I agree that the setting was interesting, I found the world and story to be incredibly fascinating - the way there were weird, barbershop quartet and fairground organ versions of 80's pop music, the worship of the founding fathers as gods, the whole larger than life thing everything had going on, and the full-on, blatant racism and bigotry that was just so prevalent - but I think exploring where that came from wouldn't produce satisfying answers. I don't think it would ultimately be interesting, it would just be "Zachary Comstock is a huge fucking racist piece of shit, that's why."
But at least the game had me thinking that was the point, until it starts dropping science on you. Once you reach the end, the way everything just goes off the fucking rails should be anything but disappointing.
I had not been privy to the development of that game in any way. When it came out, I thought about the last time I heard about a game involving the Alien name, and remembered it being garbage, so I just assumed this was some sort of shovelware.
Imagine my surprise when I found out this game had a rich and refined history, and a distinct aroma of bullshit. Since I had absolutely no investment in it, it hasn't really bothered me, but I certainly feel for the people who now feel ripped off.
Studied at arms length, though, it's interesting to see just how damaging shit like this is to a company. Overpromising and underdelivering is not easy to get away with - I like to think that there must have been some way of softening the blow, with some well-applied PR disaster management before and after, but the way they've handled all that, certainly hasn't helped them.
Then again, they probably have this strategized to some extent. I mean, people thought Duke Nukem: Forever was hot bullshit, right? That didn't stop them from throwing money at this game, or even putting another Duke Nukem game in development. I mean, at some point we should probably take responsibility ourselves, for enabling them to pull this shit off by buying their product.
The problem with DRM like this, is that it eventually just serves to punish paying users and be of absolutely no concern to pirates. It's a very backwards approach to protecting your product - I believe Steam is evidence that, if your product is just good enough, there's no need for invasive DRM or some other insane measure. You just made a good product that people are happy to use, no buts about it.
Hey man, support the developers you like, is what I say. I do.
With that out of the way, I think people who get totally buttfended about piracy need to get off their high horses. Information sharing is just a fact of using the Internet, today, whether it's WikiLeaks or The Pirate Bay. You can write as many laws as you want against it, but you can't hold it back - it's just the way things work now, and I think it's an indication that old methods of transaction are being put into question.
Consider piracy your competing service. The games don't offer online play, automatic or even timely updates, the downloads may be slow and the product may be broken, but it's free, and (ideally) nobody profits from the transaction. How do you compete with that? Well, Steam offers an excellent service today, you also have services like Humble Bundle with their pay-what-you-want approach - those have both proven to be successful methods of delivering content.
But if you so choose, you are no longer required to buy something before you try it. A pirate, should he so desire, can freely try a product before he determines whether the developers are deserving of his support. The users suddenly have the advantage of the transaction, which is may an uncomfortable position for the companies to be put in - building a solid brand or catalogue is hard when it's that easy to scratch the surface of your product.
And yeah, sure, piracy is theft and all that - but it is remarkably different from theft of physical objects. It's a complete fallacy to claim that someone loses something because of piracy, at no point is something taken from another person, which would directly generate a financial loss. That relies on the idea that the product being consumed, would simply provide a monetary gain in the first place - which I believe is rapidly becoming an out-dated method of thinking. File sharing does not take any products out of circulation, it's like if someone took your car, only for it to still be there.
Do I think that it's OK, that some people are pirating games and never supporting a single developer? Hell no.
Do I think that it's OK, that some people are pirating games, and going "Man, this game is gross, I would never support this garbage." - and on the other hand saying "This game is great, I would never have tried it otherwise, but I'm going to buy it at the end of the month, to play it with my friends."? Hell yes.
Video games as a scapegoat is just tiring. It should be obvious that blaming video games is nothing more than an easy fix, sweeping underlying problems under the rug - and if it wasn't video games, then it would be violent movies, and if not that, then music, then comics, then books, then any sort of written words about violence that anyone might happen across ever, and then, ultimately, something even more bizarre.
Anything except mental health issues. Anything except guns. Anything except a culture that has developed these things.