Planning to go get your copy of the so-called “Spy-RPG” “Alpha Protocol” today? You might wanna re-think that decision after hearing this.
“AP” hasn’t been received particularly well by the media – The game has a Metacritic score of 67, for example. Scores and ratings aside, you know a game is bad when its creators are trying to distance themselves from the project. One review in particular, though, is worthy of special attention: In response to a particularly bad review from Joystiq, an anonymous poster alleging to be a member of the game’s development team slammed the game’s producers, claiming that the game shouldn’t have ever been released.
Calling himself “a tired dev,” the developer wrote that, though the team worked hard on the game, incompetant leadership steered them away from fixing the game’s numerous technical problems. “The Executive Producer for the game (and Obsidian Co-Owner), Chris Parker, seemed to think he was the world’s greatest designer ever, and created all these absolutely shitty systems and wouldn’t listen to any of the real designers or devs about things that just didn’t work,” the developer wrote. “You can’t exactly argue with one of the owners of the company when he doesn’t want to listen.” In short, he claims that Parker’s position, combined with his aggressive mismanagement meant the game never had a chance.
The post also attacks publisher Sega for pressuring the developers to release an unfinished project – Sega repeatedly demanded that the team add new gameplay features without allowing enough time fix bugs and technical errors. “…they focused on adding still more features and never fixed the ones they already had. That is a recipe for tons of bugs and no polish.” Lastly, he said that “Alpha Protocol” should’ve been scrapped years ago, but that Sega forced the team to “complete” the game.
Obviously, there is no way to discern the legitimacy of the post. It was anonymous, after all. And considering the nature of the comments, its unlikely that we’ll ever know. Still, given the overall perception from critics is that the game is a buggy mess, I’m personally giving them the benefit of the doubt. Sadly, this story – a good game with interesting gameplay feature being brought down by inadequate resources being attributed to quality control and testing – seems to becoming a more and more common tale.