Recently, after many years of hard work by dedicated modders, Skyrim Together was released in the form of a closed beta. Fans of Skyrim rejoiced at the opportunity to finally to slay dragons and mess around with a couple of their friends in the familiar world. Despite having Skyrim re-released many times over, fans still flocked to the chance to somehow have another version of the game if it meant joining their friends. This brings into question the fact that so many gamers have recently been crying out for less multiplayer games and more storyline single-player games.
In my own opinion, it isn’t that gamers are wanting no multiplayer games, it’s just that they do not want a solely multiplayer game that is dependent upon the internet and other players. Single-player games do not necessarily refer to solely single-player. Skyrim Together is a mod that is a marriage of the single-player wishes and the option of having a multiplayer in which your friends can easily join in.
An officially curated game that I feel truly encompasses this type of marriage would be Fable III. The game allows players to have their own single storyline where the player can easily invite another player into their world seamlessly. Each player is their own separate entity and can interact through combat, landlording, business partnerships, and even player marriages. Fable III allowed players to be different levels and was not dependent on where players were in the storyline, they would simply join the host player wherever they were so long as the prologue had been completed.
While games like Destiny are fun and encourage player coordination, there is still the risk of players getting too far ahead of another and having to wait for the other to catch if they wish to proceed together. And battle royale games and team-based multiplayer games such as Overwatch don’t require players to be the same level for most aspects of the games, they do however have a learning curve to them that can be daunting to new players. It’s quite easy to be killed early in a battle royale game and then have to wait for a new match to try again. These single-player/multiplayer blends allow for players to learn at their own pace as they would in a solely single-player game. There is also the aspect of players who do always wish to play with or against other players.
The intent of this article is not to bash games like Fortnite, Apex Legends, and Overwatch for lacking single-player modes. The games themselves are widely agreed upon as being fun, and offer a wide range or gamers an experience which allows them to game at a flexible rate without having to play indepth into a storyline while still having a great time. I’m merely offering an explanation as to why so many gamers have been crying out for more single-player games and why a mod such as Skyrim Together has received such high amounts of backing. Why games such as Halo and Gears of War had campaigns that were played over and over again. Players wish to have a storyline that draws them, that keeps them enthralled for hours. Games that allow for a buddy or a sibling to hop in and join someone on their journey in saving the world or just doing their hundredth side mission which leads to a giant flinging you across Skyrim.
It’s the simple explanation of gamers wanting not to simply be told or shown a game’s lore, but to interact with it. To have an impact on it or to slowly uncover it as your protagonist does. And to have someone else along with you makes it all the more memorable.
Header image courtesy of GameFront.