Relying On Split-Screen Multiplayer May Prove Problematic For Hellpoint

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.

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Joanna Mueller
Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Minecraft books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games.
Joanna Mueller

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  • Mixor

    Hi,

    I work on the project. Current demo is pre alpha, and all the balancing and presentation will improve. Game is going to have online mp too. And balancing will be probably slightly different when in sp and when in coop/mp.

    But you’re wrong about couch coop not being popular. People still love that.

    • Hey Mixor, the project looks great. You may be right about the couch coop, but I’m still looking forward to the online mp instead. I want to be able to see the whole game, not just a horizontal slice.

      • Mixor

        I getch ya. Online mp is going to be in the final game and on the release. If you haven’t tried the demo yet, but have pc with win or linux, maybe give it a shot.

    • Rafoca

      The fact alone you are supporting co-op makes me love you. I love coop on every kind of game

      • Mixor

        Thanks man! Please share, so we reach more people!

      • Mixor

        And try the demo if you have pc with win or linux. Couch coop is already playable 🙂

        • Rafoca

          Is it coming to Xbox too??

          • Mixor

            YESH 🙂

          • Rafoca

            Hey, I haven’t heard about this game until this article popped up.

            Dark souls is my favorite franchise, so imagine my joy when I watched the gameplay video. This looks fantastic!

            How many players co-op? The website doesn’t say much.

            Also, is it coop campaign??

          • Mixor

            As far as i know 2 players coop an it’s the same campaign, but im not responsible for higher up decisions, so things might go any way, but coop is already in the demo.

  • Borghal

    “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.”

    By the same token:
    When was the last time you would have rather played distant online coop rather than sit down with your girl/boyfriend together in front of one screen ?

    I don’t think multiplayer games have migrated online. We had LAN before, which is the same thing. It’s just that for some reason devs these days seem to think PC gaming is only in front of a small screen and split screen is a console feature, when the reality is that if you already have a TV and PC/laptop in one house, it is far cheaper and easier to buy two controllers and a HDMI cable than a new console, and the end user experience is the same. Case in point, Diablo.

    And it’s not as though a 24″ screen is too small to use for splitscreen anyway. FullHD TVs are still a prevalent thing and they can’t display more pixels than a PC screen can.

    • You make a valid point. I forget that not everyone has two gaming PC’s positioned next to each other so they can play co-op next to their significant other. Split screen is a far better option than just not being able to play together.