With the upcoming release of Dragon's Dogma sans the inclusion of a proper co-operative mode, Capcom fans have been up in arms with the lack of a true multiplayer experience. However, asynchronous co-op could lead to an interesting way of being able to interact with your friends without actually playing at the same time as them.
We have seen asynchronous multiplayer work in games like Dark Souls, SSX, and Hero Academy but what was the reason behind not having proper co-op in the upcoming action-RPG Dragon's Dogma? One of the big reasons is obviously time and cost, but it really comes down to paving the way for a new type of experience in gaming.
Not everyone is able to get together and play each and every night, and trying to keep up with the pace of online gaming can have its toll on a social life. The pawn system in Dragons Dogma allows players to lend out their created character as a hired mercany that will make up the fourth member in a friend's party. The pawn will gain gold, loot, and valuable experience that can be reported back to the original player and used to help them in their own game.
There is definitely a place for this style of co-op, and it is a very interesting way of being able to play together with your friends. We don't expect asynchronous multiplayer to replace regular online play but expect to see it as a regular design choice going forward. Games like Dragons Dogma are paving the way for a new type of co-op and we cannot wait to see how this develops going forward.