Sep 232011

Human Revolution‘s boss battles were a management failure: News broke (or, more accurately, re-broke) this week that the much-maligned boss battles of Deus Ex: Human Revolution had been outsourced to G.R.I.P. The natural response was to blame the incoherent nature of these fights (although honestly, they weren’t that bad) on that studio. The blame, however, most likely belongs to the management at Eidos. Any decision to outsource work puts an enormous burden on the management, because it is their job to see that the work done by the outsource group meets the standards and fits the vision for the whole project. Now, sometimes that doesn’t happen because the group they outsourced to are a bunch of idiots. That’s the fault of the ones that hired them (management). Usually, though, the system fails at the communication level: goals aren’t accurately conveyed, work isn’t properly vetted. The fault then belongs to the coordinator, that is, management. I can’t say for sure whether G.R.I.P.’s work seemed so totally out of place just because some idiot in upper management didn’t do his job right. However, the task of coordinating various studios is not the job of those studios: their job is to produce what is asked of them. Coordinating studios is a job that belongs to managers and executives. If you want to kick somebody over the boss fights, that’s where you should be aiming your foot.

Foldit players outsmarted the machine race: I covered this at Conformational Flux on Wednesday. Initially the coverage of this was decent (the report on io9 was best), but things degraded as the game of telephone got to work on the cheerily-worded press release. If it’s any consolation, most game sites didn’t get the reporting on this issue any worse than mainstream journalists did. It became painfully obvious as the week went on that the basics of journalism were being ignored in favor of just regurgitating a press release that would be sure to get pageviews. I rate my resulting disgust with journalism as “moderate”.

The World Ends With You sequel a possibility: I was completely unmoved when Square-Enix revealed that Neku would be in Dream Drop Distance because I’ve mostly learned my lesson when it comes to Kingdom Hearts spinoffs. A sequel to the original TWEWY, however, would sell me a 3DS in a heartbeat. The original game was great, and while I feel that Neku’s story doesn’t need to be continued, a return visit to those gameplay principles would be very welcome indeed.

Now playing:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Finished it. The immediate gameplay is really strong here, but the larger idea doesn’t work. The game feels flabby: expansive in places that don’t matter and contracted in places that do. It’s still great fun to play, but it’s closer to Invisible War than to the original.

Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet – The art style is really neat and the Metroidvania core is sound. I always feel like the game is holding my hand, though. I think not having the scanner would have been an improvement.

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