Rumor Killers: Co-op and Multiplayer Special & Modern Warfare 2 Spin-off

Disclaimer: Rumor Killers is a speculative opinion piece and is by no means intended to disclose as fact whether a rumor is true or false – even though the Rumor Killers team are usually right (usually…)

It looks like multiplayer gaming has gone and exploded, what with rumors of four sequels to big single player franchises offering either online co-operative or multiplayer modes. Avoiding my anti-social gamer bias which desperately wants to shout “Oi – Multiplayer Gaming – NOOO!” at the propositions, let’s see just how plausible these rumors actually are.

God of War 3 Co-op?

It’s a slightly tenuous one to begin with. There have been rumors circulating of a co-op mode being added to God of War 3. These started thanks to an eagle eyed writer from TheGamerAccess noticing Sony’s Retail Loyalty site suggesting co-op mode will be included. The Sony site educates retail employees about upcoming products so it does seem a little strange for Sony to spread misinformation about such a highly anticipated game. However, this does raise a couple of questions: what character would be used alongside Kratos, and if trye why has this not been mentioned before?

Sony has beenquick to dispel the rumors with SCEA representative Eric Levine stating its falsity, but things shouldn’t stop there. After all, only eight months ago were we told that the God of War Collection wasn’t going to happen, and we all know how that one worked out.

Having said that, I think this time round Sony is correct in saying that there won’t be an online co-op mode. It all seems ltoo vague to be true. Besides the problems of just who the second character would be, it’s difficult to understand why has there been no coverage of this co-op mode before? The game is only months away from launch and there’s been plenty of coverage so far; surely details would have emerged much earlier. Don’t get your hopes up God of War fans.

Jen’s Verdict: False

BioWare co-op games?In a very surprising twist, it’s looking like BioWare is considering adding co-operative and/or multiplayer features to future Dragon Age and Mass Effect titles. BioWare co-founder and CEO Dr Ray Muzyka stated in an interview last week that it is considering such plans in the hope that it “could make a great gameplay experience”. Role-playing game fans have no reason to fear yet as Muzyka went on to say, “it’s hard to weave a great single-player storyline into a multiplayer experience. It’s not impossible. We’ve done it, and we’re doing it again now in Star Wars: The Old Republic. But it is challenging.” This suggests that BioWare do appreciate that tacking on multiplayer modes is not always a good idea.

The rumors are nothing new with many sites reporting last year that Mass Effect 2 would have online co-op modes and possibly even a competitive online mode, but I’d say it’s looking a lot more likely for future BioWare titles now. There’s no question that more online co-op modes are appearing more, what with the likes of the Call of Duty series, Left 4 Dead, Gears of War and Borderlands successfully jumping on the bandwagon. So why shouldn’t an RPG join in with the fun? The potential is there considering RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age involve a number of significant characters, all of which could potentially be controlled by another person. The party system that BioWare is so fond of could tie in with a co-op mode perfectly. Perhaps each player could control a number of party characters at once, or it might be a matter of dropping in and out of a game with your own main character from the single player mode. There’s certainly a lot of scope here that BioWare would do well to exploit.

The cynic in me is unsure how a genre which focuses so much on narrative can succeed when played with another person, but no one can argue that Bioware aren’t the best people for the job. They succeeded with such a mode in Neverwinter Nights so I’m sure some adaption could make the likes of Mass Effect and Dragon Age succeed admirably. Innovation is the way forward in this industry.

Jen’s Verdict: True (but don’t expect to see it any time soon)

inFamous multiplayer?
From the very first week of release, it seemed obvious that a sequel to inFamous would happen. The first game sold an impressive 176,000 copies over those period, eclipsing LittleBigPlanet’s first week sales of 110,000. For an original IP this was certainly impressive. There may still be no official announcement of a sequel, but actor David Sullivan’s Twitter post last month stating that he was attending an audition to be recast as the lead role, Cole, gave the game away a little.

Now rumors are abound that ‘inFamous 2’ will include online multiplayer functionality because of a job listing posted on Gamasutra by developer Sucker Punch. It states that the company is looking for a network programmer with experience of building on-line components of video games. Theoretically it could be for an entirely different game but as the advert points out it’s for development of an AAA title and nothing else has even been hinted at by Sucker Punch. It’s looking distinctly likely.

Compared to the previous rumors, I believe online multiplayer could work well for inFamous. Initial thoughts are that it could be like Grand Theft Auto 4’s multiplayer mode which worked quite well and was a different spin on conventional methods. As details are so scarce there is also the chance that it could in fact be yet another co-operative mode, although again this brings about the question of just who you would play besides Cole. Nonetheless, I’d say it’s ikely that we’ll be seeing some form of online functionality for inFamous 2, most likely an online multiplayer mode. inFamous 2 would be a great candidate for this considering the various powers that could be exploited during competitive play, adding a much needed spark (pun much? – Ed.) of imagination to the humble multiplayer mode.

Jen’s Verdict: True

Dead Space 2 multiplayer?
We all know that Dead Space 2 is on the way with an expected 2010 release, but now it’s looking likely that it too will have online functionality. In another very useful job listing published this week, EA declared it is looking for an online level designer for the Dead Space franchise to “create extremely fun, satisfying and polished multiplayer levels”. No indication is given as to whether this will be for Dead Space 2 or another Dead Space game, but it’s certainly an intriguing proposition.

Dead Space focuses heavily on isolation in space and dismembering rather than shooting monsters from distance, so it’ll be interesting to see how this is demonstrated in multiplayer. Rather than being a fast paced multiplayer mode, a more stealthy and calculated approach might work well here, something that will further the tense feelings that the story mode provided so well in the previous game. There’s no doubt here that it’ll be a bloodbath of visceral destruction regardless of how it’s done, but a more subtle approach to action would be a nice twist in an unoriginal multiplayer world.

As far as we know there are no other Dead Space titles currently in development. It’s looking extremely likely that Dead Space 2 will have multiplayer functionality as why else would EA be looking for an online designer for the franchise?

Jen’s Verdict: True

Modern Warfare 2 spin-off?
(spoilers for the game in this segment)

We’ve only just witnessed the phenomenal launch of Modern Warfare 2, but now rumors have emerged of a spin off game based on one of its lovable characters. ‘Modern Warfare: Ghost’ may be imminent.

During Modern Warfare 2‘s UK launch the voice of Ghost, Craig Fairbrass, mentioned that a game solely based around Ghost is being considered. He stated: “I’m now voicing a guy called Ghost, who now just got a spin-off comic of his own and they’re talking about another little game to go with it.”

No other details yet, but it sounds like Fairbrass is expecting more voice work despite the fact that his character gets killed in Modern Warfare 2. This suggests that either the game could just be a mini game of some sort, hence the description of “another little game” or that a prequel could be in the works.

It’s quite plausible that a spin-off could be developed, possibly in a similar vein to Halo 3: ODST. It could also be part of a downloadable content package that may be coming soon. Of course, there’s also the chance that Fairbrass got his facts wrong considering no other mention of this spin off has been made by any other official channels. It’s all just a little too vague to be definite about. Sure, Modern Warfare 2 sold over 1 million copies in the UK and 4.7 million copies in the USA on its first day, but the spin off idea is still nothing more than conjecture at the moment. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Jen’s Verdict: False

Author: Jennifer Allen