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Strangeland - new adventure game from Wormwood Studios

Discussion in 'Adventure Gaming' started by MRY, Mar 19, 2018.

  1. Wapcaplet Educated

    Wapcaplet
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    True -- but I love it when game news sites grudgingly acknowledge that their harsh review of a highly respected and popular game makes them look a bit foolish in hindsight.

    Interesting. I would think you'd at least get some clickthroughs from RPS, though they did bury the link at the end of the story.
     
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  2. SausageInYourFace Codexian Sausage Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Can you notice an, dare I say it, incline in clicks (thank you! thank you, ladies and gentlemen!) when Infinitron makes a newpost?
     
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  3. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Hard to say. I don't trace where they came from. We got a lot more page views for FG despite the Codex being the only site that covered it, but I wonder whether those views come via Twitter rather than the Codex.
     
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  4. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I was looking forward to this announcement after following Victor's art posts on Twitter. The game is loooking good, although I am a bit worried, if it is indeed going to be smaller than Primordia, which was great apart from being TOO SHORT. If Strangeland has a similar quality level but ends even sooner, my heart might not be able to withstand that.
     
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  5. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    It is definitely shorter, and its story is currently quite different from Primordia's in terms of presentation; more subtext, less text, as befits the themes and setting. When we start putting it through its testing paces, though, we might revisit things, and it might be possible (or even necessary) to make it a bit larger.
     
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  6. Starwars Arcane

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    How the fuck could anyone give Primordia 55/100?

    I mean, even if you're not onboard the fantrain like some of us here on the Codex... 55/100? No, just no.
     
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  7. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    It wasn't even the worst review we got. Richard Cobbett, after giving it a negative preview in PC Gamer, went on to give it 2.5/5 on Gamespy.

    I've always wondered how the same reviewers could heap such praise on other classic-style AGS adventure games and have such negative views of Primordia (for instance, RPS's reviews of Shardlight and Primordia are a surprising contrast), but the fact is that if someone doesn't like our game, it's not their fault, it's ours. We made various decisions in terms of puzzle difficulty, visuals, and themes with the knowledge that they would be off-putting to some. For instance, if Horatio's religion were a burlesque of hypocrisy, I'm sure some players would have liked the game more, while having it be a sincere and hopeful part of his "life" is a real turn off to some.

    We're lucky we were in a position to make a game without compromising various aspects that were important to us (low resolution and narrow palette for Vic, challenging puzzles for both Vic and me, certain thematic elements for me), even though we did compromise other elements (Vic giving up various audio aspects, a timer, a larger inventory of useless items, death/dead-end states, and a large empty desert to explore; me giving up on a couple of harder puzzles, the inclusion of achievements, and built-in translations, and a few more elaborate design things (like having Horatio upgraded throughout the game, almost Metroid-like)). And we're even luckier that, even with our stubbornness, we were able to find many players and a few reviewers who liked the game.
     
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  8. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    As far as I know, neither of the guys who posted about Strangeland were at those sites when they reviewed Primordia, so I don't think that's a fair knock on them. In fact, Andy Chalk, who did the PC Gamer article, has always been a big promoter of Primordia.
     
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  9. bertram_tung Arbiter

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    Primordia was fucking incredible, I don't care what any idiot reviewer has to say. It is without a doubt one of the best point and click adventures I have played, and I have played a fuck ton over my 25+ years of computer gaming.

    Goes without saying I am extremely excited for Strangeland

    Thank you wormwood
     
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  10. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    You're very welcome. I've always felt that I'd rather have a player who connected with the game than a reviewer who gave it a sloppy kiss, though of course reviewers are players, too, and if they engage with the game, all the better. Ultimately, I'd much rather have our many positive player reactions but relatively few strong reviews than the reverse, which many other games managed to swing.
     
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  11. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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    now that is dedication
     
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  12. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    There were lots of Wadjet Eye games coming out then. No time to give them all a fair hearing, so it's safest to trash the "off-brand" one (not a "flagship" Wadjet Eye title developed by Dave Gilbert, nor an obvious immediate hit like Gemini Rue).

    You see this happen often, most famously with Fallout: New Vegas. The thing is, it's usually a safe bet because the off-brand third party titles usually are of lesser quality than the flagship titles. But not always.
     
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  13. ghostdog Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    It makes you think if there are even people that actually play the game and write a review, or simply an algorithm that inputs some basic info about the game and calculates the score.
     
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  14. Infinitron I post news Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The algorithm is "Should I give enough of a fuck and invest the mental energy required to find out that this game is actually good, or should I brush it off with surface-level complaints about the annoying stuff that immediately jumps out at me?"

    I can almost sympathize. When you're a professional reviewer, somebody who has to roll out review after review on a treadmill, making this sort of calculus (consciously or unconsciously) might be inevitable. This is why niche-targeted sites like the Codex are so valuable.
     
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  15. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Nah, Primordia got more coverage — such as from PC Gamer — than other WEG games did at the time. If anything it was too much attention. :)
     
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  16. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

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    Gamejournalist collective change of heart about Primordia might have something to do with Steam's 97% positive and GOG 4.5/5 stars ratings from players. Just a theory, though.

    But no matter what they say now, The Codex will remember. And we know that Primordia will be ours forever.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG] Mwahahahahaha!
     
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  17. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

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  18. CryptRat Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Developer

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    I don't really like the art, it's a weird mix between Primordia, Tormentun and Neofeud. I dislike the shiny painting and the glowing lights. Don't get me wrong, I don't think it looks terrible, the reason why I'm mentioning that is that Primordia looks a lot better than this game to me.
     
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  19. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Not my department. :) I personally like it quite a bit, but I wonder whether it’s the higher resolution or what that’s rubbing you the wrong way. The art doesn’t look like Tormentum or Neofeud at all to me, but I’ve got a terrible eye for things.

    That particular shot may look odd since it’s a cropped part of a larger scene. Dunno.
     
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  20. almondblight Arcane

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    Game "journalism" has a long history of punching down. Look at the user vs critics reviews for Fallout 4, Dragon's Age 2, Broken Age, Primordia, Gothic II, Quest for Infamy, ToEE, etc. Big name games and media darlings are going to have higher critic reviews than user reviews, and smaller studios/indies without a vocal fanbase are going to have the opposite. It's not that the tastes are simply different, because as pointed out, if a game gets mediocre reviews but then becomes a hit with players these companies change their tune.

    I actually first noticed it because of the opposite scenario - AAA game would get a score of 9.9 and the only problem would be some minor quibble, but the users would all say it sucked. Then when the sequel came out the same sites would "wow, this sequel fixed all the problems in the first game" - problems they never mentioned in their review.
     
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  21. agris Arcane Patron

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    Horatio's relation to religion was based on your own personal experience during law school. Horatio's religiosity struck me as genuine, as a non-religious person, and knowing that your inspiration was lived experience, I think it was your personal experience that rendered that entire aspect of his persona credibility. For Primordia, whatever calculations and compromises you made regarding implementing things that you personally felt strongly about vs what was market-tested and unoffensive - nothing ever came across as calculated, manufactured or disingenuous. I hope you continue to hold true to whatever your balance is - aged, slackened, and refined as it has been over the past ~9 years.

    Also, how the hell did I not know about Strangeland?! I learned about it from the Primordia thread! It doesn't help that Dee Snider's nonsense swamps out the google results.

    Lastly, using Wu-Tang analogies to describe your loose collaboration of game makers.

     
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  22. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Thanks. My game work is always a bit of a dance between my desire to please the audience and my vanity and stubbornness about my writing. :)
     
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  23. bertram_tung Arbiter

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    Does wormwood studios plan on releasing fallen gods before strangeland? I've read a lot of updates on the former but not much at all on the latter. I'm sure both will be great games, but as an adventure game fan I am personally super excited about strangeland in particular.
     
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  24. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Strangeland first, I expect.
     
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  25. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    A small update here.

    Right now, the game comprises three somewhat distinct parts, two of which were far enough along to invite third party testing. That's going on right now. We're getting a fair amount of feedback. We'll need to assess whether those parts require any significant changes, but it doesn't look like it. The third part has quite a bit done, but is not ready for testing yet.

    Based on testing, I think it is fair to assume the game will be considerably shorter than Primordia. It's very hard for a developer to judge his own playing time, but testers seem to be finishing the first two parts in ~2 to ~2.5 hours, which would be consistent with the whole game in the ~3 to ~3.5 hour range. This is not ideal, and we're considering ways to expand it somewhat, but candidly these are on the order of changing your high school essay to 2.2 spacing and 1.3" margins -- you can maybe squeeze a half page out of such shenanigans, but you can't turn a five-page essay into a ten-pager. It is possible that we might add a fourth part, depending on how we feel after the third part is done. That is less absurd that it sounds on paper given the way the game's exposition works. But at some point, I just want to be done with the thing. As you may recall, this started out life as a competition game that was supposed to be made in a few days and played in an hour or something, so the whole thing was born small, as it were, and can only grow so much.

    On the plus side, the testers, who include some highly critical Codexers, are generally positive about the game. For a game like this, a lot depends on whether it sticks the landing, so I'm remaining overall pessimistic, as is my wont, but perhaps it will wind up well received, brevity notwithstanding.
     
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