Spec Ops: The Line dev lashes out at "cancerous" multiplayer mode pushed by 2K

The lead designer of Spec Ops: The Line, Cory Davis has been talking to Polygon about the game's multiplayer mode. He claims that it was an unwanted, uncared for, tacked on addition that undermined the gravity of the single player experience, and attacks 2k for consistently pushing for multiplayer against the developers' judgement. After reading his comments, it's hard to see how he could put his disagreement with 2K more adamantly. Here goes.

"The multiplayer mode of Spec Ops: The Line was never a focus of the development," Davis told Polygon, "but the publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened — even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game."

Davis labelled the multiplayer mode a "low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person" that "sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience."

Spec Ops: The Line was a fairly decent shooter with an interesting knack for putting players on the spot. Its deliberatly ugly methods of documenting its protagonist's Heart of Darkness style descent into madness were refreshing, especially when contrasted with the lack of imagination shown by most military shooters. Davis labasted the multiplayer for betraying Yager's original mission statement.

"The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different," he said. "The game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package — it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."

Blimey. For many publishers, multiplayer modes are an absolute must, even in games where they don't entirely fit. Take Bioshock 2's weird arena mode, for example. But do you think that a shoddy multiplayer mode actually undermines and diminishes the efforts of the single player campaign?

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.