Game designer John Romero will always be remembered for his work on Wolfenstein 3D, Doom and Quake. During his time at id Software, he was part of the team that helped create and shape the first-person shooter genre. But that’s not what he’s most famous for.
Above: John Romero was one of the founding fathers of the first-person shooter genre. But today, he is still paying the price for bad marketing decisions made ten years ago
It’s been ten years since the release of John Romero’s Daikatana. But despite his fame in the gaming community at the time when it was released, Daikatana was a commercial failure and received overwhelmingly negative reviews. The title’s infamous advertisements, which boldly claimed that John Romero was about to “make you his bitch,” only worsened the gaming community’s perception of Romero and his game. Couched in quotation marks and approved by Romero himself, these last words are what Romero is most famous for today.
Recently, Romero took steps to move past the controversy that’s been plaguing him for the last decade. In an interview with Gamesauce magazine, Romero looks back on Daikatana and apologizes for the “Suck It Down” ad campaign, which featured the inflammatory quote.
“You know, I never wanted to make you my bitch, not you, not them, not any of the other players and, most importantly, not any of my fans. Up until that ad, I felt I had a great relationship with the gamer and the game development community and that ad changed everything... I regret it and I apologize for it,” says Romero.
He goes on to put the creation of the ad campaign into context, explaining how the head of marketing wanted to create lots of hype to draw attention to Daikatana. “I knew it was risky, and I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t make sense. I mean, there’s the whole culture of smack talk that goes with games and especially the FPS’s, and that was something I was known for,” explains Romero. “The game insulted nearly everyone who read it. It was a terrible marketing decision. I apologize for letting it loose in the first place,” he continues.
So how has the controversy affected Romero? “There is no use in challenging and fighting everyone that puts the game down. I mean, it’s only one of my games. I’ve made several games after Daikatana and a bunch before. So, it doesn’t really hurt anymore when I read negative comments about the game…” he says. You can read more about Romero’s philosophy on game design and the new MMO he’s working on at gamesauce.org.
May 18, 2010
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