There is nothing the video game industry loves more than a good trend. “Hey, that game with the bald, gruff space marine sold really well, we need that in our game!” or, “people are all talking about that cover system, can you make it more like that?” It’s an unfortunate reality of any big entertainment industry, if something sells or seems popular, every game is clamoring to make sure they have it too.
The Good Old Days
The big trend in the PS4 area so far has been online multiplayer, with countless games best played with friends over the Playstation Network. Well, this gives me a problem. It turns out, most of my friends are people who either don’t play many games, or own a different console. That means that I really don’t have anyone to play games online with and playing with friends is so much better than with strangers. I know this because I have one particular friend with whom I spent countless hours playing survival mode in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 on PS3. Not only has it been incredibly fun, but nothing makes a couple of guys open up to each other quite as much as killing hundreds of increasingly armored computer men.
These days, that same friend I used to play online with is now my roommate, along with another friend who also loves playing games. The problem we have is there just aren’t that many games that we can play together, especially online, because while online gaming is all the rage, local split-screen gaming has fallen by the wayside. There are plenty of smaller competitive games to play online together or against one another like Rocket League or Towerfall, but I would love to be able to sit next to my friends and jump into bigger experiences. GTA Online is an awesome example. How incredible would it be if when I was taking on all the 12-year-old kids screaming profanities into their headsets, I had my two buddies beside me, both in game and in real life?
The Sad Truth
I loved all the time I spent playing online with my friends, but nothing beats the raw emotion of taking on, or co-operating with your friends who are sitting next to you. The fact that Goldeneye on the N64 is still so loved is testament to that. I really hope that in the next wave of big releases, developers bring back the magic of local co-operative and competitive gameplay. Otherwise, I’m going to need to get me some more online friends, because all my friends in the ‘real’ world aren’t going to be any good to me if they can’t join my unit in The Division!
If not, I suppose I could reach out to people through forums on video game websites or just add anyone in COD who looks particularly friendly to my friends list, but that just feels a bit awkward, like going up to the person on the bus who looks the least angry and sitting on their lap. I guess for now I can get my roommates together, start up a game of Rocket League and try and keep my mind off my terribly lonely online existence, knowing that sooner rather than later, I’m going to need to make some virtual friends.