I have recently finished my playthrough of The Last of Us and it made me think about Playstation’s back catalogue of exclusive titles and what they all have in common. Including the anticipated Game of the Year The Last of Us 2, all of Sony’s exclusives are single player story driven games that might propel them to the most successful console launch ever.
The Last of Us
Firstly, lets talk about The Last of Us. This is a game I had played/ watched in bits and parts but never sat down to take it all in chronologically myself. So with the upcoming release of The Last of Us 2 I rectified this.
I’m so glad I did. I don’t need to tell you that this game is fantastic, it speaks for itself. It is a iconic game for the right reasons. A story driven survival adventure game that does it all right.
The story is fantastic and has one of the best scripts/ direction out there. There’s no wonder HBO want this made into a series, the material is too good to miss out on.
It follows the story of Joel and Ellie on their way to a group called the Fireflys interested in saving humanity from an infection that turns them to zombie like creatures.
Joel is rough, closed of and very typically masculine and makes for a good protagonist on this kind of adventure. His only priority is staying alive and keeping promises. His promises is to make sure 14 year old Ellie makes it to the Fireflies.
Ellie is, for want of a better phrase, humankinds cure. She is unique and immune (kinda typical in a story like this). However its her relationship with Joel that really carries the narrative.
On their journey it is full of turmoil and struggle as they fight through ‘infected’ – those that have caught the disease and turned. The infection is like a fungus that grows and gives them deformities from the brain. It also gives them a horrible clicking noise.
The combat is really good and follows your typical survival mantra. You never have ‘enough’ ammo but multiple ways of approaching combat. There are puzzles, loot and an upgrade system. Its all very well put together.
As I said the story takes its turns, ups and downs its amazing and leaves you wanting more after every little interaction. You really should pick up this game.
The Future is Single Player
The thing is, I find myself constantly saying that after every Playstation game I play. The story is really good, the combat, graphics, systems and everything else is all really good.
Sony really are way ahead of everyone with games like Uncharted, Final Fantasy VII Remake, God of War and Spiderman being top tier, single player games to boost and sell their platform.
There is often a debate over the future of gaming. Will single player titles that were a staple back in the 90’s and 2000’s die out in favour of always online, multiplayer games?
The answer is no. They’re driving the industry forward. The current release for The Last of Us 2 is some of the biggest hype I’ve seen for a long time and it doesn’t even have Co-Op. It’s sales will likely exceed any multiplayer game. Even GTA V launched without multiplayer and gained over $1 billion in revenue.
After it has released we are only left waiting for Cyberpunk 2077, another single player title with as much hype as The Last of Us 2. This kind of unprecedented excitement is rarely seen for releases of multiplayer titles such as Call of Duty, FIFA or a free to play like Fortnite.
Moreover, single player titles have always been a benchmark for how well a generation is performing. We think back to games like Crash Bandicoot and Spyro, Metal Gear Solid and Grand Theft Auto for earlier generations and the titles mentioned on Playstation for later titles of how well we are utilising software.
Once developers are dying for more performance to work with for games, we normally see the next generation release. In this case games like Assassins Creed Odyssey, Death Stranding and FFVII Remake are probably the end of this currents generation capability. Without a new generation we probably wouldn’t see more titles.
This is where the need for innovation really comes in, to make more of these games. Unreal Engine V will push forward these experiences and world building even further but Epic didn’t make it for Fortnite and without it, Apex Legends would carry on for many years, thats the difference.
Multiplayer games are often the current that keep us gaming when really we’re waiting on the next single player driven content to get absorbed in.
Sony are the currently the leaders in this movement. Xbox are heavily reliant on their multiplayer franchises to boost console sales and community approaches and PC rarely have exclusives as hyped up as console releases. (That’s a whole other argument that console wins!).
Even the Switch is driven by single player franchises such as Zelda and Pokémon (in the most part) and is incorporating more single player franchises such as Bioshock onto its platform.
Personally I’m a selfish gamer and have always leaned towards single player approaches. I’ve dabbled in some FIFA when I was younger (alot before I found proper good games) and Destiny’s Crucible or Fortnite with buds but it never gave me a feeling like God of War or The Witcher did. Partly because I’m terrible at them, mostly because I love world building and RPG mechanics.
What Sony have is only going to be aimed towards (studios like Bethesda aren’t far off) and I think it is excellent. Ubisoft has seen some joy with their single player orientated releases more than their multiplayers and seem to be going in this direction. People are already asking for Elder Scrolls 6, GTA 6, God of War 2. No one wants Call of Duty 267.