It's always interesting to hear how a designer evaluates his game's success…or lack thereof.
Splash Damage lead designer Neil Alphonso discussed the mixed response to his team's recent production, Brink . Rather than being defensive, Alphonso said much of the critique the game received was legitimate and warranted , although he did suggest reasons as to why certain gamers enjoyed it more than others.
The idea behind Brink was to provide a game where single-player and multiplayer blends, so it'll play very similarly regardless of mode. Unfortunately, in our eyes, this just made everything feel like an online multiplayer game and Alphonso admits the story "had to take a back seat." Still, Alphonso had to add:
"Some would say there's no story to speak of. I would beg to differ. Some loved the setting and the context given to the action. We don't really spoonfeed it to people, which is maybe what some people were looking for."
Actually, Neil, a story sort of has to be "spoon-fed" to people. Do authors write books and leave blank pages with the words, "okay, just guess what happens here"? You're telling a story, dude. But anyway, Alphonso does say that as a single-player experience, the game doesn't really hold up and as for that "SMART" (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain) movement system, he says the mechanic worked but it messed with the game's overall shooter focus.
Lastly, it's interesting to note the differences in American and European gamer receptions:
"We got pretty different responses across the globe," said Alphonso. "It was far more accepted in Europe than in America. Americans prize individualism a lot more, this didn't catch on as much over there as it did here [in Europe]."
In the end, Alphonso believes Brink 's innovations caused it to become unfamiliar and hence, gamers didn't respond. We'll agree with that but only partially. It's a game that needed more of a focus, and there were some definite gameplay problems, some of which have been addressed via patches. Maybe Splash Damage will get another shot with a sequel.
Related Game(s): Brink