By videogames, I mean Neverwinter Nights 2.
I’ve just finished playing this game – a good thing, since it was the biggest hurdle in my completion of NaNoWriMo.
The game itself is quite enjoyable, by and large. Fun and engaging characters, an entertaining if unoriginal story (with a few genuinely impressive moments), and all the standard leveling and equipment joy that placates hardcore d&d players.
The problem, unfortunately, is that the game is unfinished.
It is fiddled with more bugs and glitches than I care to go into – including several ones very key to the game itself, such as the AI controlling your character’s companions, the camera views through which you observe the game, and various pieces of the combat system that drives encounters.
But I was able to accept that. Perhaps it is a bad thing that I expect games to have their share of quirks, and look upon something buggy as the norm, and something that works properly to be a grand success.
What struck me to the core was the ending. Now, I won’t get into any details as to the final plot itself. But the ending, and indeed much of the scenes leading up the end, were tagged on almost as an afterthought. The designers ran out of time or money, and suddenly had to wrap it up and push it out the door.
We’re talking about a game that drops into cut-scenes every time you turn a corner, and has exciting and skilled voice actors for bums you run into on the street for five minutes.
The ending of the game consists of a series of still images (that may not even be entirely accurate), and a voice-over by what appears to be Bob the Pizza Guy.
I kid you not. The entire game is filled with an exceptional soundtrack, and the ending of the game is a slideshow narrated in a dead monotone.
Ok, I’ve had my rant. The reason for the game’s flaws is easily found – the company needed the game out the door, and had to ship it a few months before it could actually be developed into a quality game. Disappointing, but I’ll live – even if I did feel the need to spend some time venting on it.
Now, I thought about quite a few ways to compare my complaints here with the wonderful world of webcomics.
It would not be a difficult comparison to make. I could say that webcomics, after all, usually fall on a specific schedule, and the demands to meet deadlines (even self-imposed ones) has left many artists pondering what to do. Put up an unfinished work, and color it later? Put up filler for now, and the final product when it is ready? Just skip the deadline?
It is a tough choice, and one that invariably will end with someone unhappy, and one side of the crowd yelling at those who get upset about delays in free comics, and the other side demanding more professionalism from those who want to make a living from their work. It’s a debate that makes me twitch, because I’m usually able to see valid points in both sides.
As such, I will kindly refrain from making the comparison between my video game woes and the webcomic industry. Instead, like everyone else on the face of earth, I shall succub to peer pressure and link to the new face of WIGU.