If you think that you can shelve your copy of Grand Theft Auto V just because you’re done with the story missions, you’ve got another thing coming, buster. Tomorrow, Rockstar opens the floodgates on Grand Theft Auto Online, which promises to be one of the most ambitious multiplayer modes to ever hit consoles. Tomorrow is a very exciting day.
In the spirit of the upcoming online mayhem, which will surely suffer no setbacks such as server overloads and error messages, it feels like high time to take a look at the games that came before to promise the world.
Sometimes they succeeded, and sometimes they didn’t. In any case, these are five of the most ambitious online console experiences to date.
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
It’s easy to take the series for granted these days, but Call of Duty 4’s influence in the multiplayer space can’t be understated. Not only is every other first-person shooter infused with RPG-like leveling systems, but even online modes in other genres have taken cues from it — Blur, a racing game, used a similar system very effectively.
Plugging complex RPG elements into the bro-iest of genres has made those games more addictive than ever, and it’s going to take something just as revolutionary to pull people away.
Taking its name from a weirdo PlayStation launch game was strange, but the premise was otherwise solid — put 32 players in giant maps filled with tanks and planes, then tell them to go nuts. While the resulting dogfights and tank battles were a lot of fun, there was a special satisfaction reserved for somehow shooting down a Warhawk with a tank.
It might seem ancient now, but it was a landmark game for the PlayStation Network in its early days. A spiritual successor was released with Starhawk not too long ago, but it needed more than transforming spaceships and a single-player campaign to regain Warhawk’s glory.
We’ve seen cross-platform play take place with games such as Portal 2 and a number of PS3/Vita titles, but how often do we get cross-platform and cross-game support within a giant universe? Not very.
Eve Online on PC is plenty dense on its own, and throwing Dust 514 on PS3 into the mix didn’t make it any easier for a newbie to get acclimated. Still, the idea of two games sharing one economy, offering and taking jobs between each other, is compelling.