Well, they’ve finally gone and done it. After years of AAA game studios attempting to do the unthinkable, ActiVision has managed to remove one of the core elements from “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4”.
Several years ago, this would have seemed like a ludicrous idea. Video games were built with the single-player experience in mind, and the multiplayer elements were only there to add a little extra longevity to the lifespan of your expensive new purchase.
In fairness, “Black Ops 4” is far from the first big budget game to skimp on the solo story. What makes this feel so odd is the fact that the “Call of Duty” games typically revel in their single-player campaign, creating blockbuster experiences that play out like long, interactive movies.
The most recent “Call of Duty” game features Kit Harington, Jon Snow himself, as a main character, with a realistic likeness to boot. It seems odd that the game’s successor won’t at least try to include Ramsay Bolton or someone equally cheap.
The Death of Single-Player Gaming?
The logic bouncing around the internet for the decision to kill off the “Call of Duty” single-player experience is that the majority of players completely ignore it.
The games’ story modes are typically very carefully produced, taking a lot of time and resources to craft an eight hour experience that can be advertised on posters and in trailers. In spite of this, the majority of “Call of Duty” players skip this mode entirely as they instead focus on the online multiplayer experience.
Recently, many gamers have been worrying that the single-player video game experience (at least in AAA releases) are becoming an endangered species. The rush for online play is slowly squeezing the life out of story-driven gameplay.
I don’t think that’s entirely the case. There are still plenty of single-player titles for solo gamers to pick up. Just last month, “God of War” became the best reviewed PS4 exclusive title in the console’s history. It’s clear that single-player games aren’t going away.
Nevertheless, for “Call of Duty” to ditch the solo game mode entirely sends a clear message about where the industry is focusing attention. Single-player gaming doesn’t have as much potential for continuous revenue, loot boxes, and microtransactions, so it’s simply not as profitable as putting more effort into online game modes.
Plus, every now and then, Kevin Spacey pops up in a “Call of Duty” single-player campaign. Nobody wants that anymore!