Strangely enough, I’m one of the lucky ones. Cyberpunk 2077 is running pretty well for me. I’ve run into lots of visual problems, but very few issues that impact gameplay. I’m usually the cursed player, fighting my way through a sea of bugs and crashes while the masses chant, “But it works fine on MY machine!” at me. It’s nice to be on the other side of that for once. Although it would be even better if the game was working for everyone.
00:00 CDPR is dead
Or to put it more accurately: “The narrative that CDPR is a pro-gamer company run by people with a passion for the hobby” is dead. Last week I cautioned that their reputation was a valuable but fragile asset that gave them an edge over other publishers and storefronts. This week they pretty much pissed it all away by filling in our collective “Sleazy corporate executive” bingo card.
- Cyberpunk 2077 Reviewers Weren’t Allowed To Use Their Own Gameplay Footage
- Management deliberately pushed unrealistic deadlines and even misrepresented the state of the game to the public. (For seemingly no reason?!?!)
- CDPR promises to take care of consumers who seek a refund, then just dump them in Sony’s lap.
- CDPR buckles to China…
- …then lies about it in the most pathetic way.
You can’t explain away these decisions with “Whoops”. This cavalcade of dishonesty, foolishness, deceit, and casual contemptThere are very few ways to infuriate an audience than telling them a lazy and implausible lie. can’t be blamed on a single momentary lapse in judgement. Cyberpunk just blasted sales records and made its money back on Day 1, so you can’t excuse this mess with “We were low on cash and panicked.” You can’t blame this on a failure to communicate or a single wayward employee. Blame for these actions goes to the top, and is the result of decisions that people made when they had the time and money to choose to do something different.
More importantly, this isn’t a single mistake. This is a pattern of behavior stretching over an entire year. You can’t smooth that over by saying sorry and having a sale. You can’t fix that with bug patches and free DLC.
And all of this for nothing. It’s not like any of these lies and shortcuts did them any good. Claiming that the game was “complete and playable” in January didn’t make that true, it just set unrealistic expectations for the public. NOBODY believed that “gamers” demanded that Devotion be censored. The review restrictions didn’t stop people from finding out about how buggy the game was. And now the company is dealing with mass refunds and the game has been pulled from the Playstation Store while the game itself has become a Fallout 76-style shitshow of memes and derision.
What a stupid waste.
23:05 Mindustry Bug
Bug, or lack of feature?
31:05 Something Unicorn – LED String Curtain Lights with Dimmer Switch for Teen Room, Girls Room, College Dorm, Nursery, Kids Room Décor. Perfect for Unicorn, Fairy & Rainbow Decoration. (Standard Version)
I’ve been thinking of re-branding the site. I don’t think “Twenty Sided” is giving me the SEO I need, so I’m going to rename the blog “Twenty Sided Nerd Culture Videogames Tabletop Games Nerd Culture Blog with Videogame Background for Young Men, Gamer Girls, Kids, Grognards, perfect for Minotaur and Sasquatch Articles (WordPress Blog.)“.
Anyway, the lights are fun.
39:02 The Game Awards
While I like the IDEA of having a game awards show, maybe a three-and-a-half hour black-tie ceremony with musical numbers isn’t the way to go. I know that’s how Hollywood does it for the movies, but like I keep trying to tell these people: Games are not movies.
45:01 Mailbag: Tools that Limit Creativity
Dear and precious Diecast,
In the middle of 2020, me and my friends started playing D&D campaign, which I was running. Due to the Coronavirus, we used a virtual tabletop called Roll20. This program allowed me to use a huge library of sound effects, music, pictures, visual effects and beautiful maps made by its lovely community to enhance the atmosphere of each session. Since that worked very well, I was adding more and more of these things into the game.
However, at some point it backfired. Usually I could just described all the stuff that were happening, which allow me to react quickly to players’ choices. But once the narrative switched to being more visual, there was no turning back. Showing half of things and randomly describing others felt very weird and disconnected. So the whole story was increasingly constrained by the limitations of what audiovisuals effects I could use – basically, I overdid the usage of the props and it made the game much more linear. This made me think if videogame designers are facing the same issue, but on a larger scale – by wanting to enhance the experience for the players, they may be limiting themselves with the new, cutting-edge technology (especially since this kind of technology is prone to bugs and issues; also, I excluded more marketing-oriented issues).
Do you think that more story designers should be playing some kind of tabletop sessions (not D&D, just anything that’s related to the type of game they’re working on) to experience potential issues – not necessary the ones that I described – that making long, interactive narratives can bring?
58:41 Mailbag: Fighting for a Feature
Hello Shamus + Guests of the Future (Probably Paul),
I recently got to read a three-part blog series from the lead designer of Battletech. Having bought, played, and loved this game I found it fascinating to see a lead designer’s take on their own work. In it she echoes a lot of themes I’ve seen in your work as well, namely the importance of writers and writing to deliver an appealing game. She also talks about the compromises made and some of the mechanical things you’d find interesting as a game-maker yourself. She also mentions the hill she fought over and damn near got fired for in the design process.
To bring this around to a question: What’s the biggest hill in a game/software design that you fought over? Is there one you wish you fought harder for?
1:02:33 Wrapping Up
 There are very few ways to infuriate an audience than telling them a lazy and implausible lie.
Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3
Yeah, this game is a classic. But the story is idiotic, incoherent, thematically confused, and patronizing.
The Strange Evolution of OpenGL
Sometimes software is engineered. Sometimes it grows organically. And sometimes it's thrown together seemingly at random over two decades.
Crash Dot Com
Back in 1999, I rode the dot-com bubble. Got rich. Worked hard. Went crazy. Turned poor. It was fun.
The Brilliance of Mass Effect
What is "Domino Worldbuilding" and how did it help to make Mass Effect one of the most interesting settings in modern RPGs?
Trusting the System
How do you know the rules of the game are what the game claims? More importantly, how do the DEVELOPERS know?