I have a friend in the gaming industry who passionately defends the games he helps create and rightfully so. He puts his blood, sweat, and tears into those products and if you sling mud at the fruits of his labor, he will fight you in the parking lot. It turns out not everyone is like my friend. Someone claiming to have worked on Alpha Protocol, which has been released in the UK to not-so-hot reviews, has posted a comment on Joystiq’s negative review of the game slamming not only the game itself, but developer Obsidian and publisher Sega.
The mystery man (or woman) registered under the name “a tired dev” yesterday, presumbaly for the sole purpose of posting this scathing tirade. (I removed a paragraph about developer’s lunches that was irrelevant.)
I worked on this game (a fact of which I am not proud). I’m not here to defend it; I agree with all these reviews.
There was a ton of work put into this game. The problem is that is was a ton of undirected work, or work on things that were just stupid. The Executive Producer for the game, Chris Parker (also an owner of the company), seemed to think he was the world’s greatest designer ever, and created all these absolutely shitty systems and wouldn’t listen to any of the real designers or devs about things that just didn’t work. And you can’t exactly argue with one of the owners of the company when he doesn’t want to listen. He basically took over the game and dictated exactly how everything would work (or not work, as the case may be). The other producers realized this early on and just gave up, leaving Parker to micromanage all the designers and programmers directly.
Sega also was a factor, because they kept changing the design requirements (yes they had heavy influence there), which never gave the producers and designers time to actually decide on one set of features to make and polish. The blame is still mostly Obsidian’s because the execution was absolutely terrible, and it was obvious 2 years ago that this game should have been scrapped. Instead, though, they focused on adding still more features and never fixed the ones they already had. That is a recipe for tons of bugs and no polish… as is obvious.
This game was just an absolute failure of production, and it’s no wonder that so many of the developers left the company, even after the 40% staff layoffs. I am still happy about some of Obsidian’s other current projects, New Vegas included, because they are going pretty well. Their big unannounced project is looking great and is already much better than AP ever was, and that may end up being the game that everyone was looking for with AP.
Sega should have canceled AP instead of Aliens…
I feel for this guy. He’s angry and letting off steam, which I can understand. It sounds like you’ve got a lot of hard working devs putting up with all sorts of bullshit that’s preventing them from putting out a good product. Obviously I don’t know who this person is or how legit this is, but everything said seems in accordance with the reviews posted so far.
At the same time, I kind of want to hunt this guy down and alpha his protocol. Posting this before the game even hits North America can’t be great for sales (and look at me reposting it!), and I’m sure there are plenty of good people at Obsidian and Sega who depend on those sales to eat. But who knows, maybe he’s doing all of us hard working gamers a favor and saving us from wasting $60.
I should also note a somewhat similar incident citing our review of Fury back in 2007, however that developer at least had the decency to wait for the game’s world wide release, and the balls to make his comment on his own personal blog.