[As Read on GIO.]
[Titled: Walking the Walk]
Aka “A Continuation of the Last Blog”
I know I said the previous blog wasn’t really about walking the walk, despite the title I gave it, but I simply couldn’t resist- considering that this blog is a second part of that one anyway. Instead of recapping what was talked about in the last blog, I will instead direct you to the blog in question itself here. Now that that’s out of the way, I’ll continue on my rambling train of thought from the prior blog, if I may.
The entire basis of my previous blog was founded upon the belief, and all but fact, it seems, that essentially crafting a game design process, a game, or even an idea for a game is not a simple task by any stretch. It is a much more complicated and drawn out process than most of you know, and one that I have the rare (pleasure?) opportunity to partake of currently, for those of you who already knew my tentative foray into video game writing. But that is another story altogether, and possibly one for another day in this series of thirty, of which twenty-four shall remain after today’s notation.
Stellar gaming concepts, titles, and even entire stories are a hit or miss creation, rife with a production process that would horrify most movie producers and book authors if they only knew the pain their fellow artisans and compatriots were experiencing. One developer might come up with a (seemingly) brilliant idea in their mind, seek to implement it into said game they are working on, and be met with condescension and extremely disgruntled fan approval, or disapproval as it may be. At the same time, granted, that patch, update, or new content might be the best their fanbase had seen yet in a game, it just depends. Of course, as with many things in life- by virtue of human nature or otherwise, we cannot please every individual or group out there in the world. Admittedly, we may try, but will fail in that respect every single time. It is simply too improbable of a question to even attempt to answer.
We can however, attempt to please the vast majority of our fans as best as we can. While this might be only anywhere from seventy-five percent to ninety percent, it still represents growth and hope for the future. Again, I will echo what was said in my previous blog in saying that we can only perceive our own and a select few others’ perceptions of what is “cool” or “good”, and due to that, many of our targets will not understand our feelings for our products as we do. Simply put: both you and they will be let down at times, but you can only be asked to persevere and continue marching. The going will get rough, as even the most successful studios and entrepreneurs know, but the only way to lose is to quit. Whereas the only way to win is to never give up.
We covered games that could “talk the talk” in the last blog, so I guess its only fair that I renege on my promise of not speaking any more about said cliched saying simply for the sake of tying these two blogs together appropriately.
What is left for a game to do after the major processes of the design respect have been completed, the major release trailers released, and the days are ticking down until zero day? Let’s use Grand Theft Auto V as an example in this respect. We have ten days give or take until its highly anticipated release. The game has been greenlit and pronounced “gold to go” (puns hehe) for a while, and now we gamers are simply biding our time, dreaming up fantasies about how epic of an experience it is inevitably going to be. Generally, one of two things might happen when the game releases, as per my descriptions last blog. The game might be highly anticipated and then tank- which I recognize is highly improbable with such an established developer as Rockstar, but never to be written off as a possibility. Or the game might succeed even beyond the expectations of those anticipating it, and surprise us with more content than the trailers have led us to believe.
Of course NOBODY wishes a game to do poorly, or no sane being anyway, so we’re all looking forward to its successes and victories economically, as well as lightening our fat wallets. But returning to the not-so rhetorical question I asked above, what is left? Well, now we wait. That’s pretty much all we can do, and all that Rockstar can do. At this point it is far too late to make any changes to the game before release, as copies are most likely being shipped out to retailers as we speak, and any such change would mean a push back in the release date- causing massive loss in approval rating of fans and worldwide disapproval. That would equate to political suicide essentially in the gaming world, and sully Rockstar’s reputation for some time to come.
So what else is left? Well, the developers can continue to release their development diaries and descriptive cameos in order to continue to raise hype and awareness for the game, as they have wisely been doing for the past few weeks. They can promote the title at every small, medium, and large gaming event present before the release day hits. They can simply talk. They can do any number of things to boost sales and get more gamers on board, and with the particular game I’ve been using as an example, they’ve done excellently thus far. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most highly anticipated games of all time at this point, especially of the current generation. It definitely beats out GTA 3 and 4 for that matter, as great as they were and as hyped as we all got for those games.
Essentially it boils down to this: once the design process, as complicated as it has been, the long and winding path it follows, is finished- all you can do is watch, wait, and promote. It’s as simple as that, bear in mind my aspiring game designers and geekoids. It can be explained so simply, and yet, as with many seemingly simple processes, is realistically entirely too difficult.
And with these words of wisdom, warning, and anticipation for things to come, I bring today’s blog to a close. I’ve enjoyed this talk that took just a bit longer than I expected, having branched into two days instead of the previously thought up one, for time reasons. I’ll be seeing you around, of that I am quite certain. So here’s to the next twenty four days, may they fare ye well.