Valve swearing off single player?

Well this is the saddest thing I’ve heard all day. Apparently Gabe Newell, in Geoff Keighley’s Final Days of Portal 2 app, says that “Portal 2 will probably be Valve’s last game with an isolated single-player experience.”

Which would be unbelievably disappointing. It’s not like I just wrote an article lamenting how Valve hadn’t released a single player narrative experience for years or anything, and it’s not like we have an article forthcoming about Portal 2’s multiplayer’s lack of narrative or anything like that.

This is honestly depressing news. It’s like Michael Jordan quitting basketball to be a scrub at baseball. Why would one of the most prominent, talented developers of single player experiences go to developing multiplayer ones? Oh, right, because of piracy.

Really, it’s dreadful news. And it’s coming on the heels of news that Bioware wants to make Mass Effect into a shitty MMO. It’s like all the best developers of narrative in video games are going off and trying to make more multiplayer shooters, which I can’t be the only person in the world to have no interest in. It’s really awful when you think about it. There’s no upside here: I want Half Life 3, not Team Fortress 3 or Left 4 Dead 3 or Counterstrike 3. I want video games to do something new and unique, and not just become fast paced, interactive versions of chess.


  1. Think of the way he phrased it: “isolated single-player”. As I understand it, Portal 2 has an isolated single-player, and then a separate co-op mode.

    Other games, like Gears or Halo, have a single-player with co-op built in. Playing co-op does not change the experience, hence while the games can be played as a single-player, they do not have an isolated single-player experience.

    HL3 – should such a thing ever show up – would (perhaps) involve Gordon Freeman and an NPC buddy (who P2 would drop in during co-op). Don’t send the death threats to Valve. . .


    • Tom

      But a lot of the best parts of Half Life 2 were you by yourself. Ravenholm, for instance, couldn’t exist in this brave new world.

      And I don’t see what’s wrong with single player. Why does everything have to be co-op? Why do games have to be “social”?

  2. I have to admit here that I’ve never finished either Half-Life game. That said, I totally agree with you about single-player games. I’m totally psyched for Skyrim, especially since it appears to offer a reactive game world that doesn’t require interacting with other people’s stupid avatars.

  3. I sure hope David is right, and that Valve isn’t completely doing away with single-player. I need Half-Life 3 in my life. The first two games are two of the most important games I’ve ever played, and also two of the best.