I’m not a big fan of peremptory rants – you know, that very Internet need to publicly demand that mistakes not be made. This is because, from long experience, a) wishing doesn’t make it so, and b) it’s demoralizing to those carrying the burden to accomplish. In things like personal electronics or movies, “b” isn’t as much of a factor, but when a team is making a video game, it’s a big factor.
For the next year, maybe a dozen dozen game devs are going to be eating and breathing the Ghostbusters video game. There will be various forces exerted on the project, from the movie’s original creative team, to the publisher level producers, to Sony itself. It’s tough enough to herd a dev team in one direction as it is, let alone keep that team moving forward while dealing with feedback from within and without.
It’s understandable that hopes are high – and it’s also understandable that we can be concerned that those hopes will be dashed. And I’m all for expressing the hopes – “I hope we get to design our own character.” “I hope there will be lots of multiplayer action.”
What I’m against is expressing the concerns – like in posts like this.
By no means am I a game designer or developer of any sorts. I am merely a critic, and I certainly don’t mean to make demands contrary to your own vision for the game.
And it certainly didn’t stop the man from writing 1400 words about how much he’ll hate Sierra if the game, still a year out, sucks. Of course, this preemptive, passive-aggressive spite is targeted at Sierra, which is pointless – Sierra is essentially a logo these days. He should be targeting Vivendi (who are massive, and won’t pay much attention – any attention is good attention, and all that) or the respective developers (who, as I said, don’t need the hassle when trying to hit a bullseye 11 months away.)
Regardless, the appropriate targets (in this case, Red Fly – seeing as they’ll be the ones developing the Wii, PS2, and DS titles) responded.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that holding the Wii remote should feel like you’re holding the proton gun. That is the first thing everyone says when we mention “Ghostbusters” and “Wii” in the same sentence.
That’s all they need to say, right? Yes and no.
Firstly, I applaud the fact that they took a moment to comment – they could have ignored the post, but took a moment to set the record straight. But I winch a bit inside, knowing that they felt that the ramble was representative enough of fans everywhere (or that it had the potential to become representative) that it needed a response. They weren’t just responding to Derek* – they were responding to all of us. And I’m kind of embarrassed by that.
A poster on a messageboard recently voiced his opinion on the massive and excited thread regarding the news of the video games. It was, to paraphrase, “Take your hands out of your pants – I don’t think these pictures are that hot and the game is still a year away.”
1984, movie drops. I’m excited. It takes five years to get a sequel. I get excited. It takes nearly a decade to get a new cartoon series and more than a decade to get a comic series. You better believe I’m excited. And after all this time, we’re getting a video game that’s more than just buying a ghost vacuum for the roof of the car – I’m putting my hands down my pants and grabbing hold for all I’m worth.
Let me share an uncomfortable truth before we start this march to October 2008 in earnest; the games will not be everything you want them to be. No game ever makes everyone happy. A few people may be disappointed, but most will find a lot to enjoy – focus on that, because I guarantee there will be things you wish they’d have done, but didn’t. Or that you wish they’d done differently, but didn’t. And they didn’t do it because they’re idiots, and they didn’t do it out of spite, or because they’re not big enough fans, or any of that. It’s because at the end of the day, they have a finite formula of people and resources and time. And as a result, the game cannot be everything to everyone.
But all it needs to do is let me feel like a Ghostbuster – everything else is a bonus.
*In this modern age of computers, it’s very likely to expect the aforementioned Derek to see this post – I’d like to make it clear then that he’s not entirely wrong. As a Nintendo fan, he has the legitimate concern that the Wii sku of the game will get the lowest level of priority over the 360 and PS3 versions, or that whatever fits on the PS2 is then slapped onto the Wii. What I don’t agree with is the tone set in the post title – Don’t fcuk this up. Which is pretty strong from a self-confessed critic, non-dev. And as I mentioned, Red Fly took notice, so that kind of makes Derek the natural figurehead for fans everywhere. I’m not singling Derek out, though I am taking him to task a certain amount. It’s not personal, I just don’t happen to agree with the idea of calling devs out before there’s a fair chance to see what they’ve got in mind.