I’m a little late on this. Last week my column for PopMatters went up, though I had been told we wouldn’t be restarting until the new year. Ah well. The previous week my review for Primordia went up and I wanted to write even more about the game.
It’s fortuitous that I chose to write about the commentary and what that signifies to me as a player, because my review got me an interview with the writer/designer of the game. I had a wonderful chat with him and it made me notice a really awesome trend as of late. Designer and developers are becoming more open with the press. The veiled barriers that were once iron clad are falling. We see people like the lead writer on Far Cry 3 trying to explain himself, though he has little land to stand on. And the normally reserved Ken Levine giving interview after interview on a game still months away from release. And little old me managed to have an informal chat with someone I never met to talk about their game.
To me the commentary on the game is just an extension of that. Very few games have commentaries and all the ones I can think of are from Valve. They wont be for everyone, but to the fact that I can get some insight into the thought process behind the designer’s choices, now that I’ve seen it, is becoming somewhat important to me. In part because it signifies that deeper than technical design thinking went into it and that the developers think of themselves as reaching farther.
I don’t know if I’ll end up turning my chat with Primordia’s writer into an interview or something come the new year, but at the very least it got my juices flowing on a post idea or two. The commentary actually got me into the mindset, that what else is there left to say. The development team said it all themselves. But no, there isn’t always something more to say and it makes me smile that it is true for Primorida.
Last year I championed Driver: San Francisco. For a while it looked like there wouldn’t be a game I could champion in the same way. Now there is.