Rumours of the demise of the singleplayer game have been greatly exaggerated, at least according to Bethesda. But then, they would say that. They've been busting myths more than anyone this generation.
You can't make new IPs profitable at the end of a console cycle, they said. You can't ship a singleplayer game with a running time of under 15 hours and hope it'll sell, they said. You need to have a multiplayer component according to our market research data, they said.
Dishonored proved them wrong, and Bethesda aren't going to be stepping in line any time soon.
"Single-player games aren't going anywhere. Bethesda Softworks has been making single-player games for all of our 25+ years in the industry," Bethesda VP Pete Hines told Destructoid.
"We're still here, we're still making them, and people are still buying them. Dishonored was single-player and people really loved it, and it sold well.Skyrim was a complete success. A single-player RPG. There's practically a cottage industry dedicated to talking about how that isn't possible or why that won't succeed. Console fans won't get a game like that. Has to have multiplayer of some kind. PC gaming is dead. It's gotta be a shooter. RPGs are a niche. Etc.
"People like fun games. They have games they like to play by themselves, they have games they like to play with others. Every game doesn't have to be all things to all people. And so the Skyrims and Fallout 3s and Bioshock Infinites and Walking Deads of the world aren't going anywhere. Just stop already."
Hines is of the opinion that people who say singleplayer games are dying out either don't know what they're talking about, or are simply trying to "skew the narrative" to suit their own ends.
"It's important to note that quite a few people who tend to say those kinds of things do so because it's not what they're doing," he said. "No publisher or developer making single-player games ever comes out and says single-player games won't work. Guys that do mobile games predict that console gaming as we know it is dying. People that do console-only games proclaim that PC is dead. Funny how people don't predict failure for the thing it is they're making or doing. They make those statements to build up or defend what they're doing and tear down what they aren't doing.
"Or, they just don't know what the hell they're talking about."
We love single-player games, and we've been very outspoken about it. Yes, Hines is saying everything we want to hear, but Bethesda have a long history of backing it up.