Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back from the west coast...

Well, that was a blur. A good one, but I can't ever recall GDC passing so quickly. I guess the reasons were that we had a pretty busy schedule and almost every hour outside of the event was crammed with a wide variety of social hook-ups, talks, parties and dinners. It's left me pretty exhausted and it'll likely take me a week to recover... I do wonder if I'll be able to manage to carry on this stuff in the future, I'm not getting any bloody younger!

A few things happened of note, in particular the PS3 PSN edition of WORMS went live in the USA last week, passing cert on the Tuesday and going live on the Thursday... the European one should follow soon. Reaction has been very positive from those who have played it and I imagine press and further comment will emerge shortly. I do laugh when people on forums grumble at the price or suggest it should be this or that price. Having just been to the USA, I think the title delivers remarkable entertainment value for what it is, £8/10euros/$13. It certainly wasn't a quick/cheap port, there's a lot of extras, additional content and love over the original $10 XBLA edition released in 2007. It's the price of 3 pints of beer for god's sake. (That's the barometer for everything, surely).

At the show, we were delighted with the reception that Alien Breed got from those we showed it to (press, other devs, publishers and our pals at Epic, given it's an Unreal3 title) and it's fair to say that everyone thinks it'll be pretty successful when it launches later this year. We didn't allow video footage, nor screenshots, that will be managed internally over the coming months. It was very nice to demonstrate something of high quality and totally polar-opposite to our much loved Worms series.

Also getting a fine reception was the new Worms game for XBLA, "Worms 2: Armageddon" which was subject to some very close scrutiny by a number of journalist/worms-fans who took extreme notice of the new physics changes and more... but the outcome was all very positive. And we didn't even show Worms on iPhone :)

The week was great on a business front, with a ton of stuff going on in the background as we continue our push into becoming a wholly digital publisher/developer, other than one title currently nearing completion, I don't think we'll see too many more traditional 3rd party retail games from Team17 - certainly not as retail-led development, although I wouldn't rule out things ending up in a box just yet, it's just not going to be our focus.

It was also heartwarming to hear that many people thought we were in a really enviable, strong position regarding the digital marketplace and I'm confident that we're set fair over the next two years - this coming from other devs, media and 1st party platform holders. The strength of our line up helps give me additional confidence and given that we've been working hard behind the scenes for a few years on the move to digital, it's all really starting to build momentum now. 

Right now I'm knee-deep in catch up and sorting out all the loose ends and opportunities as discussed at the show - and looking forward to resetting my circadian rhythm (that's Jet-Lag to you). Interestingly enough it appears that they've been testing hamsters in attempts to cure/reduce Jet-Lag (something that really knocks me for six every time I get back from the USA) and they've basically been using Viagra. I'm not sure about it working, but it might keep me 'up' a bit longer at night... seems a long way from the Hammy Hamster series on TV and I imagine if we give our Hamster (Sonic) a viagra, he'll need a blow up rodent, not a wheel. Not sure how I'd explain that one to young Harry...

Scotland soon. That'll be a nice rest, I just hope I've recovered by then - last time we went I slept for the 4-5 days we were there!

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