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Lair cursed from start to finish

Sometimes when you combine things, they form something even greater than its parts, like peanut butter and jelly, or the five robot cats that form Voltron. Other times, like when you combine Factor 5 and ghosts, you get Lair. "I am not a believer in ghosts, but this one was haunted," Lair director Julian Eggebrecht explains to MTV's Stephen Totilo.

Factor 5's Eggebrecht and producer Brian Krueger even admit in Lair's in-game commentary that there was a "dragon-game curse". Ranging from contrast problems with the very first trailer, to power outages during the writing of the master disk, nothing would go Factor 5's way during the development of Lair.

Eggebrecht and his team's struggle with the creation of Lair may be the exception rather than the rule in the video game development business, but it does help people outside of the industry understand just how tough making a game can be. The Lair director explains that "every single time there was a crucial delivery, something bizarre went wrong", even sickness and deaths within employees' families.

Maybe Lair is not everything PS3 owners were hoping for, but maybe they deserve some credit too for completing a game under such trying circumstances. It's good to know that even with all that they had going against them, the Factor 5 team still had time to have a little fun and hot coffee.

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. BS...
If they didn't force u2use 6axis and put analog,and if they would realize that 1080 resolution would make the game look bad they should abandoned that and made it just 720optimised.

Then instead of a terrible-bad game we could get a medium-very good game.
Business choices... :)

Posted at 5:37PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Me

2. It isn't half as bad as some of the reciewers make it out to be. It's not great either. Only get it if you love flying dragons.

Posted at 5:49PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Egster

3. When you succeed, you don't have to make excuses about why you failed.

Consider concentrating on the game and not on the coffee machine next time.

Posted at 5:56PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Ben

4. Wow, sounds like they were operating in the path of hurricane Katrina or something...
In IT things always go wrong, but we keep going and we don't complain. If things don't work out, we keep going til they do work out.

Posted at 6:06PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Wayne

5. A bad omen brings nothing prosperous.

"... the Factor 5 team still had time to have a little fun..."

Well, I'm glad at least they are having fun because from what we've seen so far none of the customers are having any.

Posted at 6:59PM on Sep 7th 2007 by HektikLyfe

6. Right, so these guys can't even succeed at apologising for making such an atrocity.
"So, should we just admite we're incompetent developers?"
"Naah, let's go with The Curse!"

Posted at 7:16PM on Sep 7th 2007 by ClarkyCat

7. Suck it up and quit making excuses. I'm many games could have went this route. You made a crappy game, it happens.

Posted at 7:16PM on Sep 7th 2007 by x silence x

8. F-that...if you felt that the game wasn't good before releasing it, why the hell do you release it and expect ppl to pay 70 dollars to play something you yourself thought was garbage. I'm glad I didn't by this game. And 360 fanboys everywhere are laughing at the stupidity.

Posted at 7:54PM on Sep 7th 2007 by J

9. OMG, I waited too long for this crappy game and now the developrs give these excuses. This is amazing.

Posted at 9:59PM on Sep 7th 2007 by The1

10. I knew right from the first announcement of Lair that something was just not right about it. I'm glad I was wary about buying it. I waited until Blockbuster got it then I rented it, and saw it for what it really was. It was a rushed, "cursed", crudely made game. I feel sympathy for those who actually laid down the 65 bucks for it. Even though they try so hard to defend their purchase.

Posted at 10:04PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Autopsy15

11. Why is it that when this kind of curse happens to movies (The Exorcist, The Omen) they still end up know...good?

Posted at 10:24PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Joop

12. Well, it ain't perfect but I still love Lair. Been playing it since I got it 2 days ago. Once I got used to the controls, it's quite fun, so I need no excuses from them for my $63 dollars.

Posted at 11:24PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Raycer

13. Eggebrecht...isn't he the same guy that said they wanted to make games with gay situations and storylines, and that the ESRB was holding them back? Why yes, he is.

I'm really starting to wonder about the inner workings of Factor 5. If they are this nutty at the top...

Posted at 11:58PM on Sep 7th 2007 by Popfrogs

14. Jedw' that was a great opening line. You're in.

I think x silence x called it, you made a crappy game, it happens.

Get back on the horse.

I appreciate the point made by Joop, although the Twilight Zone movie doesn't really fall into that category...

But it makes you think, yes, shit happened on your watch.

I have a feeling that Sony was pushing them so hard to release that they just let it go, like that, problems be damnd.

Seriously, with all the stuff going on, the weird stuff, they wouldn't have been able to release this in a polished form until March '08, earliest. And Sony wanted it out well before Christmas. It's as if they thought, we need this to fill the gap, get it out now.

One of the big problems is that Sony is on such a tightrope, right now.

They're so nervous they're not thinking rationally.

I don't like to say this, but they could have scaled back the graphics significantly, say 7 months ago, and just focused on the feel of the game.

But then it would look like an xbox game.

However, knowing what we know about the Wii, this would have been the better choice.

Strangely (or perhaps not so), gameplay and controle will always win out over graphics, every time.

This single line they should have repeated like a mantra.

Obviously there are games that do both, something we've seen with Warhawk and Motorstorm, but 7 months ago, they knew that their graphics engine was bogging down, leaving less resources for gameplay.

But NO! We have to make an EPIC-LOOKING game.

Yeah, it looks epic. As long as you don't notice the framerate problems, and as long as you're not the one playing it.

I expect large corporations like Sony will learn from this certain key values.

Posted at 1:15AM on Sep 8th 2007 by John

15. Maybe I'm just the minority, but I actually like Lair. I do agree the framerate drops, but not all the time and not enough to hinder gameplay. Still a fun game overall.

Posted at 5:39AM on Sep 8th 2007 by Josh

16. The problem isn't a curse. the problem isn't the PS3. The problem isn't the SIXAXIS. The problem isn't even necessarily Factor 5. The problem is Lair sucks.

I have friends who work on games, and it can present serious problems. You start with an idea and work to realize it. The problem is that once you have a certain amount of work and money in, you can't really abandon the project, but it may not be clear that it can ever be made fun.

So Factor 5 made a few bad decisions and they got unlucky too. Maybe they committed to the motion controls assuming they'd iron them out eventually and instead ran out of time. It happens to everyone. Heck, it happened to Red Steel too, and it sold a lot of copies (proving you can't just not publish a game even if it has problems).

Posted at 4:19PM on Sep 8th 2007 by why not the LS2/LS7?

17. @John: You sound like someone who never worked a real paying job that was based on strict time-tables. I have, and when major problems keep cropping up it can be more than just a bitch and a half. Sometimes it just makes you want to get the thing finished pronto and move on to the next project.

Posted at 8:31PM on Sep 8th 2007 by Consolcwby

18. All of the Panzer Dragoon games managed to overcome the "curse". If memory serves me correctly they all got really good reviews. So what other game has fallen victim to a "dragon curse"? Spyro?

Posted at 11:46AM on Sep 9th 2007 by Bangbang...

19. Got the game from the US and it's not that bad. Its a 7/10 game.

Inconsistant reviewing going on and Sony console still the wipping boy.

Look at IGN for instance DIRT got a 9 on the 360, I have it and as they say the frame rate and tearing is terrible. The PS3 version "as they say" gets rid of it all but the score was 8.4????? I remember moto gp on the 360 the frame rate is crap on the bends (top score????????) The frame rate does slow but its like having total war and warhark running together.

The control system takes some getting use to, and it is no Warhark but very useable.

Posted at 3:11PM on Sep 10th 2007 by nl

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