Thursday, September 11, 2008

Poor Silicon Knights

I feel for Silicon Knights. I really, really, do. Dennis Dyack and his team are clearly passionate individuals, smart guys, who want to make kick-ass videogames. In fact, they already have. So what the hell happened with Too Human? Let me say this up front: I haven't played the final game. I don't even (gasp) own an Xbox 360. But I played the early demo at E3 two years ago, and I was psyched. Everyone else said, "Oh boy, this game is going to be garbage," -- but I was all like, "No, no, look past the rough spots and you can see they are really trying something fresh." And then everyone else was like, "No, really. This thing is going off the rails," and I was all like, "Give them a chance! It's Norse mythology meets Robocop!" And so on and so forth.

Well, the reviews of the final game are in, and as everyone knows by now, they are not exactly glowing. The situation harkens back to the Schwartz Theory of Low Expectation Media Consumption, but in this case, I really need to cite the Schwartz Theory of High Expectation Media Consumption, which essentially states that a project's percieved (or actual) failure is always compounded in direct proportion to the level of anticipation with which it is met by the audience. In other words, when Uwe Boll fails, nobody cares, because they expected him to fail. However, when Steven Spielberg does the same, it is that much worse because all of his movies are met with very high expectations.

In any event, the gamers don't seem to like Too Human very much. For a really hilarious review, check out this week's Zero Punctuation. But not everyone is a hater! Kevin Pereira says: screw them! You know what I want? I want some Silicon Knights fanboy to jump to the game's defense, just like this guy did for Alone in the Dark. So noble! So hilarious! (Thanks to Matt for the link, by the way.)

Well, fine. Too Human probably isn't as bad as everyone says. I reserve judgment until I have the chance to play it myself. It just goes to show you how influential an editorial trend can be, furthering my skepticism of "games journalism" (hah) as a whole. Spore also seems to be a victim of the Schwartz Theory, and that's a real shame. But the expectations for Spore were ridiculous, probably the most anticipated title of all time! How can anything live up to that? I've just started playing it myself, and so far I am really enjoying it. Looking past the hype, you can easily see its brilliance, but I think some players were expecting Spore to simulate life while alphabetizing their DVD collection and doing their taxes simultanteously. Now that would be an amazing game.

Well, this was a linktastic ramble. Point is, I feel for Silicon Knights. I guess I will determine how badly I feel for them once I've actually played their game.

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