Ex-Volition Staff Explain Why Red Faction: Armageddon Kind Of Tanked

WMDogma

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Ex-Volition Staff Explain Why Red Faction: Armageddon Kind Of Tanked



Armageddon's features were changed or scrapped to keep up with new ideas being introduced part way through its development.

Despite having a strong fan following over the years, publisher THQ unfortunately shut down the Red Faction franchise for good [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/111939-THQ-Kills-Red-Faction] last July after the latest entry in the series, Red Faction: Armageddon, sold well below expectations.

What exactly happened with Armageddon that caused THQ to pull the plug? Several former Volition staffers came forth and spoke with Play Magazine about their experiences in developing the Red Faction games for a recent feature on the series' history. Judging from some of the comments made by Wayne Adams, the environment artist for Armageddon's predecessor Red Faction: Guerilla, it sounds like Armageddon was the victim of an age-old nemesis of the game industry, often known as "Feature Creep."

"The last game had one flaw and that was interference," explained Adams to Play Magazine. "What people play, when they play Red Faction: Armageddon, is not what it started out to be. A lot was changed on the story side of things. Elements were introduced and things had to either be scrapped or re-purposed to keep up with the game."

Usually in the early phases of a game's development, the design team works with producers and team leads to write out and plan the entirety of a project from A to Z. Schedules are made, milestones are set, tasks are assigned and everyone gets to work. If planned right, the project's tasks are prioritized in such a manner so that all of the core features are completed first before anything extra. In the event something has to be cut or pushed back, it's something the game can more than likely live without. It's a harsh reality of the industry that everything that's planned in a game's design document doesn't always make it to the final product, and sometimes it's for the best, as with some of the material cut from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/112768-Deus-Ex-Devs-Taunt-Us-With-Cut-Content]

Feature creep, however, is a hazardous phenomenon that can sneak in at any time during a game's production cycle. All it takes is someone on the team to start thinking "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" instead of "Is this best for the project?", and suddenly time and resources are being diverted away from getting what's important done in favor of introducing new features or making drastic changes to completed components of the game. It's a tough mindset to combat, especially for someone who's really passionate about their project.

If you want an excellent (albeit extreme) example of how feature creep can downright destroy a project, one needs to look no further than Duke Nukem Forever [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/97032-Duke-Nukem-Forever-Designers-Speak-Out] and how the constant graphics engine switches and the unchecked desire to add more features and content ended up sinking 3D Realms and all but killing the game itself.

For now though, fans of the games will have to wait and see if THQ will raise Red Faction from the grave sometime in the far future, or if the sci-fi action series is gone forever.

Source: Play Magazine [http://www.play-mag.co.uk/ps3-news/red-faction-armageddon-one-flaw-was-interference-ex-volition-staffer/]


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Aeshi

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How did they even mess it up in the first place? just take Guerrilla and add the Magnet Gun and the Nanoforge Repair Glove and you'd have one of the best games ever.
 

thiosk

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Scrumpmonkey said:
Im sorry to be a Grammar Nazi
Its ok, but these are usually best done in a PM to the author than immortalized on the first post in a thread.

ANYHOO, yeah. I had hopes that the series could actually carve out a niche. I'm surprised the niche wasn't carved, what with the cinematic tie in. That one guy from stargate universe actually gave a decent performance in the red faction movie. my wife was interested in the syfy film, which wasn't fantastic (especially when the terraformer-shooting and dudes-in-white appeared) but was a passable flick, and better than most game-to-movie tie ins.
 

oldtaku

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Feature creep? Try BAD DESIGN.

You took the best bit of Guerrilla (semi-open world you can dismantle piece by piece) and turned it into a linear tunnel shooter.
 

Casimir_Effect

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The Red Faction series has been Gone Forever once already so who the fuck knows? In this current climate of not being able to come up with an original idea for a game then I imagine it'll be back soon enough.


Because hey: fuck new IPs, fuck risk-taking, fuck originality, fuck writing, fuck characterisation, fuck trying anything that isn't an FPS and "fuck your mum". Please just keep serving me the same shit with a slightly different flavouring all the while trying to find new ways to restrict my gaming and charge me for content which I'll gladly bend over and pay for.

Yours adoringly,

The Majority of the Gaming Public of 2011
 

Jonny49

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While I don't think it would have made that great a difference in sales, I still think Armageddon not being an open world game was a bad idea. It just seemed like a waste of the engine to have all this destructibility and all these cool tools to blow shit up with, and be stuck underground with a few bridges to blow up every now and again.
 

koroem

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oldtaku said:
Feature creep? Try BAD DESIGN.

You took the best bit of Guerrilla (semi-open world you can dismantle piece by piece) and turned it into a linear tunnel shooter.
Pretty much this. Don't know why they didn't just admit that. It's true and no amount of avoiding it is going to make it any less true.
 

MiracleOfSound

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It was the boring brown tunnels, annoying enemies and complete lack of focus on the game's strong points that ruined it for me.

The new features were great, just a pity there was nothing fun to use them on.
 

Saulkar

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koroem said:
oldtaku said:
Feature creep? Try BAD DESIGN.

You took the best bit of Guerrilla (semi-open world you can dismantle piece by piece) and turned it into a linear tunnel shooter.
Pretty much this. Don't know why they didn't just admit that. It's true and no amount of avoiding it is going to make it any less true.

I concur wholly with this statement. I have never played the game myself but after watching hours of my brother play it, it is clear where they went wrong. It would be like turning GTA into a corridor shooter.
 

Oroboros

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Every Red Faction game has been so different from its predecessor as to be virtually unrecognizable. Seriously, its like every game was in a different setting. They should just make a sequel option to the first game, one that actually makes sense.
 

BrotherRool

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Yeah I'm agreeing with everyone else. It looks like the problem wasn't feature creep, but the people working on the game didn't know what made Guerilla good.

And interface design really wasn't a huge problem with Guerilla, it was just it needed more buildings, more stuff happening in buildings, access the construction tool (which was available in multiplayer) and more health. That was it. It sounds a lot, but the game would have rocked peoples socks off and it's not a lot compared to chucking all the good bits out and creating a completely different linear game.