Spec Ops: The Line's lead designer has said the shooter has suffered due to its "bullshit" and "tacked on" multiplayer component.
Lead designer Cory Davis stressed that developer Yager was never interested in implementing a multiplayer mode for the game, which has received critical acclaim for its story. He stated that publisher 2K Games were adamant that Spec Ops: The Line had to feature an online multiplayer component.
Davis believes that 2K should have dismissed market studies and sales expectations that pointed towards a title needing to have some sort of multiplayer presence, and instead let Spec Ops: The Line stand as a single-player experience.
"The multiplayer mode of Spec Ops: The Line was never a focus of the development, but the publisher was determined to have it anyway. It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened — even at the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game."
The designer described the multiplayer component, which was developed externally by Darkside Studios, as a "low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person", as well as branding it as a "tacked on multiplayer" mode and "bullshit, [which] should not exist... there's no doubt that it's an overall failure." He added that it was a "waste of money" as "no one is playing it."
"It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience. The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package — it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."
Despite his frustration with 2K's decision to aggressively push for the inclusion of multiplayer to the shooter, Davis has respect for the publisher as they "took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take."