Another Day, Another Delusional Developer

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Our final entry over the weekend here at PRC.net was a Reader Submission focusing on the Italian developer Milestone exhibiting a complete detachment from reality – a team of over 100 employees claimed RIDE (2015) was a critical and commercial success despite scathing reviews from around both the industry and the community. As a response to the submission, I also included examples of two other sim racing developers who blatantly refused to believe their products had nagging issues, individuals who literally stick their fingers in their ears and invent their own story to satisfy their fragile egos. Today, we can add another developer to the list of delusional entities – Codemasters.

If you haven’t caught the announcement by now over at any one of the different mainstream sim racing publications, Codemasters have straight up hired the entire staff of Evolution Studios. The team that brought you WRC: Rally Evolved, Motorstorm, and DriveClub will now be flying under the Codemasters banner, and as a result the next few Codemasters releases will feature an added level of depth thanks to the studio effectively doubling in size. The Codemasters press release published earlier today on their official blog obviously tries to portray the potential of a bright and prosperous future, but it wasn’t long before the same old bullshit set in:

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Codemasters CEO Frank Sagnier claims Formula One 2015 was a successful title which allowed them to expand the company. This could not be further from the truth. Blasted by casual Grand Prix fans and hardcore sim racers alike, F1 2015 was the worst of Codemasters’ Formula One efforts by a significant margin – shipping with an insane amount of yet-to-be rectified technical issues that warranted a current user score of 3.7 over on Metacritic (the picture below was taken in October of 2015).

F1 2015

I’ll honestly just ask the same question I did over the weekend in regards to Milestone: On what planet is a title like this considered a success?

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The most refunded Codemasters title ever to be released on Steam is deemed a success by the company’s CEO. This is how detached software companies have become from their products – they’re substituting reality with their own delusions of grandeur. But we’re not done yet, as the press release then goes on to praise Evolution Studios for their previous work, basically writing that the new supergroup of developers will go on to make fantastic products:

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A monumentally talented group of people, eh? Then why, if I search up news articles about DriveClub – the last release by Evolution Studios – are gaming sites blasting the title?

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Let’s sit and organize the things said about DriveClub in the above article in an easy-to-read list, because maybe the pretty picture of the Koenigsegg distracted a few people:

  • The PlayStation 4’s biggest embarrassment.
  • [Reflects] badly on the PlayStation 4
  • A Jumble of Broken Promises
  • Unfinished Features
  • Broken Features
  • Mediocre Gameplay
  • Failed Online Experiment
  • Ambition has [gotten] way out of hand

Alright, so not only does the CEO of Codemasters claim their worst fully-priced retail release of all time was a success, the blog entry tries to generate excitement over the fact that all employees from a company who’s last game was described as “The PlayStation 4’s biggest embarrassment” have now joined the crew – and this will somehow serve to benefit the company in the future. How can anyone hit the Publish button on something so ridiculous? You know, maybe if Formula One 2015’s only flaw was the lack of a career mode, and DriveClub wasn’t described everywhere as a “failed online experiment”, I’d at least give Codemasters the benefit of the doubt – but this is going into an entirely new territory. Aside from DiRT Rallywhich was admittedly really fucking good – you have two companies figuratively shitting out games and pretending like joining forces is somehow a good thing.

Now I’ll take things a step further and churn out a portion of a press release much more grounded in reality – because pretending you didn’t ship multiple trainwrecks during the 2014 and 2015 calendar years is really fucking stupid:

We here at Codemasters have taken note of the situation surrounding former employees at Evolution Studios, and have made the decision to welcome the entire team to the greater Codemasters family. Evolution Studios have spent multiple Sony console generations dedicated to producing a variety of mass-market auto racing titles, and we are excited at the potential this new opportunity brings us into 2016 and beyond. The increased size of the new and improved Codemasters team will allow us to embark on large-scale projects we could once only dream of, ideally serving to re-capture some of the classic Codemasters magic of the late 1990’s.

Was that so hard? No false promises, no fictional interpretations of reality, just a reasonable announcement that doesn’t set any unrealistic expectations other than “our games will hopefully get better with more manpower behind us.” Flesh this general babble out into a few more paragraphs, and you have a very down-to-earth announcement. I don’t see why this approach was neglected in favor of outright boasting about positive reception that basically didn’t exist.

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23 thoughts on “Another Day, Another Delusional Developer

  1. You posted that article from October 2014 saying that Driveclub is a liability and has issues. But then over half a year later another article tells that Driveclub sold 2 million copies, this was before the game went free on PSN: http://www.vg247.com/2015/08/03/driveclub-sales-surpass-2-million-units/

    Yes, the launch issues mattered, but they picked themselves up and continued building, perhaps because the foundation wasn’t weak, so problems that arose around the release period were fixed over the months, and the game didn’t crumble at the first issues. Then driveclub evolved into a better game since 2014 to 2016, because the people in the team worked on the problems and on new things for the game, stability, content, features, game modes. If people gave the title a low score in the beginning, my thinking is that many of them reconsidered along the way.

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  2. You really should try Driveclub, it has nothing to do with what it was back in 2014.

    And about Codemasters claiming that F1 2015 was a success…Ever heard of marketing?

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    1. That also applies to Dirt Rally. It’s not “really fucking good”, not even close. The marketing behind it, on the other hand, is outstanding.

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  3. Driveclub got better. F1 2015 didn’t improve much. But Dirt Rally has a different team to F1 2015, that’s why it rocks. What Evolution will come up with is TBC, but I read it may not be an existing IP.

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    1. Dirt Rally is the biggest flop. If there should be an article about a detachment from reality, it should be about Dirt Rally. Except this time around it would be about the community’s detachment from reality.

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  4. In fairness to Driveclub ,Evolution Studios worked really hard and improved the game in all aspects so now is nearly considered a benchmark for racing games in the current gen.Maybe the problem was not them but Sony who started advertising the game as nearly as PS4’s presentation in June 2013 when the game was probably in the drawing board.But,we now know that given the time,Evos can produce.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well what do you expect them to say in a press release? They sure weren’t going to say “yeah our last F1 game was a mess and Driveclub was a shitshow and we’ll probably keep pumping out crap games as long as FOM lets us have the license.”

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    1. They could have done that with a little less bullshit spewing. In fact, there is no need to publish articles about hiring more staff at major news outlets, let alone doing it in the manner they did.

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      1. Sorry, but you are completely wrong. There is need to publish articles about that because every studio has its fans and followers, at all such established studios like Evolution or Codemasters. And a lot of people want to know what happens with them and studios cooperating with them.

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  6. Publisher calls game successs – ok. It sold well and met expectations.

    All clickbait articles about driveclub were from its launch, which was a disaster that ultimately lead to their closure. But the game ironed out most of its problems and was generally well regarded by the time Sony canned the devs.

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  7. Driveclub is utter garbage, to even see it mentioned on a site like this is disappointing, Evolution studios will offer very little to codemasters apart from watering down their games into kids/teen games like driveclub and Motorstorm.
    Very disappointing.

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    1. Driveclub is honestly one of the worst racing games I’ve ever played in my life and I’ve been playing them since the dawn of games and I’ve played almost every racing game there is to play. I don’t know how they messed it up so bad but it truly is pure awfulness. Sony gave them as much time and money as they needed and the game was still garbage so much so and so he knew this they decided not to release the free demo version for PS Plus because they knew if people played it they wouldn’t buy it

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  8. You’re assuming these bugs and disappoinents are all down to the developers’ lack of skill or talent, and nothing to do with publisher demands, poor management decisions or whatever.

    So while the marketing horseshit is certainly horseshit, the rest of your grumbling is based on frankly silly assumptions. The guys cutting the code might have very little to do with the fuckups and might well have been screaming at the publisher to delay release, knowing they weren’t finished.

    Good luck to ’em, I say. Studio bolstered by influx of experienced devs is a more accurate headline

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  9. You’re right, at the launch in 2014 Driveclub had a lot of issues but most of them are fixed. And another aspect should be respected in my opinion: Codemasters say that they don’t split the former Evolution Studios group, what’s very positive in my opinion.

    About F1 2015: I think the biggest problem the game has is that it was published too early. Codemasters wanted a release earlier than two weeks before the season was over as seen at the previous parts. But nethertheless the game isn’t good athough it’s not as terrible as a Milestone game

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  10. The answer to your silly rhetoric question in the conclusion is simple: it is hard because they are a company in a capitalist economy. Rules of such companies include aggressive (read masters of bullshit) marketing and PR Stunts because that’s how you retain edginess and ensure positive future growth bla bla bla. It has nothing to do with the game industry specifically. It has to do with “industry” in general and the many hilarious tropes being held high as a personal shitstain banner. Whats worse is that your everyday development programmer or staff working on these games get a politically correct rephrased version bullshit concert telling the same thing through a different filter.
    To make things better, the majority of gamers eat this shit up like beef stew and ask for seconds too. I think we deserve the mediocrity as stated in a previous article.
    Already shiverin in horror when thinking of future codies game with added “broken” to be labelled a critical and commercial success after selling 12000 copies.

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  11. Not sure how you are able to claim that the F1-titles by Codemasters weren´t a commercial success. It doesn´t care how you think about the quality of the game. It isn´t linked to a success or fail on the market. Also, how do you want to know that F1 2015 is the most refunded Codemasters-title. Do you have X-ray eyes?

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  12. James ,you’re old enought to understand “bussiness bable” , it is the way it is in the business world where no one admits **** ups, but they actually re-word them as something successfully – you don’t talk bad when investors are listening.

    Regarding EVO, not that I’m very much interested in Driveclub™ , got it for 20€ with season pass few months back and while game looks good, plays well, got no bugs and stable online, It just ain’t my cup of tea.But that doesn’t mean I cannot appreciate the work EVO put in post launch fixes, features …making today or even last years DC “something completely different” than it was at the release.Unfortunately CODIES are not the same guys that brought some great games over a decade ago and that ship of strange or bad business decisions is sinking for a long time (F1series , DIRT2-3,GRID 2-3…),Now if there wasn’t Dirt:Rally and the hype surrounding it lately, they would probably closed the door or be on life support just for making F1, so I’m quite surprised they found money for new guys from EVO.Well, we’ll see what future brings)

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  13. The problem with Milestone wasn’t skill it was budget and time allowed to work on a project same thing with Evolution Studios so codemasters hiring them doesn’t mean codemasters games are going to go to crap codemasters has standards and higher budgets they also don’t released games until they are done Milestone however was forced to release games on strict deadlines with low budgets

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