Amuse me…or not

Ok, Order of the Stick wins mad points for amusing me greatly. If you haven’t read it, go do so now.

Things that don’t amuse me? Right now, it has to be Dave Perry’s Super secret project and 38 Studios.

Super Secret!

Having more than 20,000 people “sign up” to “develop” a “MMO” doesn’t really mean jack. Honestly, can you guys *really* say you have a 20k+ strong development team? Second, how much signal is really going to rise above the noise here…hell, I can see it now…how many of these people are going to stick a design credit on their resume and try to get a job with it? Finally, I have a problem with this being called a massively multiplayer game. I was all excited about the concept here, until details were released. I mean honestly, a multiplayer racing game? Heavily microtransaction based? This sounds like nothing more than Mario Kart online with a matchmaking lobby. Maybe some gunbound style “gameplay” where you can customize your avatar and vehicle. Is it really going to take 20,000 people to “develop” this? From my point of view (limited obviously, I didn’t sign up), I get the feeling that most of this game is already planned out and a core team is going to be making it. The whole secret project just reeks of a marketing ploy for attention.

Yeah, I said it. Thumbsdown.

38 Studios…

Come on people! Curt Shilling is a great athlete, Todd McFarlane is a great artist, and of course R.A. Salvatore is a great fantasy author. Individually, each of these people have worked hard and had extraordinarily successful careers. But why change the name from Green Monster Games (great name!) to 38 Studios? Their reasoning (based on this press release) is that it stands for “excellence, integrity, and achievement”…and it is Curt Shilling’s number. Well, that’s nice, but what about the other two founders? How about everyone else on staff? If the name wasn’t 38 Studios, would consumers automatically assume that they don’t stand for excellence, integrity, or achievement? Is this an ego play? Most “celebrity” startups usually start out well and get loads and loads of investors, but tend to implode when strong egos clash. Rocket Science Games and There.com (the early days) come to mind.

I think that 38 Studios certainly has some killer star power behind it, but I don’t know if they are going to be able to execute a MMORPG well (if at all). I hope they prove me wrong…I rather like the founders, but I am not getting a good gut feeling here.

Anyway…

This is so cool, I must have one, like RIGHT NOW. Maybe I wouldn’t be so cranky about the game industry. Damn, if I had one of these, I would totally pay a programmer to hack it and animate it with some pac man. Yeah. Or maybe just Ghosts on the keypad. That would be awesome.

11 thoughts on “Amuse me…or not”

  1. Bah, that keyboard isn’t half as good as the G15. With the G15, if you know any supported language, you can actually PLAY pac-man on the mini LCD =P

  2. I didn’t think twice about baseball when they first announced the name “Green Monster Games”. Still, they probably got more crap then they wanted to deal with on it. But now, 38 Studios? I can’t help but get them confused with 38 Special. Hold on loosely, but don’t let go.

    Quote from FoH forums, a question and then Curt answering:

    Did this “confusion” prompt the creation of your company’s new name?

    No. We talked long and hard about making this change. The last thing we’d want to do is to appear uncertain about something that isn’t that complicated. In the end we decided that the new name truly did encompass more of what we hope to be and do.
    Most companies end up with shortened names and we’d have ended up “Green Monster” at some point, which I think might have caused some confusion or been misleading as to who and what we are.
    I don’t think it would have been a big deal, but we ended up going this route because of the long term vision as opposed to anything else.
    We’re going to be launching our company website in the next month or so, should be cool.”

    38 Studios means nothing. It’s a jersey number of a baseball player and perhaps he is making movies now. Oh, they make games? Baseball I suppose. OK, whatever. How does 38 Studios encompass what they “hope to be and do”? Meh. Long term vision? What, the game is coming out in 2038?

    I like my little tiny Dell keyboard.

  3. Press Releases don’t tell you anything about the real reasons…

    I would guess that the impending trade rumors and contrat negotions made Curt think twice about permanantly naming his company after a wall in Boston, that he may not even pitch in front of in 9 months…

    IMHO, they should have just changed the name to something completly unrelated to Schilling, or baseball or any crap that has no bearing on this industry.

    Needless to say, in the end, none of the three founders are going to really make or break this company. They have put together a seasoned staff who have a consistant track record of shipping good products and managing them well. They have unlimited financial resources and basically no timeline to a hard launch. Quite literally, they can polish until its ready and Curt will bankroll it if needs be (presumably).

  4. Well, I’m in the top very very secret thing with Dave Perry and 20K others (apparently). I’ll let you know how it goes, Nic.

    Hopefully this comment didn’t disavow myself from the project and forced them to hunt down me with a team of elite cyborg assassins. If I survive the attempts on my life, I’ll let you know.

  5. Stay away from worms, ugly babies with wings, and funny looking dudes in black with a gun for a head.

  6. I’d suggest the name is for rather more business related reasons, there are plenty of old fashioned people, especially in finance, who would dismiss a company called Green Monster Games out of hand.

    Whatever the meaning behind 38 Studios is, it is a far more conservative name which will make a difference to the company in some business circles they will need to function in.

  7. “I’d suggest the name is for rather more business related reasons, there are plenty of old fashioned people, especially in finance, who would dismiss a company called Green Monster Games out of hand.”

    In the video game business??

    How about Bizarre Creations, makers of the Project Gotham Racing series?
    How about Blue Fang Games, makers of Zoo Tycoon (and variants, and sequel)?
    How about Bullfrog Productions (too many great titles to list)?
    CCP stands for “Crowd Control Productions” – how about that?
    Tim Schafer’s company, Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts)?
    Game Freak? (Pokemon, Drill Dozer)
    Gas Powered Games? (Dungeon Siege, DS2, Supreme Commander)
    Human Head Studios? (Rune, Prey)
    Irrational Games? (System Shock 2, the Freedom Force series, Tribes: Vengeance, the upcoming Bioshock)
    Naughty Dog? (Crash Bandicoot series, Jak & Daxter series)
    Oddworld Inhabitants? (Oddworld series)

    Yeah, I just went down the list found here until I got sick of it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_video_game_developers

    Fact is, there are lots of big video game developers that have unique, suggestive or otherwise far-out names. If they had ever made it big they would have become “GMG”, not “Green Monster”. No, I’m putting my money on that “38 Studios” is an ego move. I’m betting that their target demographic (gamers) is among the segment of the population with the least baseball name recognition, and frankly, “Green Monster Studios” just sounds plain cool.

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