Tron 2.0 - Interested

Okay I’m a fan of the original movie and I played the crap out of Discs of Tron getting to the point where the platforms moved up and down during the match. Never liked the 4 games in one Tron game though.

So I have a passing interest in Tron 2.0. The IGN article has peaked my interest even more. Even reading through the preview colored spin I still see some good things in there. Anyone who can talk care to comment on what they’ve seen so far? Should my interest turn into full fledged enthusiasm?

Check out the feature in this month’s Computer Games magazine, if you haven’t already. It’s penned by Qt3’s own Tom Chick, and it’s a great read even if you aren’t interested in the Tron game (an even better read if you are). It’s “chalk” full of interesting sidebars, an interview with Syd Mead, etc.

I’m interested in the game, too. The movie hasn’t aged gracefully (though not as poorly as other childhood favorites of mine… cough, cough, Battlestar Galactica), but I still love the visual aesthetic.

I was reading through the latest CGM mag and came upon a brief preview of this game. I keep forgetting it is out there, but I won’t again. Get this, Disney could have released the game in March but decided to put MORE money into it because they wanted to refine the game. Now this isn’t because the game was bad, but because it was so good! They felt the game showed promise and wanted to make it even better, so they pumped more time and money into it (4 or 5 months or so). That gives me high hopes. It also just looks slick. I am really looking forward to this one now.

Now that’s an odd approach to take in game development:

“Hey Bob, we just got a look at the latest TRON beta, and I gotta say, the game is teh suck. It’s unfinished, buggy, and really not much fun. Not even the ‘shooting cyber-frogs’ section.”

#1 - Usual approach: “That’s a shame, Bill. Well, package up what we have, and be sure to ship it by the end of the quarter so we can count the sell-in towards our department bottom line this period. If we sell enough copies, we’ll issue a patch to fix some of it.”

#2 - Apparent Disney approach here: “Hmm. Tron’s teh suck. Let’s give it a few more months and do it right. We won’t make money on it this quarter, but we’ll make more in the long run with a quality product.”

The sad, sad thing is that #2 just sounds BIZARRE when you’ve been around this industry for a while.

Especially for Disney. An interesting sign.

— Alan

Actually, my understanding was that Disney didn’t even think the game was teh suck. They liked it a lot (the Monolith guys also seem excited about it), which makes the delay even more surprising. Not bad–just surprising.

Well, sure, that’s what they’re going to SAY.

When Hollywood goes back to film some last minute scenes for a flick, they don’t say “it’s pretty crappy as is, so we need to fix it” they say “we saw the opportunity to flesh out what’s already a groundbreaking film by adding even more vivid background scenes for some of the most endearing characters ever to grace celluloid.”

Not saying this is definitely true. But I wouldn’t expect Disney and Monolith to come out and say “it had gameplay and balance issues so we gave it more time,” because that alerts the press and the geeky preview-readers to be suspicious of the game’s quality.

(Wow. And I’m usually an optimist.)

Yeah, the claim that they’re adding more to an already good game seems pretty weak. It could be that they want more time for marketing, too. I’m hoping that it sells well, but I’m afraid Monolith will end up with another NOLF-style critical success that sells like crap.

Side note: Xpav = teh win.

I would have been skeptical too, until they noted they’ve added features in the extra time, like an Unreal Tournament-style ladder for a separate light cycles game. Of course Monolith gets to tweak the game a bit more as well, which is a nice benefit too. Considering Monolith has been on a pretty good roll, I’m inclined to believe everyone.

We’ve got a build here that’s like three months old, and is the first five or six levels of the game. And it’s already way more polished and interesting than the majority of shooters out there. Given Monolith’s recent track record with FPS games, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that the whole game is in similar shape.

I’m not saying that, come September, we’ll all be hailing Tron 2.0 as the greatest shooter ever. But it seems a lot more than just “solid” to me.

Marketing is indeed part of the delay, though. The amount of additional stuff they wanted Monolith to add (more light cycle circuit, and a few other things) wouldn’t have necessarily taken them to September. I think they maybe wanted the sales to be part of another fiscal quarter, or to make sure that the game wasn’t percieved as “old” by the Xmas season, or something.

Yeah, I can’t wait for this game. I love games with great visual style. The only thing stopping me from pre - ordering right this instant is the fact that I can’t take it back if it sucks. But I seriously doubt it will. Monolith did NOLF and AVP 2 recently (haven’t tried NOLF 2 yet), and both of those rocked. So I’m expecting good things. I’ve been avoiding all previews since the game was announced so that it’ll be a totally fresh experience.

Damnit, XPav, now you’re going to make me have to break out the Tron DVDs to recall if that image you posted was Bit’s “yes” or “no” response, so I can tell if you are or aren’t interested in the game. ;)

Or you could just look at the filename.

Unless you want to watch Tron, that is, in which case, its a good excuse.

No is much spikier.

If the game just needed more time (because it wasn’t good enough yet) they probably wouldn’t have said anything except it needs more time. LOTS of games need more time than was expected. It doesn’t mean the game is bad. They went out their way to say the game was better than they thought. It gives the impression that they weren’t expecting much from it (which is the impression I have gotten all along) and that Monolith surprised them. So they said…hey, we might have a hit here. Let’s make it better.

I’m not trying to be naively optimistic. I’m just explaining how I see it. It makes poor business sense to tell the press that the game is promising if it is a mess.

One of the few game-related conversations Jason Cross and I had at E3 was that Monolith has earned a lot of good will, and Tron 2.0 looks to be the cat’s pajamas.

It’s also another chance to use the “thinking outside the boxleitner” headline when the time comes!

Obscure B5/Tron trivia: Not only does the movie Tron have Bruce Boxleitner (Tron / Captain Sheridan), but it also had Peter Jurasik (Crom / Londo Mollari).

Not so obscure, if you are a fan of both. Interestingly, Jurasik is just as wussy in Tron as on B5!

Here’s one: The woman in Tron (don’t know the actress’s name) was also on CHiPs as part of a woman homocide detective duo. It was an attempt at a spin-off, but it failed. It wasn’t the worst attempt, of course, which has to go to the special karate elite forces episode, which starred Bobby Nelson, who would later become Ponch’s partner in the last season of CHiPs.

Sorry, I am a CHiPs freak.

Did you just call Londo Mollari wussy? He’s one of the coolest characters on B5!