I’mma break it down for you, bro.
So let’s talk about teasing. Overkill has had a inconsistent record in using the tease to garner (sigh) hype, sometimes to great effect, sometimes to the annoyance of their playerbase.
Specifically, though, I want to talk about the Clover teasers from Crimefest, the Halloween 2014 event, and the Historical Pack.
The Clover teasing started out well but then devolved into inelegance near the end.
So most of you are probably already aware of the term “Valve Time”, but for the uninitiated, Valve Time works like this. Valve Software will say that they’re going to release a thing by a certain date. That date comes and goes with no word. Maybe three months or so later they release the thing, but the thing is beautiful, complete, and for the most part, glitch free.
By contrast, there’s Overkill Time. Which is not really a thing, just something I’ve made up.
Overkill doesn’t really do release dates. There have been some vague ones. May for the Alesso Heist. Next Fall for sound updates. For the most part, they seem to prefer the surprise element of springing updates on players. I assume the surprise of it is what they like about not having a public production schedule because Overkill actually doesn’t take advantage of the opening they give themselves. Even without needing to meet a deadline, they publish glitchy, broken, ugly shit.
So ;). You knew I was gonna have to talk about it.
During her dinner with Almir Listo, my friend confirmed what I had always suspected about his over-reliance on this emoticon. It’s a canned response he developed to questions he’s not at liberty to answer. It’s meant to be cheeky and coy, to offset the fact that you’re not getting a straight answer, but it just reads as evasive and smarmy since he uses it so often.
Look, anyone worth a damn knows that sometimes you just can’t answer certain questions when it comes to game development. It’s usually because you don’t want to give away surprises before release date. Sometimes, it’s because you’re testing the feasibility of a feature out and you don’t want to get people’s hopes up only to disappoint them later. I will hand it to Almir that he does know when to keep things under his hat, as opposed to Goldfarb who made promises early on that Overkill is still being asked about three years later (but that’s another post).
But 😉 isn’t just about questions Almir can’t answer. It’s become emblematic of a larger problem with his public presentation.
Don’t make Almir’s mistake.
So I noted yesterday that when I began my journal with its singular post, it received a few hits from a user in Sweden who then proceeded to run a search on the rest of my site for “almir listo”. I have a feeling that Google Alerts has something to do with this curious set of coincidences, and so I’ve chosen to write this introduction. It is my guess that this series is what that person was looking for and it didn’t come up because I just haven’t mentioned Almir specifically yet.
I did say in that chat that I was going to write a piece on the Infamy 2.0 reddit AMA and how it could have been handled better. I do still plan to address certain things I saw happening in that thread. As I kept trying to get out everything I wanted to say, however, I realized that even trying to contain myself to just that one PR event was a gargantuan task. There was just no way that I could even begin to talk about how things could be so much better without being painfully tl;dr.
But moreover, as I dug deeper into Almir’s answers, the more I came to feel that trying to speak to him personally, as per an open letter format like I originally tried, was a futile task.
It’s been a good long while since Robotic Boogaloo, the first (and thus far only) community-created update, and I’ve been thinking about it lately. The update never sat well with me and even if we don’t all agree that the update wasn’t that great, we should all acknowledge it wasn’t well-received. But I don’t feel that should be the end of community-created updates. I think the TF2 community can and does do better. If we want community updates to be a thing that people celebrate on the same level as normal Valve updates, though, they need to BE on the same level as a Valve update, as opposed to being a thing of people seeing one is out and thinking “Aw fuck, hat glurge”. The next one, if there is a next one, is gonna have to really knock it out of the park to prove this is a thing worth doing on the regular.
So after I wrote that last post, I got a curious and decided I wanted to compare the Mystique versions of their games to the PlayAround ones. But strangely, even when you download it with Gigolo as per the PlayAround cart pair and no matter where you download it from, Bachelor Party always has Mystique branding. I wanted to know if this was an oversight in production or if everyone just redistributes the one copy of the ROM so I went a-lookin’.
I never found the answer to that particular question, but I did find another interesting theory.
An acquaintance of mine recently put together a list of games hacked to have playable female characters in response to this article about the erasure of female game developers hacking games to have female heroes in reporting of stories about fathers doing so for their daughters. Obviously playable female characters are a rarity even today, but in thinking about this, I was reminded of a certain company who went out of their way to give women their turn at the controller.
What’s funny about this, though, is this company made nothing but pornographic Atari 2600 games.