The lead designer of subversive thirdperson shooter Spec Ops: The Line has called the game's multiplayer mode "tacked-on" and "bullshit", saying that it was only included because publisher 2K insisted on it.
Speaking to Polygon, Davis said that development of the game's multiplayer mode – which was farmed out to Florida-based work for hire developer Darkside Game Studios – went ahead despite his vocal opposition to the idea. Instead, he believed the game should have been allowed to stand alone as a singleplayer experience, to better emphasise the game's storytelling.
"The multiplayer mode of Spec Ops: The Line was never a focus of development, but the publisher was determined to have it anyway," he said. "It was literally a check box that the financial predictions said we needed, and 2K was relentless in making sure that it happened – even [to] the detriment of the overall project and the perception of the game."
Davis describes Darkside's work as a "low-quality Call Of Duty clone in thirdperson" which "sheds a negative light on all the meaningful things we did in the singleplayer 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… it's another game rammed onto the disc like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their hearts and souls into creating."
He keeps going, too, calling it "tacked-on… bullshit, should not exist… there's no doubt that it's an overall failure". Yet, remarkably, he remains full of praise for 2K for taking a risk on a game that takes a markedly different approach to shooter storytelling.
"They took a hell of a lot of risk with the project that other publishers would not have had the balls to take," he said. "I'm proud of what we were able to achieve, and it was not easy."