The lights are on
In our January issue of Game Informer we examined the current co-op condition, asking vocal gamers what they want to see in future cooperative titles. And what they don’t. We surveyed nearly 8,000 readers to find out if social or solo gaming is paramount, if split-screen play is DOA or if there is hope for multi-gamer households. We even asked if they would be willing to pay a premium to play single-player franchises with their buddies. Co-op God of War perhaps? The results of our poll were interesting, to say the least. Utilizing the infinite space the online format affords us, we now expand upon our print feature, offering up insight into the industry from key staffers of influential co-op development houses. These experts present their definitions of cooperative play, expand upon the co-op pipeline for their particular products and attempt to explain away some of our co-op qualms. They’ve got reasons as to why split screen is such a technological burden or why couch co-op doesn’t play nice with the web. Read on for an insider’s look into the current state of co-op affairs, interspersed with results from our recent reader poll. The ExpertsWith cooperative play increasing in popularity, development houses worldwide are starting to embrace the trend. But where many have thrown their hat in the ring, few have excelled. Notable co-op franchises such as Halo, Gears of War, Left 4 Dead and Army of Two are joined by new contenders like Gearbox’s Borderlands. Traditionally single-player IPs are even starting to take note, with Uncharted 2 and Modern Warfare 2 both adding sizable co-op segments to their titles. Representatives from these co-op powerhouses weigh in below. [Our Experts] On What Qualifies As Co-op…Cooperative gameplay means many things to many people. For some it harkens back to shared screen play in the arcades. For other it signals sitting side by side with a friend throughout an entire cooperative campaign. And for some, cooperative doesn’t require being helpful – griefing your way to a common goal can be just as fun. It turns out developers are just as divided by their definitions of co-op play. “I think a co-op experience is one where you can team up with a buddy and have an awesome time. Obviously depth is a factor, but each team needs to make a choice about what they will build. In terms of scope it’s tough to compare what we do on Army of Two (vs. COD for example). In AO2, our focus always has always been to make the experience 100 percent co-op from start to finish. We see a lot of games doing it as a mode, and those are definitely fun as well, however for our audience we really want to deliver a completely integrated game where it’s all co-op all the time.” Reid Schneider, executive producer, Army of Two: The 40th Day“This largely depends on what gamers want out of their experience. I can mention from firsthand experience that pulling off story-based, integrated co-op for the duration of a full length campaign (8+ hours minimum, on average) is a lot of work not only from a level design standpoint but also from code and writing. You always have to account for the players’ locations, ammo balancing, scripted moments, cinematics triggering, etc. Development-wise it is sometimes seen as an easier win to simply have custom scenarios for co-op, however if you’re not careful it can balloon into more work, simply more contained in its own ‘bucket.’ At the end of the day I'm just happy to play games with others in a non-competitive manner.” Cliff Bleszinski, design director, Epic Games“We'd define a co-op experience as one where people are working together in a game toward the same goal. There are a lot of execution details that you have get to right to be successful just like any other product, but the difference with a co-op game from others is that you're not trying to craft a narrative in the player's mind, you're giving the players the tools to craft it with each other.” Erik Johnson, project manager, Valve
i really wonder what that Other is..then again..it's pretty obvious it's a collection of dozens of games, but any game having that high of a player turnout that's much higher than any other 1 game is really something else, it's amazing to believe so many people have already bought the new releases like MW:2.
The original question is below - so the "other section" is made up of a spattering of those that didn't get much love.
What is your favorite Modern Co-op Game/Franchise?
A) Halo franchise
B) Army of Two
C) Gears of War franchise
E) Left 4 Dead
F) Resident Evil 5
G) Marvel Ultimate Alliance franchise
I) Guitar Hero/Rock Band franchises
J) Castle Crashers
K) Rainbow Six franchise
L) LEGO franchise
N) Call of Duty: World at War
O) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
P) Uncharted 2
Q) 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand
R) Resistance Franchise
Mines was definietly Uncharted 2. BTW Meagan great job this was my favorite part of the January 2010 issue.
Makes me wish I had friends...
left 4 dead 2 ftw
Co-op play is much more fun than solo play.. I don't find Borderlands or L4D2 nearly as fantastic when I'm flying solo.
wow, thats pretty cool. Good to see they are communicating with the gaming community!
I am first and foremost a solo gamer. However, I do enjoy playing split-screen co-op on occasion. There is something about the person you are playing with being there in the flesh. It brings me back to the days of being a kid playing Contra on the NES. The games that I primarily enjoy spilt-screen are Gears of War and Left 4 Dead franchises.
I absolutely cannot get into competitive gaming whatsoever. With that in mind, I am glad that co-op gaming has been on the comeback in recent years.
i'm enjoying spec ops co-op alot more than mw2's multiplayer. and borderlands is great fun in co-op. l4d2 is also awesome.
i definitely want to see more co-op and, i agree, in more genres. regarding survival horror, supposedly obscure also implemented co-op well.
i didn't realize the challenges for establishing co-op content; that's an eye-opener. but i think this survey proves there's a market for it
As someone who complains often about lack of split-screen, lack of split-screen and online together, and lack of co-op altogether, this was a really cool article to read and realize how hard it is to add co-op in the first place.
I personally love a good co-op game that doesn't require me to connect my system to the internet... lord knows that is a great deal of hassel.
@massrockdude I am exactly the same way. Which is why I wrote this piece :P
i consider myself a gamer that plays all forms of play. solo, co-op, and competitive play alike.
I do love me some co-op
I love this! There's something so much more enjoyable about playing with someone who is right next to you. Plus, if they don't own a console, it actually allows them to play.
I really wanted GTA IV co op. The multiplayer is lot of fun with friends online, but when people come over, only one person can play. Saints Row 2 kinda had the opposite. There was no awesome free mode thing, but the co op was superb(split screen would have benn nice).
More single player-ish games like Mass Effect and Oblivion would be hard to do co op. However, I know that a lot of people would die to play Oblivion with a friend.
I need to read this article in GI
I personaly enjoy split screen co op. I even go and buy really bad games to play(i.e Damnation) just so i can play with my friends.At least i dont have to pay to play splitscreen...yet.
When was this survey put up?! I didn't take it!
Co-op on Fallout 3 would be aawsome.