As I travel the expanse of the information superhighway I read many words and see lots of things. Some of it incredible, some meh and occasionally things too dastardly to express with casual words. I took part in a Double Fine Bundle that included funding Broken Age to get access to documentaries of it's creation and development. As part of that I get emails about the games progress from Double Fine and the most recent video(shared above) I thought was worth sharing.

Tim Schafer industry legend and proprietor of great hair mentions that Broken Age part two is in beta and nearing release. This is great news as I wanted to wait till the entire game was released before I dove in. To the end of the video he talks about something that recently happened with Peter Molyneux and Godus, a Kickstarted game. Essentially Godus is in some form of development limbo and hasn't lived up to some fans expectations. I don't want to re-litigate the drama here, but suffice it to say people didn't respond well to the situation.

In the video Tim states "The last thing i'd like to do is send our support to our friend and fellow developer Peter Molyneux. In the last few weeks we've seen some extremely rough treatment of Peter on the Internet and in the games press and I think that it's unfortunate and unfair and I don't think that it's healthy. Obviously things did not go as expected with his game and because of that people are making some nasty accusations of Peter and I can really relate to that believe it or not. I'm not saying that developers like Peter and I shouldn't be responsible and shouldn't be accountable to deadlines I'm just saying the reaction to recent events and the tone is really way out of proportion to the seriousness of the events themselves. Out of the many goals of this documentary that we are making(Broken Age) is to show actual game development and to show that the developers are human beings. I think it's clear that the problems that Peter is having are not unique to him and in fact they happen to most projects. If we stay transparent and keep involving players in our development that more and more people will start to see the process and how games are made and the effort involved and how game development goes the way it does. Knowing what goes into the games they play I think actually players will enjoy playing them even more."

I think Tim makes a very rational point which seems to fly in the face of our reactive and hostile online culture and this isn't something new to me as we talked about this in the second episode of the Cheerful Ghost Roundtable titled "The Internet Hate Factory."

I watched the message from Tim the same day I read an article by Anthony Burch, the writer of Borderlands 2. Anthonys article is titled "Five Things I Didn’t Get About Making Video Games (Until I Did It)." It's a interesting article outlining his start as a writer of often negative articles about games. He seems to regret his often hyperbolic tone as his experience with making Borderlands 2 showed him how hard the process is. Increased knowledge of things often allow people an increased understanding and I appreciate Burchs article as it shows how someone can build some empathy by being an integral part of the creative process.

I am not saying I haven't been disappointed by games i've Kickstarted or purchased. It's just that at the end of the day there is a human being on the other end that often just wants to make the best thing they can. When considering a fixed budget and time many games slip in quality and promised features. Whereas this does bother me, I try not to let it eat at my soul such that I need to reflect that pain at someone else. As someone that has stepped in the game publishing and soon development process I can say it's a challenging prospect and we try our best.

That said, if developers create things you don't like, don't buy them. If a studio produces things you don't find fun, stop pre-ordering them. It seems that the video game industry is going the route of digital downloads, which is very convenient but doesn't allow us to return the game if it is terrible. This isn't optimal and as i've considered the subject of video game refunds I can't think of a system that would work to please everyone. Some people want to return a game they've sunk 300 hours in, which I don't understand at all. I can understand an immediate return if the game crashes or is immediately terrible but when some games are 8 hours should you be allowed to return a game after you completed it in a day? That said, I try to stick to purchasing games from developers I trust and when something new comes down the pike, I often wait till I hear from my friends about it. That means that you don't always have the latest and greatest game, but it also means you can buy really great stuff.

I don't think this issue will be solved overnight but I've adopted some strategies to keep myself happy with the games I buy(no early access, no pre-orders from unknown developers, etc). As gaming continues on it will offer us even more ways to buy games and it will be up to us to make the right purchases. And when things go south we should turn on the Internet Hate Factory, that's really not the kind of world we should want to live in.