I typically enjoy games about creating games. It’s a fun method to peek into the head of a fellow game developer and look into their thoughts on the process. If it’s filled with tender affection, angry frustration or even those odd times that you take a glance at your work and realize the absurdity of it all and allowing you to discover your personal creative perspective on a higher level is a great experience, if done properly. It’s unfortunate that the game Behind Closed Doors A Developer’s Story isn’t one of those games.
Ethan the avatar of our game is an indie programmer working for a small-sized company in the development of a brand new project. Everyday, he gets to work, plays around with the latest version of the game and then comes to his home. The first half in the gameplay… there’s nothing more to it. It’s true that this is an extremely brief game – an easy playthrough clocks in less than an hour. It’s an extremely bold choice however, to make an opening sequence of half-hour which offers little, in the use of hooks.
Each time the day came around, I was hoping to discover the reason why I should be playing this sport, and day after day, it wasn’t showing up. It’s not part of his daily morning routine to get ready. It’s not even at the office. It’s not even present in his tiniest interactions with his generic wife. The writing itself is a small part in the story, it’s an especially poor point. I am aware that it is hard to write dialogue however the dialogue words that are used in Behind Closed Doors smack of either an extreme lack of experience or a blatant inability to re-write.
There’s nothing particularly interesting in the form of gameplay either. When Ethan is home, the game is basic point-and click exploration that quickly gets boring within the first 10 minutes of gameplay. If you can pair it with interesting characters and captivating dialogue , it could be a decent introduction. If this isn’t the case however, we’ll are left with only a boring routine. An empathetic interpretation could be that it’s intended to be boring, in order to highlight the monotony and boredom that Ethan is stuck in. It’s not an enticing interpretation.
So, that’s home. What’s with work? The daily commute of Ethan will result in a bit more exploring at work and a few casual conversations with his coworkers. The game’s gameplay is a bit different after he’s at his computer. There are some emails to reply to (from angry, snarky players and, quite it is satisfying to respond with the same the snark) and the time comes to work with Ethan’s games. I was hoping to find some interesting building mechanics here or maybe something that would highlight the normal non-sexy aspects of development of games, but I didn’t see. The “coding” was nothing more than repeatedly hitting A until the text was been generated.
Things get exciting once Ethan starts to play with his game. This is the first of many minigame-like interludes. This one is a an action-platformer that becomes more complicated as the week gets longer. It would be a welcome change in the event that the controls were not difficult and the level itself not so frustrating. Although Behind Closed Doors is a brief game, an astonishment quantity of the time spent trying to complete the level. The time certainly wasn’t worth the effort. It was a deliberate decision to not make it enjoyable? A way to emphasize the cycles of iteration and repetition that real games undergo? Again, I’m unconvinced.
The story takes an unexpected direction in the second half. Ethan does not attend a party at work and instead finds himself in an unimaginably gamified world. He must go through the various long-drawn-out bullet hells, as well as other platforms to get back to return home. The pace doesn’t get better as is the feeling of the gameplay. It’s not all that matched with the other games. There’s no sense of unity between the different levels and the conclusion the levels lead to is as random and unsatisfying.
There’s some potential to be a lot more Behind Closed Doors: A Developer’s Story. The idea and the underlying atmosphere that is a source of anger could with the help of polishing, be an engaging exploration of the anxiety of game development in corporate settings. It needs an large amount of polish before it gets there. In its current state of publication, Behind Closed Doors feels like a draft that has been rushed. The majority of it could use a little tightening by redrafting, playtesting, and redrafting in order to make it feel worthy of the time spent.
Make sure to keep the section about sending angry emails to players, even though. Most developers will appreciate it.