Friday, February 12, 2010

Surprise, feelings!

I always enjoy it when a developer slips a little emotional moment into an otherwise testosterone laden affair. Sure, Sean has killed hundreds of Nazis, run over a fair share of innocents while fleeing said Nazis, and has a distinct weakness for slutty British secret agents, but that doesn't mean the guy can't have a moment, does it? During the overly long intro sequence Sean has his friend Jules tortured and killed right in front of him. For the entire game he has blamed himself for Jules' death (and it really was entirely his fault), using it as emotional fuel for his revenge. Right at the end Sean revisits the scene of his friends murder, rescues a damsel in distress, and then pauses reflectively over a chair and large blood stain. Everyone else leaves the music quiets down, and Sean calmly blows the every loving shit out of the room with dynamite. As over the top as it sounds, it was effective and humanized Sean rather well. Pandemic seems to have hit a fine balance with The Saboteur between open world silliness and characters that are interesting. I look forward to what they do next...

Oh yeah, Pandemic doesn't exist anymore. Looking at their history, the studio has put out more than a few clunkers (Lord of the Rings Conquest and Destroy All Humans 2 being the worst offenders). Still, it is never good to see a studio with potential go away. Grin suffered much the same fate, only their last game (Terminator Salvation) makes me miss them a little less. Okay, a lot less. It must be terribly unnerving to work in this industry. Every small studio is a single game away from going broke or being bought out by Activision or EA and subsequently digested by corporate monsters. For those who just want to make good games, it has to be frustrating. I couldn't do it, but then again, I can't code, draw, direct, or be very creative. I simply consume the fruits of their labor and try in vain to understand what it took to get the game in front of me. Maybe that is why I am more tolerant of terrible games than I should be. Someone worked on it, possible very hard into the wee hours, who am I to not give them a few hours of my time?

Of course, if the game is shit, I am going to say so. No one is paying for my opinion, I give it all away for free, which I means I have nothing to lose.

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