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Pipeworks: Deadliest Warrior Hurt By Licensed Game Stigma

The developers behind Spike Games' recent Deadliest Warrior downloadable console title said a stigma against licensed IP hurt the reception of their title among critics and gamers.
The developers behind Spike Games' recent Deadliest Warrior downloadable console title said a stigma against licensed IP hurt the reception of their title among critics and gamers. In a recent Gamasutra postmortem for the game, Pipeworks Producer Jeremy Mahler said many people wrote off the game as soon as they heard it was based off of a TV show. "The premise of the IP makes perfect sense for a game, yet there were countless gamers and reviewers that immediately blew this game off as garbage without picking up a controller to give it an honest go," he said. "Regardless of the game's content and fun factor, the stigma of being based off of a TV show is still present." This disposition against license games did have some positives, however, in that those that did play the game were sometimes pleasantly surprised when it surpassed their low expectations. "We were able to get a lot of positive press coverage -- most in the vein of 'I really thought this game was going to suck, but was really surprised by how much fun it was,'" said Spike Game Creative Director Prithvi Virasinghe. Mahler and Virasinghe also bristled when many in the press compared the realistic, strategic fighting title -- which was heavily inspired by Squaresoft's Bushido Blade series -- to traditional fighting games with more fantastical move sets and characters. "There are just as many who either refuse to play it, who briefly skim through the game with their opinion already set in stone, or who try to pigeonhole Deadliest Warrior into the Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat mold while becoming upset when they discover that there aren't any complex 20 button combos to master or warriors that fly through the air and shoot lasers from their eyes," Mahler said. The full postmortem includes the pair's thoughts on everything from working with the production team at Spike TV to the importance of build reviews in making sure bug fixes are implemented correctly.

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