Bioshock auteur Ken Levine announced today on Twitter that the frantically anticipated Bioshock: Infinite will not include multiplayer. This will rankle some, to be sure, as multiplayer is essentially de rigeur in every major console release these days, even in series in which no one asked for it, like Mass Effect.
Yet multiplayer, unless it is truly superlative like in the Halo and Call of Duty series, does for me the opposite of what it is supposed to: it makes me feel less connected to others. Being frustrated and half-satisfied around a lot of faceless strangers is not good for the old anomie. I’d much rather compare thoughts about a major narrative game like Bioshock: Infinite with friends in real life than play it with strangers online. This seems to be a case of Levine recognizing the real outstanding nugget of his game and trimming the fat. Good riddance, sez I, and here’s hoping the resurgence of local multplayer in indie games bleeds over to the mainstream.