(Editor’s note: minor language)
When it comes to indie development, I consider myself to be a big fan of the genre. After all, gaming would look monumentally different if the small, poorly funded developers of the early days, and even those of the modern days, didn’t throw caution into the wind and give ideas a shot that the AAA developers had tossed aside, like sandbox and horror games. Still, being a section of the gaming industry that literally anyone can get into, indie gaming today has become something of a Big Brother household. A few people with talent fighting for attention with a whole lot of egotistical nuts who either don’t have the abilities to find a job in game development, or are unhirable due to their unprofessional conduct.
Recently, Jim Sterling over at The Escapist posted a let’s play video of The Slaughtering Grounds, and his impressions of the game were not good. In response, a Youtube account called “Review the Reviewers” popped up with a copy of Jim Sterling’s video with a text overlay going point by point and making childish remarks about the video (it starts with “I’m Jim Sterling and I’m a fucking idiot). The video appears to have been created by the developer since it was posted as an announcement on the game’s Steam page, and the developer now uses the Steam username “JimFnSterlingSon” in the game’s community hub.
The video response posted by the developer is one of the most childish meltdowns I have ever seen here at MMO Fallout, and fits in easily next to Mike Maulbeck’s rant on Twitter and Phil Fish’s regular diatribes leading up to his eventual self-termination from the industry, in the realm of witnessing occupational suicide in action. How did the game get on Steam? Simple, the developer promised free keys to anyone who voted for the game through Greenlight. It’s amazing how many people you can rope in by offering free stuff, even if what you’re giving away isn’t worth what little effort you had to do to get it. Evidently this didn’t translate into much traffic, because Steam Charts shows an all-time peak of 3 players.
The internet, in its infinite capacity for a Sherlock Holmes level of investigatory prowess, quickly discovered that Slaughtering Grounds isn’t just a bad game by a developer who censors the forums and likely creates fake reviews, but a game filled with stock blood splatter images sourced from Google, stock assets from the UNITY store, and stolen art used in advertising, which the developer has since blamed on a third party and removed from the store page after at least one poster claimed to contact the original artist.
The developer has decided to try and embrace the hate, so to speak, by changing his username to JimFnSterlingSon and posting a contest thread asking people to leave a comment on why they hate the game and then promote that comment elsewhere on the internet, in return for a free copy of said game.
Just remember, Valve wants to decrease curation by phasing out Greenlight altogether and allow anyone to put their games on Steam. When that happens, you can expect many more stories like this to pop up.