Smack bang in an era where most major developers include multiplayer offerings to give gamers who have completed the single player campaign a reason to stick around, it’s come as a bit of surprise that BioShock: Infinite will not have an online multiplayer component.
This week, Irrational Games Ken Levine confirmed the news via his Twitter account simply stating “no multi” in response to questions from fans apparently desperate for news one way or the other. The original BioShock was a brilliant single player experience and didn’t have any online component, but 2K Marin decided to change things up for BioShock 2 with a lack-lustre story-driven multiplayer mode in which we were hard-pressed to find anyone online to play with.
Nevertheless, BioShock 2’s multiplayer showed some potential with some decent level design and range of game modes, and with BioShock: Infinite’s attractive new setting (the floating air-city of Columbia) and the array of special powers that we can expect to wield at our finger-tips, we fully-expected Irrational to follow in 2K Marin's footsteps, learn from their mistakes and make an online offspring that has the ability keep our attention for more than a few days.
What’s strange about the sudden announcement that BioShock: Infinite will have no multiplayer modes whatsoever is that it was clearly once part of the plan. In August, Kotaku reported that two multiplayer modes were cut from the game, including a co-op mode. Levine said Irrational was experimenting at the time, but it’s now clear that Irrational doesn't think the game needs a multiplayer component at all, or perhaps it has simply ran out of time to develop it properly?
Personally, though we’re surprised at the omission of multiplayer in BioShock: Infinite, we’re glad. It will mean that any further development time should be spent on making the single player campaign as good as it possibly can be with no distractions. The two BioShock games so far have offered brilliant, immersive campaigns and the second game really didn’t need a multiplayer mode to impress. More developers should concentrate on making an absorbing single player experience before even considering a tacked-on multiplayer component.
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