Day 9 of press tour for Dragon Commander. Typing this up from a small hotel room somewhere in Hamburg. Getting increasingly tired but not managing to sleep as there is too much noise from the cars driving by.
We released the trailer yesterday as well as the revamped website. The reactions so far seem to be positive though it’s clear that a lot of people need to try to the game before they’ll fully understand exactly what it is that we’v made. Hope the output of the tour is going to help with that.
Didn’t see any articles pop up yet, but I guess they’ll appear shortly. Nervous about those, as they are all based on hand-on play. It looks like most people playing it are having a blast and we even had several guys actually rearranging their schedule to be able to play the game more. Never had that happen to one of our games before.
Still, it wouldn’t be the first time that an apparently good reception at a press event somehow transforms itself in a smiting once you see the article. There’s still a bucketload of bugs and missing UI elements and missing effects and missing etceteras, and I’m not sure if they can all see past that. We’ll see.
One thing that worries me a bit in particular is the discussion I’ve had with several journalists about the the political and satirical topics in the game. They were all pretty interested in that part of the game and since they are journalists after all, I can see how that’s going to be something we’ll have to deal with.
Admittedly, some of the topics are a bit controversial, even if we did base them on real-life issues that dominate political agendas around the world. But the wording used by our writer is pretty much in synch with Larian’s culture i.e. it’s very satiricial, and since the internet is the internet and some of the satire will be lost in translation, it’s probably inevitable that flak is going to head our way.
It also doesn’t help that our lead animator decided that on this particular game he was going to show the world what he thinks of censorship. He made the most obvious sexist camera shot ever for the introduction of the dwarven princess to the dragon knight, and then queried me whether I thought it was over the top, and whether or not such an expression of artistic freedom belonged in a game. As I was debating the issue openly I somehow managed to get half Larian around me, who vigorously let me know that censorship is a thing of the devil and what they thought about their right to aim a camera at a dwarven princess’ breasts.
I let them cook a bit by playing the devil’s advocate, but let it in because a) I’m no big fan of censorship, b) I’m no fan of enforced politically correctness because it gives media too much power to shape opinion and c) I thought there was something symbolical about this particular shot being such a discussion generator just because it was visual. I think there is much more controversial stuff than this in the way the councillors formulate their opnions , but apparently the fact that that’s just words doesn’t provoke the same emotions.
Some of the guys who saw our presentations got it though and understood that there was gameplay value in putting in things a large majority wouldn’t agree with (at least, I hope), but which a player would still contemplate because it might let him reach his goals, pretty much the same thing a politician has to do all the time.
I guess that if we would’ve tracked what some well known journalists decided on as a policy and posted it to their facebooks and twitters as their opnions, they’d be in a lot of trouble. It’s an evil game in that.
Anyway, flak heading this way, I’m sure, so now I need to figure out if we’re going to be nice and adapt so it doesn’t provoke, or just let it in because it’s good writing and it does make you think.
The note to self that I need to remember from the discussions I’ve had is that in any case I need to be more careful with what I say on a press tour. For instance, I spent quite some time talking to a journalist who was recording our conversation and while his recorder was visible, the tone of the conversation had changed such that I thought the interview was over and we were just exchanging opinions. I’m usually rather explicit when I discuss things so I’m already grateful he removed the swearing, but I’m not sure I did the best possible job communicating there. You can read said interview here but mind you, it’s a mish-mash of a lot of thoughts and the required nuance isn’t necessarily present because I really didn’t think I was talking publicly.
Yes, even after all this talk about censorship, I do in general indulge in a bit of self-censorship when talking to press if only it’s because I have to promote my company and my own personal thoughts are sometimes not necessarily conductive to that 😉
I need to go – presentations start in a couple of hours . Do let me know what you think of our Dragon Commander trailer and what your thoughts are on representing real-life political opinions in game using occassionaly foul and shocking language .