Is That Thunder, Or Are You Hungry For Brains?

With Halo 3 not only stealing the thunder from every other game on the Xbox or Xbox 360, but personally tasked by Bill Gates with submarining the PlayStation 3 launch (guess he didn't know about the proposed $600 price tag, or else he wouldn't have bothered) it's not surprising that a little studio called Wideload that made a funny little game called Stubbs the Zombie might, for at least, awhile, go unnoticed.

Stubbs sold well enough, to be sure, but the gaming press often spoke more about the studio's outsourcing-heavy business model than the game itself. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

So while the hype over Halo is such that Bungie gets taken to task by supposed fans even when they don't say a word (because saying nothing is the best way to hype a game, didn't you know?) then the silence must be deafening in Chicago, where Wideload was actually able to update their website last month without scarcely causing a ripple.

Click 'read more' from the front page for the entire article.

Of course, perhaps it would have drawn more attention if it had actually mentioned the title of Wideload's next game. Or the platforms it would run on. Or at least what genre it would be. Or, indeed, anything at all. About the only thing that can be said for the announcement is that it's such an object lesson in saying as little as possible that if I didn't know better, I'd say it was a Bungie Weekly Update. And the only reason I know better is because when I scrolled to the bottom there was no Mister Chief:

The good news is that since we weren't frittering all our time away on making website updates or doing a podcast or what have you, we finally had time to sit around the office working on new video games. In stark contrast to the internet, the process of developing video games is a non-stop cavalcade of giggles. It's so much fun we can't believe we get paid for doing it. There ought to be a law. Anyway, there's a ton of cool new Wideload goodness coming gradually towards you like a rabid box turtle with a grudge against your whole family. You'll be able to read about our new stuff right here... eventually.

That doesn't mean there wasn't news. When Stubbs was launched in the UK, the other strong Xbox market, it debuted in the number one position. Not too shabby. In the U.S. charts in June, it ranked a Bungie-appropriate #7; not bad at all for a game that had been out for nine months already, and three spots better than Ninja Gaiden Black, released around the same time. Of the games higher on the charts, most were newer and only two were Xbox titles, the other being Nintendo DS or PlayStation games.

Whether one considers Wideload's current position enviable or not is, I suppose, largely a matter of perspective. For a lot of fans, it must seem as if Halo burst forth fully-formed from the forehead of Jason Jones after being handed a wad of cash by Gates; as Los Tres Hermanos put it, a sort of spawn of Satan and the Macintosh. Of course, that's not true at all. Bungie had been making award-winning Mac and PC games for years at that point. Halo may have been the first game that gave Bungie a truly broad and massive audience, but it was hardly their first effort.

So it is perhaps not surprising that hordes of fans are not quite yet beating down the doors of Wideload Games for a chance of glimpsing a screenshot or tugging at a page of the Stubbs Story Bible. That doesn't mean it won't happen; it just means that those waiting for word from Wideload will be a little lonelier while they wait than those scarfing up the Weekly Updates from Bungie.net hoping for crumbs.

At least there's no Mister Stubbs.

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Comments

The question is, when should I make wideload.com my homepage? Are they planning on posting that they released a game a month after its release? That would really teach the stupid internet.

I agree, a site these days without at least a front-page news RSS feed is begging to be ignored.

Hey, Wideload! Need a webmaster?


Rampant for over se7en years.

RSS = ugh.

If we have to do the syndication thing, I will push for an Atom feed out of pure spite.

There's a website overhaul in the works. Consider the request noted. No promises though.

-Matt

Atom is fine by me.

What's the beef with RSS, though?


Rampant for over se7en years.

Apart from Atom's many technical advantages over RSS (which is not a monolithic standard but 9 separate versions just distinct enough to break feed readers), it has so far managed to avoid the pernicious demagoguery associated with that lesser syndication format.

-Matt

No arguments about the spec itself; Atom is technically far superior. On the other hand, even a broken RSS feed would probably reach more readers due to sheer ubiquity.

In any case, the reader I use can handle both. If Atom is your usual poison, I can have R.net generate an Atom feed as well as an RSS feed-- how's that?


Rampant for over se7en years.

Ok, here we go:

http://rampancy.net/atom/feed


Rampant for over se7en years.

I'm breathing easier already.

-Matt

Not that kind of atomizer.


Rampant for over se7en years.

Great to hear Matt. It has been hard visiting the site everyday for months with no updates.

But I like the other fans understand why.