Fire Down Below
I am at the point of an illness where I don’t remember what it was like before. Did I just… not hurt all the time? Was I less aware of my sinuses? Because right now I feel like I a gigantic sinus, rolling down the sidewalk, accumulating gravel.
As is often the case, there were extra fireworks that veritably demanded an offset launch.
I am kind of flipping out. I’m looking at this Sunless Sea, at how Fallen and Londonian it is, and I want that. But when would I play it? I’m behind my guild’s level curve in Wildstar, now; they’ve sprouted, thank God. They’re at that Alt phase that will hopefully give me a chance to catch up. But there was just a big patch for another Early Access game - Endless Legend - that I’ve been wanting to scrape a deep hole in to lay my eggs. Or… being playing it seriously. And Divinity: Original Sin was too good; I had to stop. But it doesn’t want me to.
Divnity: Original Sin just became a “real boy,” in the Pinnochian sense. It just got “finished.” But so many of the games I dip a toe into these days are at some point before 1.0, Gold Master status. 1.0 has been severely deprecated as software has grown in complexity: it doesn’t mean what it once did. In fact, a retail purchase may well mean you need to download a sixteen gig patch. So there are points on the “Early Access” continuum that are wholly comparable to quote finished software, if not superior.
I’m not sure I see a lot of difference between Early Access and Crowdfunding. I do, however, see these tools being used to bolster moribund genres, and I see people tripping over their inlaid sabatons trying to fund “their” style of game. Broken Age is a good example. Torment, Wasteland 2, and Pillars of Eternity are even better. And Planetary Annihilation may be the best. Let me tell you a story.
I had a friend (and may still have one - I haven’t checked) who put together a seminal Internet Multimedia Excursion, and with the use of a grant had transformed it into a DVD Boxed Set for we magpies to covet. There was a window of opportunity where this DVD Set could be pressed, and demand existed for about five million in sales.
The people with the distribution rights were like, five million? We’ll pass. Right? I don’t pass on five million, and it’s inconceivable that someone would, but that’s not what a large company is designed to do. They are not oriented around snacking. They want to fill their baleen with seawater and strain out four and a half tons of krill per day. We’re the krill, by the way; I’m not sure if that’s coming across. It always seemed like madness to me, this story of his, but those are the caloric requirements of creatures that size and it shapes their thinking.
So the RTS, the Fiddly-Bits RPG, and the Adventure Game are all back, and they’re essentially an Indie phenomenon. They’re not passing on five million. If you ever wondered what it would be like to see an Ice Age - to watch existing orders topple, to watch great beasts wink out of existence - settle back. You have a front row seat.