Things Look Bleak for Tenwall Creatives

Okay, so it’s not as pretentious a name as MichaelArts, but the heads of Tenwall Creatives are definitely firmly up their asses with their game, Bleak. Here’s how you don’t start a Kickstarter pitch:

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“BLEAK is a Massive Fantasy Platformer for PC, Mac and Linux, that we’ve been developing for the past year. In it we have revived the lost art of storytelling to connect the gamer to a dangerous and vicious new world.”

I’m sorry, the lost art of storytelling in games? With Bioshock: Infinite having been released just a few days after this Kickstarter went live, it’s no wonder you failed. You come right out of the gate with a bullshit line like that, and I don’t know how you expected to see the money rolling in. But if that didn’t sell it, then don’t worry, you’ll be sold on the over-the-top sob story:

“Imagine a world where immediately upon birth your dominant arm is amputated and replaced with a pickax. As soon as you can walk, you’re sent into the darkest, coldest mines to extract a precious golden metal known as “Core”. You have no choice. The omnipresent “Cultivators of Good” will punish acts of defiance with denial of food.”

AND SO ON. Infantile amputation? Child labor? Overbearing authority? Lack of spellcheck? This is truly a terrible world. Big fucking deal. Anyone can write a story that’s sole purpose is to be sad.

Imagine a world where you are born over a waterfall, your umbilical cord acting like a bungee cord. If you are lucky enough for it to hold together, you are pulled up and your eyes are removed. Every day of your life, your parents tell you that they wish you fell into that waterfall, and that they’re glad they have no eyes, because it means they don’t have to look at the cause of their grief.

Wow, I am truly a visionary of storytelling in games. Hand over your $50,000 right now, and let me quit my job to make this work of art.

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So all we have so far is a group of pretentious shits making a game designed around being depressing. But it gets better!

“You may have noticed the circular border around our gameplay screenshot. That’s because you’re seeing the world through the lens of an old Sourcer scavenger robot called “Glitch” (pictured above). By justifying the existence of the camera we can add a new level of immersion and connect the player that much more to this dangerous world.”

You may have noticed a mouse cursor on your screen while reading this blog. It’s actually an alien being living inside your monitor reading the input signals from your computer hardware, and vomiting images into the pixels that make up the screen. There, I have justified the existence of the mouse on your screen. Don’t you feel so much more immersed in this blog? Isn’t it just a whole new world? (A new fantastic point of view?)

You don’t need to justify the existence of a camera in a game. It’s there so you can see what’s going on, you fuckwits. Should I be less immersed in your game if you don’t justify the use of my keyboard to move the character? Good thing I don’t have to justify the existence of a camera in my game, BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO FUCKING EYES. You don’t get to see a damn thing. Guess I just out-bleaked you, Bleak.

“We are a Boston-based independent game studio. We have assembled a team of seven artists who have been working tirelessly for over a year now on our first project in development, BLEAK.”

Doesn’t that just explain everything? Just a bunch of kids who have never made a game before, but think that the only thing they need to finish one is $50,000. We’ll get to where that money would be going, but first let’s meet the team.

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We’ve got two brothers: one who just graduated last year with a degree in Design, and another who studied Physics and Engineering, and Interactive Media and Game Design – with no mention of whether or not he actually got a degree in either. Those are the President/Author/Creative Director/Graphic Designer and Vice President/Technical Director/Sound Designer, respectively. Yes, having three or more titles runs in this family. Then we’ve got 3 kids still in college, one with a degree in Illustration, and one with a degree in Political Science. That’s the level designer, the Political Science one. I guess that’s the degree you have to have if you’re designing for a game with such an authoritarian government.

So it’s not like we have any seasoned developers here. But that’s fine, because you don’t need lots of experience to make a game. After all, everyone has to start somewhere. But I’m thinking, for Tenwall Creatives, that place is not $50,000 in exchange for promises of storytelling in a game.

Oh, and here’s one of the items listed for the system requirements: “Adobe Flash Player”. Yup. This is a massive platformer FLASH game. I’m almost kind of feeling bad for them right now. Nah, fuck it, they asked for it. Just like they did with their $100,000 stretch goal. The cart has already fallen off a cliff a mile up the road, and Tenwall is strapping up their horse.

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So let’s get to the good stuff: what is all of this money for? True to their pretentious name and game, Tenwall has to explain why they’re too good for other means of funding.

“In order to make a platformer this massive and this conceptually experimental, we have to bring it straight to our fellow gamers. Publishers typically want nothing to do with innovation because they are set on the proven sell. But we truly believe that other gamers like ourselves would relish the opportunity to play a game that’s edgy, creative, and utterly original and yet at the same time a bit of a throwback to the the late 90s Glory Age Of Gaming when stories, lore, and characters mattered.”

Oh really, the glory age of gaming, when you were all two fucking years old? And there you go again claiming that story doesn’t matter in games today. I’ve already mentioned Bioshock, are we also ignoring Tomb Raider, The Walking Dead, Dishonored, and every other game that came out in just the past year that focused on storytelling? But no, for you guys, the best, most immersive storytelling was done during the PSX and N64 era.

And of course they have to whine about publishers. I don’t think it’s innovation that publishers shun, but pretentious kids who don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. And it’s not even like they tried. They just heard that publishers don’t like this stuff, so they need internet money to make it. Now, never having made a game before, how can you budget for one? Give me the breakdown here.

“The money we receive will go directly to funding the marketing, expenses, and talent challenges that we now face in order to see this project through to its completion.”

Well that told me nothing. Except that you’re marketing your game to make money so that you can market your game. Gee, everyone must be clamoring to be the first to hand you all of their money so that they can watch advertisements for your game. Then you of course have your generic “expenses” – I mean, who doesn’t, right? And “talent challenges”. I don’t even understand why you would admit that. “Really guys, we could make a great game if we only had some talent. Please give us money so that we can buy some.” How’s that tactic working out for you?

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That’s what I figured.

Something tells me that Tenwall Creatives will still find a way to pull Bleak out of their asses, provided they can maneuver it past their heads. And when they do, and I’m proven right about this Kickstarter being completely unnecessary, and about indie devs not needing buckets of money to finish their games, no one will hail me as the next Nostradamus. Just like they won’t buy my umbilical cord bungee jumping eye removal simulator.

I am so unappreciated in my time.

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5 thoughts on “Things Look Bleak for Tenwall Creatives

  1. Hahaha says:

    Lol. Nice trolling. Get a life.

    • davidgaames says:

      Thanks! But I’m not so sure I can afford to get a life. Perhaps you could help me write a Kickstarter pitch for the funds to purchase one?
      But if what you’re REALLY saying is that you want me to do a review of your game when it comes out, then I will be more than happy to oblige! I’m sure it will be worth every penny of the $50,000 that nobody spent. 🙂

  2. Jonny says:

    Well written article. It’s a valid and thorough critique of their Kickstarter. Don’t your readers deserve to weigh in your own personal bias as a fellow indie game developer? Even blogs usually provide author credentials, and your background as sound designer for [redacted] and [redacted] would only lend further credibility to your insights. Also, I am a troll pretending to like your post so that you’ll accept this comment because of its flattery. Really, I’m making this shitty game that you talked about, and am really bitter that you called me out on it.

    • davidgaames says:

      Jonny,
      I appreciate your honesty at the end there, even if I had to add it myself. It’s quite a change from “Nice trolling. Get a life.” I guess you found out that I do, in fact, have a life, and much more experience and intelligence than yourself. You must be very humbled indeed to change your tune so.
      This isn’t amateur hour over here, son. I wwebsite as on the internet when you were a sperm in your daddy’s balls. You’re gonna have to do better than that.

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