Straight from alpha to finalWhen we were reviewing BlackSite on Xbox 360 , we actually phoned Midway to double check that they had given us review code and not preview code because the game appeared to be totally unfinished. Following comments made at the Montreal International Game Summit it seems that we were right in our criticism, but we didn't expect the Lead Designer to step forward when the game is on the verge of its UK release and hold his hands up to its shortcomings.
Midway's shooter, Blacksite: Area 51 (BlackSite in the UK) has sold extremely poorly in the US and has received plenty of criticism since its release a few weeks ago. In our BlackSite review we criticise the game for its unfinished feel, being filled with bugs, having broken game mechanics and a pointless morale system.
When I met Harvey Smith in London in the summer he seemed really pumped up for the project and spoke enthusiastically on the destructible playground they were creating and how the game would offer plenty of thrills and spills; all seemed to be going pretty well and the shooter seemed to be on the right tracks for success. Earlier this week, however, Smith admitted that the project "was so f***d up," and that his initial lack of enthusiasm for working on the game meant that he's partly to blame for its poor performance.
"Everyone was forced to share tech. It took eight months to get one thing working," said Smith apparently referring to the game's use of Unreal Engine 3 technology, but he also blamed tight deadlines for the game's unpolished finish. "With a year to go, the game was disastrously off rails. There were long delays just getting Blacksite playable, and once it was he says, it went straight from alpha to final."
Despite Smith's own criticism he still believes that BlackSite should have been rated around the 80% mark (it got an average of 69% on GameRankings). We believe the Game Rankings average is about spot on, it does have some great moments, but like we said in the review "never has a game made us feel two such contrasting emotions in the space of a few seconds as BlackSite. Some levels are great, but other levels are just plain awful, with dodgy AI and extremely poor game mechanics."
Source :: Wired