Time and time again, we just don’t have the time
First, we had arcade machines. Drop a coin in the slot, press the ‘1P’ button – a few seconds’ worth of hassle combined – and go. Then came cartridges. Slide one in and flip the power switch: bingo. Given these foundations, it’s hard to imagine how we ever made it through the Dark Age of cassette-based storage, huddled over devices that would take six minutes to wheeze a game’s worth data into the 8bit computers of old. Six minutes! That’s a good round of Drop7 right there. Never again, we swore as we moved on to disks, then carts again, then discs, and beyond. Today, we want everything now. Shut up with your Kickstarter pitch, take our money, and hurry the hell up with delivering the goods. The gameplaying public has never been less tolerant of delays, or loading times, or excuses. All this at a time when we need patience more than ever.
It’s taken seven years of development for Jonathan Blow to complete The Witness. (It might take some of us the same amount of time to complete it, too.) Firewatch, another game reviewed within these pages, may be a more modest proposition, but the production process still took two-and-ahalf years. To put it into perspective, consider that artist Olly Moss was a disgustingly young 26 when he started work on the project; as the game launched, the next birthday marked on his calendar was his 30th.
And imagine life as one of VR’s true believers in the early ’90s. “Mmm. Maybe we need to put this to one side. Let the technology mature a bit. We’ll give it a couple of years.” Only now, more than two decades later, has the dream of physically immersive virtual environments become realised in a practical sense. In this issue’s Knowledge section we look at the respective offerings from Oculus and HTC as VR comes of age at last.
Finally, of course, there is our cover game. A new Doom was supposed to emerge from Id some years ago, but the project ran into difficulties. On p64 we visit the studio to find out how it righted its course in order to create an FPS for 2016 that is worthy of the legendary name.
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