"When I think about it now, there I was trying to convince publishers to pick up our game while putting up every red flag there is. They must have all thought we were crazy! Our hope was that publishers would think our game was good. And thankfully they did. Gamecock didn't want changes or anything watered down. They just told us to go for it," Watsham said, and we're glad to hear about Gamecock's faith in the new developer. With no other titles behind them and without an established franchise to lean on, as with some of the system's other mature fare, Watsham knew they were going to face challenges with Dementium: The Ward.
Gallery: Dementium: The Ward
Once they had the publisher settled, the challenges were not behind them. Despite the number of adult gamers who own a DS, M-rated games have not traditionally sold well on the system -- though that may be chalked up to more than just the rating. Still, it presented an obstacle for the team before they settled with Gamecock, and after, in terms of worries that retailers wouldn't stock enough copies to meet demand for the title, thus producing fickle gamers who might forget about it in the pre-holiday flood. They're finding ways around that, however; Gamecock is taking preorders directly for Dementium, and guaranteeing that they'll be able to fill the demand.
So is Renegade Kid just staffed with masochists who love a challenge? Perhaps, but we admire them for it. Watsham says they set out to create a survival horror game that was as scary as possible, and they didn't stop to worry about anything that might get in the way of that. "Early on, we realized that to tone down the game would be doing an injustice to the genre, and to the people buying the game. There had to be blood and gore to create the right atmosphere," Watsham said. From the beginning, they knew that if they were going to do it right, they were going to end up with a Mature rating. "Once we accepted this, we decided to not hold back and go full bore with the gore. That's not to say we put in gore simply for gore's sake, that's not scary, we just stopped worrying about such things as 'is this too gross?' while creating our creatures, environments, and cut-scenes."
That seems, to us, to be one of the strengths of new development teams. They bring a fresh approach, certainly, but also a purity of vision that isn't as caught up in the business side of things. DS owners need developers willing to take chances and break new ground for the handheld -- and that was part of it as well, according to Watsham. "To be honest, I think the DS needs this. Nothing against all the great games out there, but there is a real shortage in quality, mature games for the DS. Last time I checked, just under half of the DS owners in North America are 17 or older. That's a large market segment having almost no games targeted towards it."
But even with all the talk of ratings increasing in the mainstream media in the last few years, does that really matter when it comes to the game? Watsham says no. "To be honest, I think the potential success of Dementium has more to do with it being received as a fun and frightening game, and less to do with its ESRB rating. If it does well, I hope it proves to publishers that there's a demand for high quality, original games on the Nintendo DS – whether they're rated E, T or M." We certainly hope so, which is one of the reasons we're so excited about Wii Ware on Nintendo's other system, with its offer of chances for developers to experiment. Gamers only benefit from experimentation -- and Watsham agrees. "Creative freedom for developers will bring a wealth of great gaming experiences to players."
In this case, he believes the chances paid off. Renegade Kid is very happy with the final result of Dementium, and despite all the people who say the handheld isn't powerful enough for better gaming experiences, they're satisfied with their horror-centric title. "I believe Dementium: The Ward really showcases what the DS is capable of in terms of visuals. I'm also happy with how the audio turned out in the game. Make sure you wear headphones while playing!"
That works. It always seems like things are creepier when you're in headphones, anyway ... anyone could be sneaking up on you, and you wouldn't even know it. Sounds like a perfect formula for a little Halloween gaming!
Reader Comments (Page 1 of 1)
10-19-2007 @ 8:09PM
What M-rated games are on the DS besides Resident Evil Deadly Silence?
10-19-2007 @ 8:32PM
Dementium has one real problem. Outside of the internet, NO ONE knows about this gem. However, all the best to the game, it looks fantastic.
10-20-2007 @ 4:34PM
Yeah. There's so few people on the internet these days.
10-21-2007 @ 7:18PM
[email protected] said...
I agree with ssuk
None of the gamers I know ever use the internet, or the interwebs... or even the intertrons... gamers are completely unaware of this 'technomology' thingy that we have.... i think it's just 5 or 6 people on here....
10-21-2007 @ 8:00PM
ssuk is kind of right. I went into Gamecrazy to pre-order this the other day and nobody there knew what I was talking about. The box was on display right behind the counter too. But then, employees in these shops rarely ever are up on any game news. Sometimes I do believe they have no idea what's out on the these interwebs. I told them about the slim PSP and when it was coming out and for how much. I told them about half of the 360 games that are hits and the hardward changes. They always seem completely dumbfounded unless it's Halo or Mario and even then they don't get the news until weeks after any of use seem to.
Any Gamestop or Gamecrazy managers out there? Let your damn employees at least check the fanboys once a day. It would help them all seem a little less stupid. I always figured shops wanted an informed staff. I guess I'm wrong.
10-22-2007 @ 1:17AM
It is actually pretty accurate to say that one of the things hindering this game is lack of exposure outside the internet. There are a lot of gamers out there who never bother getting interested in game news on the internet, because they get it all elsewhere. A lot of the people who would enjoy this game won't hear about it soon enough, because they're too stupid to look for games outside of TV adverts. Either way, I am totally getting this game.
10-25-2007 @ 3:39PM
As a Gamecrazy employee, I can say that there are two major types of game store: The game-oriented store, and the sales-oriented store. Game-oriented stores know what they're talking about, which games are rare, what will be a hit, etc. My store, in particular, was full of employees that lamented various "cult classics" (psychonauts, etc.) that never became popular. Sales-oriented stores are the ones full of douchebags that go out on the floor to harass the customer and pitch pre-orders/service contracts.
I've worked at both.