It was a frigid winter morning when I decided to go out for a drive. I was still trying to recover from a debilitating sinus infection which had kept me from enjoying the beginning of my Christmas vacation. I decided that a nice drive would help me ease back into the swing of things. Something that could keep me on my toes but still be therapeutically hypnotic. Unfortunately, this drive would only add to my problems.
After being on the slippery roads for a few minutes, I decided to turn around and head toward town. I noticed a much larger vehicle heading toward me, but I didn’t give it much attention. I did not think it warranted much thought as I had never had issues with other drivers before on the open road. We were about to pass by each other when the unthinkable happened: PremedRanger388 pushed an AI car into me, forcing me into a head-on collision.
Now, I am talking about me driving in Forza Horizon 4 and not in real life, obviously. I was wanting to play a fun racing game to wind down, but I eventually ended up leaving the game as this experience left a sour taste in my mouth. Maybe it bothered me more than it should have because I was still recovering from my sinus infection, but it showed me just how annoying an online-only racing experience can be. Thankfully, the other player vehicles are shown as ghosts, and they can not blatantly grief you. This experience, though, proved that griefers can still exist.
I am a very reclusive player. I will play online shooters, but I have found myself retreating from multiplayer games lately. I have actually taken a break from shooters. My only online gaming interactions come from the MMO Star Wars The Old Republic, but I primarily keep to myself in that game and do not come into direct contact with others. I have always had antisocial tendencies which only worsen when I am sick. I wanted to simply drive around the world of Forza Horizon 4 and not be bothered. But, I could not even do that as some jackass online had to ruin my experience (no offense, PremedRanger388, maybe you are a nice person in real life or maybe this was an accident).
My point in complaining is that I do not understand why video game developers are so focused on trying to have these online only experiences. With Forza Horizon 4, the other players are turned into ghosts because the developers know that there will always be those gamers who are going to be a nuisance. It is expected that other people will be thorns in other players sides. Since it is a common occurrence that this will happen, why not give players the option to just play in an empty world. I miss the days of being a kid and playing Midnight Club on PlayStation 2 and just driving around the world all by myself. I could do whatever I wanted and would not have to worry about strangers online trying to ruin my experience or me accidentally ruining theirs. I don’t care for your shared world, and I don’t care for playing with others in this game. I play racing games as almost a type of therapy; I don’t play them for competition or for griefing. This game does not cater to my play style; so I am not going to play it.
I don’t understand why I can not simply turn off the ability to play with others. I have seen players talking about being able to go offline and still play it, but I am not disconnecting my system or turning off my router every time I play this one game. There should be an obvious option to play on or offline rather than forcing me to share a world with random people online. Maybe there is one, but I could not find it after a few minutes of searching within the game and online forums. I double checked earlier and did not see an option from within the options menu, but it showed that I was offline for some reason. I had the opposite problem where I could not easily figure out how to go online. I think being offline was just a weird coincidence as I have always had issues with my Xbox One consoles randomly logging me out or going offline upon rebooting them. And, frankly, I do not want an online or offline button. I want to simply turn off the function that groups me with random strangers. Choosing whether or not to play with others should be a major option that you are given from the start or at least easily shown in the options menu. It is idiotic to me that I am forced to see random ghost cars driving by me as I am trying to enjoy the game. It serves absolutely no positive purpose to me personally.
As games continue to rush toward shared world experiences and online-only settings, I hope that anti-social players such as myself will be remembered. I don’t care about seeing random people, and I don’t care about comparing scores or seeing random usernames. I really just want to be left alone and enjoy a great game (Forza Horizon 4 does seem to be a great game) all by myself. You can keep your shared world. I can enjoy the game all by myself just fine.