Getting A Bad Review Is No Fun
I feel sorry for the people who worked on Warner Bro’s DC Comics films. Man of Steel got mixed reviews for its ho-hum take on Superman, while its sequel, Batman v Superman: Down of Justice got resoundingly panned for its muddled storyline. From its trailers, Suicide Squad, looked like it might be a winner with both a critical and box office hit, but it too is taking a beating from the critics. Now I know that Warner Bros. did just fine at the box office will these three films, but let me tell you from personal experience, it isn’t fun getting bad reviews.
In 1995 I produced two similarly themed adventure games for Cyberdreams: one received stellar reviews, while the other received awful reviews.
The former, I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream, was a video game I developed in collaboration with author Harlan Ellison. It received excellent reviews, was named Best Adventure Game of the Year by Computer Gaming World, and received the award for Best Game Adapted From Linear Media at that year’s Game Developers Conference.
The latter, Dark Seed II, was a game I developed in collaboration with artist H.R. Giger. It received terrible reviews, and one reviewer privately told our marketing director that I should be fired.
And the odd thing was, as I was developing both games — which had similar scopes, interfaces, game mechanics and even storylines — I thought Dark Seed II was turning out to be the better game.
Well, obviously it feels great to receive rave reviews and awards, and it feels terrible to be panned by the critics. But all I could do was try to figure out what went wrong (I eventually decided that the main problem was that I cast the wrong actor to do the main character’s voice — he was much too depressing, and no one wants to play a depressing character), and do better next time.
Game development is fast-paced, and by the time you’ve launched one project, you’re busy starting up the next one. There’s no time for moping.
So, don’t spend too much time licking your wounds, Warner Bros. and DC Comics. You’ve got a big slate of films to put out. Just one thing: you better not screw up Wonder Woman!