Investigating a derelict space station alone may be dangerous, but bringing a friend along might be more trouble than it’s worth. The Kickstarter campaign for Hellpoint looks solid, but its multiplayer implementation may turn potential backers off.
Created by Cradle Games, Hellpoint is dark, sci fi action RPG taking place in orbit around a mysterious black hole. The developers are asking for $37,257 to bring the strange Irid Novo space station to life. Players take on the role of a 3D-printed protagonist. Their only directive is to “finish what was undone” however they deem necessary. What this means and how it should be accomplished is left entirely up to the player’s discretion. However, every choice and action can have a tremendous impact on the future or demise of not only the station, but also the universe beyond.
Not gonna lie, everything about the campaign pitch sounds great, with one notable exception. Cradle Games has made the interesting design choice to include split-screen co-op across all platforms. While this could be a boon for couch co-op, the lack of online single screen experiences may prove to be a deal breaker.
All The Action, Half The Screen
Under their “risks and challenges” for the project, the developers acknowledge that they have found some partners who are watching closely to see how the campaign preforms to judge market viability. They hope the campaign will help determine if sci fi RPGs have avoided split-screen in the past simply because nobody had thought of it, or if there isn’t a market for the feature. Personally, I’m betting on the latter.
When was the last time you could devote an entire weekend to playing through a game at a friend’s house? Multiplayer games migrated online for a reason.
The gameworld in Hellpoint looks impressive, if a bit dark in spots. Dividing the screen rather than enabling multiplayer online, seems like a call-back to a bygone era. I appreciate that this is how most of us experienced multiplayer when we were growing-up. Even so, with the exception of party games I don’t think the current market supports couch multiplayers anymore. Certainly nothing so heavily story-based and choice-driven as Hellpoint appears.
It’s entirely possible that this is just my personal bias. While I’d gladly endorse Hellpoint as a single player experience it boasts a difficulty that almost demands co-op play. A demand that could prove problematic under its current solution.