Game developer: don’t tell me your game ideas

In one hilarious, well-written post on his Bamboo Cyberdream blog, game dev Shane Liesgang goes through the reasons why you should not tell developers about your amazing “it’s like Teletubbies meets Katamari meets Resident Evil” game idea – or any others, for that matter.

“I meet you at a party. Or a wedding. Or a bar. Doesn’t matter. Maybe we have mutual friends, or just struck up conversation over some humorous occurrence that we both witnessed. We’ll talk movies, football, the weather, and music. Eventually, you ask what I do for a living.

“I’m a game developer.”

“Oh, let me tell you — I have the best idea for a game.”
It’s at this point that our interaction has become terribly unpleasant for me. Let’s go through the possible outcomes here.”

From the overabundance of terrible game ideas to the insanely messy machinations of IP law, take it from Shane: you should go out, learn game design, learn programming, learn some basic art skills, and go make the damned thing yourself. If you actually do, our intrepid author stresses that he “absolutely would love to play your game.”

So take that, budding Will Wrights of the world: go forth with your creations. Just don’t tell anybody who could get into legal trouble about them.

Angry Birds Developer is Always Angry

No High Scores

Perhaps it’s just the way that games are covered lately but it feels like you can’t go ten minutes without Angry Birds developer Rovio getting all hot and bothered. Someone needs to take a minute in the time out chair and get a hold of themselves.

Now look Rovio, I understand where you’re coming from. Angry Birds has been downloaded 100 million times and you guys are sitting on a boatload of cash from the sales and here’s Satoru Iwata saying that cheap games devalue the industry. The problem is that I kind of see his point…

You could argue that a generation of gamers raised on 99 cent games can’t see why a game should ever be more than a dollar, or five bucks. Now, for many of those people that dollar game fits their needs, but when it doesn’t, will they be able to understand that offering a deeper experience than Angry Birds costs money? Cause, I like Angry Birds and I’ve played the hell out of it, but I wouldn’t consider it deep. Getting a new set of levels out, even if they’re themed, and some static, 2D artwork to convey the “story” is nothing compared to what it takes to pull off something like a Legend of Zelda game. The two should be priced differently because they offer much different experiences and cost a different amount to make. It doesn’t make one better than the other, just different.

Now, as for your comments about Nintendo being worried, well, you can be damned sure that they are. Nintendo isn’t stupid and to imply that they can’t change is an extremely ignorant comment because Nintendo’s willingness to go in the opposite direction than everyone else is why both the Wii and the DS sold as well as they did. The problem is that while Nintendo is great charting a new course for Nintendo, they are extremely stubborn in following someone else’s course, even if that path goes where most people want them to.

For example Friends Codes. No one likes them. They suck. They sucked on the DS, they sucked on the Wii, they suck on the 3DS, yet Nintendo continues to hang on to them because it’s what they want and, more importantly, it’s what they think their consumers want. The same can be said about demos. There are a lot of people who don’t play demos and that’s fine, but there are a lot of people, like myself, that use demos to evaluate possible gaming purchases. Nintendo knows this, but they don’t offer them. Why? Who the hell knows. If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because they don’t want people deciding not to buy something based on a demo. A shrewed business decision, sure, but ultimately limiting. And don’t get me started on the whole Nintendo online purchasing thing because it’s a mess. An absolute mess.

So here we have a company that is seemingly dead set against offering some of what you would consider basic online functionality for current generation consoles and then here comes you, Rovio with your cheap, accessible, wildly successful game that not only can be updated on the fly but is so cheap that it doesn’t need a demo. Hell, on some phones, it’s free (thanks for that by the way). So yeah, Nintendo is worried because they see their death grip on the handheld market loosening with every flung bird and smashed pig.

The problem, as I see it, is not that you don’t have good points, but that you come off like such a colossal douchebag when making them. Now, I know that it has to be hard to be as successful as you are and be a mobile phone game developer because for as much cash as you have, I would imagine this industry doesn’t give you the respect you deserve. So yeah, I get that. The problem is that your comments don’t come across as someone who has had enough and wants some respect, but it comes off as “Hey, look at us, we’re filthy rich and if you don’t change to be like us then you’re all doomed. DOOMED!” Maybe that’s not what you’re trying to say, maybe it is, I don’t know, but that’s what it sounds like and that’s downright silly.

When consoles first grew to popularity and obtained the ability to show PC-like graphics, the PC industry was declared doomed. Doomed, dead, whatever. Did that happen? Of course not, because there were, and still are, people who prefer to play on PC’s. The same is true for consoles. I love Angry Birds, but when I have the time to sit down and play a game for more than ten minutes, it is not the game I go for. That’s just me though. Others have and will. My point is that there are consumers of all stripes, all looking to have different gaming experiences and gaming as a whole is better when everyone succeeds. As for your “$49 pieces of plastic” comment, last I checked, Apple wasn’t selling iPhones and iPads at cost, so let’s just get down off of that high horse, shall we?

So yeah Rovio, let’s calm down a bit and make sure that the way we’re delivering our message isn’t drowning out the message itself. Game publishers do need to figure out the best way to update their games to make them competitive with smaller games that offer more than less, and I want to see that happen. What I don’t want is for the notion to be ignored because the person delivering the message is the crazy guy yelling out on the street corner. Besides, dude, you’re like, rolling it. Next time someone takes a shot you should respond with a picture of you neck deep in Euros. That’d shut them up.

Fez developer to WiiWare: F*** off

Hey wait now those are his words, not mine. Mr. Phil Fish, co-creator of the indie game Fez recently told Destructoid that, in effect, WiiWare is a big pile of crap.

“Right now we’re only concentrating on XBLA, which makes the most sense for us at the time. PC and PSN would also make a lot of sense, but in my opinion, WiiWare just wouldn’t be worth our time and effort. It’s a dismal system that I don’t want to deal with neither as a customer, nor a developer. No demos? Fuck off.”

And while we all get a chuckle out of such crass use of the F Bomb I know you are likely asking the all important question, ‘What the **** is Fez?

A Story of Two Moves

First off, and this should come as no surprise, Insomniac has revealed that Resistance 3 will in fact have PS Move (and 3D) support, but also says that this wasn’t due to demands put in place by Sony but rather community demand.

This from the PS Blog:

“…today we are finally able reveal, due to overwhelming community demand, that Resistance 3 will support Stereoscopic 3DTV. Furthermore, those of you who are enjoying the precision of the PlayStation Move motion controller with your copies of Killzone 3 and the SOCOM 4 Beta will be delighted to know that Resistance 3 will also support PlayStation Move and the sharp shooter. After Killzone 3 launched, we heard a massive amount of positive feedback, and were inundated with requests to support both PlayStation Move and sharp shooter. So we’re glad to be able to finally confirm the news!

In other news, which is actually a week old at this point but I found it relevant to this discussion, Ken Levine of Irrational Games has said that the PS Move is not in BioShock Infinite’s future.

Why’s that? Take it away Ken via Play Magazine.

“I’d never want to throw in Move support just because it’s going to make some first party happy or because some marketing department wants it on the box because, at the end of the day, gamers know. Do you want to play BioShock and it’s like, ‘OK, do you want to harvest or save Little Sister? Waggle left to harvest, waggle right to save!’ You can have Move support on your box but people are going to know you’re cheating them.”

I realize Resistance and BioShock are two very different action games, but the perspective is an interesting one.

New Battlefield 3 Trailer: Part 3

You have to admit these trailer teases by EA constitutes some very clever marketing. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the game looks certifiably gorgeous. Also keep in mind these trailers are based off high end PC gameplay and who is to say if your game will look like this?

In addition to these “story based” trailers, DICE has announced that the solo campaign will be around 12 hours long. I really don’t care for such announcements because it’s just filler. It’s the type of question people ask developers when they don’t have anything to ask.

“Hey how long is your game?”

“Well…that sort of depends on how fast you play it.”

But to appease the masses, DICE has said “12 hours” — now go play the multiplayer. Ok actually they said this, “”Naturally we want to introduce more people to our franchise, a lot of people don’t want to jump straight into multiplayer. They want to feel around a bit and they’re ready to move over to online.”

So anyway here we go with part 3 of these mini clips…enjoy.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D – Wesker Gone Wild

Punching a zombie through the chest cavity is awesome, doing it in 3D is super mega awesome. This can be proven. With science. Or, to save yourself some time, watch this video for Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D. Capcom is showing the 3DS some lavish attention and while I’m not usually into survival horror games, I am down for repeatedly shooting zombies in the throat.

Jurassic Park: The Game – Behind the Scenes

Today Telltale released a behind the scenes trailer for its upcoming Jurassic Park game. This is definitely worth a watch and I particularly like the idea that if you screw up you’re likely to get eaten.

The first episode of Jurassic Park: The Game is expected to release next month for PC and Mac, followed by console in the fall. Those who pre-order for PC / Mac now get the full 5 game season for $29.99 ($5 off the regular $34.99).

Telltale also opened up the exclusive Jurassic Park Insider Forums where anyone who pre-orders the series can chat with the people creating the game, get first-look production images, special Telltale Store deals, promotions and more.

This type of pre-order stuff I like and actually encourage — discounts, access, etc. and not “hey you get to see another dinosaur if you pre-order!”

Gameplay Video for Pirates of Black Cove

Paradox and Nitro Games today released a brief gameplay video clip for the upcoming RPG/RTS Pirates of Black Cove.

It’s rather cheeky.

Atari to Remake Warlords

Atari is bringing back the classic 2600 game this summer on XBLA and PSN.

PR ahead…

Atari announced today that Warlords, a remake of the classic Atari 2600 title, will be making its debut on Xbox LIVE Arcade for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and PlayStation Network in Summer 2011.

Warlords is a one-to-four player, arcade action game in which players will defend their castles from mischievous minions and ferocious fireballs spun from the mouth of a maniacal dragon. In this reinvention of the beloved classic game, players will face the ultimate (a) battle of speed, strategy and survival.

In addition, the game will increasingly challenge players to multitask as they strive to shield the castle walls and simultaneously rally troops to capture control points, collect power-ups and destroy the other warring factions.

Developed by Griptonite Games, Warlords will be available in Summer 2011. For more information, please log onto www.atari.com or www.atari.com/warlords

Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD Launch Trailer

From this latest launch trailer, it looks like Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes HD will be arriving on April 14th. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take a two week nap so that I can wake up and start life anew, in a world blessed with a Clash of Heroes game I can play on my 360. Nighty night!