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Don't read the comments, an article about the controversial launch of Gods Will Be Watching


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Jordi de Paco has a great opinion piece up at Polygon. If you don't know Jordi, he's a member of Deconstructeam who recently released Gods Will Be Watching - a unique game of dilemmas and decisions that Wired called "gaming's most harrowing moral test."

 

Jordi's op ed "Don't read the comments, or: How we went insane but made our game better" is a pretty fascinating piece that explores what it's like to work so hard on something, followed by the whiplash of profoundly harsh reviews and personal attacks. His article starts like this:

 

 

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"Don't read the comments, man."

 

The first time I heard that was from Rasmus Wedin at Boston Airport when we were preparing ourselves to get back to Valencia, Spain, after PAX East. We were reading what the press said about Gods Will Be Watching and found some unpleasant commenters on an article. It's one of the wisest pieces of advice I ever got in gamedev, and heard it again and again after that day. There's even a Twitter account that reminds you periodically to not read the comments.

 

But I did.

 

I've been reading every single comment about our work, and I can confirm that doing so is a guaranteed source of madness. I will never forget the day we released Gods Will Be Watching on Steam. Keeping track of Twitter, web reviews, Steam forums...

 

After several hours of reading wild and astonishingly creative insults, I just got out of my home and spent until 2 a.m. sitting under a streetlight watching people and traffic, just trying to figure out how to overcome that. The next day was even better: When I woke up I had 140 mails in my inbox. Half of them were bugs; the other half were insults and complaints. Figure out what a nice week it was, dealing with bugs in the game while getting your morale smashed and shattered by awesome comments like, "Congratulations, you just did a game that is the opposite of fun," or even better: "Was this game made by child with brain paralysis?"

 

I can tell you this is going to leave scars on me for the rest of my life.

 

But then the good vibes came. What we couldn't figure out at that time is that the people who were enjoying the game were simply playing it, not raging on the internet. So, after a week, a lot of positive feedback came telling us what an amazing experience Gods Will Be Watching was, how it made them feel, it was like something they never played before, and you could start to see a lot of positive reviews on Steam that held between 10 to 40 hours of play, instead of the 0.1 to 0.5 hours of play the negative reviews had. It was healing. But still, I wanted to understand why a lot of people didn't enjoy the game and why they were insulting us.

 

 

 

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The article makes for a pretty fascinating read in my opinion, particularly to those who are in the gaming industry or can relate to the experience of having created  something brilliant that was received with controversy. 

 

You can read the full article here: http://www.polygon.com/2015/1/16/7557811/developers-should-never-read-the-comments-right

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