By Alice O'Connor on July 28th, 2014 at 8:00 pm.
While John’s waging war on oceans (a traumatic crab experience as a child, perhaps?), I’ve decided that my first Official RPS Crusade will be against far less pleasant bodies of water. Cnut that I am, I set my throne before waves of lurid green sludge and futilely declare: no sewers.
I’ve chosen my first champion. A game bold enough to cut a sewer level because it wasn’t adding anything. A game that destroyed sewers even though you can probably, like, make a really powerful point about cyberpunk cities and waste flow and, like, society, yeah? Good on you, Neon Struct.
All of which is to say that we’ve only ever posted about Neon Struct (formerly Die Augen der Welt) bundled into DevLog Watches and that seems a shame, so I’m taking this sewer removal as a flimsy excuse to mention a game I like the look of. It’s a “political thriller stealth game” with gun-free, violence-light sneaking and hacking, as well as social bits where you wander around the cyberpunk future nattering with people. It’s being made by Minor Key Games, the folks behind Lovecraftian first-person roguelikelike Eldritch, who are going for a handcrafted campaign rather than procedural exploration this time–one reason why its planned sewer level must go.
See, the two-brother team aim to release Neon Struct in February 2015 and are carefully planning how to do that without delay or crowdfunding, which means being strict and realistic about what they can and should accomplish. Former 2K Marin chap David Pittman explained in a development blog post (a devlog, some might say) breaking this sewer news:
“… I was unhappy with its quality and had planned to rebuild it this week. While reviewing it, I realized that its problems weren’t in the way I had built it, but the level’s utter lack of purpose in the game. It was ostensibly a core stealth level, but its fiction required it to be only sparsely populated. The player had no particular objective except to get from point A to point B. And it was a grimy sewer level of the kind we’ve seen in hundreds of games before. In short, it failed at being a good stealth level and it wasn’t even remotely interesting. The obvious solution was to cut it and move on …”
Not fun, empty, pointless, yep, that’ll be a video game sewer all right.
I’m not being fanatical about this, though. My passion isn’t such that I would e.g. head up Weston-super-Mare on weekends to fling spadefuls of pebbles into the ocean while wailing “I’ll fill you in real good!” I’m not saying sewers are inherently terrible. Anywhere that can house a 15-tonne lump of fat and filth surely has potential. But sewer levels are, by and large, awful, and those which show promise tend to outstay their welcome. Tell me about sewers, dear reader. Tell me everything about sewers. Tell me about the sewer nightmares you relive and those sewers you long to visit.