Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Out the Door

It's an odd feeling having a game you worked on go gold. I'm not sure I can even adequately explain it.

The game I've been working on for several months went gold recently. The past few weeks, the office has been like a ghost town, and now new people are scoping out my office to see where they want to put their stuff when they move in and I move out to another one. A lot of people have been on vacation for weeks, while others of us have gone on to new things or interim things to work on until the other projects ramp up. It's strange to see things go from WORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORKWORK to ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

The feeling around here is blind relief, really, but everyone is waiting to see how things go with the reviews. We're all prepared to spit on the critics and say, "Screw you, we were making art!" and stuff, and generally disregard negative feedback and take positive feedback straight to heart. Personally, having reviewed games professionally for a very long time (and doing it here for a while with no professional standards whatsoever), I'm curious to see what people say and see how much of it is discounted as "ignorant critics" or taken to heart and used to improve future projects. I'll probably get all frustrated and rant about it here when it all happens.

It's an interesting feeling. On one hand, I think, "Cool, people are actually playing it, and I played an important-ish role in getting it done." On the other hand, I think, "I friggin worked on this piece of shit for months, pouring my heart, soul, and personal relationships into it, and if they don't like it, well, goddamnit." In a lot of ways, the game is ending for us, but for everyone else, it's just starting. The game's life starts on its release date and goes on from there. But we're done with it. It's in YOUR hands now. All the crunch time and emotional difficulty and job-threatening exhaustion culminate in a game that I hope tons of people will like.

Reading the reviews will be interesting. I have my issues with the game that mostly come from knowing ways in which it could have been better. I know many things that affected the quality of the game, and I know reasons why those things didn't happen. I'm way too close to the project to form an opinion, but I am also highly critical of the game. I imagine that I am more critical than the critics will be, which frustrates me. If someone gives the game a real, honest, constructive review with real feedback, then maybe someone will take it to heart, and maybe the hubris I can see sprouting up among the staff here will fade. These people are immensely talented, and they are more so when challenged, but "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Anyway, our game's almost out, and while I won't tell you which one it is, I hope you play it and enjoy it. Despite my overcriticism, I think it's a good game that is rather different from most other stuff out there, and, well, if you buy it, then I can become rich and personally awesomnify the world by 27%. Which is a net awesome gain of about 15%.