Kotick Admits Activision's Spider-Man Games "Sucked"

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Kotick Admits Activision's Spider-Man Games "Sucked"

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Activision boss Bobby Kotick thinks that the publishing giant could stand to learn a thing or two from its Blizzard branch in terms of quality control.

Bobby Kotick has become the bogeyman of the games industry these days. There's no one man that gamers love to hate more (other than Thompson, J. or Atkinson, M. of course), which is interesting because he's also undoubtedly one of the most powerful figures in gaming right now. But it seems that you can't turn a corner without gamers and press alike blaming him for every single wrong in the industry from the lack of dedicated servers in Modern Warfare 2 to, I don't know, killing babies in Dante's Inferno.

Which is why it's interesting that the guy comes off so... well, reasonably in the feature interview in the latest Game Informer. There's some interesting stuff in there, from his experience addicted to Sierra games in college to his entrance into the industry in the '80s, but also on more relevant stuff, like Kotick's thoughts on franchises, the value of new IP, etc. This same interview has generated news already, from the existence of a new DJ Hero, to a prediction about PC developer Blizzard that went very, very wrong.

It's actually speaking about the Blizzard branch of the Activision-Vivendi merger where we hear one of the most frank admissions of fault from Kotick in quite some time. In relating an anecdote about one of the first joint management presentations between his folks and Blizzard's, Kotick recalled how Mike Morhaime, Paul Sams and Rob Pardo were stunned by Activision producers behind movie games and kid-focused games who were shooting for Metacritic scores around the 75-80% range.

Their response, says Kotick, was essentially "Why would you ever target an 80-rated game?" The producers answered that, since they saw most game reviewers as having biases against kid games and movie games and marking them down in turn, an 80 was "a good rating for a kid's game or a movie game."

"I remember walking out of the meeting saying, 'Why would we make an 80 rated game?' Even adjusting for genre. ... I was thinking that when we did the great Spider-Man PlayStation game, we got a 95 rating. You can make a great game. Our Spider-Man games have sucked for the last five years. They are bad games. They were poorly rated because they were bad games."

"If you don't do web-slinging right, what is the fantasy of Spider-Man? But I think that was one of those wake-up calls."

The five games in question, as noted by D'toid, are Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man: Friend or Foe, Spider-Man: Battle for New York, and Ultimate Spider-Man. (If you count from 2009 or 2010, this might also include 2004's Spider-Man 2, as well).

It's still a very frank statement from a man infamous for his concern with the bottom line, and to be honest, it's a bit refreshing. It would also be really kind of ironic (and amusing) if this were evidence of a newfound commitment to quality from Activision even as all the rest of the major publishers start swinging back in the opposite direction from their momentary gaming Renaissance.

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"Who are you, and what did you do to Kotick?".

He doesn't seem so "off" from the gaming world after all. Maybe he wants to clean up Activision name.(Hahhahahaha)

I remember the spiderman game for the PS1.
That game kicked ass, and was full of unlockables.

I hope it's not including Spiderman 2, because that's was a really good game.

Oh well, it wasn't the best, so I guess he's right to say that it was shit.

What? Ultimate Spider-Man was good. It was very good, in fact. Far from perfect, but a perfectly good addition to the franchise.

This guy has a soul now o.0

I'm glad they didn't mention Spiderman 2. That game freaking rocked (and was probably the last spidey game I played).

Nimbus:
What? Ultimate Spider-Man was good. It was very good, in fact. Far from perfect, but a perfectly good addition to the franchise.

USM's biggest problem was the dumbed-down web swinging mechanics, which affected how much fun the free-roaming was once you'd taken care of the otherwise excellent story mode.

Now that the problem is out in the open they can now take steps to improve the next ones...

A few of the Spiderman games where good though, they need to focus on what made those games great...

What about that guy from Edge who sues everyone?

We love to hate him too.

This is the thing with Kotick: yes, he's evil. But he also knows his business. Those were some tough times the industry went through, and everyone jumped on "boo, Kotick!" instead of, you know, "boo everyone cutting jobs, cancelling games, etc." Yes they did some kinda dickish things, but name one studio that hasn't done something to upset someone. Now that things have begun to somewhat equalize a bit, perhaps we'll get a more personable Kotick.

When you're lying in a hospital bed dying, which would you prefer: a doctor who sits there holding your hand telling you alright as you slowly die, or House.

What is the name of the parasitic alien brain worm that has infested Bobby Kotlick, and where can I go to worship it?

Jark212:
A few of the Spiderman games where good though, they need to focus on what made those games great...

Assuming they know, it could just be blind luck that they made a few good ones.

I liked Spiderman two, But i forever hate the words;

"OH NO, MY BAWOOON"

*twitch*

Kotick has a few years to live*, he wants to be remembered as a gaming icon, so he is cleaning his act.

*For those playing at home, he has a very slow sedative in him planted by angry gamers

That son of a bitch.

First he makes shitty games and then gleefully admits that they're shitty.

Casual Shinji:
That son of a bitch.

First he makes shitty games and then gleefully admits that they're shitty.

He's not exactly gleeful about it. He just said they didn't do well.

Something big is happening at Activision.

WanderFreak:

When you're lying in a hospital bed dying, which would you prefer: a doctor who sits there holding your hand telling you alright as you slowly die, or House.

Gimme JD or Turk. Or Cox. Or... the Janitor?

On-topic, I'm not gonna say anything for or against Activision (they get £8 from me a month anyways so that's that). I'll neither decry Kotick as a devil nor praise him as an angel. I'll just avoid any spiderman games with "activision" on the box, since he has kindly admitted they're shite.

i remember playing the first two spider man games when i was little and loved it. I still think spider man two to be the birth of sandbox mode.

Insanum:
I liked Spiderman two, But i forever hate the words;

"OH NO, MY BAWOOON"

*twitch*

oh man i had just forgotten about that. i only got the balloon once, and it was the least satisfying good deed i have ever done in a game.

...This feels a bit like watching a KKK member saying how much he loves and respects black people, especially their culture...

It's not bad... It's just so out of character it's hard to believe...

... Good. Let's hope it stays this way.

Irridium:
I remember the spiderman game for the PS1.
That game kicked ass, and was full of unlockables.

I think that was one of the few I also enjoyed

The_Oracle:

Casual Shinji:
That son of a bitch.

First he makes shitty games and then gleefully admits that they're shitty.

He's not exactly gleeful about it. He just said they didn't do well.

Well, he always looks gleeful in those frickin' mugshots.

I can't picture him without that stupid grin.

Targeting Metacritic scores is backwards anyway; consider that Metacritic scores can be unrelated to whether the game is good.

A better goal would be to target a 4.5 or higher average customer rating on Amazon, or target the customer review scores on Metacritic.

Well hot damn.

I liked those games...

I think that one moment of clarity from Ko-dick doesn't make up for treating his target customers like cattle. Or his staff.

sunami88:
I'm glad they didn't mention Spiderman 2. That game freaking rocked (and was probably the last spidey game I played).

Very few games can I have fun with merely navigating the game-world for hours. Spiderman 2 is up there with nearly every Mario.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I think that one moment of clarity from Ko-dick doesn't make up for treating his target customers like cattle. Or his staff.

Agreed. Maybe if he keeps up this attitude, we can all forget what a dick he's been, but otherwise, he'll still be a worthy hate-figure.

Ten bucks said someone clued Kotick in to the whole "your bottom line will suffer in the long run if your company has a reputation for shoveling out crap" fact of life. Even EA figured this out, fercrissakes.

Come to think of it, wasn't it one of Kotick's underlings who just made exactly that observation this past week?

Oh, NOW he wakes up from hibernation. Did this guy have his head stuck in the ground or something? I have done a review on the PSone Spiderman. This, Spiderman The Movie, Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman were truly spectacular. But when the time came for next gen, they flopped. Why? Because of COD, WOW and Guitar Hero(es). Since they make more than enough money from these titles, they will not bother to make any more good Spiderman games. I beg each and every day for a decent Spiderman game but I seriously doubt they will deliver because apart from WOW, we will also have Starcraft II this year. Even more indifference. MMORPGs killed my favorite superhero game franchise and that is one of the reasons I do not play WOW or anything similar.

God help me so I will get proven wrong but I have literally lost faith in Activision for a good title with the Webslinger.

I... actually kind of liked Web of Shadows.

A bit like Assassin's Creed, it was only repetitive if you decided to do things the same way yourself, so the game depended on your disposition to come up with more Spider-man-like ways of doing stuff rather than exploiting the one overpowered attack the game had.

Seen from that perspective, it was actually enjoyable and had a bunch of good ideas thrown in. I didn't hate Ultimate Spider-man, either, which had a cool story despite simplified mechanics.

But yeah, nobody has nailed web swinging since that Spider-man 2 game. Why they decided that the dual-trigger swinging was too complicated I'll never know. They should have refined that to make it a bit more functional, simplified a few moves, improved the accuracy a bit and they had a system. And, of course, having enough time to actually complete the development of the game couldn't have hurt, either.

But, hey, if this translates into a triple-A Spider-man game with a feeling along the lines of Prototype or Crackdown, count me in.

SimuLord:
Ten bucks said someone clued Kotick in to the whole "your bottom line will suffer in the long run if your company has a reputation for shoveling out crap" fact of life. Even EA figured this out, fercrissakes.

Come to think of it, wasn't it one of Kotick's underlings who just made exactly that observation this past week?

If you mean Blizz COO Paul Sams, then yes. Since Vivendi (which owns Blizzard) has a controlling stake in the ActiBlizz merger, then I don't know if you'd really call him an "underling," though. Colleague, perhaps?

katsabas:
Oh, NOW he wakes up from hibernation. Did this guy have his head stuck in the ground or something? I have done a review on the PSone Spiderman. This, Spiderman The Movie, Spiderman 2 and Ultimate Spiderman were truly spectacular. But when the time came for next gen, they flopped. Why? Because of COD, WOW and Guitar Hero(es). Since they make more than enough money from these titles, they will not bother to make any more good Spiderman games. I beg each and every day for a decent Spiderman game but I seriously doubt they will deliver because apart from WOW, we will also have Starcraft II this year. Even more indifference. MMORPGs killed my favorite superhero game franchise and that is one of the reasons I do not play WOW or anything similar.

God help me so I will get proven wrong but I have literally lost faith in Activision for a good title with the Webslinger.

Wait, what does StarCraft II from one developer have to do with another developer making another game in an entirely different franchise?

The_root_of_all_evil:
I think that one moment of clarity from Ko-dick doesn't make up for treating his target customers like cattle. Or his staff.

Or for suing Double Fine in an attempt to block the release of Brutal Legend. I'll never forgive him for his attempts to stop the metal.

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