November 25, 2008


The facts: if you register on Ubisoft's website, you can download a skin for the new Prince of Persia game that lets you play as the character from Assassins' Creed.

The spin: Ben Mattes, producer, via Eurogamer: "Prince of Persia is an incredible experience. We're thrilled to give our loyal fans another way to journey through it. This exclusive reward is a 'thank you' to our fans, who can easily unlock it when they link their accounts to their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 gamer identities."

Sometimes you'll read a bizarre regional news story, about a gazelle running for local office or something, and think, haha, only in that country! The quote above is an Only In The Games Industry.

We have become so casually effusive when we talk about reliving the incredible Prince of Persia experience through an extreme and radical prism, we're really saying that you're basically going to be sent some cardboard 3D glasses from a children's colouring book. If you sign up for a mailing list.

What a depressingly disingenuous quote, more so for having made it as a headline on any website in the world. Either we are so self-absorbed and self-important that we really do obsess over these meaningless things, or Ubisoft are so cynical that announcing trivialities with righteous insincerity is their default setting. When did expectations get so high that they can't just say that this is a cool, if slight, bonus which players might enjoy? What can possibly be the point?

I picture a bored copywriter in a Montreal office forced to gush soullessly over an unlockable character skin and wondering if anything even matters anymore.


Ben Abraham said...

I wonder what Ben Day would have to say about it...

Alex P said...

I wonder what Ben Day would have to say about it...

He probably would have said something like:

Darius Kazemi said...

What's especially interesting to me as that the copywriter sitting in the Montreal office is probably not bored at all and actually thinks it's awesome.

Scott Juster said...

I think the sad truth is people actually do love this (mostly pointless) customization novelty.

For example, why bother designing your own characters and bands in Rock Band? It makes no difference to the gameplay, and it's not like you can stop and enjoy your carefully crafted punk-rocker while playing. The same could be said for any dashboard skin or special edition Nintendo DS color.

I would much rather have the effort that goes into creating "features" like these applied to improving a game's actual functioning.