Forums - Gaming Discussion - Thoughts on Forza Horizon 4 and "shared world" titles

The "shared world" game, the now familiar "MMO-lite" experience that encompasses titles like Destiny, The Division, The Crew, Sea of Thieves, and the upcoming Anthem, have become quite prominent this generation, whereas MMOs have never been a truly huge deal on consoles before. Of course, they have the same common problem: they require the internet to function. Online-only games are something I've refused to invest in.


Well, not quite. I did give Destiny a chance because of Bungie, and later regretted it; I haven't touched it in 3 years. It did nothing but remind me why I was always skeptical of such games to begin with. Even ignoring Destiny's tiresome "Quest for More Loot" endgame, which to me dragged down a game that did have fundamentally sound combat mechanics, an interesting setting, and Bungie's always-excellent art design, there was more than one occasion where I couldn't play, either because my internet was down, or because Bungie's servers were down, or PSN was down. I could be playing missions entirely solo, and suddenly get kicked to the main menu because of things completely out of my control, even though I could boot up any of my other games and play them just fine without an online connection.

The idea that my ability to play a game should be contingent on multiple other things other than my console and the electricity to power it just doesn't sit well with me. And one of these days every one of those shared world games will get shut down, rendering them permanently unplayable (at least in any official/legal capacity). And the sad thing is, most of those games could have, at least in principle, been designed to where they'd be playable completely offline.

Then Forza Horizon 4 gets announced, and shows how such games ought to be done. Playground Games has taken the right approach to "shared world" games. The game is advertised as "playing best online" (paraphrasing here), being able to drive around this massive open world to play with other players if you so choose. But they also found a way to make the online part optional, that way if you want that experience it, you can, but if you want to play the game offline, you can do that as well. The game is still playable even if your internet connection goes down, or XBL or the game's servers are having issues, or we reach the inevitable point where the game's servers are shut down for good, or you simply don't want to connect your system to Xbox Live at all. If you lose connection to the game's servers for any reason, human players are replaced with AI bots, instead of the game kicking you out to the main menu and becoming completely unplayable. Every developer that wants to make a "shared world" title from now on needs to take a cue from FH4, instead of forcing a game to be online-only like we've seen with so many other games of this type. Any game that, at least in principle, could potentially be made playable offline, ought to be made to where it's playable offline. "Yes, you can play solo if you want," should always come with "And you can play offline if you want, too" attached to it.


Playground Games has set a good example. I hope it becomes the norm in the future.
Last edited by Shadow1980 - on 25 August 2018

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Yeah, I applaud Playground for making the shared world optional. I wish that the other shared world games like Destiny 2 and Anthem also had offline options.



Too bad it won't become the norm. The online only part is essential in order to sell loot boxes/micro transactions so it's likely to always be a requirement for loot focused shared world games.



Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

Shared World games is my favorite genre this gen. Destiny is my most played game of 2014, the Division is in my top 5 for 2016, Destiny 2 is my third most played game last year and Sea of Thieves is my most playrd game so far this year.



Some of these shared world games are intentionally filled with padding to keep people playing them. Fallout 76 took a page out of the CCG market with its perk cards. Destiny is a grind fest, that requires you to have the latest "expansion". I have no doubt that Anthem will be the same tedious unending grindfest as other shared world games. Even Monster Hunter World gets in on the endless and pointless late-game grindfest with Tempered Monsters, and ultra-rare gems.

I have no clue how SoT is, and will never know. Forza isn't for me since its a racing game, but at least they are taking a step in the right direction.

I played Chromehounds and MHT when they came out. Sad to see the servers for those games die.



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The Forza Horizon series, at their core, are single player games with a bunch of social features. The other games you mentioned are built for co-op and PvP, also action games.

I've only played the original Destiny, for the most part that functioned fine as a single player game. You could complete every mission alone, but it would require some grinding to make it easier.

I haven't revisited Sea of Thieves since its launch window. But that felt very much like a social experience/experiment more than an actual game, which I expected.

The Division was horribly designed/balanced. Its impossible to play alone, enemies are ridiculously over powered, even with a full team it can be difficult and low player population has made it difficult to find a group. It amazes me Ubisoft still pushes that game without rebalancing the difficulty. I gave up on that game because I sick of boring grinding missions.

If Anthem functions well as a single player and co-op games, I'm open to that. Look at Left 4 Dead for example. The AI group was okay, but its an enjoyable game to play with randoms for the most part.

Sometimes games are fine just with some co-op modes. Like Horde Mode in Gears of War. Halo 5's firefight mode is also a blast. Have fun, grind for currency, buy crap, good stuff.



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I agree that games that can be playable offline, should be playable offline. .

Destiny and Destiny 2 are my most played games of all time. Obviously, some portions of those games require online play - PVP, raids, strikes. But, probably 50% of the content could be played just fine, as-is, without getting online. Strikes could also easily be scaled to allow for single player, offline play. As we move further and further into the world of online play, I hope developers will keep in mind that many of us either cannot, or do not want to play online all the time, and that they will make content that allows us to play the way that we want to play whenever reasonably possible.



Ka-pi96 said:
Too bad it won't become the norm. The online only part is essential in order to sell loot boxes/micro transactions so it's likely to always be a requirement for loot focused shared world games.

There aren't going to be any loot boxes or micro transactions.  People had a hissy fit over the loot boxes in FM7 even though they where completely optional and only could be bought with in game currency they will be removed from the game this fall and they already said that FH4 will not have any.  Also FM7 doesn't have tokens and FH4 will not have tokens either.



Chris Hu said:
Ka-pi96 said:
Too bad it won't become the norm. The online only part is essential in order to sell loot boxes/micro transactions so it's likely to always be a requirement for loot focused shared world games.

There aren't going to be any loot boxes or micro transactions.  People had a hissy fit over the loot boxes in FM7 even though they where completely optional and only could be bought with in game currency they will be removed from the game this fall and they already said that FH4 will not have any.  Also FM7 doesn't have tokens and FH4 will not have tokens either.

I'd be willing to bet that there will be in Anthem (and a tonne of other upcoming shared world games) though.

Last edited by Ka-pi96 - on 26 August 2018

Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702

"But they also found a way to make the online part optional"

But isn't the world completely empty then? My impression from FH4 at e3 is that they've removed traffic and the only other vehicles are players in the shared world? Is this wrong? Do you get normal traffic if you opt-out of shared world?