Should All Video Games Have A Campaign?

Should All Video Games Have A Campaign?


With the advent of multiplayer over the years, the traditional single-player campaign has started to take a backseat so that developers can focus more attention on multiplayer. This started to happen with Call of Duty as the campaigns began to feel more tacked-on. However, that franchise has never shed the familiar shell of campaign. A campaign seemed to be obligatory, calling out to the early days of gaming when there was no online play or even splitscreen multiplayer. Then, creating a near precedent in video gaming, Titanfall was released with no campaign and to take this matter further, DICE has already announced that Star Wars: Battlefront will not have a campaign either. But the question remains: do all video games need a campaign? This article will attempt to look at both sides of the issue and possible exceptions.

No, All Video Games DO NOT Need A Campaign

codmw3.03.lgIt is the opinion of many gamers that campaigns are almost a relic of the past. Many gamers of famed franchises like Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield do not even bother playing a campaign. Rather, they plunge into multiplayer with their friends. There are many social gamers out there, who prefer to play video games with friends rather than go “lone wolf” with an isolating single player campaign.

Other gamers are frustrated at the prospect of a tacked-on campaign. Clearly, the game was made for multiplayer. Why throw in a poorly composed campaign? Let the game be honest to the developers’ goal of an evocative mutliplayer experience. Don’t ruin a perfectly fine video game with the impurity of a terrible campaign!

Yes, All Video Games REQUIRE A Campaign

Halo takedownThere is another side to the coin. Some gamers prefer all games to have a single player campaign, whether the game had a multiplayer focus or not. Many of these gamers like completing the story the game has to offer or do not have time to mess with multiplayer. They consider a game without a campaign to be incomplete and, oftentimes, sloppy. This is the opinion that all video games need to revolve around a story. The campaign and the multiplayer should reflect that.

The best example that most of these gamers reference would be Halo 4. Everything in that game revolves around the central story of exploring Requiem. The multiplayer even reflects this concept, with Spartan Ops (the cooperative missions) giving teams of Spartans missions on the planet’s surface. In the competitive modes (like Free For All or Team Slayer), the idea is that the individual Spartans are performing training missions aboard Infinity, a ship stationed at Requiem. This particular game perfectly balances both single-player and multiplayer.

What About A Game Like Star Wars: Battlefront?

With Battlefront, the argument of campaign and no campaign becomes a bit hazy. Those in favor of a campaign tend to argue that a campaign is necessary for establishing a story; however, Battlefront already has an established story, albeit the movies. The whole point of this particular game is to recreate the epic battles from the movies. All footage from the game have basically been recreations or reimaginings from battles of the original trilogy.

Since most, if not all, players are familiar with the story and these battles, is a campaign really necessary? In this writer’s humble opinion, no, it is not. Battlefront is a rare case where the universe is already established. Exposition and explanation is not necessary in this instance. Allow the players to hop into the battles they love without focusing unnecessary developmental attention on the creation of a campaign. Of course, this game will also feature single-player, should a gamer wish to fight his or her battles solo.


Titanfall-1The answer to whether a game should or should not have multiplayer has no definitive conclusion. One thing is rapidly becoming certain, however, campaigns are going away in a lot of mainstream games. Titanfall marks the beginning of the end for the campaign. In a few years, it is likely that major franchises like Call of Duty and Battlefield will also focus solely on multiplayer. Without a campaign, what will video games even look like?

Do you agree? Is the end of the single-player campaign only a matter of time? Feel free to post in the comments.

About the Author
Co-founder of The Grid: A Sci-fi Frontier, Timothy Jackson is a middle school social studies teacher by trade. When he is not teaching, he is consuming and analyzing the nerdy spectrum of books, movies, video games, and television. Oh, and he likes to write too.

2 comments on Should All Video Games Have A Campaign?

  1. David says:

    Sometimes I feel like this is a generational issue more than anything else. I grew up back in the dinosaur age of computer gaming where single player was the only option. To this day, I am rarely interested in any games that were built around a heavy multiplayer focus, and the few times I’ve tried one were generally disappointing (hello there, Destiny).

    For me, I strongly prefer games with a strong single player campaign. I don’t have many online friends to game with, and the amount of time and schedule during which I can play are very chaotic. I’ve been told that’s what happens when you’re a parent and have to take care of kids and stuff. Trying to match all of that up so that I could hopefully play just a little bit of a game is just not worth it to me. A single player campaign would allow me to play the game completely on my schedule, which is what I need these days.

    1. I’m with you, David. While I do enjoy playing with friends, I think having a strong campaign does allow for more flexibility on the game play. Additionally, I’m a fan of story and most multiplayer experiences lack story and focus more on a capture the flag, objective style experience. Games like Halo, allow for online co-op of their campaign. That seems like the best of both worlds.

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