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Thread: Xenoblade Sequel and the Threat of Multiplayer

  1. #1
    RPGamer Staff RPGamer Staff InstaTrent's Avatar
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    Xenoblade Sequel and the Threat of Multiplayer

    A Wii U sequel to Xenoblade Chronicles may loom on the horizon, but not everyone is as excited as you might expect. Many fans are nervous over the possible inclusion of multiplayer; some things were just meant to be done solo.

    Editorial!
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    I am nervous for many of the reasons you list in your editorial, especially the party affinity/relationships and plot cohesion. I hope multiplayer is for side quests and possibly tackling some optional megabosses or having mech flying races...

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    Ysy St. Administrator Macstorm's Avatar
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    In helping Trent with this ed, I came to understand my own fears about X. I loved the trailer and all that, but the multiplayer possibility is a scary thing to me for all the reasons listed. I loved Xenoblade, but combat alone was not the reason I loved it. Yes, single player character focused games can have story, but I like having a party. And I really like that party to not be other people. Not everything needs to be an MMO or Monster Hunter.
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    Overdosing Heavenly Bliss Moderator ChickenGod's Avatar
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    Having just played Soma Bringer, a game that shares many similarities with Xenoblade, I know that Monolith is capable of integrating co-op with single player effectively.

    To address the fact that story may be down graded, they could take the Soma Bringer approach which allows the players to pick one of 7 main characters. You can customize their class and appearance a bit, but that character's role in the story remains unchanged regardless of your choices. I don't see it as being that much different than a slightly beefed up way of playing a co-op possible RPG like Tales of Graces F or Marvel Ultimate Alliance with someone. The only way the story is cheapened is if the other person's presence annoys you, or Monolith decided that story is not a priority. This also allows the affinity system to be kept intact. If you picked Shulk, and another player picked (a version) of Dunban, just playing together with that person would raise your affinity level with that character. Of course if it used Soma Bringer's multiplayer method, you could also play through the entire game by yourself, hopefully with the added benefit of changing party members on the fly that Xenoblade brings to the table.

    My real concerns lie in the fact that it may be a purely online only MMO type of experience, or that the focus on multiplayer will result in a lack of effort on the single-player content like White Knight Chronicles.
    Last edited by ChickenGod; 02-22-2013 at 12:16 PM.
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  5. #5
    If it's just hop-in co-op where another player controls a different party member, then it shouldn't be a problem. If it's a full scale MMO, then yeah, it could be a problem. Need more details either way.

  6. #6
    As long as the experience is complete and playable in single-player, I'm OK with it having multiplayer. I do feel that forced multiplayer is not acceptable, and I feel that adding it in often does take away from the work on the single player. Its unnecessary, but can be done in an unobtrusive way like Tales does it.

    I've generally been very against multiplayer in my RPGs, but after Mass Effect 3 I've learned to temper that attitude. At this point, I've only done the multiplayer in ME3, haven't touched the single player yet. It was surprisingly good.

  7. #7
    Staff Healer RPGamer Staff TwinBahamut's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if all of these fears are justified... I doubt that the fear that the inclusion of multiplayer will turn the game into a Monster Hunter clone is really plausible. X still looks to be strongly in the spirit of Xenoblade, which is its own style of game. Yet, I wouldn't even agree that such a "worst case scenario" would necessarily lead to some of the problems described in this article.

    I mean, forget about Monster Hunter for a moment and look at one of the other games in that genre: Gods Eater Burst. It still has a large cast of memorable and likable NPC allies who play an important role in the story and help you across every step of the single-player part of the game. Something like Xenoblade's affinity system would have been a seamless and valuable addition to a Gods Eater game, so I don't agree with the argument that it is a necessary casualty of the inclusion of multiplayer. Similarly, White Knight Chronicles does a lot to show how a player-customized character doesn't need to mess up the dynamics of a game where you can switch between controlling different team members in a party. Fire Emblem Awakening shows that a player-customized character doesn't need to be devoid of personality or irrelevant to the story. The various games I've played that experimented with mixing multiplayer and singleplayer have proven to me that it can work. All it needs is the right team to pull together the different good ideas and create something fun.

    It's not like Monolithsoft is all that unfamiliar with multiplayer games, either. Their last multiplayer RPG got a 4.0 from our own Mike Moehnke, in fact. I wouldn't be surprised if they build upon that experience just as much as they are building upon Xenoblade in order to create something interesting and fun.

    Honestly, I think panicking about imagined possibilities at this stage is pointless. We really don't know anything about X, and we know even less about how its multiplayer system may or may not work. The only thing we can do right now is either trust Monolithsoft or not, and after Xenoblade I'm willing to give them that trust. They've already proven their ability to step outside expectations and create games with bold new ideas that work really well in play.

    Anyways, I like multiplayer RPGs. I think the genre needs more good ones that bring new ideas to the table. Honestly, I'd be thrilled to get a version of Xenoblade that allows for Secret of Mana or Tales-style local multiplayer, and I can't see any downsides to that kind of play. The thought of Monolithsoft and Nintendo working on more ambitious than that is quite exciting for me. So, I just can't agree with the people who are afraid of the possibilities.

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    Angel-Possessed Priestess Administrator Strawberry Eggs's Avatar
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    I have to whole-heartedly agree with Twin. It's too early to worry about what sort of game this will be and how it will play. Even if there will be multiplayer, that's doesn't necessarily mean it can't be a good story-driven RPG. Let's cross that bridge when and if we get to it, huh?
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    Final Fanatic Sandy's Avatar
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    In my opinion the trailer made it pretty clear that the game is multiplayer. The characters in it looked very generic, and there was no mention of anything related to the story or the world. It was just "look at all the cool stuff you can do in cool environments!".

    If I wanted to play Monster Hunter, I'd go play Monster Hunter.

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    Member retrodragon's Avatar
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    I have often argued that big MMO sized games actually need the multiplayer feel to make up for the games expanse. I usually get bored of games like Xeno, Skyrim, KoA Reckoning etc because the pure size of the game wears on me. The multiplayer element would keep me coming back to join the community experience. I may be in the minority here, but I thought X looked awesome, and I'm personally excited about the prospect of multiplayer. IMO big open games work well with mulitplayer gameplay. More focused story based games make better single player experiences. For example, Xenoblade runs like a wannabe MMO. I felt like it had the negatives of an MMO (fetch quests etc) in the gameplay without the fun of the community. The benefit is in the story, which was superb. Anyway, if X can manage to bring in some mulitplayer elements while still telling a compelling story, it could be a nice mix.
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    Under watcher LordKaiser's Avatar
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    People fear that it becomes another White Knight Chronicles. It also can be a full MMO without Single Player story.
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    A Witness to Destruction Moderator DarkRPGMaster's Avatar
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    I find the fear to be quite silly IMO, especially considering that the multiplayer aspect could be an added thing with most of the attention given to single player mode. There HAVE been RPGs like this before I believe (I could be wrong) that have been done well.
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    Member retrodragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkRPGMaster View Post
    There HAVE been RPGs like this before I believe (I could be wrong) that have been done well.
    Not disagreeing, just trying to think of some...maybe something like Monster Hunter 3 or a Phantasy Star gamer? The White Knight games tried to integrate the two, but the basic gameplay was already kind of broken so the multiplayer didn't really catch on. Of course, the Tales games have integrated solo play with the option of multiplayer for a long time. It could work if they plugged in the multiplayer like Resident Evil 5 did maybe? For some reason I'm picturing a multiplayer X as being structured like a Phantasy Star game. But that doesn't bode well for the storyline. Any other takers?
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  14. #14
    Angel-Possessed Priestess Administrator Strawberry Eggs's Avatar
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    Phantasy Star Zero had a substantial story mode. Though the main character was silent, save for some choices that apparently were only there to see how the other characters reacted to it, it was a decent story. I thought it was especially nifty that it changed depending on the race of your character. There is of course online/multiplayer mode without story. "X" could have a similar structure, except replacing the silent protagonist with a Fire Emblem: Awakening-style Avatar.
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  15. #15
    It was already mentioned but Secret of Mana also used multiplayer which as far as I know was one of the first Jrpgs to do so. Even though he was just a map graphic designer Tetsuya Takahashi also worked on it which is why im not worried as i believe it will be entirely optional

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