An alleged Obsidian employee says there’s a good reason for the not-entirely-positive reaction to the newly-released RPG Alpha Protocol: Because it was an “absolute failure of production” that “should have been canceled.”
Alpha Protocol, the new third-person spy-thriller RPG from Obsidian, isn’t quite out yet in North America but it released in Europe on Friday to what polite people sometimes refer to as a “mixed reaction.” While 1Up rated it a B+, Destructoid was a bit harsher, scoring it 2/10 and calling it a “disaster.” Joystiq’s review wasn’t much better, leading one self-professed Obsidian employee to pop his cork and respond with an insider’s view of what went wrong.
“There was a ton of work put into this game. The problem is that is was a ton of undirected work, or work on things that were just stupid,” the poster, calling himself “a tired dev,” wrote in the comments section. “The Executive Producer for the game, Chris Parker (also an owner of the company), seemed to think he was the world’s greatest designer ever, and created all these absolutely shitty systems and wouldn’t listen to any of the real designers or devs about things that just didn’t work. And you can’t exactly argue with one of the owners of the company when he doesn’t want to listen. He basically took over the game and dictated exactly how everything would work (or not work, as the case may be). The other producers realized this early on and just gave up, leaving Parker to micromanage all the designers and programmers directly.”
Sega takes heat as well for constantly changing the design requirements, which meant the studio wasn’t able to settle on features to build and polish, but the bulk of the blame is placed squarely on Obsidian’s shoulders. “The execution was absolutely terrible, and it was obvious two years ago that this game should have been scrapped,” he continued. He did offer some reassuring words for gamers concerned about other Obsidian projects, however, especially the upcoming Fallout: New Vegas, adding, “I am still happy about some of Obsidian’s other current projects, New Vegas included, because they are going pretty well.”
Of course, his (or her) credentials as an Obsidian dev are unconfirmed; he could be a disgruntled coder on the verge of being laid off or just some guy looking to stir up trouble on the internet. But a Sega product evaluator said in September of last year that the game “felt barely RPG” and a month later, Sega pushed it back to help ensure it was the “best game possible” when it came out, so there is a certain vibe of legitimacy to his complaints.
North American gamers will be able to discover for themselves if the game is really as bad as all that tomorrow.