Sunday, May 4, 2014
WANTED - WEAPONS OF FATE
I left Grin Barcelona with a lot of frustration. Lack of time and expertise caused the project to struggle when building even the most basic systems. But above anything else, the careerists preying on the team caused us to spend more time on backstabbing instead of making the game better.
I'm 100% sure that if our focus would have been improving the game instead of kissing asses Wanted - Weapons of Fate would have been a fairly good game. Instead, it has a 61-62 on metacritics. Probably a fair rating. There was a lot of unfounded optimism in Grin at that time, but the tools were good and the employees were hard workers, experienced and most of them with the best of attitude.
Anyway, I finally built enough emotional distance with that project to buy and play the final game (I hadn't since 2008), and here are my impresions on the PS3 version:
In general, the game is super-short. Not to be surprised since some of the levels were re-designed up to 10 times from scratch. Only 9 missions made it to the final game, and the final difficulty balance is fairly easy. You can finish it in 4 hours without problems. On my side, I believe our game mechanics were not enough, and not particularly exciting. Half way through you get tired of the same player actions. We didn't have that much time to build more, but truth is we failed in the implementation of some of the ideas we had. I have my own share of responsibility on that.
Another issue we had was in my opinion an ill-conceived flat structure, that allowed up to 13 people to actively change the design (including tweaking game parameters), which at the end created a design with a thousand fathers and none of them really proud of it.
Back at the time I was very fond of the game story. It was written internally (and I was in no little part a major player on that) and we were given great freedom to approach the IP however we wanted. Our story expanded the Wanted lore a lot, and although I keep thinking it's much better than most other games (particularly those based on movies) after playing it altogether you probably won't understand the player motivations unless you've seen the movie beforehand. Since that doesn't need to have happened, you probably won't feel any empathy with the events told.
I learned a lot on that game, but the most important lesson is that I cannot deal with political animals. Or simply I don't want to. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure they'll continue existing, multiplying and destroying good projects and companies.