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.


Comments

GWKTM | July 19, 2017 - 09:53 AM
I knew they'll be betraying us. I hoped they could have said anything about the aesthetical changes.


CRASHARKI | July 19, 2017 - 10:21 AM
Can you smell It? It is the stinky smell of Activision all over the place. That's the only thing that would make sense, because hey, Activision has already milked Crash and recollected the money, almost everyone has bought the game already, no need to work on it anymore. See where I'm going?


HP Zoner | July 19, 2017 - 12:54 PM
@CRASHARKI I want to believe that, because I wasn't expecting to read something like this from a team I have nothing but respect for. Still, the statement did come from VV, so it isn't fair to jump to conclusions and blame Activision when we don't know how involved they were in this post, if at all.


Crash Kandicoot | July 19, 2017 - 04:49 PM
While I agree with most of what you are saying here, I feel like you are exaggerating a bit. Reading this feels like you are just angry at VV saying that the game was a complete failure. A good example would be this quote:
"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...". This is a side of you I've never seen before and it felt like it wasn't you who wrote this article.


GWKTM | July 19, 2017 - 06:31 PM
Does anybody believe me now?


HP Zoner | July 19, 2017 - 07:46 PM
@Crash Kandicoot
It's as I say after your quote — I'm very happy that the N. Sane Trilogy is doing so well, because it's a game that I love and the latest entry in a franchise I grew up with. I would have been heartbroken if I it hadn't been commercially successful and most of VV's efforts went to waste. Fortunately, that isn't the case, and you will never hear me say that the N. Sane Trilogy doesn't deserve every single sale it gets.

You are right about one thing, though: 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.)


CRASHARKI | July 20, 2017 - 09:51 AM
@HP Zoner Well, you got a point there, although, I don't think VV will come to the public and say: "Activision pointed a gun at us and told us to say that" (This was a dramatic example) They would be insta-fired, so I think we'll have to figure out what's happening by ourselfs.


BubbleButt | July 22, 2017 - 03:04 PM
The N. Sane Trilogy was rushed out the door. I'm very dissapointed that the game was allowed to be released in this state and slightly irritated by the fact that most people seem to be eating it up without even questioning this stuff. Activision suck and I don't trust them to take care of the franchise moving forwards. Imagine how much better the game could've been if VV were given a bigger budget and more development time!


CrashDV75 | July 23, 2017 - 09:06 AM
Whether VV contradicts themselves or not, we should still be grateful that this game is successful enough to bring Crash back after almost a decade. VV still did a very great job with this game considering its got many positive scores and great sales. It may not be completely 1:1 the same as the originals because of slightly different jumping physics; however, the game still plays pretty close to how the originals played. I was really amazed that I could still pull off several things in this game that I used to pull off in the originals. Once I adapted to how heavy crash's jumps were by actually paying attention to his position before I jump, I was able to make jumps just as easily as in the original. The new jumping physics isn't too far off for most stages except for a few in crash 1 (road to nowhere, High Road). I see that most people bash these physics because of those two hard levels in Crash 1 and blame the whole game for it even though every other stage plays just fine with these physics. I wish people would lighting up on VV and be glad that we finally got a successful crash game, and that crash could strongly have more future games. At this time, people shouldn't be so quick to bash on VV for minor issues after all their hard work in helping to bring the orange marsupial back. I don't want Activision to see how ungrateful we are, and put Crash on another hiatus which would probably last forever. I want Crash to keep making games again, and it will really be disappointing to see him leave for good because of ungrateful and absurd nitpicking fans.


HP Zoner | July 23, 2017 - 11:09 AM
@CrashDV75 I don't think you have anything to worry about. According to Activision, the N. Sane Trilogy was the #1 selling physical game worldwide in June after only 2 days of sales. That kind of success speaks for itself, and if there ever was a time to be confident about Crash's future, it's definitely now.

It's like I told someone the other day: the game's issues don't nullify its deserved success, and vice-versa. It's important to accept both things. Despite the disappointing reaction to the fans' feedback, I obviously still respect VV and love the remakes, especially when they've brought so many improvements. I do think providing VV with feedback was the right thing to do, but now that they've made it clear they're not going to change anything, we can either accept that the games are different (like I have) or go back to the original ones. However, that's not the point I'm trying to make with this post.

My point remains that the official statements flip-flop when it's convenient and completely disregard the players' feelings. It isn't right to tell people to deal with a problem they were repeatedly promised not to be there. People were concerned about the physics from day one. "Will they get it right?", everyone asked. "Yes", VV would always say. I know there's a multitude of factors going into these statements (many of which are beyond VV's control), but you can't have your cake and eat it too, and respect should be reciprocated. I'm putting all of this behind me, but I still hope they'll be more careful with their words next time and a little more honest with their fans.


Samno | July 29, 2017 - 08:55 PM
Honestly I agree with you here, HP. Though I'm overwhelmingly happy Crash is finally getting some attention after 9 or so years, I would not recommend the collection as the "definitive" way to play the 3 games. I found myself getting constantly triggered (excuse the term) again and again, experiencing deaths and inaccuracies that I know for a fact would never happen in the originals, as the feel of the old-school controls are so vividly cemented in my mind. To play devil's advocate a little, however, I would maybe go as far as to sat the controls improve Crash 1, while making Crash 2 and 3 a lot harder. the responsiveness is somewhere between the level of the first and second games, when it should really have been better from the start.


Fuuma | August 5, 2017 - 12:47 PM
I think the problem here is that they're trying to defend some of their mistakes by addressing them as design choices. It's likely that Activision has told them to move on the game already and not allow them to patch it, so they're just taking orders and doing what they're being told (remember when they were asked about CTR remaster, they said that it's up to Activision if it will be made or not). So I don't think we should necessary blame VV, but rather Activision.


tabreezsiddique | July 2, 2020 - 10:57 AM
The link you left for that Activision Blog post doesn't lead to that blog post, here's the actual link. https://blog.activision.com/crash-bandicoot/archives/go-ahead-and-jump


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