The closure of Visceral Games has, once again, raised concerns about the death of single-player games, but a couple of major publishers have promised support for the form.
During The Game Awards, Dishonored and The Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda Softworks released a short video featuring Lynda Carter (Fallout 4) discussing the need to “end the pain of single-player gamers in need,” alongside the hashtag #SavePlayer1. The video features grabs from some of Bethesda’s most recent games, including Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, The Evil Within II, and Prey, highlighting the company’s dedication to creating single-player games. At present, Bethesda has not announced any upcoming titles, but the publisher’s tendency to short windows between announcement and release makes that silence unsurprising.
— Bethesda (@bethesda) December 8, 2017
Following that, at the PSX Opening Ceremony, Sony’s social media director Sid Shuman mentioned his personal love of single-player games before Guerrilla Games’s Managing Director Hermen Hulst stepped onto the stage. Hulst emphasised that Horizon: Zero Dawn was the “first solely single-player game that [the team has] made in a long time” and also “by far, [its] best-selling game.” He went on to refer to story campaigns as “magical, unbroken narrative experiences,” and said that “sometimes a single-player game can be the best option.”
Later in the show, during an interview with Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, Sony CEO Shawn Layden says that the publisher’s WorldWide Studios (comprising such teams as Naughty Dog, Sucker Punch, Media Molecule, and PixelOpus) have “a lot of energy,[…] devotion,[… and] love around storytelling, around narrative. You know, some people call it single-player gaming. We do have most of our eggs in that basket just because that’s the thing we do well, I think.” Layden also said that the publisher will continue to produce games in a similar vein: “These are the things we’re going to continue to lean into really strongly.”