Hype has become the subject of the day, and I will contribute two repeats to the discussion.
First, You Are Judged Against Your Hype. Doing something modest very well gives you Portal or perhaps Torchlight. Take your pick on “shooting for the stars and not even delivering all the features on the box.”
Second, the example that always comes to mind on “failed to meet explicit promises” is Warhammer Online, as Zoso points out. If you ask me about WAR and I just mutter, “bears bears bears,” that is what I am talking about. Not only did developers explicitly identify a problem, identify a solution, then implement the problem exactly as described, but you were reminded of it constantly. Every time a quest sent you back to where you just came from, “bears bears bears.” Every time you killed a named enemy then got a quest to kill that named enemy, “bears bears bears.” Every time you saw a kill collector, the half-arsed version of the solution, “bears bears bears.” Then later tiers had such content/leveling curve issues that they added a bunch of kill ten rats quests as an improvement, and it was an improvement. Bears bears bears.
I am ambivalent about hype. I am skeptical, but I am gullible enough to take what people say at face value. It is not as though I am hurt if they fail to meet expectations they explicitly set; I just don’t trust the company or anyone who was identifiably a factor in lying to me.
Note that there is a separable issue for just doing badly. Alganon is a game that delivered everything it promised [Carson says no] badly. Earth Eternal seems to have had a similar problem.
Earth Eternal has a new site, with a better look and more information. It still has the waving mushroom.
If WoW is too cartoony for you, this is a step in the wrong direction (see the screenshots). If you like the free-to-play/pay model, this is a step in the right direction (see FAQ 27). This is aiming at the MMO space that Wizard 101 and Runes of Magic are currently seeking to occupy in the Western market. The game does not look revolutionary or even particularly innovative, but it could be a fun take on the standard MMO-Diku play. It makes the good decision of letting you play through a browser or a downloadable client.
My interest in the game is significantly based on respect for Matt Mihaly and the expectation that they will bring something interesting to market. Also, my wife and I like bunnies and bears and badgers. Checking our archives, I see a two-year gap in mentioning the game since its announcement, which goes well with my recent plan of not caring about anything more than a month from release. I thought it would be out in 2008; they are currently planning on 2009; I will mention it again a month before you can actually see it (say, open beta).
A discussion of the D&D 4th Edition dragonborn race caused an unfortunate realization: the females have breasts. Female reptilians that lay eggs. If you have a female reptilian pet, I will give you a moment to go check that. Note that the bottom of a female turtle’s shell does not have cleavage. I do not know how consistent the illustrations are: fantasy setting regularly reverse the decision on whether female dwarfs have beards, and some of the images could be female dragonborn without breasts. Once the epiphany arrives, you start seeing it everywhere. See, for example, Earth Eternal. Those are some prominent breasts on frogs and birds. If you have a female avian pet, I will give you a moment to go check that.
If you have a female mammalian pet, I will give you a moment to go check that. Note the cat’s chest: fuzzy but flat. If you have seen a litter-bearing species nursing, count. Catgirls? No. Female tauren, really? Those are not udders. And for the places that put udders on all humanoid cows: that is a bull, and there are degrees of wrong going on when he is squirting things. We will not get into female-aspected rock and fire elementals that somehow exhibit sexual dimorphism.
The Everquests, I am told, are good about this. I am even willing to give pectoral credit once a few races get it right. You also lose no points if the species in question was originally a humanoid mammal (naga) or was designed to interact with humanoid mammals (succubi). I am going to stop thinking of examples before it gets stuck in my head, but you are welcome to contribute yours. Comments are open.
For the furries in the audience, yes, I know this is old territory for you. Please do not link to those discussion threads, especially ones with illustrations, especially especially ones that get into fetishes. Discussion threads from Earth Eternal and other games are acceptable. I hit TV Tropes, which led me to the dragonborn breasts discussion thread (past 500 posts). (Official word: D&D has a hand-waving explanation about how they are not really reptiles. Neither are dragons.) For anyone reading at work, I recommend waiting until you get home to click any links.
Earth Eternal has head and torso images of its character models (16 races * 2 sexes). I think they are mostly rather good, and certainly different from what you find in most titles. Well, a lot of games have a few anthropomorphic animal races, so about half of these are similar to something out there, but I cannot recall seeing goat- and badger-people before. Did you know that you can make a boar look feminine with the right eyelashes and hairdo? You can scroll down to see some of the villain models.
Matt Mihaly has some comments on releasing the (partial) screenshots and subsequent commentary. I recommend avoiding the Kotaku thread: it starts as a train wreck and goes downhill. If you feel the need to post “furries suck,” you can join the poo-flinging there. Three comments:
I like the frog and lizard headshots.
I had a poor reaction to the concept art, but I think these turned out well, even though they track the concept art closely. That could be because these are just head and torso shots, so I do not have the odd limb length ratios to squick me out.
They don’t have any furries on staff for this project? Isn’t that like making a Barbie game without any women on the development team? That seems like a huge pool of expertise (?) to be missing. Maybe there are enough in the community to give them input, but there is an entire subculture already devoted to answering questions that must have come up at meetings.
[Earth Eternal] Iron Realms has released the concept art for most of the races. I am at a loss for words beyond the title, but I think the drawings speak for themselves. Something about… the torsos… I feel kind of dirty. Like, if it had actually been furry porn, that would be one thing, but… I think it’s the body proportions, which make them look like furry midgets.
[Earth Eternal] Sure, Iron Realms has announced an 11th race for their upcoming game, but will there be ducks? Why are ducks always stuck being the comedic sidekick? Where is our game for heroic ducks that save the land?
Come to think of it, I knew a great many duck characters in City of Heroes.