Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I Told Them "No Archery"

Did you ever read an interview with a game developer and suddenly realize that he isn’t really answering any of the questions? I mean he is answering them by spouting off marketing points that don’t really say anything you didn’t already know or could guess. Take for example this question and answer regarding the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean MMO game that I found on Worthplaying:
Q: What differentiates this game from other MMOs and pirate games?

The biggest difference between this game and other MMOs is that the pirate-themed world we are designing will feature some supernatural elements that are unique to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise: defending your ship from sea monsters, fighting skeleton pirates, and casting voodoo spells. We will also include the classic pirate activities: epic sea battles, searching for buried treasure, playing dice and cards, and carousing in towns.
My first thought that this must be some new use of the word “unique” of which I was previously unaware. I mean aren’t defending your ship from sea monsters, fighting skeleton pirates, and casting voodoo spells pretty standard? Did this guy not play Secret of Monkey Island? Here is a posting from Ron Gilber, Designer of the Secret of Monkey Island, on his blog Grumpy Gamer which mentions the similarities and inside jokes that exist in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies that relate to The Secret of Monkey Island.

The point of this was that he didn’t really answer the question because none of those things differentiates that from other pirate games. Hell the pirate game I worked on, Pirates the Legend of Black Kat, had all those things. Here are some more screenshots from my old resume site.

He doesn’t really answer the question, just rattles off some stuff in his game. But you know what he wanted to say don’t you? He wanted to say, “The thing that is going to differentiates Pirates of the Caribbean MMO from other games is that mine is gonna be really great!” But he can’t say that. He would also probably love to go on about some really cool features that putting in but he can’t do that either because until those features are in the game, working, and balanced they are likely to change or get cut. People reading interviews tend to carve words in stone. Then if ANY part of those features changes, they like to drag those stones out, tie them to your legs and send you for a long walk off a short pier.

Another thing that developers are afraid to do is say that something isn’t in the game. For example if somebody were to ask me if we were going to have player housing in Fury I would be afraid to just say, “No. we aren’t.” But that is what I would want to say. And as soon as somebody opened their mouth to complain I would calmly explain to them that there is no player housing in Battlefield 2. There is no player housing in Command & Conquer! There is no player housing features in checkers! And then, when they pointed out that those are different kind of games I would beat them senseless with my keyboard while screaming, “Exactly my point” over and over.

So all that leads up to the fact that Weezer_blue posted about bows and archery in Fury over on the Fury-Sanctuary forums. I watched the thread for a little bit and then decided to bit the bullet and just come right out and say that there is no archery in Fury. It was a big risk. I think I might have actually pulled it off. Check it out its pretty good. Here are some quoted responses:
I must admit that this is certainly the best reply I have seen from a dev saying NO! to his fans.

Well said.

Best answer from a Dev, ever...
-Bladen Skull

Best Answer from a dev or PR person ever...
- Lissar

That's easily the best response from a Dev I've read in a while, even if I don't particularly like the news.
- Weezer_blue


Tchakra said...

You got away without any scare this time, but press not your luck too hard for you dont know when it might run out.

j said...

pfft, I heard you say 'nulla nulla' today... wasn't even close :p