Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
I Am Alive is one of the best games I’ve ever had the misfortune to play.
RPS Feature Slide down a building on your bum
RPS Feature I Am Handsome
I Am Alive was never coming to PC. Then it came to PC. You can get it now from Ubi’s shop and Steam, for around £13. It’s the dark, gloomy tale of one man’s attempt to climb his way to his wife and daughter, and I’ve been playing it for ages. So now I can tell you Wot I Think.
I Am Alive‘s road to PC has been simple, uncomplicated, and predictable in the same way as a rollercoaster built atop a black hole. First the game proper was allegedly dead and buried, then it wasn’t coming to PC at all and we were apparently just “bitching” for the sake of it, then we got an apology and eventual release date, and now – without any real warning – the monochromatic, melodramatic apocalypse survivor has leaped forward a week on the release schedule. I mean, I’m not complaining or anything, but I didn’t even have time to roll out the black-and-white red carpet. Well, I suppose a new trailer will have to do for now.
Remember when I Am Alive was first announced, and we were all like, “Man, I hope this is coming out for PC!” And then it vanished entirely. And then it reappeared and we were all like, “Man, I hope this is coming out for PC!”. And then the developer said they weren’t going to bother making it for PC, because “no one would buy it”, and then accused all PC players of “bitching”. And how we all huffed and kicked our heels and generally grumped about that? And then they said maybe it would come out on PC after all. And then silence. It came out on consoles in March this year, and nothing for us? Well, Ubisoft have just announced the game will indeed be appearing on their most feared platform after all – on the 13th September, just a scant six months later.
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.
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Gosh, we’re seldom angered by a developer’s words, but I Am Alive‘s creative director Stanislas Mettra is going some to tempt it out of us. With frankly astonishing arrogance, he declared that his team is not bothering to create a port of the game for PC because “no one will buy it”, even though people are demanding a version. Of course he aimlessly blames piracy, even though being with Ubisoft he has the option to stick so much DRM up its arse no one will be able to play it without his personally coming around their house to type in his password. But then, in a moment of just remarkable hubris, Mettra declares that the “no one” means fewer than 50,000.
I Am Alive has been kept hidden in Ubisoft’s cupboard for years. First announced in 2008, with this trailer, it’s been through a bit of a journey. The original developers, Darkworks, left the apparently almost complete project after a “mutual decision”, with duties taken to Ubisoft’s own Shanghai studio. Come 2009 screenshots were leaked, but little more was heard. The last time Ubi set a release date was for last year, and rumours of something happening by the end of this Summer have proven unfounded. And now a leak has happened again, this time a slightly unfinished trailer. Which you can see below.
And I am very tired. I’m also enticed by this cutscene from a new Ubisoft game. About, hey, a post-apocalyptic world! There’s certainly a theme to E3 2008…
No clue about the game itself – but it’s a neat cinematic. It’s gotten me interested, certainly. Doubly so if it’s a game in which you avoid combat, as implied by the water bottle trap-setting scene. Intriguing. And hopefully not another Alone In The Dark.