… unless you have Heavy Rain kind of money.
I’ve been reading two sets of reviews over the last few days from which it’s hard not to draw this conclusion. The first group of reviews cover the game, Gray Matter, the long-awaited game from Jane Jenson, developed by Wizarbox, published by DTP/Lace Mamba. The second covers the game, Gemini Rue, a low-res game that hearkens back to the early 90s.
Gray Matter would appear to have everything going for it – a well respected writer-designer, a great development team and a publisher that has a good history of publishing adventures. Yet the reviews all suggest that the final outcome – five years in the making, no less – is far from satisfactory with clunky controls and a less than endearing cast of characters. I find this even more strange when I consider the excellent work Wizarbox did on So Blonde and how much of a pleasure it was to work with them.
Gemini Rue, on the other hand, gives an initial impression that’s it’s been developed by someone who can’t let go of the past – a time when adventures were at the cutting edge of game development. But read the reviews and it’s clearly so much more than that. Atmosphere and story are a prominent part of the attraction and it’s why, in general, the game is getting good reviews. In spite of a very seemingly-dated approach to developing the game, Joshua Nuernberger, the developer, has achieved something that many developers fail to achieve with bucket loads of cash. Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games made a good choice in getting behind this.
While it would be simplistic to say that expensive adventures are bad and the inexpensive good, developers (and publishers) should take a hard look at what they are trying to achieve and how best they can deliver an experience the player will enjoy.