Developer Beef Watch: Positech Vs Epic

By Kieron Gillen on July 16th, 2010 at 7:20 pm.

Sometimes I love this job.

It really was the Develop for it. After Schafer’s lobbing of the prick-stick at Kotick, Cliff Harris returns from there to write a furious blog post arguing that Epic’s Mark Rein is “a jerk”. Which is a lot milder than prick, but Cliff keeps-on-keeping-on climaxing with him telling that Triple-A bosses should “Fuck off”. The cause for his concertation? Well, it’s the microdeveloper panel at Develop where Harris – on the panel – took umbrage with Rein – in the front row – interrupting the discussion to give him a piece of his marketing wisdom. Go read Cliff’s takes on the event – though I was actually at the event, so will hopefully write it up soon. It’s worth noting that Rein’s interruption came when Cliff was talking about his time with Lionhead and getting into trouble with PRs for speaking to the forumites. However, it quickly continued into the wider area, with Rein basically acting like a fifth panelist for the closing section.

I’m hoping this erupts into a full-scale war between the American Mainstream and British Independents by next Develop, and look forward to Terry Cavanagh saying that Valve are a big bunch of tossers or similar.

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96 Comments »

  1. TCM says:

    I am easily entertained by cliffski and his antics.

    However, I would tend to agree with him here, if I had an objective point of view to check the facts with.

    [incidentally, i imagine he holds that knife ALL THE TIME forever]

    • jalf says:

      I am easily entertained by cliffski and his antics.

      However, I would tend to agree with him here, if I had an objective point of view to check the facts with.

      What he said

  2. jonfitt says:

    I like to read an independent account of the events, but Cliffski sounds right on the money to me.

  3. Karthik says:

    It’s interesting to note that the first article in the related stories list above is Mark Rein saying “Cliff’s an idiot.”

  4. LewieP says:

    I am entirely with Cliffski on this one.

    Mark Rein also spent the entire of the Unity engine presentation sat on the front row playing some shiny turd of an unreal engine demo on his android tablet. Or trying to anyway, it looked like it had some serious problems with controls when he showed it to us later.

  5. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    Yeah an independent writeup would be welcomed but its going to be pretty hard to justify Mark Rein butting in like that on a panel for indie devs.

    “No no, all these press releases, interviews and so on we get to put out several times a month aren’t enough, I should also be able to give my 2 pence worth at a panel that is the exact opposite of what I represent. My viewpoint is that important! Everyone will welcome it!”

  6. Tei says:

    Sending emails to clients take too much time. Writting text is slow, wen you have to care what you say and what you don’t say. If you have millions of clients, would take several million years. Maybe is doable if you have a small number of clients. Epic games can respond to emails of clients that have buy his engine, even meet these people in person. Probably attend the people by email, with tecnical problems, but most of these emails will be templates.

    On the Internet, theres the tradition of the FAQ files… since questions repeat often, is a waste of time to repeat again and again the same doubts, so you collect these questions in a single file, and you refer people to that file, wen ask a question, or copy & paste from the file the reply to the question. Most question “originality” is low, and can be resolved with the FAQ, and wen a question is “new”, the answer can be added to the FAQ.
    Multimillion dollars companies seems using something like that, but integrated in a multilevel solution software to automatize everything. What may suck, because you never get a right answer to your question (probably no one has time to really reply your question).

    I am webmaster, and I actually choose the small hosting companies, because these people DO really answer your with written emails, and you can even talk by phone with the people that understand your problem. The big hosting companies will never really talk with you, only copy&paste stuff to you. And for some reason, hosting for the small companies is cheaper than the big companies. So you get a better service AND better price with the small companies, than with the big ones.

    Reading more about the thing, there are about 7 levels of irony here, since Epic started as a mail-me-ware company (aka, shareware), people is still sending snail-mail orders to a real addres to buy some of the original epic games (about 2 orders / week). Is fucking bloody ironic that a Epic representative is seeing criticing something like that. But maybe understandable. Epic is soo big, can’t take a minute to talk to the gamers directly, and probably would be too expensive to even try a fraction of that.

  7. Bobsy says:

    Missed opportunity. I want Cliffski to fight Cliff Bleszinski. Bat’leth versus gun-with-a-chainsaw*.

    *Space Marines are keep amateur tree surgeons.

    • dadioflex says:

      Yeah, I’d like that too. But mainly cos I don’t much care for Cliffski and Cliffy B is a leather-trousered, monster!!! Or something.

      Hell, I’d root for the devil if it would shut Cliffski up.

    • Duoae says:

      Two Cliffs enter, one leaves…. It’s like Highlander – where they absorb the other’s powers. If Cliffski wins, he gains a chainsaw on his knife and gets a nickname and a cult following from Kotaku. If Cliff wins then he gets a British accent and a desire to code strategy games….

      Actually, thinking about it… Cliffski wins either way….

    • MWoody says:

      Wait, these are different people? I need to pay more attention to the industry.

  8. wyrmsine says:

    Crossposted to positech, but it’s worth mentioning here that anyone responsible for UT3 shouldn’t be giving marketing advice to anyone.

  9. Juuso says:

    Can’t wait to hear counter :D

  10. Choca says:

    Mark Rein trying to lecture someone on how to communicate with gamers ? That’s hilarious.

    Maybe he should remember that he doesn’t care about PC games anymore, or that he actually does, or that maybe he doesnt, who can keep track really.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      From reading this and other bits and pieces around the net I’ve yet to see anything that shows Mark Rein in a positive light in this encounter. I’ll be interested to see how he / epic tries to spin this, what with all their marketing skills and all.

  11. Wulf says:

    There’s a…

    [Long pause.]

    …I have no idea how to put this tactfully, but there’s an incredibly blatant form of hypocrisy going on here, or at the very least, it’s a case of the pottiest pot calling the kettliest kettle black (whatever that’s supposed to me, but I think you get the point). What we have here is two men – both of whom are really rather awful at PR – engaging in a little one-upmanship, in order to try and come out of it the superior person, ego massaged and all.

    To be honest, I’d say that they can both be dicks. Cliffski is clearly the lesser evil, but arguing with a slightly greater evil doesn’t necessarily make a lesser evil suddenly good, or anything. I admit, I’m not the biggest fan of Cliffski, but it’s mostly because he seems to hate most of his potential customers, or at least that’s the impression I get from him. There are some developers – like Dejobaan, Wolfire, and others – whom I’d throw money at just for being respectful. Cliffski is a sort of… anti-Dejobaan.

    The problem I have with Cliffski is that he comes over as a very insidious, dishonest, and insincere person. I’ve noticed that even when he’s trying to ‘help’ or ‘understand’ a person or a group of people, his words tend to drip with sarcasm. Whether this is intentional or not, I have no idea, but it carries over to interviews as well, and he doesn’t particularly speak kindly of anyone, not his customers, other developers, or anyone really.

    The irony is that then he complains that his games don’t really sell that well. So, this latest post of him is amusing to me, because he’s complaining that Mark Rein criticised a ‘friendly, community-focused’ approach to PR, but the problem here is that Cliffski is hardly a paragon of great PR, either. Neither am I, and nor are the vast majority of people here.

    I don’t know what makes for a great PR person, really, but I know Cliffski isn’t it. Perhaps Wolfire and Dejobaan should open a school on proper PR methods, teaching developers how to be incredible, wonderful people, and how to connect with their customers.

    The only indie people I could take seriously when talking about PR are those like Dejobaan and Wolfire, they know their stuff, and people love them. Rightly so.

    This? This is just funny. And perhaps even a bit sad.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Maybe I’m too cynical so I didn’t read it as rude sarcasm? Anyways, I’ve never gotten the feeling that Cliffski is a major asshole, like you are saying. I’m open to the idea, I just haven’t paid him as much attention as you, I guess.

      What I’m trying to say here is [Citation Needed]

    • cliffski says:

      “The irony is that then he complains that his games don’t really sell that well”

      No

      No

      No

      never, ever, has not ever happened, never will, show me where I did that.
      I asked people who didn’t buy my games why not, so I can make my games better, and thus sell more.
      There is a BIG difference there.
      My games sell fine.

    • Arathain says:

      Holy Monkeys, Wulf. A “very insidious, dishonest, and insincere person”? That’s harsh, and I can’t say I feel it’s warranted. I’ve been aware of Cliffski for a while now. I’ve read his comments here. I bought Gratuitous Space Battles when it was first released, and followed the official forums for a little while. I’ve read his blog, and encountered interviews he’s done every once in a while. Where on earth are you getting this from?

      I see a hardworking, independent chap who loves what he does and speaks his mind. He’s more open than just about anyone out there about why he goes about things the way he does. Where he has disagreements he has been known to reach out, ask for discussion, and change his opinions based on reasoned argument. That last bit is rare enough amongst humans to be downright precious.

      I don’t agree with his strong opinions on a number of topics I’ve seen him post about, but I respect his positions. None of it matches up with how you describe him.

    • kikito says:

      The impressions you got from what that magic rabbit on that dream don’t count as reality.

    • Azradesh says:

      I don’t always agree with cliffski, but I respect him. He seems a pretty cool guy, I’m really not quite sure were you get all that from.

    • Rob says:

      “I’ve noticed that even when he’s trying to ‘help’ or ‘understand’ a person or a group of people, his words tend to drip with sarcasm. Whether this is intentional or not, I have no idea, but it carries over to interviews as well, and he doesn’t particularly speak kindly of anyone, not his customers, other developers, or anyone really.”

      um… he must be really bad at expressing himself then (and you must be amazing at determining the ‘true meaning’ of things), because there’s a tonne of people out there who aren’t seeing what you’re seeing.

    • Ashurbanipal says:

      Not wanting to invoke the demon, but I think Wulf might be confused with Derek Smart.

    • qrter says:

      Cliffski used to present himself a lot more abbrasively on certain topics (mainly the dreaded P-word!) – he used to come across as overly angry, and this was quite unappealing, at least to me. But that was a couple of years ago, I feel he has turned down the negativity humongously and turned his focus to the positive.

      You may see that as disengenous, but I don’t really see why. He seems a very approachable chap now, which is what you want as a small indie developer.

    • drewski says:

      P-p-p-portaloos?

      [/ENTER THE KRAKEN]

    • Kadayi says:

      Personally I’m with Wulf on this.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Maybe you were paying attention longer than the rest of us? Regardless, even if he was abrasive before, I have never seen it myself after he got linked on the Gratitious Space Battles stuff. And something about his other games, but I really didn’t have any interest in them at the time.

      qrter is far more believable, because his anecdote reaches past what I know and coincides with what I do know. So again, [Citation Needed]. Please.

    • TeeJay says:

      Penguins?

    • TeeJay says:

      Come on Wulf, you get upset with *everyone*, often taking everything people say (even in jest) completely literally – and then explode and post angry 1000 word responses attacking them. You are hardly the best person to pass judgement on people’s personalities based on their forum posts.

      I do admire the time/effort you put into your posts here, that you have strong beliefs which you defend vocally, but why are you trying to achieve by making such a personal attack on someone who you have never met and has done nothing to you? If you can actually point to something concrete then fine, but throwing rouns words like “evil”, “hate”, “very insidious, dishonest, and insincere person” suggests a lack perspective, is very OTT.

      Also saying “I don’t know what makes for a great PR person”, is kind of beside the point: self-employed ‘sole traders’, be they manual workers, freelancers or game developers, don’t have the luxury of employing other people, they need to talk to customers and clients themselves. This isn’t about spending money you don’t have or getting an impossible personality transplant, it’s about the “value versus time & effort” of certain types of activity or actions (eg talking directly to customers on forums).

      In some situations and businesses one-on-one customer service makes sense, in others it doesn’t.

    • Wulf says:

      @Teejay

      I think it’s funny that you’ve just done exactly what you’ve accused me of doing, of taking things literally, and then running off at the mouth about it. Perhaps I was just making a jab at Cliffski for the fun of it, but you went and took it all so literally, and had an ever-loving freak out.

      I just think that’s funny.

      What’s the word for that again, when someone accuses someone of doing something and then goes and does the very thing they’re demonising?

    • Psychopomp says:

      There are so many things wrong with what you just said, Wulf.

    • Wulf says:

      Oh, and for the record, there are people I like. It’s just that the RPS community tends to not be made up of the nicest people, which might have something to do with a predominantly English audience.

      I see a lot of e-peen waving, ego massaging, cliquing, and so much misogyny that it actually makes me feel quite physically sick at times. Heading into an RPS comments thread is like stepping into the devil’s den, one doesn’t exactly expect to like anyone or find anything particularly special, and actually discovering anything to the contrary is a rare delight, unfortunately, rather than a commonality.

      Might have something to do with it being run by those hateful British basts, no good can come of them.

      (At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if my posts need some kind of tongue-in-cheek disclaimer.)

    • Wulf says:

      @Psychopomp

      Yep.

    • Heliocentric says:

      I’m not sure what to make of all this :(

    • Urthman says:

      Wulf, I think you’re off base here. I have no interest in Cliffski’s games (only because I don’t play any games in those genres), but other than getting a little combative in some of the threads about piracy, he’s been a respectful and positive contributor in all the threads I’ve seen him posting in around here.

    • Chris D says:

      Wulf, if you think accusing someone of being “insidious, dishonest and insincere” is funny then I would suggest your sense of humour is deficient to say the least. If we’re judging people by previous forum behaviour then you have form at glibly insulting people and then acting all innocent whenever someone calls you on your shit. If you are smart you will stop digging. If you are decent you will apologise. I expect you will do neither. I hope you prove me wrong.

    • jaheira says:

      @Wulf

      “Commonality” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

    • Nick says:

      “RPS community tends to not be made up of the nicest people, which might have something to do with a predominantly English audience.”

      Totally!

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Wulf:

      IMO “for the record” the RPS community is fine. There is less tolerance of bigotry than the average online forum or newspaper comments section, but no real heavy-handed censorship going on to any great extent. I have not seen the kind of extensive bitching about the opposite gender that I have seen in some places online nor would it be tolerated by the mods here.

      I’d rather have a bunch of people bigging each other up and supporting each other’s projects than the typical war of personalities that most forums seem to have and which you seem to want to start. One person’s ‘clique’ is another’s ‘group of friends’. Again, I have never seen the sort of territorial hostility, suspicion of new posters and knee-jerk accusations of trolling that often occurs elsewhere, so ‘cliquey’ is unfair.

      There are tons of forums out there, so it’s ironic that you make so much effort in posting and interacting on one which you think so little of rather than just reading the blog posts.

      As for British/English sarcasm / whinging / backbiting – I can’t really make any comparisons except for other english-language countries as my other languages are not good enough to be able to tell the difference, nor can I be in any way objective. I suspect however that you don’t actually care either way and are just angling for someone to get offended by you ‘joke’.

      I’d suggest that you lead by example – stick to discussing games or in this case the pros and cons of one-on-one customer service, and try and steer things away from personal battles or generalising about the 1% of human beings who are resident in the UK versus the other 99%.

  12. pipman300 says:

    i’m going to do what i always do and assume it’s cliffski’s fault then stop caring a day later

  13. TheApologist says:

    Personally, I think that Cliffski is an interesting guy with forthright views. But whether you like Cliffski or not is missing the point.

    Who the hell interrupts someone else’s panel at a conference? That is a special kind of arrogance.

    By all means disagree, air your view, ask a hard question at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. Don’t bloody inflict yourself on an audience who didn’t come to see you or hear your precious opinion.

    As far as I am concerned, Mark Rein is a jerk for that alone.

    • Pathos says:

      “Personally, I think that Cliffski is an interesting guy with forthright views. But whether you like Cliffski or not is missing the point.

      Who the hell interrupts someone else’s panel at a conference? That is a special kind of arrogance.”

      This.

      The who-is-a-bigger-dick dick-waving is irrelevant.

      There is a tradition of interrupting/introducing yourself in a conference presentation if you have a particular connection to the subject matter: ie: it is about you or your work, etc.

      Taking time out of your day to attend a micro-studio discussion in order, without invitation, to ridicule the premise of the discussion is amazing, a profound combination of arrogance, stupidity and the conviction that this must all be about you somehow.

      As soon as Cliffski interrupts an Epic shareholders meeting to ridicule their marketing and employing 130 times too many people, his exposure to public scorn will be equivalent. Except it wouldn’t, it’d be hilarious, because there is a very serious power disparity here, and unless it is addressed, all logic of the form Cliffski >= Rein (in units of dick-inches) is nonsense.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      You know what the say about dick measuring contests.

      Go rent a horse.

  14. Mo says:

    Mark Rein has always been a grade-A dick. He was on a panel two years ago about the future of consoles, and when the conversation turned to the Wii, and he immediately went on the defensive, belittling the Wii & Nintendo in a way which would embarrass most fanboys.

    I really wish he’d just fuck off. There are plenty of intelligent, passionate people at Epic, like Tim Sweeney & Cliff Bleszinski, who would make *much* better mouthpieces for the technical & design aspects of Epic.

    • rocketman71 says:

      CliffyB a better mouthpiece?. In your dreams, man. Every time he opens his mouth, my ten years without buying from Epic begin anew.

      And yeah, Rein is an enormous dick, how is that news for anyone in this website?. Or Cliffski?.

      Also, having followed many threads here and at Blue’s with comments from Cliffski, he’s not that much less of a jerk himself.

      Oh, well. Such a nice industry we have.

    • Nick says:

      Cliffy B is a mouthpiece all right.

  15. Dreamhacker says:

    Looks like culture-collision to me.

  16. Lambchops says:

    I for one would love to see Terry Cavanagh lock Gabe Newell in a room and not let him out till he get’s all the shiny trinkets in VVVVVV.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Why are you instigating this nonsense?

      We should not take the same response to a game dev walking into a room as Shatner or Adam West! (That is, of course, to shout, “Did someone order a large ham?!” Gabe’s size not withstanding. Or sitting! Or anything.)

  17. Metal_circus says:

    Valve are not a big bunch of tossers. EA or Activision, sure, but not Valve. Not my lovely Valve.

    • Dreamhacker says:

      Let me give you some nightmares: Valve is the only corporation to have successfully established a large-scale, intrusive-DRM money-making network. Think about it: That’s 25 million customers worldwide just waiting to be screwed over.

      The icing on the cake: Valve murdered Troika Entertainment.

    • Jonathan says:

      Steam is not intrusive. DRM is a necessary evil.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Valve made a games distribution system that’s better than free.

      I have friends who used to pirate but now use steam because it’s easier.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      Blech, gifv edit – that sounded like a Valve ad :P but my point was if they’re being so evil (and oh if they decided to turn extremely evil I’d be so sad, they have a lot of my games hostage) then people seem to be quite happy with that level of evil.

    • Vinraith says:

      There’s no real question that Valve will be the next “evil empire” of computer gaming. They’re amassing market share and control at an incredible rate (due in part to brilliant marketing), it’s quickly going to become the case that any mainstream PC games have to go through them to get any sales. What they do with that will be interesting to see, but there’s no monopoly that stays benevolent for long.

    • Inno says:

      The big difference between Valve and most other similar players in the industry is that they’re privately owned. I think this will and undoubtedly already has made a big impact on alot of their business decisions. I don’t see them “going evil” anytime soon if at all.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      They’re the nicest evil empire in the world.

      I would be a Valve stormtrooper, even if I had to destroy a million Alderaans.

      I mean, did you see that Steam sale?

    • Vinraith says:

      @Mad Doc Macrae

      You seem to have difficulty understanding tenses in the English language.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      Private company or no once you have a big enough market share and negligible competition there is simply no reason to remain benevolent. They’re a company that is about making money (tautology), being nice currently makes them money by increasing their market share, once they have no one to compete with being nice loses them money, they can charge what they like so why discount?

      I mean doubt they’ll suddenly decide you have to pay a subscription or whatever but they’ll probably be less nice as time goes on, with less sales etc.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      @Vinraith – I actually typed my response before I saw yours, and I’m being about half facetious. I think your analysis isn’t far off the mark, but I don’t mind being part of the evil empire when they’re as classy as Valve. While I think it’s going to be a while before they see a rival of equal size, I hope that doesn’t really change them. I don’t really think it will, either.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Mad Doc

      Ah, I understand about near-simultaneous posts, apologies for jumping the gun. I think the best way to keep Valve from becoming “evil” is to simply keep them from having a monopoly in the first place. They’re a business, first and foremost. As long as their current model of treating their customers well is profitable they’re going to keep doing it. Keeping the other DD sites in business is the best possible way to keep Valve honest, and thus keep Valve “nice.”

    • Optimaximal says:

      @Dreamhacker

      The icing on the cake: Valve murdered Troika Entertainment.

      Woah, surely you mean Activision. Valve just sold Troika an engine – it’s not their fault they couldn’t program it for shit and got closed down?

    • Reiver says:

      No, he means Valve and their delays on HL2 and thus the restrictions on the source engine causing Troika to delay release. Since VtM:B wasn’t exactly in a sparkling, bug free state when it was released though i’ve always wondered about just how true this was.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Dreamhacker

      I think you’ll find Activision killed Troika. If they waited a month they could of shipped VTM:B and traded off it using the ‘same engine as Halflife 2′ but instead they stupidly decided to ship it the same day and it sunk without trace.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Steam is the most non intrusive DRM. What that means depends on your experience with it.

      Also, they are giving away Alien Swarm for completely free. And TF2 updates are free, too! They could stop, or make TF2:MW but they’re not absolute fu- (Rant Redacted)

      Is the problem with Steam that you expect more, or expect less? Granted, in the beginning it sucked. But is it that it’s not better comparatively than other platforms like GOG? Or is it that it still has DRM?

    • Psychopomp says:

      I like the part where people assume running a business automagically turns even the nicest of people into money grubbers.

      Valve are prety cool gais. They aren’t going to stop being nice, just because “they don’t have to anymore.” They’re not doing it because they have to. They do it because they love what they do, and they don’t have anyone glaring over their shoulder.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ Vinraith: “no monopoly that stays benevolent for long”

      Steam is not a “monopoly” in any meaningful sense of the word. It isn’t purely an issue of % market share – it’s also about barriers to entry, lock-in, the existence of alternatives and unfair practises.

      Valve haven’t kept other people out of the market by using technological tricks, by using market-distorting or predatory pricing, by having an unmatchable economy of scale or unrivaled resources to put people others of business. They haven’t done anything to actively kill off other services. Sure you can argue that their free TF2 updates act as a kind of hidden subsidy for their retailing business which a start-up digital retailers couldn’t match and you could argue that valve are exploiting the “social network” effect which means far fewer companies can exist than in more conventional product markets, because everyone wants to be on the biggest netwrok (eg facebook, twitter, etc). However this last point (ie emeregent social behaviour) isn’t what is typically meant by ‘monopoly’ in an anti-competative sense.

      Here’s an easy thought experiment: how easy would it be for people to switch away from buying new games on Steam if Valve started acting like idiots? I think it would be very easy – and this is the biggest factor to set against the “they will go evil” argument. There are a tons of companies out there who are just waiting for Valve to screw up so they can step in and take some of their customers. People aren’t sticking with Steam because they are forced to, they are doing so because it is more-or-less delivering what they want at an attractive price (in terms of $$$ and drm etc). There is no lock-in, no real “monopoly” in that sense.

    • Wulf says:

      I know it’s been said, but the myth that Valve killed Troika is really irritating, because it grew from the mouths of ignorant people and even people from Troika themselves have tried to fight it. The truth is that Valve had trouble getting together a full SDK because they were working on Half-Life 2 at the time, they were still developing it and giving Troika updates whenever they could. If Activision hadn’t forced Troika to release at the same time as Half-Life 2 (which was patently stupid), then they could’ve had the full version of the SDK, and really polished up their game.

      As it was, thanks to the rushing of Activision, they had to try and complete bits of the engine on their own, patching in missing bits that Valve hadn’t been able to give them yet, just to get the game rushed out of the door in an incomplete state. Troika knew it wasn’t ready. Troika knew it wouldn’t have been ready for months, as they still had content to add, bugs to fix, and other things to polish. But Activision simply demanded that the game should be sold alongside Half-Life 2, to try to compete with it for sales. As we all know, Activision (and other publishers whose names begin with A, like Atari) aren’t all that smart.

      What happened to Troika is very similar to what happened to Obsidian when working on Bioware’s licenses. Mask of the Betrayer, Neverwinter Nights 2, and Knights of the Old Republic were all forced out of the door before they were finished. Thankfully, Obsidian still managed to do a decent job with NWN2, and an amazing one with Mask of the Betrayer (one of my all time favourite games), but Knights of the Old Republic 2 was completely ruined by this. The reason I’m bothering to explain this is because the scenario was the same: Activision was just rushing a project out the door before it was done.

      This is why developers are so hesitant to tie into publishers these days (that sounded so wrong…), because the publishers tend to be complete idiots, who’ll probably ruin their game. That’s why today we’re seeing new approaches, like EA Partners, which allow developers to finish their game before it’s released, so hopefully we won’t see many more instances of Atari’s/Activision’s game-ruining profit rush nonsense.

      But yes, if you want to be angry with anyone about what happened to Troika, then listen to what Troika have said on the matter, and be pissed at Activision, since Activision is deserving of your hatred. Valve is not.

    • The Hammer says:

      Mainstream games like World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Civilization, Football Manager, and The Sims, Vinraith?

    • Urthman says:

      oh if they decided to turn extremely evil I’d be so sad, they have a lot of my games hostage

      If Valve were to go over to the dark side (not gonna happen while Gabe is alive, at a minimum, IMHO), I can pretty much guarantee there would be a very widespread, focused effort by a lot of hackers to liberate your games.

      As it is, a huge portion of games you buy on Steam can be run without Steam by using the same NO-DVD patched .exe that you’d use to put your DVD back in the drawer after installing a game you buy in a box.

    • Flimgoblin says:

      @Urthman ahh that’s good to know. If there’s a hint of valve donning a plastic suit and screaming “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” at the world I’ll have to make a dash to download my library quickly :)

  18. The Innocent says:

    We should pass out “I’m with Cliffski” pins. Because I am. With Cliffski.

  19. Jimbo says:

    Somebody get me Miyamoto on the phone; I want to call him a dunderhead.

  20. Radiant says:

    So essentially Mark Rein flew all the way to England just to troll indie developers.

    Love it.

  21. BK says:

    If only this conference had made use of a Blizzard Real ID type system to enforce some accountability this never would have happened!

  22. drewski says:

    Mark Rein’s just doing it for the lulz, people.

    Also the money.

    Mostly the money.

  23. subversus says:

    Tim Sweeney chimed in. Now it’s getting interesting.

  24. mrrobsa says:

    I will say that to be fair to Epic, my housemate emailed them for some technical support in getting a bit of his mod working and someone replied to help him out, but yeah, Rein needs to not blow his trumpet when others have taken the stage. There might have been 20 other people in the room that didn’t agree with Cliffski’s point but they probably all had the decency to save any challenging remarks ’til the end.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      Mark Reins point apparently was that you shouldn’t waste time communicating on an individual basis.

    • TeeJay says:

      @ The Sombrero Kid: Mark Reins point apparently was that you shouldn’t waste time communicating on an individual basis.

      Makes you wonder why he bothered to travel all he way from North Carolina to Brighton in person rather than sending one of his PR hirelings instead.

      I suppose he is being consistent: don’t just piss off people one-by-one when you can instead interrupt a panel discussion and get massive internet coverage to piss off thousands of people around the world all in one go.

      Mabe he is working on the principle of “all publicity is good publicity”?

  25. The Sombrero Kid says:

    While I don’t always agree with what clifski says, in this respect he is absolutely correct smaller budgets and smaller markets absolutely allow indie devs to be more agile and communicable to their customers, most importantly mark rein was in the audience if he didn’t like what they had to say he should’ve left, he was not on the panel, at this event his opinion is invalid, he’s got plenty of other forums to speak at.

  26. Deuteronomy says:

    “. . . stench of testosterone?” what a fucking retard whoever this cliffski is.

  27. tmp says:

    I’m hoping this erupts into a full-scale war between the American Mainstream and British Independents

    Well now i can’t decide what would make a better game dealing with this theme. Turn-based strategy? RTS? First Person Shooter? And all these other more unique possibilities…

  28. Urr says:

    If there has ever been a definition of someone who was a royal p***k towards a group of pir..er, people, then it must be cliffsky cliffskerson, with a popularity rating lower than his Cheers brethren.
    Maybe that relationship explains why he goes postal a lot.

  29. SadTruth says:

    Cliffski is the same guy who when you offhandedly remark that you pirated one of his games to check out an unlimited version of it(note: this is not me nor an attempt at implicating me, but an observation over time) will be dialling for a copyright lawyer with loud shout-outs of self-righteous indignation faster than you can say “IN IT FOR THE MONEY”.

    And then he makes a blogpost how he’s about the faithful fans and gladly making minimum wage as a selfless “original game” programming hero?

    Sorry, but if you are obsessively-compulsively chasing down people who from the get-go are not even POTENTIAL customers(a lot of pirates do not even HAVE the money to spend) and invest your time more caring about people UNWILLING to pay you rather than using that time to code, come up with new ideas or patching things for your customers, THEN YOU, SIR, ARE A FRICKIN HYPOCRITE.

    Yes, that’s you, Cliffski.

    Less legs to stand on than a puddle.

    • Navagon says:

      I don’t see how that makes him a hypocrite. Protecting his work by targeting the actual pirates rather than kicking the crap out of paying customers like Ubisoft is doing is hardly the wrong approach. You can like your paying customers and hate the pirates. That’s not a conflict of interests right there. In fact in his position that’s perfectly understandable and logical.

      Oh and if pirates cannot afford anything then explain to me how even the militantly anti-pirate RIAA admit that the vast majority of music sales come from music pirates. There’s not a huge difference in price between an album and a PC game (if bought online) after all.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I’d like a link on this. Or some other kind of veracity-providing resource. I will be genuinely disappointed if truth is being told here.

  30. Vando says:

    Hmm yes I see you are using the ‘gets mad when someone nicks my stuff wot a bastard’ gambit, a bold play INDEED *strokes beard*

    • SadTruth says:

      Pop quiz:

      If someone without any money at all looks over your shoulder while you are reading a book and reads it alongside with you, without ever touching the book or changing it in any way, yet having read it afterwards, just like you, how many books have been nicked?

      *hands Vando a shaving razor*

  31. Dawngreeter says:

    I think gaming would be a lot better if we didn’t have people who were involved in game making.

  32. brindils says:

    The people at Pitchfork truly packed a lot of acts into the last day’s schedule–I wasn’t the only person continuously walking between stages to see a little bit of everything.