Did you have a chance to play the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo that came out last week? I forgot it was out and I haven’t taken a look quite yet—but apparently, those lucky boys and girls who didn’t forget the demo was out may have gotten a glimpse at a buggy piece of software.
A post on Eurogamer today offers some hand-wringing on the part of Ian Frazier, lead designer on the game with developer Big Huge Games. Frazier explains that the demo was apparently off-loaded to some other coders, a move that’s resulted in a glitch mess of a demo (again—I haven’t played this thing…so I’m gonna just go ahead and say IT WAS THE BUGGIEST DEMO EVVARR!).
Said Frazier to Eurogamer:
“There’s a lot of tension about the demo, which we didn’t build in-house. It was branched off our code about three months ago. It got a lot of bug fixing. We sent them what we had, but there are a lot of bug fixes they didn’t get. So we’re all nervous, like, the demo’s really buggy.
“But all the time the demo was worked on is time we spent de-bugging the main game. It should be clear from the reviews the main game is in way better shape. That’s been a source of nervousness.”
Man, oh man! Bugs. BUGS! BUGS!
Apparently players of the demo have been throwing a lot of positive feedback to Big Huge Games despite the glitches that are plaguing the Kingdom of Amalur. And that the final version of the game has benefitted greatly from a long process of bug-zapping on the part of Big Huge—attention that wasn’t directed toward the people working on the demo that whole time. In addition, the demo is also apparently missing some voice-over for dialogue. Frazier points out that this is “not technically a bug.”
“What they’re seeing is the VO just isn’t there. The big challenge for this demo was the game is frickin’ huge so trying to get the download size down to something reasonable was a real challenge for the group that was working on it.”
Frazier also went on to say that part of the reason for the demo’s shakiness is the fact that a lot of assets had to be cut in order to conform to download specs for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
“I’m not trying to poo-poo those guys by any means. But in order to get it to fit to be a reasonable size download that would actually meet Microsoft and Sony’s requirements, they had to cut everything that wasn’t needed for the demo, like extra art and audio assets, and they cut a little much. They cut some audio that actually is in the demo. So if you talk to something and that clip’s not there, you’ll just see the words flicker across the screen.”
Hmm! While I really appreciate it when it seems like you’re getting transparency and honesty from people who are trying to sell you something, it’s a little troubling that the demo was allowed to be sent out the door with this many problems. Is Frazier just trying to cover up the fact that the game’s not going to be working quite as well as it should by the time it’s launched? Just how many bugs are the result of the demo itself, and how many will be left in for the final product? Shouldn’t a demo be the developers putting their best foot forward in order to convince you to buy their thing?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see when the game is released on February 7.