Friday, December 21, 2012

War Z shambles towards your wallet, in more ways than one

Well, as if 2012 hadn't produced enough video gaming controversies already, just under 2 weeks out from the new year, it's managed to squeeze out one more.

You know, until a few days ago, I didn't even know the names Sergey Titov and Dean "Rocket" Hall. But that all changed when War Z appeared on Steams new release list.

(Every gaming site out there has covered this already, I'm basically just telling this from my point of view, and offering my own thoughts on it.)

So, there I was, looking at this shiny new release on Steam, a zombie survival horror game, and I love me some zombies. The idea of a zombie game set in an persistent open world was awesome.
I'd heard about this type of game being out there (The mod for Arma II, Day Z) through word of mouth, at first a little confused if this was that game I'd heard about or something completely different. And if it was a different game altogether...which is better? That aside, I still had some questions about the game I wanted to answer before I put money down on it.
Part of that word of mouth about Day Z I'd heard also brought up the point about player killing and griefing. So I decided to go looking for player testimonies to feel things out.

And right away, things started getting suss...

The Steam forums for the game were dripping with bile, and it was at this moment a warning light came on. Yes, the internet is full of screaming flamers, but this many? Even if they were just being unjustly upset about the game, or as some people called out "Day Z fanboys", people don't normally turn out in angry mobs like this every day, without some provocation.

So I went to the War Z forums, to see if the same vitriol existed there too. I didn't see anything stand out in the day to day posting, the usual questions you'd get people asking for an online game and that.
But I found my way to an FAQ thread, at which point a second warning light came on.

It said it was 'unofficial', but the poster kept saying 'Our'. Either he was very affectionately attached to the game, was somehow involved in the project, or else, was directly quoting the devs.
But the real eyebrow raisers come when it starts talking about War Z in relationship to it's development time and the timing of it's release compared to Day Z.
"The War Z has been in preparation for a very long time involving us at Hammerpoint tossing around ideas regarding the concept of an zombie MMORPG. But undoubtedly, the success of Day Z was an immense sign to us that an post-apocalyptic zombie MMORPG was the right way to go."
It was starting to sound a bit like spin. And yeah, English is not their native language (Nothing sinister implied there, just, you know, matter of fact).

I carried on, looking at Youtube this time, finding a few videos discussing the game. They, too, called bullshit on the claim the game had been in development for more than a year, citing the fact the game appears to be mostly a copy paste of another Hammerpoint title, War Inc.

It was basically by this stage that things weren't adding up about the games story.

So now, if I could digress for a moment, and I say digress because I have no idea if this is a representation of the developer, or a very fanboyish playerbase. But either way it rubbed me the wrong way and I'm calling it out. There is another quote on this page that caught my eye.

I moved further down the page to an interesting question, one I was wanting answered, being "Why should I play this instead of Day Z?"

I would quote it, but it's a wall of text, which would then sit amidst the existing wall of text I've typed here already.

That said, nowhere in this wall of text was the actual virtues, or pro and cons, of the two respective games presented. Instead, the whole thing is effectively, in my opinion, a mud slinging exercise aimed at Day Z. It just came off as, so...petty. 
How petty? I know Activation and EA were at each others throats over the MW3/BF3 rivalry, but, damn...I don't recall them ever doing something like that to each other, although I could be wrong.

Again, it was supposedly unofficial, and personally, I couldn't believe a developer would have any involvement in an FAQ like that anyway. But again, the integrity of this games developers had been called into question, and this FAQ carried a rather officious tone.
Granted, with recent revelations about Hammerpoint, and how it was running the community (ie, Police State), it's entirely possible they just edited this guys posts to have it say whatever the fuck they wanted.

Anyway, soon after it was all but confirmed the developers had been lying about the game.

The question then, is if they've lied about that much, have they lied about anything else?

Just about everything else, it seems...

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