Half Life 2 on Xbox's Poor Sales
There's an interview with Gabe Newell today in GameDaily. I've spoken with Mr. Newell in the past and he's a pretty interesting guy.
Anyway, there's a paragraph there that says "That product was the first big retail disappointment we've had in the history of the company," he said. "So that sort of caused us to scratch our heads a little bit. We've never missed our forecast on any significant product before, so the fact that that product under performed by somewhere between the factor of two to three was really surprising to us. We still haven't figured out what the hell that meant."
I figured out what the hell it meant. I figured it out when Half-Life 2 arrived in the mail and I put it in the Xbox. That game sucked. Something was lost in the transition from PC to Xbox that rendered it boring. I still remember sitting there with my friend Mike and the two of us were trying to jump over some pipe and crawl under some steam. What the heck was that? I didn't know Half-Life 2 was a platformer.
The thing is, they made that game tedious to play. The PC version was a thrill a minute, but the Xbox version was, in a word, lame. I think that what happened was that Valve knew that the PC version was excellent and they were blinded by that when developing the Xbox version. I'm trying to think of when the last time a game was good on 1 platform and then actually good on another. Unreal Tournament was a fantastic PC game and an awkward console game. Anyway, my point is that Valve should have looked at Half-Life 2 for Xbox as a stand alone console game and not been influenced by their previous success on PC. Console is tnot the same as PC. The gamer's mentality is different between PC and console. Console users want everything spelled out for them, clear cut objectives, and then we just cut a swathe of death between objectives. PC gaming can be more wide open, although consoles games can be open too they usually aren't. An important difference is that PC games are controlled by a keyboard and mouse and console games are not, different games appeal to each.
As Old Timey Gamer said, "Once they had us jumping over pipes in Half Life 2 that was then end of that."