Our latest issue is on sale now, which means it's time for another dose of The Hot Topic, that fearsome bearpit wherein the games media's brightest minds claw and tear one another to word-flavoured smithereens. Up for a fight this month is Aoife, who's got a bone to pick with Jonty's contention that all future games should oblige you to connect to the internet.
This is a topic we've explored before - demonstrating true independence of mind, Aoife's actually argued in favour of always-online via this list of games that show off the possibilities, and I've put together some preposterous ramblings about online mythologies, too. The subject is less pressing now that Microsoft has dropped Xbox One's online DRM, but that hasn't stopped third parties going nuts for always-online games, such as Titanfall, Destiny and The Crew.
Is this the end of the road for offline gaming? Let battle commence - and don't forget to share your thoughts.
Aoife says: NO!
There's still a certain wonder in going it alone
When I play a game, I'm often looking to escape other people, not interact with them. That probably sounds intensely anti-social, but as a self-confessed introvert, nothing fills me with more dread than sitting down to play a game from the comfort of my own home, only to be forced into conversation with complete strangers who insist on talking all over every cutscene.
When I start up a new game, I'm first and foremost buying into its world, its story, and its characters. Online, even if you're playing with other people in a non-competitive scenario, the very presence of another player can spoil the fantasy of assuming a role within that universe, and politely chatting with them can result in you missing important plot details.
Other players, whether intentionally or not, make you rush, they demand your attention, and they stop you from appreciating the world and all its intricacies at your own pace. Conversely, social interaction is perfectly palatable in a separate multiplayer mode, when you've already had a chance to enjoy the story of the single-player campaign. You're given the option to actively seek out other players to engage in additional challenges and content - and it's this personal choice over when and how you engage others online that needs to continue well into the next generation.
Flip the page for the thrilling rebuttal.