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June 15, 2009




Hellboy: Asylum Seeker on the PC and PS1 was actually the first Hellboy game. It was regretfully lame as well.


Ya but the Science of Evil game was the one based on the film, rather than the original comic series (i.e. the one del Toro is referring to...)



So sad, but understandable. They'll have been given the most awful deadline, and told that whatever guff they manage to stuff in a box in time will sell shedloads because of the licence. I guarantee that most of the devs there wanted to make a good game, and were denied the opportunity by the money men. This makes me particularly sad because I would have loved to pitch a Hellboy game.


Besides the money and deadline issues (no game developer ever has enough time or enough money for their projects, with the exception of a certain company whose name starts with "B"), there are ever-increasing limits put on developers by engine-reuse and marketing.

del Toro previously mentioned that the Hellboy game he worked on was forced to use an engine created for another game, which pre-determined what could or could not be done with his game. What he wanted (and expected) to do was say, "Gameplay should include X, Y and Z," but was instead told, "The engine allows for U, V and X." As a cost-cutting measure it's pretty bad from a design perspective, as you end up with a series of games that are (by necessity) pretty similar, until the engine gets outdated and is replaced.

What's even worse, however, is the design-by-marketing that I'm seeing more and more. This is so backwards looking it's actually completely self-defeating. Designers have to establish the merit of their proposals by demonstrating how closely their idea matches existing hit games. Have an actual new game idea? Marketing might shut it down before anyone even has a chance to evaluate if it's a great idea or not. Some friends were trying to get funding for a game of theirs, and potential funders actually told them that the whole genre of the game "wasn't popular right now." (I.e. no major games in that genre had come out lately, which would seem to be a great opportunity...) One development cycle later, several of the best selling games of the year were in that genre and the same moneymen were suddenly tripping over themselves to fund similar games. Of course, by making a game that's just like an existing hit, you're not only competing with the original game, but with everyone else who had the same idea. The best you can hope for is to feed off the scraps left over by the hit. The worst example is all the money being put into MMOs by the businesspeople who saw how huge WoW became. The obvious problem is that very, very few people are going to leave WoW, with all the time invested and social connections made, just to play a nearly identical game. If you put in the order of fifty to a hundred million dollars into a game, you can't afford to live off of WoW's scraps; the number of dead MMO companies out there as a result is getting depressing.


holy cow. Good rant!
Fascinating stuff.

It's pitiful when innovation is stifled for another carbon copy to turn up. Such a shame.

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