The year starts refreshingly.
Just a few words:
1- While I don’t believe every word written, I think there may be some truth and it is not a complete hoax.
2- The guy isn’t scared about burning bridges.
3- Comments about private life are always inappropriate and should be omitted. Those were gratuitous attacks.
4- I was the first to call Vanguard vaporware when Anyuzer started to drink the Kool-Aid, years ago. I spelled it out: it was vapid. Those comments, while poorly written and making me ashamed, are still mostly valid. Vanguard wanted to be a design innovation, but it didn’t innovate anything aside some very vague (almost valid) concepts that weren’t properly made a whole (as game design should be).
5- I would defend Brad McQuaid. I think he proved that he believed in the game and that he had a vision. Debatable, but still personal, strong and competent. I’m sure that he saw the thing sinking from far away and still blindly continued to hope in some kind of external intervention to make the miracle. If they say he didn’t do shit in the last year of development, I would believe. But I don’t believe that he didn’t care about the game and that he was slacking. I just don’t believe in this drug-addicted image of Brad McQuaid, careless and hands-off his game.
6- Vanguard, once again, was a failure for *technical* execution first. Programming. Graphic engine. Server stability. Art and animations. Controls. Game design comes after those, and in that Post Mortem there’s no mention of those flaws, as if the game’s faults were all about high-level design. The game didn’t fail because of Game Design, it failed because it was a POS close to Shadowbane. It was broken. Not because the newbie quests weren’t written by senior designers, but because it ran poorly even on powerful hardware and yet looked awful. You need the basics to work, then you can think about the rest.
7- If Vanguard had a good technical execution but poor game design, it would have survived. Not a success, but something viable (see LOTRO, a game with zero ideas but good execution overall). So it’s the technical execution the most relevant aspect of Vanguard’s failure. And the one that is still ignored the most in discussions.
8- Brad McQuaid has responsibilities as he wasn’t just responsible of the game design, but of the project as a whole. Including the technical execution. In particular: you have to bargain between ambition and concrete possibilities. Especially if you are forming a brand new studios. Start small and improve from there. Aiming too high is another relevant factor behind Vanguard’s failure (and probably others on the horizon).
9- Let’s talk about something else. Thanks. This drama is now about as relevant as Glitchless’ Dawn and Dave Allen’s Horizon. I hope we are past that swamp and that we can expect and bitch on a different level of quality and competence. Good and interesting discussions for the genre are somewhere else.