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GameSpy on Troika and publishers
Editorial - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 16 March 2005, 14:15:10Tags: Troika Games
Two weeks ago GameSpy posted this eulogy to a flawed developer that put most of the blame on Troika. While there is not much left to discuss about Troika, this new article shifts the blame and explains why publishers are evil but dumb assholes.
All that said, I've heard from several Troika employees, all of them off the record, about what went down there. Suffice to say that it was a combination of things on both the developer and publisher sides, which doesn't really surprise me. What I'm impressed with is how public the Troika founders have been in taking responsibility for their mistakes. But yes, there was more fault there on Activision's part than I probably indicated in the column.
As far as the industry issues go ... you're right, although I question equating Troika's demise with gamers "refusing to buy garbage." Troika's titles had some issues, but they were by and large smarter, more creative, and more unique than 90% of what was on the market. That ain't garbage, by a long shot.
There's a reason that publishers go out of business all the time (or come damn near it. The Tony Hawk series basically saved Activision from spiraling down the toilet). It's because the publishing model is COMPLETELY RETARDED. It makes no sense to shovel fifty pounds of crap out the door and hope that one pound of it sells enough to pay for development of the other forty-nine. Publishers employ too many people, there is too much overhead, they're poorly run, 90% of their producers are egomaniacal power-mongers ... it just goes on and on.
The problem is that voting with your dollars more often than not kills the developers and leaves the publishers standing. Because when they luck into a good game (and the years I've spent observing publishers telling me that, yes, it's luck), then that pays for all of the previous crap that they rushed out the door, didn't allow time to finish, bankrolled even though it was clearly a bad/impossible idea, or otherwise screwed up.
I hope that on-line forms of distribution will improve in the near future and bring us creative and innovative titles instead of all that crap we see everyday.
Spotted at: RPG Dot