10 Years Later, Romero Apologizes for Daikatana
John Romero's FPS had major design issues, however the infamous ad promoting the game was the proverbial cement block handcuffed to his ankle.
In a recent interview with Gamesauce magazine, former id Software superstar (and creative mastermind behind Wolfenstein, Doom, and the original Quake) John Romero was portrayed as an unchanged man despite the many ups and downs since his departure from id. Naturally the discussion traveled into Daikatana territory, Romero's first-person shooter from 2000 that was supposed to be the greatest PC game of all, but instead turned into one of the biggest commercial failures in PC gaming history.
Of course, the advertisement didn't help matters, either.
"You know, I never wanted to make you my bitch, not you, not them, not any of the other players and, most importantly, not any of my fans," he admitted in the interview. The ad was rather simple: a red poster with the caption "John Romero's About to Make You His Bitch" centered in the middle. At the bottom was an additional, smaller caption reading "Suck It Down" along with the Ion Storm and Eidos logos. The ad wasn't meant to be offensive, but rather portray Romero's notorious trash talk during gaming. While this particular gamer/writer didn't see a problem (and willingly shelled out the bucks for the game), apparently many PC gamers just didn't receive a rosy feeling from the challenge.
"Up until that ad, I felt I had a great relationship with the gamer and the game development community and that ad changed everything. That stupid ad. I regret it and I apologize for it," he said. “You know, when the ad was first presented to me, I knew it was risky, and I didn’t want to do it. It didn’t make sense. I mean, there’s the whole culture of smack talk that goes with games and especially the FPS’s, and that was something I was known for."
He said the smack talk in the ad was out of context much like it would be for members of The Who to waltz into a music shop and smash up the guitars. With that said, he wished he could have halted the ad and has regretted it ever since. "While the game could have been better on a number of levels, that ad and the hype that preceded and followed it was clearly a marketing failure and that was followed by my failure to stop it. Even if I had come out with s brilliant game, it wouldn't have mattered. The ad nearly insulted everyone who read it."
Romero goes on to talk about the failure of Daikatana on a design level, stating that it was a miracle it was even released, blaming the "war" taking place both inside and outside the company that caused his overall disconnection with its development. To read more, read the full article here.