At last! Recognition!

Dude over at The 2 Bears found my K Prototype video. As it turns out, he's really into indie shooters (more than me, which is saying something!) so he did a blog update about it.

Wow. Y'know, I made that thing years ago, and it's only now that anyone takes notice without me forcing their nose in it. This must be Long Tail Advertising at work, or something.

Thanks YouTube... I'll miss you when you're gone after not finding any kind of business model to sustain your increasing popularity. They're losing half a million dollars every month according to The Economist. Man. They should just charge people who put crappy videos up. If Sturgeon's Law is to be believed, then 90% of the crap can easily pay up to make that worthwhile 10% free. (I jest, ofcourse. The moment they start charging users, the honeymoon's over).

Anyway. It's really nice to hear nice things about the game (I get paid in compliments! woo!). Truth is, those who have played it know it's incredibly rough around the edges. I'm glad it's apparently pretty enough to be mistaken for an On Rails shooter... pff. As if I'd stoop so low! Nothing in that video is at all contrived. No cutscenes. All gameplay.


Moment of Truth #1

We just sent off our pitch to Microsoft, and it's fair to say that we're both bricking it.

A number of things could happen:

  • They hate it. They reject us. We get jobs elsewhere and wonder what would have been.

  • They like it. They like it so much that they already went ahead and greenlit someone else who did a remarkably similar game. Tommy starts to kick my ass for a decade - not for being unoriginal... for being just not original enough.

  • They like it. There's nothing else like it. It meets all their requirements. They trust us enough to lend us an Xbox devkit. We make the game. It passes submission first time. Gets on XBLA to amazing critical acclaim, and finally, girls don't start crying when we make eye contact.

Well. We can dream. *Ulp*.

Even now, not an hour after submission, Tommy is twitching at the prospect of a return e-mail... acceptance, rejection, anything! Just to know someone is stationed at the listening post.

We've got to chill out. We've got to keep calm. They're busy people. They get more than ten submissions a week from people who, like us, are convinced that their game is "teh b3st game of the univerz3"!! And unlike us, most of those are probably from big hitting publishers.

We've got to chill out. We've got to keep calm. But Lord knows we deserve not to.


IO are good. But...

I really like IO as a developer. The Hitman series, though it didn't do much more than refine itself, was certainly closer to interactive storytelling than games which were out and out trying to be (I'm looking at you, David Cage). While the mission struction, if anything, got a lot more confined as the series progressed, your moment to moment actions were at least not crippled by what some would call "good storytelling" (and which I call a complete misinterpretation of the medium). And the scoring system was only slightly flawed in that in encouraged you to get the "Silent Assassin" rating, which effectively meant following a fairly scripted route, making use of the poisoning/exploding/piano crushing set ups - so there was always an implied "correct way" of doing the level... anything else was rather sneered at. I always wanted insane killing rampages to be as equally rewarded as sneak-a-thons... just to embrace the idea that it's the player's expression which is most important.

And Freedom Fighters - wow. It came at a time when squad based shooters really were up their own arse... where commanding your dudes required a high threshold for pain due to the unnecessarily complex interfaces provided to you. Freedom Fighters nailed a really easy approach. Three buttons: "Go there/attack", "Go there/defend" and "Come back here". Out of that you could create some great little emergent strategies - place two guys either side of a door, send a third guy in, pull them back with enemies in tow, then get the drop on them as they walk out the door right into the faces of two shotty weilding bastards. See, it shows that IO know how to learn from their mistakes. Hitman's interface was a little convoluted. FF's was nice and easy. (Then again, FF was painfully linear, despite their best efforts to hide the fact).

Their new game is being discussed. They're calling it a middle ground between FF and Hitman. hooray!

Just one thing though: "Kane"? Seriously? Man, I thought we'd been over this already.

It seems like every other gritty video game/wannabe B-Movie has some character called Kaine, Caine, Cane, Kane, Kayne or Kain. Enough Kane already! I mean, even Michael Caine, whose name is actually "Caine" doesn't bloody go around looking for movie roles where the character's name is Caine. Unless he's playing himself. But you can hardly blame him for that. Infact, according to his IMDB rap sheet he was "Born Maurice Micklewhite in London". Also, he's "Sometimes Credited As ... Michael Scott". Interesting.

So what I think happened was, he changed his name, because, I mean "Micklewhite"... What? He changes his name to "Michael Caine". And that was back in the day when it was pretty cool to be called "Caine". Like "Hey, that's that biblical killer, right? Wow. Damn son! And people are still pretty religious these days. Damn, you be a rebel!" (that's the voice of the deed poll clerk).

And that's cool, but only because it wasn't before every hack from HollyWood to Redwood decided to do the same thing. If you call an antagonist "Caine", it's a shortcut to getting the judeo-christian audience's anger focussed: "Caine? CAINE? That thar's the furst guy that cummitted mordur! If he hadn't introduced that thar concept of mordur, ther'da been no mordur nevur! String him up!"

So at that point, he's like "Wright. Wiwl you bloody hacks stop bloody using my name in vain?" and he uses the name "Michael Scott" instead. Almost the exact same thing happens, though. Shyeet. Name hijacked again.

Anyway. Let me be clear:

STOP USING THE NAME "KANE" IN VIDEO GAMES. Seriously, did you rip one page out of the "Baby Names for Satanists" book and photocopy it for everyone in the games industry? STOP IT.