'Alone In The Dark' Developer Thankful For Critical Reviews

"Alone in the Dark" was the subject of glowing previews but highly critical reviews.

Developers at studio Eden Games took those criticisms to heart when working on the PlayStation 3 version, and has actually implemented some of the suggestions.

"We knew we had, like, four months to work on the PS3 before we were done with that version," said game designer Emile Morel to me last week, while showing off a build of the improved PS3 version. "So we decided to make changes to improve the game and make sure this time everybody can enjoy it."

The control and interface tweaks are part of the PS3 version shipping this fall, and may later arrive as a patch for Xbox 360 users -- but it's not guaranteed.

The question is, how did Eden Games not realize some of these issues in the first place? There are a couple of reasons, Morel explained:

"The thing is, before the release of the game on 360, the focus tests weren't so bad," he said. "So, we were kind of very surprised [about the reviews]. "

Eden Games did perform some focus testing in their own studio, but Morel admitted it might not have been the ideal setting. "It's always weird to do a focus test in a dev studio [because] people come and they're like 'oooooh, cooooool.'"

As a result, their focus testers might not have been as critical. In the future, Eden Games will be doing more focus testing. But Morel also believes their focus on pushing new tech and ways of storytelling (i.e. episodic structure) might have prevented them from seeing some fundamental issues.

"The thing is, we've tried to make things a bit different in this game," he said. "We've tried to innovate. I'm not saying this as an excuse, but when you're trying to make things in a different way, you can make mistakes. In this way, the reviews and all this have been really helpful."

What do you make of Morel's approach to game reviews?

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