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PB & Jason   

PB & Jason Issue 113: War on Spector

The last big game development studio owned by the House of Mouse has closed.

Disney has shuttered Junction Point Studios. While it's good news for Disney's bottom line (and for people who don't enjoy games of low quality,) it makes one wonder who is at fault in a time like this. PB & Jason 113 explores that question a little bit, but in the end, the obvious conclusion, Warren Spector, is reached. Aside from that, issue 113 follows-up last week's Wired's Chris Kohler "Nintendo Direct Vaporware" article taking Kohler's follow-up article into consideration. PB & Jason also includes more Ni no Kuni, which admittedly, is shaping up not quite be the game expected, for better and for worse.  All this and more in this week's PB & Jason! Click through for the listening and download links!

Make sure you tune into this week's PB & Jason! You may just have a lot of fun! Tune in next Wednesday for the more PB & J goodness!



Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

01/30/2013 at 07:36 PM

I want to go on record and say that I'm never happy to see when so many people face losing their jobs. I do wish the best for the former employees of Junction Point, of course. However, I don't want to ignore reality, either. Warren Spector, as an individual, as a marketer, as the direct of the Epic Mickey titles really painted a deceitful picture of the games in question. His catchphrase for the games and for the studio as a whole was "Playstyle Matters," but in playing Disney Epic Mickey and its sequel, it was clear that the motto was all fluff.

A quote from the Junction Point Studios mission statement: "Junction Point games offer strong, player-driven narratives, opportunities for problem-solving over puzzles and choices with significant consequences. The studio's goal is to tell stories with players, not to them, allowing them to craft their own, unique experiences."

As this was Junction Point's goal, it's clear that their leadership fell well short of achieving said goal. In Disney Epic Mickey, aside from flat, dull gameplay and fetch-based puzzle mechanics, there were no consequences. No matter how one chose to play the game, the story would be told the same way each and every time. The only instance in which there would be a difference is shown in quick scenes right at the end of the game, most of which reflected how one defeated the few bosses. Epic Mickey 2 showed no substantive signs of improvements, and suffered from more technical and gameplay issues than the first.

I'm not sure why these games wound up as awful as they did. I'm aware some people have enjoyed them quite a bit, but I can only imagine how magnificent the original concept could have become, and shake my head in despair over the final product. For me, though, I place the blame squarely on the head of the person who mislead, misdirected, and mismanaged in so many ways, Warren Spector. I know many people look up to him as a game designer, especially for his work with Thief and Deus Ex. I can only say that I hope he does a better job one whatever his next project(s) is/are, and I hope he manages to create a more stable and prosperous work environment than the rubble that is now Junction Point.

Julian Titus Senior Editor

01/30/2013 at 08:07 PM

Does this mean you'll finally stop bringing up the Epic Mickey games on this show? Because that would be swell.

Jason Ross Senior Editor

01/30/2013 at 08:24 PM

Maybe. Most likely. It's my favorite thing to rant about!

Our Take

Jason Ross Senior Editor

02/06/2013 at 07:07 PM

Just a heads up, I have plans tonight, so PB & Jason 114 will be delayed to tomorrow.

Edit: Actually, I take it back. I can't make one tonight, either. Expect an extra-large PB & Jason next week, though!

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