Imagine if the captain of the Titanic somehow survived the sinking of his vessel, and was given another. Which he ran into another iceberg. Then he was given a third ship, which ran aground. Then his fourth ship caught fire, flooded, then ran into an iceberg and sank.
And then imagine if everyone said about the captain, “That poor man. He has the worst luck, always getting stuck with such flimsy ships.”
Obsidian has now released four wrecked ships: One with LucasArts, One with Atari, one with Sega, and one with Bethesda. Are we maybe to the point now where we can stop thinking of them as the victim? Like the guy who has had four disastrous marriages, “Dude, maybe the problem isn’t ‘women’. Maybe the problem is you?” I don’t know, but other companies do seem to bring functional products to market through these same publishers.
When I wrote the article I hadn’t confirmed that the savegame-destroying bug (!!) was fixed yet. I actually found out about the patch while I was writing the article. But I tried the game out just now and the bug still seems to be in effect.
The shame of it is, if the thing actually worked this game would be far superior to Fallout 3. The main plot, while not awe-inspiring, is a lot more coherent. The gameplay changes are nearly all vast improvements. The interface is better. The guns are more fun. The music (which is from the original Fallout (drink!)) is a welcome improvement. Leveling seems less broken. The setting feels slightly more coherent. (Although I’ve only seen a tiny bit of it so far.) The world is more interesting (more colorful) to look at.
But once again Obsidian has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. We can all lament the awesome game they nearly made for us. Maybe they’ll even do the right thing and patch this title until we have it. But the blame for this mess must fall squarely on the shoulders of the people who made it. The victim is not the developer, but the gamer who gave them a chance they didn’t deserve and bought this game. (I’ll excuse myself from the victim group. I suspected this game would be a wreck but bought it because I wanted to write about how it all turned out, good or bad.)
The Best of 2011
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2011.
Quakecon 2011 Keynote Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.
Denuvo and the "Death" of Piracy
Denuvo videogame DRM didn't actually kill piracy, but it did stop it for several months. Here's what we learned from that.
So what happens when a SOFTWARE engineer tries to review hardware? This. This happens.
The Opportunity Crunch
No, brutal, soul-sucking, marriage-destroying crunch mode in game development isn't a privilege or an opportunity. It's idiocy.