I hate people who hate change.

I was recently perusing the interwebs, searching around for new trailers or information about Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2. For those of you who don’t know, I previously worked at Capcom as Director of Production for three years, leaving recently to start my own company, Beefy Media.

While I was at Capcom, we rallied for and got approved the sequel to our successful XBLA & PSN game, Bionic Commando: Rearmed. I was very excited to work on this project, as I had gotten a chance to work on the original title (albeit VERY briefly).

You see, when I first got to Capcom, I had 2 goals. Goal 1 was to create a sequel to Dead Rising, one of my favorite games of past years. Goal 2 (only slightly behind goal 1) was to resurrect the Bionic Commando franchise. I’m sure you can understand how pissed off I was on an EPIC SCALE when I joined mid-2007 and found out that BOTH of these initiatives were well underway without any of my ideas https://experience.tripster.ru/experience/Saint_Petersburg/20175-lahta-centr/.

Regardless, I plodded along very happily that both were being made, and after talking to some people internally, heard that Blue Castle and Grin wouldn’t let down the fanbase on these sequels. My next goal was to get my hands on these games to try them out, which for those of you who don’t know, is near impossible in a Japanese company.

So fast forward a year later. Bionic Commando: Rearmed launches (with one of the greatest launch trailers of all time) and ends up selling very well. In 2009, myself, Rey Jiminez, a Producer at Capcom (and the current Producer of BC:R2), and Kraig Kujawa, our Director of Design, embark on a mission to get a sequel to the game made.

Now most people don’t realize that BC:R was almost a level-by-level perfect re-creation of the original. When I first met the development team, they showed me the palette swatches that they had taken the color choices for the game. It was intense… these guys clearly had as much passion for the original as I did back in the day.

When it came to the sequel, we had many conversations about what we could add. I want to be very clear – NOBODY INVOLVED IN THESE DISCUSSIONS WERE ‘SUIT DOUCHES’. A ‘suit douche‘ is the name that I have awarded to people in the games industry who are empowered to make decisions, but have no idea of what video games are about and ‘played a game or 2 some years ago’. I loathe these types of people, and I assure you we didn’t have any involved in the disucssions. I was lucky at Capcom to work alongside bright, talented, and ridiculously knowledgeable people.

Since BC:R2 was going to be a true sequel, it gave us an opportunity to build from the ground up what a sequel of the original was – rethinking the evolution of the character, the abilities, the environments – everything soup-to-nuts. We had passionate conversations with the BC:R team in regards to changes, suggestions, and improvements. The beautiful thing about it was that EVERYONE was passionate. Whether it was their idea or someone else’s, there was rabid conversation about changes and how we would handle it.

As I reminisce to those discussions, I bring you all around to the reason I’m writing this article. I recently came across an article written by Jeremy Parish aka @Gamespite that decided to make broad assumptions that the people that are making BC:R2 are spineless schmoopties trying to appease modern-day low-ass-barrier-of-entry gamers.

My friend, you couldn’t be FARTHER from the truth.

I read your article thoroughly, and I automatically give you a ton of credit. You are passionate, you are doing what you love, and you have a man crush on the Bionic Commando Franchise. You and I have all of those things in common – when I got my dream job at Capcom, I was (and am still) very passionate about what I do, doing what I loved (making video games FFS) and I had a THROBBING man crush on Bionic Commando.

So that’s why you have to understand that your article, although articulate, was thoroughly assumptive in all the wrong ways.

To your own admission, you applauded Capcom for evolving the original arcade version of Bionic Commando to the home console NES release. You even mention in your article that “These small refinements took a concept that was interestingly novel but deeply infuriating in its arcade incarnation and made it completely viable and genuinely fun on NES. Bionic Commando began as a nice idea, but the improvements it saw in its transition to cartridge form transformed it into something unique and very nearly perfect in its execution.” This was due to some of the fundamental changes that Capcom took in the early days from the Super Joe control scheme to the Rad Spencer one.

And now we add the ‘jump’ function and everything that is and was Bionic Commando is flushed down the window? How is that so?

Every original game that gets a sequel changes. It evolves. New additions, new storylines, and – SHOCKER – new mechanics.

You facetiously mention thatA platformer that threw out the jump button was well and good in the heady, experimental days of the ’80s, but in these safe and formulaic times, there’s just no room for it. Could it be that the people that made that decision and developed the game are as deeply passionate about the IP as you are? Could it be that we were refining and improving on things just as our forefathers at Capcom 20 years earlier would have? What would you say if I told you that the guys in Japan who had worked at Capcom 20+ years liked the idea? Would that sway you?

Why do we fear change in video games so much? We always assume that it’s going to ruin the experience. Our industry has evolved in astronomical ways over the past 30 years, and the developers of the game want to “meekly” (as you say) add a new feature, and they are automatically chastised for having a petrifying fear of alienating fickle audiences”?

What happened to the olden days where we had to actually PLAY the game before we asserted our opinion? Or maybe reached out to some people on the dev or publishing team to find out if they were simply ‘selling out’ to sell 7 more units?

Instead of asserting that “even our digitally distributed niche games have to compromise for mass appeal when the folks watching the bottom line see that a wire arm as a potential noose around their necks.”, let’s say what we all really feel:

“As a massive fan of the Bionic Commando franchise, I’m super excited for the sequel for BC:R. I know you added jump, and although I’m skeptical, I’m going to buy the game. If it’s shit, I’m going to hop onto the tallest mountain and crap all over it, but before that moment I will assume, much like we did in the olden days, that there are some developers out there that still know what they are doing”.

And with that, and the utmost respect, I can speak from the heart when I say that the jump feels fucking awesome in Bionic Commando: Rearmed 2.

Sincerely yours,

Adam Boyes

A.K.A. one of the guys trying to ruin your favorite childhood game
PS – We made it so you can finish the whole game without jumping. Good luck.
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About the author

adamboyes - Adam Boyes is a 15 year game industry veteran who has specialized in Production and Business Development. He has held positions such as Executive Producer at Midway and most recently he ran the Product Development group at Capcom US.

6 Responses to "I hate people who hate change."

  1. This article sums up what I totally hate on video game message boards. Try shit out before you whine about it!

  2. Say you just bought the most incredible couch ever. You find it to be the most amazing thing in the world! Your ass sings every time you sit on it. Maybe it truly is the most amazing couch ever. Maybe you are just rationalizing a purchase. Maybe you lost your virginity on it to your high school sweetheart. As incredible as that couch is, you’ll grow indifferent to it as time goes on. Soon enough, the most amazing couch in the world ™ becomes your regular couch. After a lot of use, your couch no longer makes the cut. Maybe it has too many stains from said sweetheart or maybe it has suffered too much wear & tear. Either way, you’re now in the market for a better couch. You see models of your old couch and feel fond memories (she was a hot high schooler damnit!) but now you’re searching for something on the next level. (what the fuck did I just write?)

    Seriously though, not everything in this world has a conspiracy theory and an army of suit douches behind it (too much WikiLeaks in people’s e-diet these days). Where the hell would games be today without change? We’d be playing a new version of Pong – the paddles are now blue!!! Wait, has this been done? BRB.

    I think that if Super Mario Bros. 3 were to come out in this day and age people would bitch about the awesome suits and Kuribo’s shoe because they’d get scared that this would ruin the ‘pure Mario experience’. They’d piss and moan before playing it of course. And then the game would ship and sell like nine hundred million copies in a week. The masses would shout from the rooftops ‘YES THIS IS THE BEST MARIO EVER WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO KICK ASS ALL ALONG OH EM GEE NINTENDO IS SOOO SMART!!!!!!’

    If you feel nervous confronting a change you haven’t really experienced, OK no problem. You are human, emotions are a part of you, it is nice to know that Skynet has not taken over yet. However, these sorts of uneducated comments and ‘detective deductions’ are just flat out stupid… but as Robert already touched upon lightly: dem is de internets.

  3. You should have read his website more closely before launching your own assumption-based diatribe:


    “A disclaimer, though: this article could be construed as a screed against Bionic Commando Rearmed 2 developers Fat Shark, which it isn’t! What I’ve played of Rearmed 2 has been fantastic. I just think it suffers — though not critically, fortunately — from the corporate timidity that suffocates so many games these days. A darned shame, it is. Not enough of a shame to keep it from being one of my most-anticipated games for 2011, though!”

    What I’ve played of BCR2 has been very promising, but given that the number one complaint I read in BCR reviews was “why can’t this guy jump?” I don’t think it’s a stretch to dismiss the addition of a truly superfluous feature as an appeasement to focus groups and the like.

    Am I looking forward to BCR2? Absolutely. Am I happy to see that jumping is purely optional? Absolutely. But that doesn’t change my opinion of the jump button existing in the first place.

    • I did read the website closely, and gave him kudos for his passion for the IP. What the focus of the article was about, however, was the fact that the decision was NOT a marketing-based move of a “superfluous feature as an appeasement to focus groups and the like” – it was born out of interest of character’s move set evolution, the fiction’s evolution (since Spencer had jump in full Bionic Commando) and an homage to old school sequels that added new stuff that scared people.

  4. Nice read! Can’t wait to dominate everyone in the Multiplayer and avoid those pesky blobs with the ease of a jump button.

  5. Adam,

    If Beefy can hold its own for the next few years, just create all the change you want.

    There isn’t anything wrong with the devs at big studios, its the executives who are so fucking scared of not making those milestones that they hire a bunch of corporate “people managers” to keep those CRAZY KOOKY GAME DEVELOPERS IN LINE AND FOCUSED ON TASK. No different than A&R at the big music conglomerates.

    It’s no surprise that it has almost become standard practice for any dev worth a damn to launch a start up studio. I mean shit, you know that better than anyone. Look at fucking Vancouver and Montreal.

    It’s happening more and more in Toronto, too. I love it.

    I also love my AAA games but I don’t see how you or anyone would want to work in that environment? As soon as a company starts getting those big tax incentives and digs its heels in to the city economy you know they’re going to bring in the Suit Douches. More so if venture capital is involved.

    Video Games were destine to follow the path of Film, Television and Music as soon as the 8-Bit era started rolling and bringing in tons of cash for all of those Japanese companies. Companies that were eventually modeled after the time tested “Salaryman” template.

    Anyway, keep Beefy strong, build some good software and make the studio what it ought to be. Not a mill that churns out big budget sequel after sequel.

    The shady tactics used by some of the big companies (EA) to lure talented devs really just hurts the game industry.

    Just like in other media industries, a talented game developer (broadly speaking anyone who has their shit together in either the art or engineering dept) is going to get fucking bombed by the big name studios as soon as they make a name for themselves.

    Why do these guys keep flocking to UBI, EA and EIDOS for those Producer positions when its been painfully obvious now for about 7 years that its entirely realistic and viable to break away, grab some buds you work with and star your own company?

    Developers don’t need money. They need other developers, a small relaxed studio, long lunches, a few arcade machines in the office and realistic work hours so they can get home at a decent hour.

    Honestly, its like everyone fucking forgot about this: http://workingweek.blogspot.com/

    The best way to make change is to start your own company. I hope more devs learn that ladder climbing in the big studios is no longer the only way to make good games.

    Keep up the good work, Adam.

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