If you didn’t know, Mark Cerny and Amy Hennig discussed their career in games at this past year’s Gamelab 2018 event, where Geoff Keighley shot various questions their way, along with fielding questions from the audience members. One of the many questions directed toward Hennig revolved around single-player games, where she would clarify her take on the situation.
One of the hot topics in the industry is centered around the profitability of single-player games. Some people even consider single-player games to be a hot enough topic that companies like Bethesda created a short video about “#SavePlayer1.” The company in question even wrote, “we share our vision for saving the single player,” for the now seven-month-old video.
It’s a topic that managed to carry over into the GameLab 2018 conference.
If you would like to read the full write up of highlights about Mark Cerny and Amy Hennig talking about their career at said event, you can visit venturebeat.com.
Firstly, during the talk where audience members could ask questions, one wanted to know about the “dilemma” regarding EA and single-player games being “dead.” You can read the full query here:
“There was quite a dilemma a few months ago about EA and this question of whether single-player games are “dead.” What do you think about that?”
With the curious audience member gaining hold of Hennig’s attention, she replied with the following:
“To be fair, they didn’t actually say that. I think that, like everything in our world today, the bad versions get around the world before the truth can get its pants on. Did Churchill say that? I think so. It’s really tough. Shawn talked about that in relation to Sony. God bless Sony for supporting these kinds of games, because they’re terrifying to make. They’re very expensive, and it doesn’t suit the model of having a massive open world or hours and hours of gameplay or running a live service, which is what everybody is shooting for these days.”
She would continue and say:
“It’s not that we’re looking at the death of single-player games, or that players don’t want that. Some publishers are going to fall on one end of that spectrum or another based on their business plan. Fair enough. It’s just that the traditional ways we’ve done that are getting harder and harder to support. That’s why I’ve talked in the past about feeling like we’re in an inflection point in the industry. We’ve talked about this for a long time. How do we keep on making games like this when they’re getting prohibitively expensive? We don’t want to break the single-player experience, but there’s pressure to provide more and more at the same price point games have always been.”
Hennig, continued and elaborated on the situation of single-player games and the industry and what she believes:
“That isn’t sustainable, I believe. I think it breaks the purpose of a single-player game. I was saying to some people here, I play games because I want to finish them. I want to see the story. I like the arc of a story. I don’t see the ends of most games. How crazy is it that we say it’s about narrative, but we make games where a fraction of the audience sees the end of the game? That’s heartbreaking.
I hope that we see more shakeup in the industry. We’ll open up the portfolios — maybe with a subscription model — so we can see that there can be story games that are four hours long at an appropriate price point. We have digital distribution. That should be possible. We shouldn’t be stuck at this brick and mortar price point and trying to make more and more content, breaking the spirit of these games.”
And lastly, Hennig wrapped up the statement by expressing her understanding of how challenging it can be to make profitable single-player games, while also pointing out that the industry doesn’t have to be filled with multiplayer clones…
“I don’t fault EA for that decision, as hard as it was personally for me. I understand the challenge. We have to come at this in different ways. I think it’s about portfolios of games at different price points that allow us to do more than just PUBGs and Fortnites and Destiny clones.”
With all of that said, what do you think of her explanation or stance on single-player games and the industry?