Thursday, May 13, 2010

Red Dead Redemption

Been a little bit since I got excited about a new game. I've been eying this one for some time. It's yet another game that has gone way past deadline after deadline. More often then not it seems to mean the game is struggling. This one is no exception. Well, on the struggling part. It doesn't come out till next week.

I just read a letter from the wives of some of the game developers. It is pleading with Rockstar San Diego to lighten up on their husbands. Part of this seemed strange to me in that it seems to presuppose that only males are game developers. Sort of like wives of soldiers in the middle east. I'm scratching my head on this one. I don't know the game industry enough I guess. Maybe part of the issue is that there are too many males working at R*SD? I'm looking into it a bit much. But the impression here is that this studio is filled with a bunch of young males with no work experience from the QA tester to management.

Whatever the case. No one seems to address that part of the WIVES letter. If you read it you'll quickly notice the poor grammar. "To whomever it may concern," it starts out. Unfortunately, to an outsider, it makes it seem as if wives of developers are un-educated housewives with too much time on their hands. It muddles the message they are trying to get across and I do wish the had an editor. Hey, my grammar stinks, I know. I just wish theirs was cleaned up, because I know it must be bad out there for a letter to have been written.

The message I'm getting is that R*SD is a much different place then Rockstar North, the makers of the GTA games. Not different in the way that they treat employees but in creative talent and professionalism. Maybe the working conditions there are terrible, but I haven't read anything like this wives letter. In the world of 'here today gone tomorrow' game studios, this sort of thing can be devastating. I am hoping for this game to have the feel of GTA but I'm nervous about it. Man, it's exciting to think about a GTA type feel set in the West but it's hard to get hopes up with some red flags popping up.

We shall see. Angry wives, overworked employees, piss poor management... not a good combination of things.

I'm pulling for it to be good. Hopefully a labor of love type thing. Something else to take from the letter being written is that they are working their little nads off to finish it.

"Again balance is denied, as working conditions worsened with no appreciation. Working harder, longer, faster, yet there was never a guarantee of a bonus nor if there was any earned, when they will be received!"

Wrap your head around that. ugh.

So, who is Rockstar SD? It was Angel Studios (I love doing this by the way). It appears that the produced a handful of interesting games that I'll have to check out. I see that Mr. Bones is on the list, an old Saturn game that I remember. Good, creative game but alas, it was Zono, Inc that developed the game.

Back to hope for the game: Angel Studios helped develop the RAGE Engine which was the advancement of the Angel Game Engine. It's the one that GTA IV used. I thought it was pretty amazing, but only part of the success of that game. However, go back to that game and you will see just how much the environment played in the the experience. We'll see if the boys from San Diego can make this work. I'm routing for them.

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