Brutal Legend was a game that was advertised mostly as an action game, but in practice was more like a mix of real-time strategy and action. Double Fine founder Tim Schafer attributes this to very poor messaging on the product from its various handlers.
âThe part that I felt was most special about the game got unfairly vilified because of poor messaging,” said Schafer. “I think it’s the neatest thing about the game turning into a big negative for people, whereas if we’d brought them in the process early they would have enjoyed those parts about the game a lot more.”
“Vivendi was like ‘No. Absolutely not. We’ll never say RTS, ever. Even if someone asks us if it’s an RTS we’ll say no.’ There was definitely a messaging problem with that game,â he continued. âThat’s one example of how the openness would have helped that game a lot. Say we were developing that and sharing our battle system with people before we launched; not only would people have known about it, but people would contribute ideas to it and embrace it, and feel like it was their idea instead of this nasty shock.”
Schafer has had a revelation about game development and messaging now. “We used to have this terror that if I go off-message and say the wrong thing no one will buy my game, which is not true,â he said.
“I’ve had this epiphany about how it doesn’t hurt to be open. Let people see how it progress over time, so they feel the way we feel about the game. So they’re really attached to them. You think people are going to reject you or your ideas about the game because they’ll see something they don’t like, but what actually happens is they embrace them more because they feel more included and more like a part of it,â he concluded.
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