I try not to spend a hundred percent of my time thinking about the shambling chaos that gnaws at the periphery, but it’s hard not to notice the symptoms.
An announcement from EA on one of very few games I follow from them was stark. In essence, it told me… well, aside from a signal not to be excited about it anymore because they were going to dismantle the studio and lobotomize the product, it was an exercise in nontent wherever it wasn’t just throwing up its hands and saying “hey, we’re only a gargantuan international money factory. We’re only reacting to market forces” when they are, in fact, supermassive and consistently, strategically, aggressively warp economic space.
I can’t even pretend to be neutral on the subject. Talking with Amy Hennig at PAX West last year powerwashed my creative ambitions. I didn’t even think I had them, precisely - I just followed my bizarre dementias wherever they carried me off to. I met her for about an hour and emerged a new creature, and I suspect I’m not the only one.
Look - we’re chasing the best writers out of this industry. If they aren’t at the indie tier, a dangerous place where one bad game - or one good game that simply doesn’t sell enough - will blast your best stratagems into atoms, you’re on notice. That’s what this is, more or less. Visceral put three and a half years into a single player game with one of the best properties in the world written by one of the most consistent, thoughtful, artists the medium has ever seen. I don’t like to tell people what to make. I make things too; it’s annoying. But they were already making it. And if you’re not going to bet with your winnings, if it’s purely a matter of stripmining a community, there are dimensions to this behavior that I’m not going to ignore.
This strip doesn’t have a punchline, in the classic sense. But it does throw punches.