously solo only affair. According to Zeschuk, multiplayer:
makes the whole experience better
Yet the Bioware VP goes on to say:
Multiplayer … can’t be tacked on. That’s one of the pitfalls that some of the people who have done multiplayer have made. ‘Oh, what’s on our marketing checklist? Gotta have multiplayer, check the box.
The latter statement is a sentiment with which we agree. Since Co-Optimus was founded back in 2008, we've certainly come across a few games that touted having "co-op gameplay," but that gameplay, in the end, felt more like a tacked on feature than something that was well thought out and implemented. We're all for co-op gaming, and absolutely love to play games with our friends, but we also want that time spent playing the game to be enjoyable. We want to feel a sense of accomplishment and fun by playing with friends that we don't get when we play the single player or competitive multiplayer modes.
The addition of a co-op mode to Mass Effect 3 came as a surprise, considering how the rumors of its supposed existence seemed to have been utterly squashed, but it was definitely a welcome one. Of course, time will tell how good the co-op will be, but comments like the ones Dr. Muzyka and Zeschuk certainly give us hope. Especially comments like this one:
The way we look at multiplayer online features is that they shouldn’t be dilutive or weakening the experience. They should be additive, they should strengthen it, they should enhance it.
- Dr. Ray Muzyka
With all that said, though, we're still left at the core question raised by this news story: does multiplayer (co-op, specifically) make RPGs (or games) better?
The Co-Optimus staff weigh-in on this issue in the latest episode of the Co-Opticast, but what do you think? Does co-op, no matter how good or bad it is, make a game better? Realistically speaking, should all games have co-op?
We want to hear from you! So leave a comment or in the user blogs (if you're really feeling inspired!) and let us know your thoughts.
When Co-Op Becomes a Necessity - The Changing Face of Single Player by Nick Puleo
Six Degrees of Cooperation by Sam Tyler