Note: this is not (just) a theoretical question. I have been asked to develop a solo game mode for the game that I am working on, and I'm wondering if I should start with a cooperative mode instead.
Q 1: Given a solo game (i.e. a game designed/intended for one player), what qualities must it have - positive and negative - for it to have a natural extension for multiple, cooperating players?
One such quality would be the control of several characters: if the player is responsible for the movement/actions of several otherwise-independent characters, it would be reasonable to assign each character to a player (thereby creating a "cooperative" game).
Q 2: Given a multiplayer cooperative game (i.e. a game designed/intended for several players to work together toward a common goal), what qualities must it have - positive and negative - for it to have a natural... distillation to a solo game?
Most of what I've come up with on this end is a list of things/games that won't work.
Escape: Curse of the Temple and Space Alert are two popular cooperative games that are played on a timer (which is actually an audio soundtrack). Without changing the soundtrack/game length, it would be tough for a single player to do what 4-5 players are usually responsible for.
The game play of Hanabi relies entirely on the limited information that each player has, and on controlling communication. A single player... well, it would be hard to imagine Hanabi keeping its elegance in a solo mode.