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Posted on Wednesday, February 27 2013 @ 12:13:09 Eastern
This is a repost of another writers' work. I do not own it or have any special rights to it.
The Ugly Side of the Business.
I know a lot of people want to believe that working at a video game developer is nothing but fun and heavenly, but guess what? It's not. There is a lot of cases like this happening, just like any other job.
I'm not commenting on my personal experiences. I have not encountered these incidents yet, thankfully. I have heard about these stories all the time. Here, I'm going to talk about two items. One old, one recent. One is semi-related, but involves SEGA. The other one does not involve SEGA, but it's a story uncommon in the business.
First, I'm going to talk about Alpha Protocol. My heart goes out to Obsidian Entertainment. There is a ton of talented people in there. Simply because they have a track record of buggy releases (thanks to bad deals from their negotiating team), does not mean everything there is garbage. That seems to be a really common misconception among gamers. Especially the so called "gamers" on GameFAQs, Gamespot, and Kotaku that believe they know everything.
Obsidian got screwed over way too many times. They got screwed by LucasArts, they got screwed by Atari, and they got screwed by SEGA.
Let me show you the source of this incident: http://www.joystiq.com/profile/4131899/
I quote this part in his article: "Sega also was a factor, because they kept changing the design requirements (yes they had heavy influence there), which never gave the producers and designers time to actually decide on one set of features to make and polish."
This is 100% true. I was not directly involved with Alpha Protocol, but my co-workers talked about it. They thought what SEGA was doing wasn't right. The game was a disaster in the making, and SEGA was doing what EA, Rockstar, and Activision has been doing for years now. It's a weird corporate mentality of the suits and other employees wanting to be the "hero" and make a bunch of money by trying to get involved with a game when they don't have the skills, and the right to do so. Those people wanted to get involved, trying to change the game, thinking it will sell like if it was Call of Duty, because they made changes to it. Instead, we got a buggy, poorly designed mess.
What about the other claims of this "tired dev"? I don't know about Chris Parker. I have not met him before. I wouldn't be surprised if he did get involved with Alpha Protocol and screwed it up.
As for his claims about it's mostly Obsidian's fault? I don't believe it. Everything really seemed stacked against Obsidian, and it has been for a while. The publishers seemed to mistreat Obsidian all the time and give them bad deals. Obsidian really needs to negotiate better deals for them so they can get the proper funding, support, and time to create a really good game.
I'm still in shock that I have to stay this but: The only company that SEEMS to have treated Obsidian well was Bethesda. I'm not a big fan of Bethesda, but I have to give them credit. They worked well with Obsidian and they delivered on a damn good game in Fallout: New Vegas. It may have been buggy on release, but it was patched up extremely well (and let's face it, Fallout 3 and Oblivion were buggy as well.) Plus, the game quality and writing is through the roof.
The person I really sorry for in all of this is Chris Avellone. The game was his baby and it got mistreated by a lot of people, SEGA included. Chris deserves much better. He will always be one of the industry's great writers and storytellers.
If there is some justice out of this incident, I believe some SEGA employees that were responsible for trying to take control of Alpha Protocol got the sack. A lot of us here at SEGA felt for Obsidian. We hope the board here doesn't make the same mistake again.
The other incident I want to talk about is Zero Dean and Red Dead Redemption.
I got to admit though, I feel like if I talk about it, I'm going to be repeating what I already said.
These incidents are not uncommon, and I feel sorry for Zero Dean. The only difference between Red Dead Redemption and Alpha Protocol is that Red Dead Redemption was a financial success. It's just a shame that Rockstar has to treat their employees this way.
This is all I'm going to say for today. I'll try to update more often. Unfortunately, I'm dealing with a cold.
Now, if Zero Dean or any other former Obsidian, or Rockstar Employees, want to work with SEGA and try to get something awesome started, then I hope the business relationship will be a great one. Hopefully the board and other people at SEGA would learn from history's mistakes.
--Bryan Danielson, January 22, 2011
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