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Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev

An article on Polygon offers an extensive look at Spec Ops: The Line, Yager's recently released third-person shooter set in a windstorm-swept Dubai. This offers a detailed exploration of some of the game's themes (warning of spoilers for those who are yet to play), and hears from lead writer Walt Williams on the topic. An interesting aspect of this noted by VG247 is Williams referring to the game's multiplayer support as "a cancerous growth" forced on them as a checkbox item by publisher 2K Games:

Against Davis' wishes, development on the multiplayer component proceeded and was farmed out to Darkside Studios. The result, according to Davis, was a "low-quality Call of Duty clone in third-person," which "tossed out the creative pillars of the product." "It sheds a negative light on all of the meaningful things we did in the single-player experience," Davis said. "The multiplayer game's tone is entirely different, the game mechanics were raped to make it happen, and it was a waste of money. No one is playing it, and I don't even feel like it's part of the overall package it's another game rammed onto the disk like a cancerous growth, threatening to destroy the best things about the experience that the team at Yager put their heart and souls into creating."

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21. Re: Spec Ops: The Line MP Knocked By Dev Aug 29, 2012, 17:34 Beamer
 
JoeNapalm wrote on Aug 29, 2012, 13:56:
Beamer, you're demonstrating exactly what is wrong with "The Industry." I'm not saying you are wrong, just that the industry, itself, is limping along on a flawed model.

Games are art...I don't care what the Supreme Court or you or whoever has to say about it, they're art. And just like other forms of art in the entertainment industry, like books and movies, when it becomes an industry, things get all jacked up.

This is because Suits don't get art. They don't understand it, and they sure as fuck don't MAKE it. Suits only understand, only make, one thing - MONEY.

Which is why Beamer and I are talking about two entirely different things. See, I'm talking about making good games, and Suits don't give a rat's ass about that.

So when the Suits (for example) take over a previously beloved game company, they can't understand why they hit all the bullet points and buzz words and did their focus groups and spread sheets and their game is a massive flop. They had AAA graphics and sound. They had SP and MP. They threw in MMO and 3D late in development. They had vampires or ponies or whatever is "hot" this week. And they lose money.

Must be those damn pirates.

Yet games like Minecraft, Mount & Blade, Portal and DayZ and countless other "from nowhere" games are successful, despite very clearly NOT having all the bullet points and focus groups (you seriously think people KNOW what they want?). Games like Sleeping Dogs are popular and successful, yet lack multiplayer, but the Suits will only see "lost sales."

More damn pirates. Shoulda had always-online DRM. Shoulda made an MMO.

The Suits don't get that there's a difference between the gaming community and grandma buying something off the rack at S-Mart. They don't even begin to understand what makes some games legendary and others utterly tank. They'll tell you they do, but they don't. If they did, you wouldn't see so many AAA disasters.

The Suits refuse to acknowledge that there is anything more to the consumer than money (hence Beamer's comments that it doesn't matter if we are happy, just that we give them money) or that there's more to a game than a collection of features.

Because games are art. And it takes artists, not Suits, to make good art. Money is generally a different story, sadly.


-Jn-
Ifriti Sophist
When good games sell and bad games don't then "suits" will care about it. So long as customers buy mostly independent of quality you'll have that.

Regardless, I'm not even discussing quality. Did multiplayer make Spec Ops: The Line a lesser game? No. Did it detract from the main game? No, a different team made it. Did it take money from the main game? Possibly, but if it did not much, as it clearly had low resources.

The "suits" wanted a great game. And, by most reviews, they got one. But they knew simply being a great game wasn't enough. It needs to have certain features to sell well.

YOU don't understand what makes games sell. Sorry, again, being "legendary" doesn't cut it, as I can name dozens of legendary games that barely made money, or lost so much that the studio went out of business. Simply being "legendary" isn't enough, and "suits" have to hedge their bets. Stop whining about it. In the case of Spec Ops: The Line there was NO loss to this. They made sure there was a great single player game with some real depth tackling issues games very rarely tackle, then there was a tacked-on multiplayer component for idiots that won't buy otherwise.

And your second to last paragraph makes no sense, either. Of COURSE there is more than money, but no company stays alive by making consumers happy. They stay alive by SELLING A PRODUCT! On top of that, no suit is happy if his customers aren't happy. Do you know who returns? Happy customers! Do you know who doesn't return? Unhappy customers! It's very simple. But someone isn't a happy or unhappy customer until they fucking buy the product, and too many people say "I won't buy that game because it doesn't have multiplayer."

Jesus, stop fucking over-analyzing this and acting like the publisher wants you to be miserable. He wants you to be happy, but above that he wants you to be his fucking customer. He'd rather you be an unhappy customer of his than not a customer of his at all, but he'd much, much rather you be a happy customer that talks about how great the product is and buys the DLC and buys the sequel and buys anything with certain brand names on it because you trust the quality coming from there. But, again, none of that matters if you don't buy the product in the first place because it's missing a feature identified on the back of the fucking box and buy a different game because it has that little check-mark that says "playable by 64 people online!"
 
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