Ugly First Level Syndrome, an Anecdote

I was at work today and sort of casually eavesdropping on the gentleman in the next cube who’s recommending SOCOM to another of our developers, and the developer in question brings up Rainbow Six Vegas because, well, they’re talking about tactical shooters and it’s relevant to their interests.

Specifically, he brings it up as “It looks like a PS2 game” and warns the first guy, in no uncertain terms, to stay far away from it.

See, he has a PS3 and a 47″ screen and, as he puts it, likes to sit about 3 feet from the screen.  Which is going to kill his eyes someday, but he’s still pretty young and who am I to talk?

The thing is, as I listen to him talking about how ugly the game is, I realize something:  He didn’t make it through the first level, and everything he’s saying is completely defensible if you’ve only seen that level – the game IS godawful ugly until you get to the second level and actually get in to Vegas.

So I stuck my nose into the discussion, double-checked that I was right about that,  and then shared in his disgust about the opening level and tried to make the case that the game actually does get rather pretty after you get over the initial hump.

Anyway, he’s going to go home and push through it to see if I’m right or not and will report back.

So, two things.

One: This supports my “Guys! It’s OK to put a pretty level up front!” theory of Game Design.

Two: Ubisoft bloody well owes me one for trying to untarnish their image.

OK, Ubisoft really doesn’t owe me anything, but I can be smug in their general direction and that’s good enough for me.

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