Well, it has been a few more weeks than I expected, but this is the perfect time for the conclusion to this story. (It comes out tomorrow/ today!!!)
Make sure you catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before reading the below!!
Several weeks later I was sent an image. It was amazing. It was astounding. I couldn’t believe it. And it wasn’t little, the thing was very high quality and had some massive dimensions. I showed it to my fiancée and she was flabbergasted. I loved it. To honor my promise to Pink Gorilla, I brought up the logo suggestion and sent a few PG mascot images for reference. I was told there might be… issues due to advertising and legal crap blah blah. I said any way they could include it, like just a pink gorilla on my shoulder/background would be fine. They came up with a much better way: a maritime stamp, though they’d need to see if there was any issue on getting it added.
A couple of months pass, and I’m reorganizing my gaming room (office? …nerd-cave!) and realize I need a proper spot for the portrait. Fiancée says it can’t go above the fireplace. Unfortunately for Fiancée, I know more about masonry than she does so it is going up there. I email back and ask for the dimensions (ha, QC pun!). They say it will fit in the gold frame that I got at CPCA. Uhhh…. I didn’t pick that up. It was awesome too, with the little broken .jpeg in the corner! They said they’d sort it out, and that they’d have me come in to their studios eventually to pick it up and demo the latest build of Quantum Conundrum. I was excited!
Now, that was sent to me right around March. But, they were busy putting final touches on the game for a few months, and I had other responsibilities. So it wasn’t until late April that I heard from them that they were ready to have me stop by their studio, demo the game, and pick up my portrait!
Stopping by the studio was easier than you might expect. I live in the Seattle area, working for Microsoft (Located just east of Seattle, for those unfamiliar with the locale). What surprised me though is that I’d passed the studio location many times when I was on my way to Paris’ (yeah, he writes on this site too!) apartment. The next surprise was that Foxconn has a US office very close to them (that was totally unrelated. Just an interesting factoid). I arrived right on time near the end of a workday. Earlier that week I had let my boss know I’d be OOF for a bit, I mentioned I was going to a game studio. She asked which, and surprised me by saying she knew of it. She then explained that one of her co-workers from a previous project had gone over there. Wow, small world.
ANYWAYS… I get there, and buzz in. I’m let in by the fellow I’d been emailing back and forth with. We chat, and I’m introduced to the current group of people working on QC. All really nice people! Chris had done the art on my portrait (they have two main artists), Greg the producer, Kim, and more who’s names I couldn’t catch. The studio had an open floor plan, standing desks, nick-knacks and nerd toys everywhere, with a lot of Valve/TF2/Portal merch about. It was what I had imagined a small, but successful studio would look like; it was like a nerd-haven built for productivity, but without the sterile walls and cubicles of other game studios I’ve been to. Enviable, really. I didn’t see an office dog, but I heard there was a cat-person or two (play the game, you’ll see). I was offered a drink, then shown the real-life portrait.
It was huge! Literally, something like 3 feet by 2 feet, and it was in the golden frame! Apparently the frame had been taken back to Penny Arcade HQ and set in storage after the auction. The image of the broken .jpeg was missing, and the team joked about challenging the PA guys to another match of table-tennis to get it back. After a few minutes of me with an open mouth showing a toothy grin and them taking a few pictures of me and the portrait (which I didn’t get! Help, Airtight Games, you are my only hope!) I was offered to stay a bit and play the game. OMG YES.
Now, here is where you’d expect to see a section about the game. I’ll tell you these three things:
#1: I loved it, it just *clicks* in your head and you get extreme satisfaction from figuring out the puzzles.
#2: Buy it, it is awesome, seriously buy it now.
#3: Puns! Puns everywhere!! I loved them.
See how I didn’t break a non-disclosure agreement there? Yeah, I know, pretty rad.
Something I wasn’t shown, but was teased with (dammmmmmn you!) is their next super secret project. The fellow my boss worked with is on that project, and it was behind another set of closed doors. From their website you can see it has some rather stylized artwork, and a quick-bit of text to keep you guessing:
We are currently working on another ambitious AAA title in a genre that is both unique and refreshingly unexplored.
During my gameplay, we discussed how Airtight had formed. I already knew it had many industry veterans from all over, and that quite a few had worked on “Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge” which was my favorite Xbox game. Their latest project was the critically panned Dark Void. I had purchased this game to study up on them. The flight segments were awesome, but then giant chunks of story seemed to be missing, and the 3rd-person-shooting was not-so-good. Seriously, just listen to this:
Long story short: Yeah, things were very very very cut from the game. Lots of things. (see 7:00minutes in, then 9:00minutes in).
Oh crap! They just dissed Bionic Commando. I love those games.
After playing the game, I finally reached the perfect point to end my day: I found not only the portrait of myself in the game, but heard John de Lancie speak a few lines about it/me. 😀
I said farewell and thank you to the team and went home, brainstorming these 3 articles and trying to figure out how many places I could use the portrait in for my user icon. (Hint, EVERYWHERE)
I’m now waiting impatiently for the game to be released on steam (woo 6/21/2012!!!) but annoyed I need to get up in a few hours to go to a wedding instead of playing the game.
I’d like to say thanks to the Airtight Games team for donating their time on this! Thanks to Penny Arcade and the Child’s Play Charity organizers for setting up such a successful charity! Thanks to Microsoft for matching my bid!
Child’s Play Charity <--make sure to donate sometime!! Very Recent Penny Arcade Report about the game/Kim Swift.
Spoiler Alert! Screenshots with subtitles of the description.