Not a typo, a hashtag.
Updated 24/05/2012: Die Gute Fabrik have issued an exceptionally graceful and carefully worded statement on the matter. UsTwo have pulled Papa Quash from the app store, which I think shows they’re doing everything they can to make this right. this tweet is kind of curious, but whatever relationship UsTwo and Sam Pepper had or have is none of our business. Sam is the only person to have not commented at all, and the Facebook page for Papa Quash appears to be falling into neglect already.
On Twitter this morning, I saw one game developer after another tearing UsTwo a new one. I joined in. here was my harshest tweet:
Though, when their entire studio seems to be a non-ironic shrine to Nathan Barley, who expected them to not be pricks?
They appear to have ripped off Johann Sebastian Joust, then put it up on Android and iOS markets. A lot of people were trying to avoid posting the link. at it, there is a pitch in the vein of “Hey we invented a thing!”. Discounting their cheesy “new iPhone craze!” marketing, the ubiquitous “this trailer was made in 2012″ dubstep, and the JJ Abrams lens flare effects, it was a badly handled launch. maybe not to the audience for the game, but certainly to the development community.
Let me be clear: UsTwo might not be bad guys, but this morning, they gave every appearance of being bad guys. damage control was very slow to kick in. Here’s a conversation that took place with the developer on Facebook:
So the/a developer claims he “emailed joust” and got their blessing. Someone else having a similar idea of how to use motion control is eminently plausible. UsTwo not knowing a thing about J.S. Joust: not so much. I can’t bring myself to type his apparent job title because it’s so idiotic, but their leader Mills apparently follows Die Gute Fabrik on Twitter. I also can’t think of many games events in the past year, especially in London, that haven’t had J.S. Joust running there. after Vlambeer and Radical Fishing, as well as NimbleBit and Tiny Tower, you would have to be really fucking dumb to launch a very similar title to J.S. Joust and not expect the mass roasting elicited from game developers on Twitter earlier.
At worst, UsTwo are villains. at best, they fucked up and prepared their way badly: no acknowledgement for J.S. Joust, no public dialogue in advance with Die Gute Fabrik or Doug Wilson.
I’m not proud of how harsh I was to UsTwo on Twitter earlier, though I’ll leave the tweets up:
Pretty much every developer I follow is disappointed with @ustwo. Because they’ve been cunts to @gutefabrik
Seriously, £600K dumped into making their own IP, and the best they could do is rip something else off? Also, that terrible trailer.
The only person I’ve seen urging level heads is Marie Foulston:
Maybe its a day to have opinions. I think people should hold themselves better & lay off personalised venom til both parties have had a say
She’s probably right, but I would hate for Doug to wake up and feel unsupported. Doug is part of a community for whom creators rights and at the very least credit are important. He prototyped an amazing game that many of us are still having a lot of fun with, and was far too busy finishing a Ph.D to also be able to explore commercialisation of the project. It’s heartbreaking for other indies to see a relatively rich developer appear to rip off his work and steal the limelight.
Here’s a last word from Mills (via @BritishGaming):
“Fakes and copycats quite simply have to absolutely f**k off to another paradigm.”
this entry was posted on Tuesday, may 22nd, 2012 at 14:29 and is filed under Conflict, Design, Games. you can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.