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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Choice Texas: Now Fully Playable!

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - It actually came out in one piece.

For all of the times I declared Choice: Texas to be aborted and their Indiegogo campaign contributors screwed, they came through right before 2014 ended and released the entire game. That's all five women's stories! But not just the women... but also the stories of the babies they are pregnant with, and sometimes the fathers of those babies, and even their families.

Five stories all with several different endings!

The home page for Play Choice: Texas, now done.
You can now play all five in any order.

For those of you who don't know about Choice: Texas (which was nominated for Best PC Game of 2014) and haven't followed the four articles I've written about it (which were nominated for best article series of 2014), you can... read the description on their site (also replicated in the screenshot above). That's also where you can play, of course.

But in my own words, it's a series of narrative trees about amalgamations of Texas women having kids that they did not plan for. You get to choose what the women do (assuming the option was written for it) and they all have varying circumstances to make things interesting.

I don't want to be redundant with myself in the future, so I'll stop talking about the game itself for this article. After all, I vowed that I would review it when it's done, so that will come up soon. After all, this isn't in the elusive "Reviews" category, so I gotta find somethin' else to talk about.

Maria giving birth to Mario in the Choice: Texas game
The game also covers the circumstances of the birth of Koopa Kingdom's worst enemy. And they do it a lot better than Yoshi's New Island did.

I would like to note that they said the game would be out February 2014. And after they released 2/5s of it in May, they said they would finish it "coming soon" and "in the upcoming months". And then nothing until December, all while the game's creators blocked KoopaTV's Twitter account and such when we tried to hold them accountable. I guess since they did release it in 2014, unlike Moneyhorse LLC and Glorious Leader!, so they get some props.

Big lesson to take away, folks: As I said from the very beginning, game design and production is difficult work. Unexpected things happen whether it be that whatever you've been working on for months simply is not ready for release (such as major glitches or your tea table got upended) or a tsunami smashed your production facility. This happens more in videogame production than basically any other media production, and still more often/more severe than ordinary non-game software development, which is already notorious for having unplanned problems come up. Which is why I immediately put doubt in Allyson Whipple and Carly Kocurek's credentials if you read our previous articles on this game.

What's important are two things:
  1. You take as much of this risk into account when deciding on timetables you're releasing to the public. Companies on the public market give all sorts of silly risk factors that could affect their company/stock price in their annual report — run that kind of risk analysis. It's actually better to be done earlier than expected than much, much later. If your planning relies on the "optimistic" model, something is likely to go wrong.
  2. Be transparent. This applies not only externally, but internally as well. We'll never know the real stories behind development failures such as Choice: Texas or the Madden Curse movie because the teams behind those were not clear with the public on the progress of their projects. You don't have to go full-on Masahiro Sakurai and have a Pic of the Day, but you can let people know key developments, whether they're good or bad. That's appreciated, especially if you're being crowd-funded. That crowd wants to feel like they helped you with the game and want to be part of that community. See Comcept and Mighty No. 9 for a crowdfunded project with external transparency at the core of the project. And if you are going to say you're transparent, you better actually mean it. (As opposed to mere lip-service like President Barack Hussein Obama's "most transparent presidency in history.") As for internally, the stakeholders gotta know what's going on. Communication issues are some of the biggest problems in fast-moving companies. The top dogs have an idea in their head of where the project should be going but they just don't tell anyone, who stick with the original plan. Or maybe the bug-testing guys find some game-breaking stuff but they're not telling the marketing department that you better stop promoting that buggy feature because they might have to cut it out.
Risk and transparency. You also need to do other things like accountability so it doesn't happen in the future, but somehow I doubt the Choice: Texas people are going to work together again in the future. Besides, in their world, it's better off if less people even have futures.


Ludwig hasn't reviewed a game on KoopaTV since the end of 2013, so he's looking forward to the review for Choice: Texas. You should, too!


Did you look forward to the review? Well, here it is!

4 comments :

  1. This game looks atrocious.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ...Well......

      ..........I mean, I'm not really going to disagree with you.

      Delete
    2. How far have you played into the game? I'm curious if Wendy Davis, the Abortion Czar is the final boss.

      Delete
    3. I've finished it.

      Abortion Barbie isn't in the game.

      In fact, no real people, names, or organisations are in the game.
      With the exception of Planned Parenthood. (And the Catholic Church.)

      Delete

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