I gotta say, this whole Tale of Tales/Sunset thing is really cracking me up. The more I read, the harder I laugh.
For anyone not familiar, Sunset was a game being developed by Tale of Tales, a small-time developer who seems to specialize in the “Walking Simulator” style that everyone seems to have an opinion on nowadays. If you’d like more of an explanation, take a look at The Endless Forest. You literally play as a deer walking through the woods. No real plot, no chat function, just a deer in the woods.
I’m not even gonna start into the many, many problems I’ve got with Walking Sims like this. That’s for another post.
For now, I’ll start with Sunset. It, like every other game ToT has ever put out, is as minimal as it gets: you literally play as a housekeeper. Among the tasks given to you is removing icky things like a Sun Tzu book, straightening furniture, little things that most of us dread doing even in our own lives. So with that known, here’s my question:
Why the hell did anyone at ToT think an average gamer would want to play as a freaking housemaid?
I get the appeal of low-stress games. Interactive fiction has its place as a niche market, and I’m not saying they should be demonized as a genre. The issue I have is when a niche developer tries to punch upward with zero substance to back them up, only to openly attack the very people they expected to buy their game. These people you attack were never your demographic in the first place, so why are you so pissy?
Oh, wait. I know why. Because the massive shill campaign they launched to make the game succeed ended up exploding in their faces. Big Red Flag #1: they hired Leigh Alexander to draft them a PR campaign. That’s like asking Laci Green to write you a Youtube video about Spore and then getting mad when she tells you to make it all about the aggressive cellular patriarchy. What did they expect to happen? Mass sales? The Steam front page? The glory of being a supercool indie dev rockstar?
You know how that happens? You make games people actually wanna play. It’s not the gaming community’s fault you write for a niche market.
It gets better, though. Now they’re backpedaling and saying she was only involved with the writing process. If she only had a hand in the writing process, how did rock, Paper, Shotgun end up with a well-populated tag dedicated to Sunset? I mean, it’s not like RPS has a habit of taking money from friends to boost half-assed games… nah, not at all…
(On a totally unrelated note, how’s your ad revenue these days, RPS?)
Bonus round for anyone who still thinks ToT hasn’t chugged the Kool-Aid. It makes me sad to see potentially good developers go this far south. Maybe they’ll come back and write a playable game on their own power. In the meantime, someone get these people some ankle bracers. If they backpedal any harder they’re gonna end up breaking both ankles.