Experience AAA Dev Meeting Horrors In Free Twine Game

We only hear whispers from deep in the belly of AAA development, reports from PR trips where everyone’s on their best behaviour and whispers in alleys from shadowy strangers wearing trenchcoats. What’s it really like? What happens when a game in a multimillion dollar series is shaping up rubbish? Everyone wants to murder their workmates by the end, right?

The Writer Will Do Something [official page] is a funny and grim free Twine game looking into a key development meeting for ShatterGate: Future Perfect, the third game in a fictional series at a fictional studio, written by someone who’s worked inside AAA.

With six months left before ShatterGate: Future Perfect launches and feedback looking poor, we play its lead writer in one meeting where folks are about ready to start assigning blame for the game’s failing. Or maybe you’ll all pull it together and come up with a great plan. Maybe you’ll give up on this mess try to quit. One thing’s for certain: someone will make a Dark Souls comparison.

Writer Matthew S. Burns composed the soundtrack to Infinifactory and has made games like The Arboretum, but he’s also spent years working in production on various Call of Duty and Halo games.

The Writer Will Do Something isn’t necessarily recreating those experiences, but I’ve seen a fair few chums in AAA delight and despair at the game’s depiction of meetings like this.

26 Comments

  1. RobF says:

    Such a brilliant and brutal little thing. Loved it.

  2. HidingCat says:

    That was hilarious!

  3. Synesthesia says:

    Well, that was fantastic. Hell is definitely other people. Thanks for posting.

  4. DanMan says:

    RC Cola it is then.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Skabooga says:

    I was cringing at more than a few points. I have not experienced game development, but I could believe this is what their meetings are like. Excellent game!

    • TimorousBeastie says:

      I’ve been in game development for a while now, with a fair chunk of that in very large studios. I’ve been in meetings exactly like this one. The others tend to be similar, only the problem is clearly someone’s fault but that guy is high up enough in the company that it’s an ‘executive decision’ and you are required to go with it regardless.

      • Premium User Badge

        Skabooga says:

        It may not be much, but you, my friend, have my support for putting up with it.

  6. aliksy says:

    That was stressful.

  7. Zallgrin says:

    It’s a really good game, but it really is infuriating, stressful and tiring experience. Even the funny parts can’t alleviate the mood.

    Honest to God, I’d never want to work in a big AAA company.

  8. Arvind says:

    Too real.

  9. Reapy says:

    I don’t work in game development but, yeah that was a pretty realistic meeting. Scary.

  10. Kempston Wiggler says:

    I don’t work anywhere near game development but fuck me if that wasn’t eerily like some of the meetings I’ve been in! Seems some kinds of asshat-ery are universal, god help us all….

    (PS: that was excellent. Made me laugh.)

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Okay, that was impressive. And funny. And scary.

    In short: excellent.

  12. BooleanBob says:

    Good fun!

  13. Michael Fogg says:

    ‘That was really good. But it was not a game. NOT A GAME’, he screamed with the madness of a misheeded prophet.

    But seriously. Anyone with half a brain and a college degree will tell you. This is a short work of fiction with extra audiovisual elements. It’s great, like many other Twine pieces. But they are not games, it’s blindingly obvious.

    • tormos says:

      oh good the “not a game” person is here, so the twine article is official.

      • karthink says:

        I like to think of him as Label Man, ambling around the net with a label maker, pinning little sticky strips of paper on all they see.

        • Tacroy says:

          I could see a low-grade horror monster based off that description, maybe in that stealth game Tangiers

          • Gap Gen says:

            I can see the poster, a shadowy figure holding a Dymo label maker dripping with blood. Tagline: “THIS IS NOT A GAME”

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’m pretty sure I’ve made the “oh for sure, clicking on a series of objects to progress through a completely fixed, linear narrative isn’t a game oh brb Call of Duty has finished downloading” joke before, but here it is again.

      • Monggerel says:

        YOU GET WASD MOVEMENT IN COD YOU MORFKR I WILL LITERALLY DEVOUR YOUR VERY OWN IMMORTAL SOUL HHRRRRRRR
        -mournful chewbacca noises-

        But seriously, this isn’t a game.
        -blows raspberry-
        IT’S A MADHAUS

        • Yglorba says:

          But seriously, this isn’t a game.

          Let’s be honest with ourselves, though, CoD and Final Fantasy are often barely games nowadays either; they’re non-interactive cutscenes spliced together with some marginally-interactive cutscenes.

    • Premium User Badge

      KRVeale says:

      I think other folks have handled this already, but why not.

      I teach university-level courses about videogames, game culture and storytelling, and I think the idea this isn’t a game is daft.

    • El_Emmental says:

      But… how can it be worthy, if it’s not a game? A video game is obviously superior to a fiction, everybody knows that.

      And since the text-based fiction sector is overcrowded for centuries, with plenty of masterpieces, why not jumping on the “are video games art?” band-wagon and present our fiction game as art, then compare it to dumb AAA products, and voila: we’re artists *and* modern video game developers, we’re spearheading art and creation, we’re the digital avant-garde.

  14. Velox says:

    Funny game but the writing is terrible