When Valve’s Gabe Newell revealed that Portal 2 might be the developer’s last single player experience many gamers hopeful at the prospect of Half-Life 3 were in shock. Long considered to be a developer of the most richest single player experiences to date, Valve leaving that milieu behind would certainly be a loss for gamers everywhere.
Thankfully, after the tremendous backlash that Newell’s comments received, the man himself clarified his statements saying that Valve isn’t done with games that feature single player, but is instead looking towards enriching single player experiences with community-driven ideas.
Central to Newell’s response on the single player issue is the advent of things like Facebook into the gaming community. While Valve will still deliver games that feature a single player element (hopefully game’s like Half-Life 3), the company can no longer neglect the importance of cooperative play.
Most recently the company has enjoyed tremendous success from Portal 2’s co-op element which seamlessly blends with the game’s single player storyline. Though this idea isn’t directly referenced, being able to keep gamers connected with each other via both in-game and outside sources, in Newell’s eye, is the future
“It’s more that we think that we have to work harder in the future. That entertainment is inherently increased in value by having it be social, by letting you play with your friends, by recognizing that you’re connected with other people.”
Sure, a heavy cooperative focus might seem like the developer is stepping away from the single player elements that made them a household name, but, in reality, the company is only attempting to evolve amidst a changing entertainment industry. By including an increased level of connectivity – whether it is through cooperative missions or simply being able to tweet out a game accomplishment – Valve sees the future of their games as encompassing every element of gaming, but never neglecting single player.
“It’s not about giving up on single-player at all. It’s saying we actually think there are a bunch of features and capabilities that we need to add into our single-player games to recognize the socially connected gamer. Every gamer has instant messaging, every gamer has a Facebook account. If you pretend that that doesn’t exist, you’re ignoring the problems that you’re taking on.”
While we are, considering Valve’s propensity for delays, a ways off from seeing how Valve plans to put these ideas into practice, hearing them clarified a bit further should allow gamers to sleep a little easier at night. With Half-Life 3 back in the cards, and Valve demonstrating a willingness to learn and evolve, gamers should have a lot to look forward to from this high profile developer.
How do you envision Valve putting their ideas of social interactivity to practice in their future games? Would you be interested in a cooperative element being added to Half-Life 3?