I Am Alive Might Yet Be Alive On PC

By Alec Meer on November 25th, 2011 at 9:13 am.

Like Cloverfield, but without utterly loathsome characters

There’s been a clarification by Stanislas Mettra, creative director at Ubisoft, about contentious comments he was quoted as making regarding PC gaming and the then-unlikelihood of climbing-based survival title I Am Alive appearing on this platform. In a statement sent to IncGamers, he claims that “I would really love to see a pc build of the game and I don’t think I meant to say “the game won’t happen on PC”, observing that it might have been a breakdown in communication as he’s not a native English speaker. (He isn’t; I met him too that day).

“We are still working to see the feasibility of it,” he says of the PC version, “which is not necessarily simple. I gave some examples to illustrate the problem, but obviously it is not in my hands and not my part to talk about this.” Said examples were the ones about piracy and presumed low sales, which carried more than a whiff of inadequate research. Now he’s saying he was the wrong guy to ask – which was always my personal take on the controversial quotes, to be honest. They came across as one guy coming up with a unprepared response on the fly about a question he probably wasn’t expecting, rather than endemic of company policy, and I wasn’t thrilled that his words were taken by many as an excuse to spank Ubisoft again.

On the Ubisoft preview day in question, the company was clearly very excited about their free to play, PC-only Ghost Recon Online (a hands-on preview wotsit of which I’ll be posting later today), as well as a F2P Settlers and assorted Facebooky things. That publisher still has much to sort out in terms of its oft-icky DRM stance, but I don’t for one second think they’re dismissing or giving up on PC. I reckon Mettra’s unfortunate quotes suffered a molehill to mountain transition, in the way so many dev comments on the internet become cold, stern, blurted proclamations once made into headlines, as opposed to the mere fraction of a flowing conversation they really originate as.

I’m sure the poor sod will be given a more detailed PR cheatsheet the next time he’s wheeled out in front of the media. And maybe someone could give him a better education about piracy and Steam sales and all that jazz, so he doesn’t have to make paranoid stuff up on the spot next time.

“Honestly, which game maker would not love his game to be playable on as many platforms and by as many people as possible?” he adds.

I watched a half hour console demo of the game, and it looks fairly interesting – especially the combat, which revolves around threatening people and hoping they’ll surrender, as bullets are so scarce you don’t want to use ‘em unless absolutely necessary.

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93 Comments »

  1. alilsneaky says:

    There’s a saying for this in dutch ‘je kak intrekken’

    • Savage Henry says:

      I just translated that. Nice. That phrase is a keeper.

    • BreadBitten says:

      Well said…

    • DeCi says:

      Yeah your right in your observation but ill have to say:
      “ik hou niet van open deuren intrappen.”

    • TheGameSquid says:

      @alilsneaky
      Exact het eerste waar ik aan dacht ;)

      I still don’t give a rat’s ass about the game though…

  2. stahlwerk says:

    Want. to. steal. it. must. resist.

  3. Flakfizer says:

    We need an excuse to spank Ubisoft?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      When they keep bending over and talking out their arse, I’m not sure why we shouldn’t.

    • Jumwa says:

      My thoughts exactly. We need an excuse?

      And this may not have been on the “Ubisoft Official Sheet of PR Lies to Tell the Media”, but it seems to represent their corporate attitude on the issue, no? Hence why they give us shabby PC ports loaded with terrible DRM that come out after the title is old news.

      His remark about it not being worth the money to do so was definitely not indicative of Ubisoft as a whole, otherwise, Ubisoft wouldn’t release PC games at all. They obviously think they make a profit off it, companies don’t do things without a profit motive. But I never saw anyone attributing that comment to the company as a whole.

    • BoZo says:

      Ass talking?

    • Urthman says:

      And when (and why?) did RPS decide to lift their boycott on covering games with Ubistupid DRM?

      What’s the excuse to stop spanking Ubisoft?

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Their insane always-on DRM hasn’t been confirmed yet for this title, so it’s still fair game.

  4. anduz says:

    Considering how poor a port from dust turned out to be, coupled with the pc hating developer guy I don’t see why I’d ever buy it.

    • Selifator says:

      Don’t know if you’ve read the article but the ‘pc hating guy’ does not in fact hate pc’s or gamers who’s platform of choice is the pc.

    • Tuco says:

      @Selifator: Really? What I read in the article is “My publisher spanked me hard for not watching my mouth so now I need to apologize profusely”.

  5. pacificator says:

    Well since probably they have the same engine for consoles and PC as most big engines are.
    The cost of making a pc is basically the cost of paying a few devs to take care of the pc version only for some months. Marketing for PC is basically adding a PC on the same poster/trailer for the consoles so i don’t see any extra cost there.

    Distribute it on steam and you get x% from sales. Even with made up 99% piracy you still get a profit. (piracy that happens btw because some regular customers are also getting the crack because it offers a better experience compared to the always live fail drm).

    But you know what UBI, SCREW you… Learn to respect your customers.
    You won’t see me giving you money after you tell me that pc users are bitching about PC versions.
    In the mean time I will enjoy some really nice games from the competition :).

    Oh and I don’t think that anything got lost in translation. He was just honest for a second about how he sees PC users.

    • BoZo says:

      I just bought Hearts of Iron 3 (which the developers don’t even bother to copyprotect) from Gamersgate and was amazed of how smooth it all went.

      Compared to the Dante’s Inferno experience-spectacular you experience with DRM infected Ubisoft games.

    • Megadyptes says:

      I also made the mistake of buying HoI3, my condolences good sir. At least you probably didn’t waste 30-35 quid on the game like I did.

  6. dnch says:

    i dont think its lost in translation or something like that, he just got slapped by his senior executive:)

    • Gnoupi says:

      Yeah, most likely this.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Agreed, there’s no way he didn’t know what he was saying. The man is simply an idiot and his boss has just told him so.

    • JellBro says:

      Exactly, he must have known what he was saying. Then he got slapped by his boss.

      What has been said can not be unsaid.

      The first information we got is how they really think about pc gamers: ” bitching thieves”

      Now we get the modified “we still want your money” information.

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      My mum said I have to share my toys with you now.

    • alilsneaky says:

      Pretty much.
      This is the equivalent of a teenage boy being dragged in front of the principal by his parents.
      He knows very well what he said, and doesn’t mean it when he apologises, it’s just so they won’t take his xbox (or in his case, yearly bonus) away.

  7. Hoaxfish says:

    Is back-pedalling an Olympic sport yet?

  8. ran93r says:

    It was a nice and speedy time too, I hope they have their team ready for when it does get recognised as an official sport.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      I’m not quite sure these Ubisoft people realise just how far “back” they are going to need to pedal, now.

      “We’re going to need a bigger pedal”

  9. Alexander Norris says:

    So has he explained how he thought saying all PC gamers did was “bitching” was acceptable even for a non-native speaker?

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      No no, what he really meant was that PC gamers are bitchin’. As in ‘that’s a bitchin’ monster truck.’

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Yeah, a clarification that “I want more people to play my game” wasn’t really necessary, that is sort of a given. I would have liked to see an honest apology for the “you are bitching” and “95% of you are pirates” part.

    • pacificator says:

      Probably in the next statement they will tell us that the correct translation for 95% piracy is. The original % were made up idiot percent units so i demand a correct translation of that.

      “Bitching” i am willing to forgive. It might be just some badly understood meaning for a word (maybe he meant complaining..heck knows). But i don’t really care about this.
      I just want the correct translation for the 95%.

    • sneetch says:

      From what we’ve seen I’d say the “95% of PC gamers are pirates” is an internal Ubisoft stance.

      I’m not surprised they think that, they’ve driven away so many legitimate customers by slapping punitative DRM on their products after delaying them for months after the console release while repeatedly telling us we’re thieves (I know, piracy is copyright infringement, not theft but they don’t see the difference). I haven’t bought (or obtained/played in any form) about 12 Ubisoft games I wanted since their online DRM initiative began and these last few slaps in the face are making me consider skipping Anno 2070 too.

    • pacificator says:

      I haven’t bought (or obtained/played in any form) about 12 Ubisoft games I wanted since their online DRM initiative began and these last few slaps in the face are making me consider skipping Anno 2070 too.

      Rest assured, you did not lose anything.

    • sneetch says:

      @pacificator

      Actually I spent the money I would have spent on them on a load of other games – including a load of indie games like the brilliant SPAZ – so all in all I’ve either broke even or even (probably) come out on top. :)

      I do miss Settlers 7 though.

    • alilsneaky says:

      @pacificator.
      The anno series are very good games, it’s just unfortunate that ubisoft is involved in them.

      Sorry anno devs, no buy, ever, till you change publishers.
      If they go under I’m sure they’ll find work elsewhere , tough shit.

  10. Heliocentric says:

    “I don’t think I meant to say”
    I’m using that next time I get into an argument.

    • Maldomel says:

      I already tried. I still wonder why nobody believed me at the time.

    • Roshin says:

      “Yeah, I know I said it, but I didn’t mean to! Or at least I don’t think so.”

  11. Hoschimensch says:

    A retail version without DRM would be the best for all. For Ubisofts reputation and all customers can buy and lauch it without problems.

  12. JohnnyMaverik says:

    “it was one guy coming up with a unprepared response on the fly about a question he probably wasn’t expecting, rather than endemic of company policy, and I wasn’t thrilled that his words were taken by many as an excuse to spank Ubisoft again.”

    Hmm, and yet the next day we found out we probably won’t be the new Ghost Recon either. Plus I’m sure I recently read that Rayman Origins would categorically not come to the pc any time soon probably ever. Both of those have some history on the PC, especially Rayman, which I honestly believe would sell better on PC than it would on consoles providing it had online co-op. Coulden’t give two hoots about Ghost Recon if I’m honest but still, not endemic of company policy my arse.

    • Hatsworth says:

      I would buy Rayman day one even if I had to pay an insane 50€, as long as it didn’t come with unacceptable DRM. Browsing various sites I’ve seen a huge demand for it, so yeah, they made a huge mistake. I hope they will rectify it in time, like they did with Might and Magic Clash of Heroes.

      It’s not even stopping PC pirates; emulating the Wii version is trivial.

  13. Maldomel says:

    He still kinda insulted pc gamers, and that was no language mistake. So yeah, better give him a proper text next time, and a lesson about pc gaming and piracy since he doesn’t to know much about that.

    As for blaming Ubisoft, while I myself am not a big fan of blaming it all on big companies (EA, Activision, Ubisoft…), the reaction from people also shows a feeling of rage towards those guys who spit in the face of pc gaming and make amalgams between pirates, gamers and digital distribution all day long. And I’m not even talking about crappy ports from consoles…

  14. jellydonut says:

    Inventing new explanations for your statements instead of apologising = he meant what he said, doesn’t regret saying it, but shouldn’t have.

    I retain my giant fuck you to Ubisoft and thanks to those statements I am not buying (nor pirating) this game.

  15. Rawrian says:

    The game looks like they watched The Road and said “hey would be cool if there was parkour”, which is overwhelmingly stupid, so I don’t care about the game on PC anyway. What’s interesting though, is what Ubisoft could do to improve the situation and make pc gamers not hate them.

    • Mangle says:

      Wait, you mean you watched The Road and didn’t think it needed a heavy injection of parkour..?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      The problem with that theory is clearly that the main character didn’t think to just walk out of the city.

      As far as I can work out, it’s literally just Chicago that’s been collapsed, while everywhere else is fine.

    • roryok says:

      been collapsed? Like on purpose? must be some kind of seismic weapon conspiracy

    • Xerian says:

      See now, I doubt its easy to “just walk out” of a city that has collapsed 10… 20´+ whatever meters into the ground, see, you’ll need a tad of climbing. And if you’re in the center of goddamn Chicago, it aint no cake-walk. I was quite excited when the first trailer came out in, what, 2007? Now I’m biding my time, still “looking forward” to it, but I’ve got my doubts, as theres a good chance it’ll be crippled, quite hugely, by DRM. (However, they -MIGHT- have learned a lesson from the quite retardedly-crippled “From Dust”, we’ll see though. One can only hope.

  16. caddyB says:

    Even if it’s the best game ever made ( it isn’t ) I won’t buy it. I won’t pirate it either. There are still enough great games on PC to not care about games sold by people who called me a whiny bitch.

    It’s probably true, but you don’t say that in the face to your customer base and expect great sales. There are some people with self respect yet on the planet, much to Ubi’s disappointment.

    • roryok says:

      Even if it’s not the greatest game ever (and it won’t be) I might still buy it. This is one dev, who’s regretting his comments. This is not the chairman of the board of ubisoft stubbing out his cigar in your eye.

      If the game looks good, gets positive comments from our beloved RPS, and is not crippled by DRM then I will consider buying it.

  17. applecup says:

    Prediction: this game will not sell well, between their statements and ubi’s general track record, but this will be blamed on PC gamers being picky bitches and/or piracy

    • roryok says:

      My main concern is that it’ll be a crappy port, because they’ll cut corners and use a smaller team than they should, and/or give them less time to do the port.

  18. Balm says:

    So there was XBLA uncharted clone that no one heard about, cared or wanted. Then some marketbot yelled: “Well, you can’t have it!”
    And know, when everyones knows that there is apparently a game out there, so good – it’s to good for PC-peasants, same marketbot makes magnanimous gesture by considering to maybe allow us The Privilege of Purchasing it.

    I’m glad to see that more then a century old “Tom Sawyer Whitewashing the Fence” scam still works, and not just kids but even grown-ups are uncapable of seeing through it.

    • Xerian says:

      You do realize this game has been in the works quite a while before Uncharted saw the light of day, right? >_>…
      And it does have alotta unique mechanics that’re known thusly, so please, get your head outta your bum before making a comment like this, or atleast do a tad of research. (And sure, they might be somewhat similar – Its hard to judge by the small amount of info we have on this game though, and I’ve only tried Uncharted abit, and didnt fancy it whatsoever ;p)

  19. Was Neurotic says:

    I’ve been a translator and proofreader for 14 years, and I talk to dozens of people of different nationalities almost every week, and mostly all via English, and I can tell you all with absolute authority that people constantly say things that are all too easily misinterpreted. So I’m sorry, as cool as it is to hate on Ubi (and frankly, fuck them), I’m going with the ‘Context and meaning were lost on the ears of the Internet (fuck them too)’ theory.

    • sneetch says:

      ‘Context and meaning were lost on the ears of the Internet (fuck them too)’

      I don’t think that’s quite fair though, I mean that implies that it’s the internet itself or the people reading articles on it who are at fault here whereas in reality it’s more that he either misspoke, was misquoted or his quotes were poorly translated, or he actually said and meant it but is now desperately trying to backpedal on it.

      Whichever (if any) of those is the real reason I hardly think you can blame this on the people of the internet, they just read an article that contained some quotes that were attributed to the creative director at Ubisoft and got (quite rightly, IMO) annoyed. We people of the internet are a proud people, we don’t like being insulted.

    • Sian says:

      You or may not be right, Neurotic, but if what incgamer printed today was the full e-mail, Mr Mettra only excused the alleged misunderstanding about a possible PC release, not about the way he talked about PC gamers – i.e., we were bitching about the game not coming to our platform.

      Maybe he did think “bitching” was the appropriate choice here, but by now, someone should have explained to him that that was no way to talk about potential customers. I think an apology is still needed.

    • RaveTurned says:

      I’d be with neurotic here if it wasn’t for the admission of “it’s not my part to talk about this”. If it’s not his part, he shouldn’t have been talking to the press about it.

      Now the company faces an uphill struggle to get PC gamers to give a damn about their releases.

    • AlwaysRight says:

      Yey!

      A PC gamer on an internet comments section is being reasonable.

      (rea·son·a·ble – (of a person) Having sound judgment; fair and sensible.)

      Well done Was Neurotic! *gives him a biscuit*

    • InternetBatman says:

      If the translator so completely misinterpreted the tone of the interview, then they should provide the transcripts in his language. I doubt the translator could have misconstrued his tone so completely, especially the fake statistics.

  20. Angel Dust says:

    “especially the combat, which revolves around threatening people and hoping they’ll surrender, as bullets are so scarce you don’t want to use ‘em unless absolutely necessary.”

    That sounds fantastic. My interest is piqued.

  21. Branthog says:

    “I wasn’t thrilled that his words were taken by many as an excuse to spank Ubisoft again.”

    Which is exactly what RPS did, if you read the initial article on RPS about it.

    • Llewyn says:

      I think that was rather Alec’s point. You’ll notice that the articles were written by different people who might, astonishingly, hold different opinions.

      Personally I’ve no strong objection to it being used to spank Ubisoft. What riled me was that 95% of the commenters on the original thread insisted on posting things far more stupid than anything Mettra’s said.

    • caddyB says:

      General internet reaction to anything Ubisoft does can be summed up by : “How dare they? Let’s pirate the crap out of them!”

    • TensaiBoy says:

      caddyB, ever heard of a thing called ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ ? becasue UBI apparently hasn’t.

  22. hosndosn says:

    I sure will neither buy nor pirate this. Fuck Ubisoft, etc.

    Seriously. It’s not even difficult to resist and boycott their games. They all turn out to be crap, especially the half-assed PC ports.

  23. roryok says:

    anyone else think the background in the screenshot at the top looks more like a modern art playground than a destroyed city? We’ve known for at least ten years now that collapsed sky scrapers don’t look like that.

    • ankh says:

      I’m pretty sure that’s a pylon falling over. Still looks silly though.

  24. RyuRanX says:

    I don’t care anymore about this game or any upcoming Ubisoft title. End of the line for Ubisoft.

  25. El_MUERkO says:

    I knew this game existed before Ubisoft called me a bitch, now I still know it exists but I’m biased against playing it, paid for or otherwise. Frankly Ubisoft can suck a bowl of cow dicks. I’d appreciate them leaving PC gamers alone and we’ll leave them alone.

  26. Pinky09 says:

    Yay, “Bitches” might still get to play!

  27. automata says:

    Even if this was genuinely about a message being lost in translation, and not just ass-covering after the fact or a cynical manipulation to drum up interest in the game (any of which might be the case) and even if it wasn’t followed immediately by another person under the same publisher giving almost the same reason for another game, it probably wouldn’t have the effect it has if it didn’t seem like a plausible thing for these developers to say in the first place.

    Ubisoft has had made some of the worst DRM decisions so far when it comes to the PC games, although they’re being closely chased by many other major publishers; and a lot of modern games generally get PC versions that aren’t actually (re)designed properly for PCs. It doesn’t seem like a lot of companies, Ubisoft included, actually care that much about their PC customers, aside from getting money out of them.

    Ubisoft seem to be following the same playbook as EA and Activision without having the same group of suckers loyal customers: EA has one of the big shooters and the sports games; Activision has the Blizzard cash cow, and the other big shooter. This means that EA and Activision can get away with a lot more of this annoying shit; Ubisoft not so much: none of their big hits are nearly as big, and they’ve really mishandled some of their IP. Rebranding the Heroes of Might and Magic line, for example, is just poor marketing, especially after they’d already kept up the previously established nomenclature after they acquired the rights with HoMM V and Dark Messiah.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Ubisoft has Just Dance on the Wii. I’m pretty sure the money they made from that financed the first Assassin’s Creed. They also have a crapton of other moderately popular wii games that require little work, like Imagine Babiez. To their credit they have some good ones on the wii too.

  28. jhng says:

    Forget spanking Ubisoft, I bet he’s been spanked raw by his PR dept and senior management. Hee hee…

  29. theblazeuk says:

    It’s funny I’m pretty sure this ‘excuse to spank Ubisoft’ was heavily used by one of the hivemind nodes: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/11/23/i-am-alive-dev-dismisses-bitching-pc-users/

    You going to take this up with John? “So, there you go. Mettra doesn’t want your money, thinks you’re bitching when you want to play his game, and that at least over half a million quid is of no use to him. We have, as you might imagine, contacted Ubisoft to see how they feel about 50,000 sales”

  30. antisocialbratt says:

    No matter what Ubisoft says now, I’ll pirate this game just for the fun of it. Hell, I’ll even encourage my friends to do the same. FFS Ubisoft should learn a thing of two about how to deal with consumer from CDprojekt.

  31. diamondmx says:

    Considering that Ubisoft:
    * Makes awful, half-assed ports
    * Repeatedly delays PC versions at the last minute
    * Lies about the above each time until near release
    * Attaches crippling, awful DRM that does not prevent piracy
    * … and lies about that too
    * Seems to be trying to force PC gamers over to the console versions
    * Lastly, seems to have an endemic poor attitude toward the PC gamer market

    I think we deserve to jump on them when they speak out of turn, whether it’s their PR policy to admit they don’t like us or not.

  32. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Gentlemen, we apologise for the miscommunication when we said PC gamers are 99% pirates, 100% bitches.

    It is actually 100% pirates and 100% bitches.

    Buy our game.

  33. Shooop says:

    I still don’t know what this game even is.

  34. Jimbo says:

    Yeah I mean he was only a Ubisoft employee acting as a representative for Ubisoft in a press interview. Why would *anybody* assume his words were representative of Ubisoft’s position and react accordingly?

    • Pinky09 says:

      When you work for a company, you are its spokesperson. it doesn’t matter if you’re a vendor, a manager, a PR person, the CEO, the CFO or whatever.

      If i go to a mcdonalds, and the guy selling me a burger tells me: “you son of a bitch, this burger aint for you, mcdonalds don’t want you money, fuck off!”, he is speaking for the entire company. When they decided to hire him, they hired a representative, not just a burger flipper.

  35. Nate says:

    You know, having spent a little bit of time on various internet forums, my feeling is that accusing any particular subset of the internet of bitching is likely to be completely appropriate. I think this is a place where non-native speech is relevant– “people are bitching” is one of those not very clear phrases that can mean “some people are bitching” or “all people are bitching” and it’s easily misunderstood.

    • edit says:

      Exactly who could conceivably benefit from a representative of any company calling ANYONE out for “bitching”? How ever you spin it, this guy indulged his ego in an interview and insulted a portion of his company’s customers. I’m not surprised considering the disrespect which is made clear by their DRM choices and lazy ports. They should just follow their hearts and ditch PC all together if this is the way they feel, and leave us to bitch, steal, and give money to companies who show basic appreciation for our interest in their products.

    • Nate says:

      Yes, clearly, from a business/PR standpoint, it’s not a good move. When people act like turds, there’s very little benefit to be gained from telling them so, and there’s a significant risk of alienating people one never meant to include in the accusation.

      From a personal standpoint, though, I don’t like how little slack people are cutting Mettra. I mean, have you ever accused anyone of bitching? Were you totally unjustified? Do you really imagine Mettra is totally unjustified? Developers receive more than their share of, umm, poorly phrased feedback; it’s unrealistic to expect that isn’t going to affect them. (And so we gag devlopers while marketers tell us all about game development, or we isolate devs from community. In the end, that’s all that this anger contributes to. Oh well.)

  36. InternetBatman says:

    I don’t need much of an excuse to attack Ubisoft’s PC efforts, unfortunately they speak for themselves. I doubt that a translator, even an incompetent one, could misunderstand the tone and direction of a speaker so completely. It’s hard to capture nuances, but generally it’s easy to tell if someone has negative or positive views. Unfortunately, I believe that he is explicitly stating sentiments held by many in the company. Considering their generally hostile attitude toward pc gamers, their many drm fiascoes, and the absolute lack of direction or coordination in their ports, it’s a fairly safe assumption that PC friendly Ubisoft developers are the exception rather than the norm.

    This man probably got punished for saying what everyone was thinking, not mistranslated.

  37. Stackler says:

    I’m not a native English speaker also, but I understood pretty well, what this Stanislas guy and the other dirtbags at Ubisoft said and continue to say about the pc market. They can stick it where the sun don’t shines.