Is Vanquish mad to abandon multi-player?

Sega's risky shooter reloads a heated office debate

Interest in Vanquish has rocketed since it was announced - as the first game from Shinji Mikami since Resident Evil 4.

When you boot up Vanquish, however, you won't find the words 'Deathmatch' or 'Capture The Flag' anywhere - as it doesn't have a multiplayer mode.

PSM3's Owen Hill and Andy Kelly debate the implications:

Vanquish is an exciting prospect - a stylish reboot of console shooters. The infl uences are clear; the style and depth of control of Platinum's own Bayonetta, the reliable cover mechanics of Gears Of War, the technical mastery of Uncharted 2, and a man in a suit who looks like the love child of Master Chief and a white Gundam suit.

Not that I've got anything against any of that. I've clocked more hours on Halo 2 than any game in my life, and developed short-term addictions to both Gears and Uncharted 2. Yes, all three games have great campaigns but the true brilliance lies in their variety. Exceptional solo adventures, seamless co-op, and - this is the critical bit - deep online multi-player. No compromises - sold for the same RRP - but these are games you'll play for months, not hours.

An exceptional mechanic should be shared. Halo's slick controls and balanced weapon set only showed its brilliance after honing my skills against other humans. The importance of an active reload and thrill of a close chainsaw duel only became obvious when I went online. Spectate an Uncharted 2 match and you'll see players pushing innovative mechanics to the limits - developing new skills and strategy each session.

Vanquish will be great, but a short-lived experience. If Mikami wants to draw Western gamers he needs to embrace expectations, not shy away.
Owen Hill

Shinji Mikami's best games - Resident Evil 4, God Hand, Killer 7, Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry - have all been single-player experiences. His areas of expertise are creating bold characters and telling intriguing stories in unique worlds - not making 12-player tactical shooters.

Despite starring a man in a helmet, Vanquish is more than just another Gears of War-style cover shooter, and this is reflected in Platinum's decision not to include multi-player. It shows that they're focusing on making the game as good as it can be, without making compromises for online play.

And, honestly, if Platinum did include multi-player, I don't think it would be very good. Like Mikami, they have a history of producing single-player games, and an online mode would lack the polish they've come to be known for. I'd rather have no multi-player modes than one that feels lacklustre compared to the single-player campaign.

Sure, not having multi-player might seem like an oversight when every game feels obliged to include it, but Platinum are showing that they're not slaves to trends. Exactly the kind of attitude we love from the creators of defi antly unique games like Bayonetta and Okami. Just recently an ex-Stranglehold developer explained how they were forced to include multi-player by senior bosses even though it wouldn't work - and, surprise, it didn't. Honestly.
Andy Kelly