Sunday, December 04, 2005

Game X

I’d just like to point out I *HATE* Franchise X. Really, really it’s the Pits. It’s the epitome of unthinking franchises, designed to eke yet more money out of us, without risking anything, appealing to our basest instincts, sex and conservatism (it’s been around for a long time). The games companies do *so* well with this OUTRAGEOUS MEDIOCRITY that they have no need to panic until their profits sink an iota below their spectacular projections. At which point they’re normally bought out by someone even more mediocre (lowest common denominator games being oddly attractive to investment bankers.)

The ethics of this are convoluted. I have a moral obligation to bring my concerns about this pile of twaddle to our readers, however I also have a moral obligation to give this the benefit of the doubt (inherited from some diseased Romano-Christian mentality), assuming it may improve between now and release (which I know it won't, seeing such failure of imagination that can only indicate poor, broken developers working for money rather passion, driven by the financial whips of gravy-chinned higher-ups.)

Rather than giving it the pre-emptive kicking that it deserves, which an alternative morality says thickens and hardens it, making it a stronger, more resilient game as it responds to the criticism (inherited from the Judeo-Arabic morality, perhaps) I have to grin like a fox eating shit off a wire brush and dissemble to myself that it might show promise. Also, if I kicked it, it's likely that they'd pay no attention anyhow, as they've their deadlines to hit and my comments are too far down the production cycle to matter (let alone being insignificant to them) *and* it's likely my magazine would never be allowed near it when it came to review, so there's an element of selfishness here. Ah, the good ol' days on Format, where no-one cared what you wrote...

Phew. Hope that’s out of my system. Now to writing the big positive preview… (yes, on my weekend - don't you just love working on four separate issues in the same month? No, me neither.)

3 comments:

Aaron said...

And here was me making predictions that all you'd have to fill the magazine with after reviewing the handful of launch games would be hype-filled previews...

Well, some developer was on his high horse a few weeks ago saying that games journalists don't contribute to the industry, merely giving hype-previews and then by-the-numbers "This is good, this is bad" reviews (at the best of times) rather than being like the rock journalists of the '60s or the film critics of the '50s. Well, life's a bitch I suppose...

Grill said...

Ah, yes, I read that. we'd all rather give honest previews, as it would benefit the consumer in the end (who are the people who really matter to us).

To be honest, I'd prefer it if we could have a single magazine or website that found and made stories, and used all the nefarious tools at our disposal to get access to games pre-release to give the consumer an accurate early view of just. That might even benefit the development process if the feedback is early enough.

An interesting fact is that, due to the new accounting laws in the US, PRs are not really allowed to let anyone see any game before release unless they can guarantee the coverage will be positive, as they have become directly culpable for any negative publicity. If I saw a game and wrote an early review or preview that slagged it off, which could lead to poor sales (whether due to readers, word of mouth or internet distribution) the shareholders could sue the company directors and possibly the PR as well for reducing the value of the product. It's my theory that the first big legal case of this sort will put a stop for at least one major company on doing any prelease reviews/previews on all their titles. At which point, we'll have to start using our journalistic powers, as we'll get nothing without them (and lose nothing by doing it - indeed PRs may off-the-record encourage us to do so, being the only way they could get coverage that isn't covered by hideous liabilty contracts.)

toby said...

Interesting!