Why Dark Energy Digital Won't Just Give Up on Hydrophobia

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#51 Posted by datarez (558 posts) -

Really interesting.  I'm glad they're continuing to work on the game. I don't have it yet, but if I find out that these changes are rolled into the xbla version I might pick it up. 
 
Thanks for doing a story about an older game. There's so many games that get skipped or just get missed due to bad release date or whatever. More often I've become a gamer that starts picking up games after the price drop since it happens so quickly now. But by the time I'm playing them, just a couple months later, the communities have moved on.

#52 Posted by Winsord (1249 posts) -

I'm glad to see they're continuing to work on this title, but it's not really a problem or the controls or the graphics that makes me uninterested in this game. Personally, it's simply that I don't find it to be a very interesting concept, so no matter how much it's upgraded, I probably won't play it. :/

#53 Posted by Twinblade (52 posts) -

where is this update for 360? i was one of the few who bought the original, and now they're just dumping us on the side of the road.

#54 Posted by Cerogravian (344 posts) -

It's good too see this kind of dedication, but I fear that they will unfortunately suffer from it...

#55 Posted by FancySoapsMan (5841 posts) -

It's nice to see they care so much about one project.

#56 Posted by GetEveryone (4455 posts) -

Articles like these are the reason why Patrick was such a great addition. 
 
Besides that, it serves to put the spotlight on specific titles. I may very well pick up Hydrophobia now; it's only 7 quid on Steam.

#57 Posted by JohnDudebro (924 posts) -

I would rather they put all this effort into making a new game instead of trying to salvage this one.

#58 Posted by xyzygy (10030 posts) -

God this sound like such a waste of time. Do they think people will have the time to play through their games over and over to try to help them make it better? Isn't that what a good QA team does? Why are they making paying customers do the work they should be doing? 
 
Not only that, the game is VERY meh and really they should just move on. Does not make any sense why they're holed up with this game. We get it, nice water tech. Now use that tech in a DIFFERENT game.

#59 Posted by BoringK (269 posts) -

Every time they do this, I feel like more and more of a clown and a guinea pig for having paid $15 for the game when it first came out because I was genuinely interested in it. It's like I paid to be a tester.

#60 Posted by zitosilva (1840 posts) -

It's interesting that they're so commited in trying to improve the game, but it's too late for me. I played through the original 360 release, and that was as much Hydrophobia as I'd like to have in a lifetime. Maybe if they end up making the trilogy and change a lot of things in the sequels they'll have me back. But this first one, no thanks.

#61 Posted by daviddoel (27 posts) -

Great story and that's some forward thinking on the part of the developers. Seems like a natural progression for a segment of this industry.

#62 Posted by LordAndrew (14430 posts) -
@Jaxley said:
I'm sure I read last year that Hydrophobia was going to be a series of episodic releases. So the first one has come out three times now, technically. Are they actually still planning on the next chapters?
I'm sure they want to get Hydrophobia right before continuing. If they released the second game and the only Hydrophobia that existed before that was the original... Few people would really be interested in that. By improving Hydrophobia first, Dark Energy Digital gets better at it and shows potential players that a second Hydrophobia could actually be good.
#63 Posted by MagikGimp (779 posts) -

Seems like some people think we have too much time on our hands. Oh wait, we do.

#64 Posted by kollay (1933 posts) -

Makes me want to just get this because of how much faith these dudes put on their work.

#65 Posted by kyrieee (379 posts) -
@Blood_for_the_blood_God
I'm not, but I actually meant single player games, I should've been more clear.
It's just weird to me to change so much in game that's usually made to be played through once. I don't want books to be rewritten either.
#66 Posted by bhhawks78 (1206 posts) -

Patrick, after the way the dev team for this game reacted to negative reviews (destructoid most famously)  I'm disappointed you are giving them any sort of voice.  They are a giant group of children and can't wait until they go out of business.

#67 Posted by DonPixel (2585 posts) -

OK.. still not interested, perhaps coming with a new better idea was to hard..

#68 Posted by ahab88 (241 posts) -

I enjoyed Hydrophobia, but it certainly had it's flaws. The water tech was great and maybe they can license that as middleware.

#69 Posted by Artie (692 posts) -

I love what Klepek brings to news writing for GB. Original stories that involve interviewing developers for things other than PR. Gives an interesting look at the industry.

#70 Posted by vhold (422 posts) -

My guess is that they can't get an investor for another big game, so they're trying to milk this one to raise enough money to finance one themselves.  I think this game could use a quick look.

#71 Posted by kalmis (1559 posts) -

Bought this while back on a sale and will play it, one day

#72 Posted by thiz (3 posts) -

Hydrophobia: Prophecy is avery good game. I havent played the first two versions of the game, but just knowing the new Hydrophobia made me like the game a lot. Bashing the developers for that would be very stupid, i dont get it. People just seem to love hating. Get mature please and accept that there is more then just black and white.

#73 Posted by Goldanas (546 posts) -

I was interested in the game when they first showed trailers of it. When it finally released and that Quick Look showed up, I was disappointed with how ugly and clunky it looked and how bad the voice acting was.
 
I heard about the first update improving lots of things and I say, "that's cool".
 
Then they announce the PC version with a staggering amount of new updates addressing every one of my initial quibbles including the voice acting. They hired a new voice actor to replace the shitty one who speaks to you throughout the course of the game.
 
It was ten dollars and I bought it.
 
It looked pretty incredible and ran well enough, but there were some performance issues that slowed down my system somewhat.
 
The next day, a patch resolves this, and it runs at a solid 60fps. The water physics are incredible. The controls in water and out feel very smooth and peppy. While the climbing moments aren't as swift, I have no difficulty getting to where I'm going. The shooting (which I heard the worst about) feels great, impactful, and I take a lot of pleasure in the different ammo types and the environmental hazards and the points system they use to encourage you.
 
Plus there are exploration items and loads of little hidden things.
 
I never played this game initially, but when I played it on the PC after that second patch, I played through the entire thing in one sitting. It was excellent and just what I wanted. I enjoyed the surprise new ability of the manipulation of water at the end and wish there was more of that.
 
A lot of people are clamoring for a sequel instead of the updates. It's because of the updates that I want a sequel.

#74 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -

I have to admit- they got me. I will now buy this game out of sheer curiosity after all these updates. I have never seen a developer so dedicated to improving a game that was initially received less than favorably. I kind of feel like I should reward the effort, if nothing else... It's totally unusual.

#75 Posted by Kyle (2323 posts) -
@Twinblade said:
where is this update for 360? i was one of the few who bought the original, and now they're just dumping us on the side of the road.
If I had to guess, some stuff they did to the PC version was more than could be done with a simple update, and XBLA release slots aren't so easily attained. Though they did put out a number of updates for the 360 version.
#76 Posted by TwoLines (2819 posts) -

We changed this game like... 5 times, and people STILL don't like it! 
Please, tell us what are we doing wrong! Clearly, we have NO idea how to make a game. 
Can you help us? Please, oh god, PLEASE help us!

#77 Posted by Bellum (2944 posts) -

Give up on Dark Energy giving up?

#79 Edited by Brackynews (4094 posts) -

They were certainly dickish about it at first release, but I don't dislike them for that, I simply lost all interest in their product because they can't decide what their product is. It's a terrible pun, but their water game is wishy-washy.
 
If they really want to impress me, release it as a toolset and see what the community can come up with for a top-tier fluid dynamics engine. "You got LittleBigPlanet in my Shadow Complex in my SpeedTree..." That could be pretty damn cool.
 

If you play a game on Facebook you can bet your behaviour and profile information is being used to improve the game and help the developer make better games in the future--why on earth would we not do the same?

Possibly the worst comparison Hewson could have made, but I see why he made it. DarkNet seems like a good idea. Perhaps this will spark a new trend of developers hanging on to development staff to make an interactive medium that much more interactive. It smacks of an MMO in a "please don't pull a Galaxies" kind of way, but if you can design the levels to encourage replayability, maybe it's something players can stay hooked on. 
(line, sinker, etc. ;P )
#80 Posted by GalacticPunt (1077 posts) -

Wow, great article / interview.  This may well be the best text piece ever posted on Giant Bomb since its inception.  This is a really thoughtful piece on how game development likely going to evolve.  Whatever they're paying Patrick, it can't be enough!
 
(Try that at your next negotiation:  "Some anonymous dude on the internet said I need a raise.")

Online
#81 Posted by gbrading (2071 posts) -

It's pretty amazing they are that committed to making their game better that they would almost rebuild it from the ground up.

#82 Posted by lowestformofwit (229 posts) -

They need to sort out the voice acting.  Scoot (or scotty or whatever you call him) has a put on Scottish accent which just plain insults us Scots.
 
They also need to release the next game as the first ended very abruptly.  I'm sure the majority of people who were going to buy it have got it by now.

#83 Edited by Kibblez (702 posts) -

I think this is an incredibly dumb idea on the dev's part to try and justify some social interaction with their "fans" (wherever they are). I'm fine with pre-release betas and the like, because that makes sense given the fact the games aren't out for public consumption at that point. But this just seems like them being lazy and having a way too hard time moving on. Just leave the game alone for goodness' sake, move on and make something new that isn't as screwed up. The fact that anyone who doesn't work for the developer or publisher can sit there basically TESTING their game WAY after its initial release is beyond a joke to me. 
 
There's commitment and then there's obsession. Someone working up top at this dev needs to just lay down the law and make everybody move the fuck on.

#84 Posted by CornBREDX (5624 posts) -

All I got from this was "we're incredibly inept at game making and cant make a new game until we get enough people to keep buying this one."
 
Whatever few fans they have they're leeching until they have all their money (because the fans will support you). I really am not liking this developer more and more. They still haven't even apologized for their rude behaviour towards critics.
 
Whatever, that's old news I know. I don't trust this developer though. They aren't being special in their design philosophy- they're trying to recoup development costs on a game no one wants because the developers are dicks.

#85 Posted by kchark (4 posts) -

I think Hydrophobia is a decent game with a very interesting world and overall story. I hope that they eventually add more of that story to the game after they get everything working the way they want.

#86 Posted by vinsanityv22 (1064 posts) -

I actually think that it's neat they're fixing so much and listening to feedback. I wish Silicon Knights would've done this to Too Human. I mean, it's often better to just take your lessons learned and move onto the next project - that is true. However, for a small developer like this, they probably aren't guaranteed to make a few more games at this point, and they have to turn this into something successful. Either commercially or in terms of their reputation, at least - ideally both. Besides, it's still a pretty original take on things, so it's worth revisiting and refining in my book.
 
If this were out on PS3, and the PSN were working, I'd download it in a heartbeat. Especially with the chance to give the studio some feedback (something that would, no doubt, make for some interesting sequels). But I guess I'll have to give it a shot on PC instead.

#87 Posted by RedRocketWestie (381 posts) -

It's all just a gesture to get people who never tried the game to pick it up. What better way to prove to the cynical gamers that you're serious about improving your product than to put realtime feedback into the game? Those people had made up their minds about Hydrophobia from the reviews alone, and they're probably very unlikely to buy a sequel. Hell, people who BOUGHT it might be unlikely to buy a sequel, so if they're planning on doing one, they need to buy back some good will with the community. 
 
I also strongly disagree with the idea that "everyone who was going to get this game already has it." Some have already said they're intrigued by the passion and commitment they're demonstrating. I'll admit, I'm curious as well. It's more of a marketing ploy than anything else, but it's a good marketing ploy that you don't see much. "We're not giving up on this game -- we're committed to making it good" tells me that they care how people see them. Maybe it's impossible to undo the damage of the early reviews and developer backlash, but if they don't even make an effort, they'll be dead in the water (pun intended) on their next release, even if it's not a sequel. 
 
The Facebook comparison is just bizarre, though. The common thread between games that continually evolve is that they also don't end. MMOs and Facebook games aren't linear story progressions that follow a plot arc. They're grinds. And personally, I don't like the idea of taking myself out of the game every 5 minutes to provide feedback, even if it IS a grind. 

#88 Posted by MyNameIsJoe (184 posts) -

I'd be interested in seeing Jeff and Ryan do another QL at this point.

#89 Posted by talideon (51 posts) -
@pow1149 said:
Now, if we could just have a few of the prophecy improvements filtered into the 360 version... than I'd be a happy guy.
Specifically, the second half of the game...
#90 Posted by BlueFroman (64 posts) -

Dedication to your product and obsession are two different things.   This qualifies as the latter. 

#91 Posted by Jackel2072 (2269 posts) -

I have a theory why this game wont die. If this was any other development studio, they would have closed there doors after the game solid poorly. But now we have 3 release of this game? someone at that studio has a lot of money and can carelessly throw it around. Also its better to give up on an IP if it fails hard, maybe try again with a sequel, yes. but not the same game. its already left a bad taste in peoples mouth. 

#92 Posted by smatticus (45 posts) -

totally sold on this game now. no other company has shown this much devotion. last time this much love was given to a game by devs was the witcher enhanced edition 

#93 Posted by RobertOrri (1139 posts) -

One year from now, this studio will be closing.

#94 Posted by darkjester74 (1589 posts) -
@BlueFroman said:
Dedication to your product and obsession are two different things.   This qualifies as the latter. 
Agreed.  I also dont understand the comments about this game being very polarizing.  My impression was.....it's fine.  A run of the mill third person action game with some slightly different mechanics.  Certainly nothing earth shattering, but not offensively bad either.
#95 Posted by salad10203 (654 posts) -

I bought it on Steam and I thought the whole game was great, just short.

#96 Posted by Romination (2777 posts) -

I'm actually enjoying seeing them obsessed with making this game good. They worked on it for a long time and it seems like they want to actually make good on it. Besides, what they learn here could inform their next product, which might actually be good the first time out.

#97 Posted by LordAndrew (14430 posts) -
@TwoLines said:
We changed this game like... 5 times, and people STILL don't like it! Please, tell us what are we doing wrong! Clearly, we have NO idea how to make a game. Can you help us? Please, oh god, PLEASE help us!
Generally, the people who still don't like it are the people who haven't given it another chance. Many of them haven't even given it a first chance. Of the three versions of this game, which have you given chances?
#98 Posted by Soviut (164 posts) -

Simply awesome tooling on their part.  They should take a hiatus from game development and just become a tool development studio.

#99 Posted by Spiritof (2070 posts) -

I wish that more game companies would charge me to do their play testing for them.

#100 Posted by Xpgamer7 (2384 posts) -

I understand they want the game they put so much into to be perfect, but doing this only allows people who are already playing to comment on it  and at this point alll the people playing really love the game for what it is. This will improve it but it's tedious and as I said before the only people who will put the time in are those who love it and are still playing.

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