Vicarious Visions Responds to Feedback

Vicarious Visions has posted their response to all the feedback surrounding the N. Sane Trilogy's gameplay issues. Here's the post in question:

» Go Ahead and Jump

Right. I don't know if there's a conflict of interests between Activision and Vicarious Visions, if the developers actually believe in what they're saying, or if there's something else entirely that has led to this response. The one thing I do know for sure is that it baffles me in more ways than one. Let's go over some quotes:

Our goal for the Trilogy was to reduce any points of frustration while preserving the challenge of the originals, and we feel we've done that.

Look, VV... I applaud you for making gems easier to get in the first game, but when the trade-off is not being able to bounce too far, slipping off edges, and having less control while ice-skating, I feel like this was a swing and a miss. A quick look around the Internet will tell you that people are having more trouble with the N. Sane Trilogy than the original games.

Much like the handling, we iterated on collision and physics throughout development to make it fair to all players and as faithful to the original games as possible.

Are we even talking about the same N. Sane Trilogy here? The one that has an absurd amount of collision and physics changes compared to the original games? Don't get me wrong; I'm not opposed to the changes that work, but I will forever scratch my head at how someone looked at the mess that is The High Road and decided it was good to go. That level alone should have been your first big red light, and while the gameplay is, for the most part, pretty accurate, there is room for improvement when it comes to recreating the original stuff. I mean, you should know it; you've done it before.

For those of you who played the originals and acquired a fair amount of muscle memory, re-learning the handling in our game may present an additional challenge you weren't expecting. But we're sure you up to the task.

Whoa there! I don't think you meant to say that. Please tell me you didn't mean to say that.

Let's ignore how condescending this remark is for a moment. Weren't you just saying the N. Sane Trilogy is "fair to all players and as faithful to the original games as possible"? Aren't you the ones who, for whatever reason, refuse to call it anything other than a remaster? Then why is it suddenly okay to tell your loyal consumers and supporters that they should get used to such blatant issues that didn't exist before? I don't get it; is this supposed to be a faithful recreation or not? Either make up your minds or own up to your mistakes, but for goodness' sake, don't blame the people who are keeping you afloat for believing your promises...

And hey, it's fine. It's not like the N. Sane Trilogy is unplayable or anything like that. It's a great game that I love to bits, and I have accepted its problems just fine despite how mind-boggling they are. As a Crash fan who's been playing the series for two decades, I'm obviously super-happy that the game is doing so well. My real disappointment comes from reading a response that basically amounts to "deal with it" (heck, even the post title strangely seems like a euphemism for it). To me, this sudden change of attitude is a betrayal of expectations set by the developers themselves. Before launch, Vicarious Visions took feedback to heart and visibly changed things people were upset about, but now that the game is already out and selling like hotcakes, consumer satisfaction is no longer a concern, it seems.

Please prove me wrong, Vicarious Visions.

Update (July 19th, 2017): The user by the alias of Crash Kandicoot in the comments has made me wonder whether I should have been clearer on my intention with this post, so I am copying my reply for everyone to read below:

I'm usually not this confrontational. And yet, I still stand by what I wrote because I've always been an apologist of learning from your mistakes. Pretending like other people are the problem is a pet peeve of mine. This is why I spent an entire day thinking about whether I should post my reaction, reading countless opinions about the game and wondering if I was the one being unfair here. I eventually came to the conclusion that I had to speak my mind.

It's not even that the game is bad. Not by a long shot. It's absolutely amazing and I can't stop playing it. My reaction boils down to a matter of principle — I've defended the game and its developers before, and I'll continue to do so whenever I feel it's warranted (I'm one of very few long-time players who continues to praise the new jetski, for example). On the other hand, I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't have problems.

VV is telling players to adapt to their mistakes. They don't make the game bad or unplayable, but they are mistakes nonetheless. The new physics are fine by themselves, but the level design hasn't changed to reflect them. There are no extra planks in The High Road. The boxes aren't closer to each other in Brio's bonuses. Cold Hard Crash doesn't have any new blocks to stop your crazy ice momentum. It's never something players can't adapt to, but when the games themselves haven't done so, it's not surprising to see people react the way they do.

My other problem is that their argument does a 180º turn as soon as it's convenient. One minute they're saying the games are as faithful to the originals as possible, and the next they're telling long-time players to adapt. These two things contradict each other.

I know it's a cliché thing to say, but I'm not mad, just disappointed. I've always said that as welcome as a patch may be, I'll continue to love the game if it stays just the way it is, and I still respect VV's decision through and through. I just wish they had been a little more honest and considerate instead of pretending players expected anything other than what they promised for months on end.

Either way, that's just my take on it. I'm sorry if you're disappointed by my, uh, disappointment. I am still open to different opinions, of course. Maybe other people are seeing something that I'm not.

(Oh, and I'm aware that VV's post is mostly damage control. I'd like to believe they care more than what they're leading on, because they cared a whole lot during development, and it seems strange that they would suddenly change just like that. Maybe they're just not allowed to work on a patch. One way or another, I feel like whoever led to their response needs to give their consumers a little more credit, and that's a big reason why I wrote this post.)

Update (July 24th, 2017): Here's Part 2 if you'd like to read further about my reaction.

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