Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Panopticon: The innovation of American Blackened Folk Metal.

[Panopticon- "Killing the Giants As They Sleep"]

Panopticon has to be one of my fav bands of all time. Their savvy blend of earth shattering black metal, progressive chords, and intermingling genre-work is nothing short of absolute genius. Growing up in the south eastern United States, myself, something about their sound harkens back to bygone days... Of blistering heat, white whiskey, and corrupt establishment all around.

Enjoy this, then the whole album below...

Breaking: Super Retro/Action Squad has officially been put on "hold"...

Super Retro Squad (later named "Super Action Squad"), from the folks who brought us Super Mario Crossover, was set to be quite the Kickstarter accomplishment for US designers, "Exploding Rabbit". Director Jay Pavlina promised backers local and online multiplayer, SNES/GameBoy/Original playing modes, and a game completed in a reasonable amount of time. Exploding Rabbit fumbled hard over the last year and a half, not delivering one of their public funded promises and it has many backers absolutely furious.

From "The Exploding Rabbit Scam" blog, a site DEDICATED to reporting the failures of Jay and his team,

So here is what it seems like happened

1) Jay got money from a successful Kickstarter which reached many stretch goals for a game called "Super Retro Squad" and was due to be released by March 2013 (5 months ago from today).  It has been suggested this was a thinly veiled attempt to make a profit from the illegal game Super Mario Bros Crossover.

2) Jay and some people bought a house, made a video about it

3) They made a dance video and Jay did a let's play video

4) Radio silence from Exploding Rabbit for months.

5) Jay makes a video to ask for MORE MONEY with nothing whatsoever delivered besides a few mock ups and what appears to be a very basic simple demo of a character jumping and collecting coins.

6) An update to the illegal game Super Mario Crossover was released, and as stated by Jay Pavlina, for the strict purpose of making money and attracting people to his site to make ad money.

7) Now people have been told development BEGAN in August 2013 and the scope of the project has changed significantly with no discussion with the share holders (Backers)

madness ladies and gents...

 Yowza. That's some harshness.
But not all of it is false. TERS blogspot has reported quite a bit in response to Pavlina's admitted defeat after comments by backers, fans, and indie gamers reached a fever pitch. The distressed creative director released an emotionally charged update/apology to his backers this week, beginning by taking on blame and sorting through the issues Exploding Rabbit had encountered...

"I made a fan game, so i thought, "How much harder could it be to make a real game?" A lot harder it turns out. In SMBC, I didn't have to worry about art, music, sound effects, level design, enemy design, or much game design, and the levels were very small with no vertical scrolling or slopes. the originality in SMBC came from piecing things together in an elegant way, and I didn't realize how much more difficult it would be to come up with compelling ideas from scratch. We eventually did come up with an awesome design for SAS, but it took a very long time, largely due to persistent opposition from some team members..." -ER

As the letter goes on, Pavlina describes the choice to move everyone into a house instead of working remotely a bad decision. He chocks the disintegration of Super Action Squad up to an unrealistic estimation of cost/time and an ineffective, slow-working team of slackers.

"After this experience, I am not sure it is even possible to form a strong game development team without being able to pay everyone a livable wage. I personally feel that having an ineffective team is THE most detrimental problem we had, and we spent quite a lot of time trying to make it better, but the ultimate solution ended up being to dismantle it..." -ER

So does this spell game over for Super Action Squad and Exploding Rabbit as we know them? Pavlina says no. While there are no immediate plans to refund backers, Jay and the gang are attempting to make things right by being as transparent as possible in the coming months of hiatus development. It seems the house is breaking up, the game is being put aside, and a smaller version of the $53,000 platformer will be released when everyone gets their shit together. A sad result for both fans and creators.

Pavlina is releasing a live Q&A on Exploding Rabbit's Youtube channel Thursday, March 20th, so tune in and hope that there really are heroes amidst this twisted 8-bit comedy. Hopefully it's not Game Over just yet...