Friday, May 18, 2007

Now with Retsin!

The first week of work after my vacation is now almost in the can. It was definitely a shock to the system to come back after such a relaxing bit of time off, but it was also good to get back into the swing of things. My vacation was really an illuminating experience on so many levels for me though. I came to understand a lot about my career and work in the last two weeks. The time really opened my eyes as to where I am and what I need to do to keep doing the things I love. Prior to taking off I was feeling pretty frustrated and creatively stifled, which is really not a good place to be when you are trying to lay the ground work for a project. But now, thanks to some really great conversations with various people over the break, I feel freaking great! It is amazing to me how much clarity you can get from stepping away from things for a few weeks. I think I need to do that more often…not all the time…but definitely more often than I have done in the past.

I went down to San Diego on Tuesday night to do the Sony gamers day event and chat a bit about God of War: Chains of Olympus. Seems like everyone is pretty excited about the game, which is good since I am busting at the freaking seams about this game. I really think it is coming along beautifully. As is par for the course for me, I ended up hanging out Tuesday night and kicking a few back with some friends I don’t get to see too often, leaving me wrecked for the next day. But since I normally look like I haven’t slept in days, it was hardly noticeable.

I also go to check out this Game Deconstruction Group last night. This is where a group of USC game development student’s breakdown different games and everyone chats about various aspects of the game. There were a bunch of people from the development community there as well so it was nice to get to meet and chat with everyone; it’s always good to hear about what everyone is working on. (Plus I got a free copy of F.E.A.R. for ps3..sweet! Thanks again for that!) I wanted to go to the last one they did about Gears of War, but I was working. They were doing God of War 2 last night so it was good to get for that one. These guys that broke the game down were pretty freaking sharp too! Three of them had come in for focus tests of God of War. It was pretty cool to see someone really break down the game in detail and hear what others had to say about it. I think they are going to do a deconstruction of flOw next time since the GOW2 thing went longer than they expected. Hopefully I will have the time to go back to check that one out.

I have a story meeting to get to, so I am going to cut this short.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hanging Chad!

So much drama lately, huh? I have been doing a bit of relaxing and enjoying the beginning of my vacation away from work. I decided to check on the latest happenings in the games world and came across now infamous Sony Europe 'goat' stuff and the crazy coverage of Jaffe speaking out about the CAC reviews. It made me really think about the way things work now, and frankly it disappointed me a bit. I personally don’t’ think that developers commenting on reviews are whining, that is just such a stupid argument. Maybe it is hard for people who have never created something, and put it out there for the world to shit on, to actually understand. I don’t really know. I do know it is no easy thing to creatively put yourself out there, and when the public opinion turns against you to stay quite and just take it. Sure, sometimes that is the wisest course of action, but I have always respected those who still speak out, even in the face of harsh criticism. The industry needs more people like that, regardless of how it gets spun. Though the Uwe Boll thing about boxing his critics is probably taking it a bit too far.

Reviews are such a maddening thing for the people who actually create things. I mean, you work your ass for years on something and it lives or dies by the reviews. Though, this is not always the case as many games and movies have received terrible reviews, yet been a commercial success. But as a creator, the reviews still affect you. How could they not? I have worked in this business for almost 8 years, and for a large portion of that time all the games I released were welcomed with scathing reviews. Granted these games sucked, I know this, but that still eats away at you a little. It is like people calling your child ugly. I can’t imagine that most people would respond too kindly to that, eve if their kid is not winning any beauty pageants.

Why can’t developers comment or even disagree with review scores? This makes no sense to me at all, it never has. If you put a game out that gets some harsh reviews, and you have the audacity to comment or disagree with them, you get the “whiney” card pulled. What?? How is it whining to disagree with another person’s opinion of your game? When you think about it is a brilliant trump card for the press, and this kind of “sour grapes” defense is used all over the place. It makes them come off as the rightous intelligent observer while you come off as an embittered Al Gore demanding a recount. They get a forum to completely decimate, sometimes professionally and constructively - sometimes not, something that you have spent a considerable amount of time and energy on. If you do as Jaffe did and share your thoughts on their “thoughts”, you get treated as if you are whining like a child. How stupid is that? It is not too dissimilar to that whole Wii debacle I had a few moths ago I guess. I know that being in a visible ‘public’ position means that you are held accountable for the things you say…and I am totally fine with that...but to me it really seems like a one way street here. With developers being held accountable and some members of the press (not all mind you) running off and making up whatever the hell they want. Not so sweet.

Whatever…in the end a review is an opinion. So when people comment on it, developer or non-developer, they are providing an opinion of an opinion. It is not whining…hell it’s not even news…at least to everyone else except some of the vultures circling above who realize they can spin it as whining.

Im gonna go play a little EDF 2017 now...