More Than Just Crosshairs

Posted on April 19, 2012

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After their initial success breaking into the business with two hit games, Tripwire Interactive was vaulted up to their (deserved) pedestal of Indie Developer greatness. But that just wasn’t enough for them. They wanted to challenge the big boys in the video game industry. In the words of PCGamer, they intended to “beat Call of Duty Black Ops” with their latest installment in the Red Orchestra series…….thus far they have failed miserably.

I Swear Tripwire Interactive, it’s your own fault for trying to be something that you aren’t.

Bluntly put, Red Orchestra 2 is still a massive failure. When I first wrote about the game back in January, there seemed to be no hope left for the game or the community. After the childish, unethical drama surrounding ROLadder’s closing, there seemed to be no hope left for Tripwire Interactive’s developers. But just when you think all is lost, Tripwire shows tiny signs of encouragement.

Even though it was months late, Tripwire finally seemed to realize just how much they pissed off their former loyal fanbase and begrudgingly started working on the so called “RO Classic Mode“. Granted, this mode had been suggested months before the game even came out and more importantly, an additional mode should have never even been needed. But before long, Tripwire’s recent trend of seemingly wanting to shoot themselves in the foot came back to take the spotlight away from legitimate progress. Oh Tripwire, crosshairs?

***Metaphor Warning***

Tripwire is like a teenage girl going through an identity crisis. They once had their own unique personality that got them many friends in grade school, but now that they have reached high school they want to gain the approval of the popular crowd. In attempts to impress the jocks and cheerleaders, makeup, short shorts and a push-up bra have masked the inner beauty and personality they once had.

Yet after all of these attempts to look sexier, the best they could do was land the backup kicker from the football team. The cheerleaders knowing full well that they are still more popular, mock them behind their backs. After all of that wasted effort, most of the friends that they used to have before high school have been so put off by their snobbishness and douchery that they no longer want to hang out. What was so wrong about being friends with the band geeks, poor kids, nerds and general social outcasts? They may not have been the largest or coolest groups, but at least you had somebody to sit with at the lunch table.

***/Metaphor***

Tripwire, you already tried to make RO2 appealing to the mainstream crowd with a progression system, achievements, weapon upgrades, and ability bonuses. You added gamey features like zoom, bandages, a recon plane, and radar. You made gameplay faster, maps more confined, and skill less necessary. You made graphics look so much prettier to the point that performance suffered. You introduced more gametypes like “Countdown” and “Firefight”, and even a less “hardcore” gamemode like “Relaxed Realism“.

And how successful were you in converting mainstream fps gamers into RO fanatics? Though you may claim otherwise, the FACT is that you’ve failed miserably at appealing to people who were never going to like Red Orchestra, regardless of how much you tried to make it into more of a mainstream shooter. Oh yeah, remember those people who loved what Red Orchestra used to be? How loyal are they now after getting dumped in favor of the masses?

You’ve tried to win them back with RO Classic mode, which has been a great step in the right direction. But then, crosshairs? Just the serious mentioning of crosshairs being in ANY part of the game is taking 100 steps backwards. Whatever progress you’ve made thus far at restoring the trust of your once loyal fanbase has just gone down the crapper. Who are you and what have you done with Tripwire Interactive and the spirit of Red Orchestra?

Crosshairs only belong on scopes

Remember how you guys talked back in the day? Apparently people like VP Alan Wilson had a change of heart about native voices over the years. I recall some of the responses to the the infamous Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45 review by G4 and Xplay. The “where are the crosshairs” review became such a long standing joke amongst the RO community that it was even brought up before RO2 was released.

Over the years, Tripwire has boasted about the “no crosshairs” feature almost to the point of it being their trademark. Even when they released Killing Floor, a more arcade type game, they were against using crosshairs.  Yet they now want to experiment with crosshairs in the arcade mode of RO2 to appeal even more to the mainstream gamers. Does Tripwire no longer love iron sights like they used to? President John Gibson used to have the attitude of doing something different   from mainstream shooters even though it was expected to ruin the game.

People were worried about the direction of Red Orchestra as far back as the mod and retail days. Even when RO2 first started being advertised, people were again worried about the direction of Red Orchestra. You promised all the people who were worried that the Realism Mode would improve upon Red Orchestra without losing the RO feel. Even when talking about the Relaxed Realism Mode that was designed to appeal to mainstream gamers, you claimed that it would never go to the extremes of say, including crosshairs.

Iron Sights....do you really love them?

So who are you now Tripwire Interactive and what do you want Red Orchestra to be? Over 6 months after the release of Red Orchestra 2 (the not-so-spiritual successor), you’re still debating what to call the game modes it offers: Realism, Relaxed Realism, and now Classic. You have changed terminology so much that it’s no longer even possible to tell what is Normal Mode, Standard Mode,  Realism, Relaxed etc… and even made so many alterations within the various modes to make each appealing to everybody while still making them unique modes unto themselves.

This was President John Gibson back in the day. At least back then there seemed to be some direction for Red Orchestra. Today, we still hear this same claim that “we’ll have to keep doing the same thing we’ve always done – make the game WE like to play, and hope others like to play it too”. Despite this being one of the worst business philosophies I’ve ever heard,  even if that’s truly the approach Tripwire wants to take, then at least show us what they hell the game is that YOU like to play!

Do you want the traditional Red Orchestra feel or the mainstream arcade feel? Do you want to appeal to the people who have been loyal to you for years or try to seduce the mainstream gamers who’ve rejected you in the past and continue to reject you? The worst mistake as we’ve already been seeing, is the attempt to appeal to everyone. All that does is leave you with a game that has an identity problem and as a result appeals to almost nobody.

My only advice for Tripwire and RO2 is this: return to the roots of Red Orchestra. That is what helped create a monumental game which a loyal community who stuck with the game for over half a decade. That is what pumped up the fans when the long awaited sequel was announced. That is what still gives even the most disappointed people the smallest sense of hope that Red Orchestra 2 will become what it always should have been.

Yeah, Tripwire is the game company that takes crosshairs OUT of games; they don’t put them in!

Who do you think they are, EA?! 😛 – Bobdog

Tripwire, please go back to being who you once were. You were more liked then.

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