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Crashlands' postmortem is an extraordinary, emotional ride

Well I’m completely exhausted after an hour’s crying, and utterly invigorated for it. I just watched Samuel Coster’s postmortem of Crashlands [official site] from GDC this year, and goodness me, I’ve never felt so simultaneously sad and inspired. I implore you to give this a watch.

Crashlands is a game of exploration driven by quests and resource gathering, but in such a hooky way. It manages to combine that sense of just-one-more-minute clickiness with narrative drive, which is quite the achievement. It is, frankly, bewildering to learn the circumstances under which the game was developed. Have a watch of this. It’s not only a deeply personal story of making a game while fighting cancer, but also contains some super-useful insights into the development process. I feel certain that someone who watches this will have their life changed.

A thing I hate is thinking I’ve written about a game I’ve loved, and then discovering I never did it. I’m aghast to discover that despite so many hours spent playing Crashlands in 2016, because the majority of them were on my phone, I never wrote the full PC review it deserved. I did, however, write this brief Android review, behind our subscriber doors (now available to all).

I went on to play it for sooooo much longer, including taking advantage of the ability to save the phone version, then pick up from the same spot on PC. I’m at a loss as to how I never followed up with an article here, and even note that I’d planned to at Christmas when a new update was added.

Of course, trying to review it now with the knowledge of the process of its development makes for an interesting time. This is why I’ve always maintained that the “developer profile” approach to games journalism is so unhealthy for critics – learning the personal stories during development can only ever colour how a game is reviewed, in a way that’s wholly irrelevant to those buying and playing. Stop doing that, games hacks. Still, not having written a review is an oversight I’d love to correct.

Also: cor. Flipping heck. Blub.

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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