The creators of Monaco have posted some data here about how many people got all the way through the game. Fewer than one in ten players saw it through to the end. Which, naturally, must be frustrating for the developers, not to mention the people who didn’t finish. So today’s update cuts out big chunks of content in what’s labeled an “enhanced” version of Monaco.
From the linked developer’s blog:
We want more people to finish the campaigns, and we also personally kinda hate some of the levels. Certain areas feel redundant, certain levels feel tedious. Do you remember hating these parts? Both boat levels with the dogs, crossbows, and fire. Second floor of the hospital (the one that winds around amongst exam rooms). The giant, hard, palace level.
We did too!
In addition to cutting major parts of these, every level has seen some streamlining with this patch. Don’t worry, if you liked the old levels, they are still available if you play “Classic” mode, rather than “Enhanced”.
The new release also includes some revised gameplay, refined tutorial levels, and new maps. Also, the leaderboards are reset, so now is your chance to post a score in the top thousand or so, before all the serious Monacists get their heists on.
Andy Schatz of Pocketwatch Games told participants of a Reddit thread that the developer was disappointed with the sales figures for Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine on Xbox Live Arcade. He put part of the blame for the poor XBLA performance on the launch delay the title experienced as last-minute bugs were corrected, and also theorized that the demo may not have presented the best experience of the game. Schatz also hinted at some friction between Microsoft and his studio.
I was never depending on the Xbox being our primary revenue generator, but I was very disappointed in Xbox sales nonetheless. We put a ton of effort porting the game, and to have that effort be largely wasted was really disappointing. OTOH, I don’t think the demo was particularly strong… so it could be that the game wouldn’t have done better on Xbox even if it had a simultaneous launch (though IMO it would have performed at least twice as well). We had to submit two patches, and luckily they had already relaxed the charges for that process about a month prior.
As for Microsoft’s treatment of us through the process… well we had a publisher (Majesco) that buffered us from them. I don’t really feel like it’s a good idea to piss in the pool, so whatever complaints I have I think it’s best that I keep them between me, Majesco, and Microsoft.
Monaco was highly rated on Quarter to Three. Andy Schatz even participated in a podcast with Tom!
As the staff of Quarter to Three goes home for the long holiday weekend, we’ll leave you with a touch of our own fireworks in the form of an annual half-year list that may or may not include The Last of Us. Why else would there be a picture of it up there?
After the jump, the ten best games of the year so far. Continue reading →
This week we’re joined by Monaco designer Andy Schatz who recognizes Tom Chick’s intellectual acumen at things like geometry and stealth gameplay, while he also recognizes that some people — he’s too polite to call out McMaster by name — need Moles in their games. We also discuss Korean pop on the Vita, a card game about tragedies befalling hapless families, and a match-3 that’s more than just a match-3.
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As we all know, asymmetry makes all game designs better. Which is one of the reasons chess isn’t very good. The only asymmetry they had invented back when they made chess was which side goes first. Weak. If I made chess, only white would get bishops and only black would get rooks. The white queen would be able to take two turns in a row once per game. The black queen could resurrect the king once. Also, I would include more than one map with the game.
If the developers at Pocketwatch had invented chess, I would strive to be a Bobby Fisher.
But after the jump, they didn’t make chess. They made Monaco. Continue reading →
I made the mistake of not knowing enough about Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine before playing it and therefore thinking it was just a game where you move dudes around levels to collect coins, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends. I’d played one of those recently on Xbox Live. It was pretty awful. I don’t even remember the name of it. It had bank robbers. You could give them hats and costumes and whatnot. I figured Monaco might be like that, but hopefully not awful.
Little did I know Monaco is the game I had hoped Introversion was going to make before they cancelled Subversion, their ambitious heist game about characters with different abilities getting into levels and then getting out again. And now here it is, but not from Introversion. It’s like Hotline: Miami, but with more gameplay and nearly just as much style.
I love how differently Monaco’s characters play. You’ll probably think any given character is overpowered at some point. At first, it was The Cleaner who I thought was overpowered for how he can sneak up behind guards and bean them. Most of the other characters need to find a weapon. Now it’s The Hacker, who can get a swarm of viruses crackling along the level around him without even hacking computers. Just get him to the wall outlets and he’s good to go. He’s a pet class! Speaking of pet class, maybe The Collector is overpowered for how his monkey Hector will automatically collect coins in the area, which directly pumps up your score. The scoring system records the time it takes you to finish the heist, but it adds a time penalty for all the treasure you didn’t get. That’s where Hector takes up the slack. Yeah, I’m going to say The Collector and his monkey Hector are overpowered.
But what I think I love most is the sense of discovery with the various missions and levels. Introversion’s game was going to feature procedurally generated office buildings, which sounds like about the most boring heists you could ever have. But Monaco’s imaginative locations are so lovingly built, with so many affectionate touches, and their own sense of flow. Take a look at that oceanographic museum above, which is rendered as a drawn map when it’s not in your line of sight. You know you want to see what’s under those labels.
Monaco: What’s Your Is Mine is out today for the PC. The Xbox 360 release has been delayed for an unspecified reason.