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Competitive Multiplayer

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There are several distinct types of Multiplayer modes in Video Games. This trope is a Sister Trope of Meta Multiplayer, Co-Op Multiplayer and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game.

See also Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode, where multiplayer modes are featured in games that are really designed for single-player, and Sliding Scale of Cooperation vs. Competition, on how competitive and cooperative elements can be mixed in the same game.


Players directly compete against each other (Player Versus Player) and possibly characters controlled by the CPU. May organize players into teams. Usually the main feature of Fighting Games, sports games, Racing Games, party games, puzzle games, and anything online, though a single-player (or co-op) "main game" may be available as well.

2-Sided Competition

2 Player

When the game is only designed for one player against another. Modes may be provided where additional players can play alongside a comrade, but if one person plays against another it would not be considered two teams of one.



The second player takes control of enemies and has no objectives other than to hurt the first player, who plays exactly as in single-player mode.

Red Versus Blue

2 equivalent teams with the same capabilities and objective play against one another. These teams may be comprised of only one player, but teams scale naturally. Teams are often (but not necessarily) distinguished by looking identical except for being colored either Red and Blue (although note different, asymmetric types of 2-team multiplayer may use these to distinguish teams as well).


Attack and Defense

Two teams have different objectives.


Commander and Fighters

One player on a team interacts in the game in a diferent fashion from the rest, eg. a Commander with a Real-Time Strategy view of the battlefield while the rest of the team fights in a First-Person Shooter view.


  • The Half-Life mod Natural Selection.
  • One of the earlier ideas kicked around for Team Fortress 2.
  • Battlefield, though the Commander can also fight him/herself.
  • Battlezone1998. note 

3 or 4 sided


The playfield is set up for no more than 4 players, eg. each player gets a corner of the playfield. Most commonly seen in the days of the N64 when systems could have no more than 4 players at any one time. If there are three players/teams, one team is visibly absent.


1 vs. 3

One player/team must fight another team of 2 or 3 other teams/players. The game is balanced so the single player is in a position of power.


Pirates Vikings and Knights

There are 3 distinct and different classes/teams. Difficult to balance and rarely seen outside the Half-Life mod Pirates, Vikings and Knights.

  • Aliens vs. Predator (vs. Human Marines)
  • For Honor


The game has as many competing groups as the player count permits.

Player Versus Everyone

Every player plays against every other player.


King of the Hill:

  • Halo series
  • Metroid Prime Hunters
  • Be A Man, Beat The Man:
    • Halo series (Juggernaut)
    • Metroid Prime Hunters (Prime Hunter)


Players can cooperate in their own sets of groups in any permutation allowed by the player limit.


Battle Royale Game:

Players drop into a map, scavenge for weapons and equipment to keep them alive, and kill each other until only one player (or team) remains. All while outrunning an Advancing Wall of Doom that acts as a time limit.


Alternative Title(s): VS Mode