Smith says 'audi' to Austin

One of the week's gaming controversies stemmed from comments made by Harvey Smith, the creative director of Midway Games' Austin studio. Speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit in Quebec, the outspoken developer gave a cudgel-blunt postmortem of his studio's recently released sci-fi...

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One of the week's gaming controversies stemmed from comments made by Harvey Smith, the creative director of Midway Games' Austin studio. Speaking at the Montreal International Game Summit in Quebec, the outspoken developer gave a cudgel-blunt postmortem of his studio's recently released sci-fi shooter, BlackSite: Area 51 (PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360).

"This project was so f***ed up," Smith said before going on to describe the game's development schedule as "completely reprehensible" for allegedly favoring milestones over bug fixes. He also lamented the lack of acclaim for the game's political satire. "How can you look at all these elements and not think this is super f***ing subversive," he asserted when describing the game, which he feels deserves better than its middling reviews.

Now, it appears that Smith's unfiltered candor has been followed by a newfound job search. GameTap is citing "informed sources" as saying that Smith's three-year tenure at the Austin shop has come to an abrupt end. A senior member of Midway Austin's staff told GameTap that Smith left the company following "mutual agreement between Harvey and the studio."

[UPDATE]: A Midway representative confirmed to GameSpot that Harvey Smith is no longer an employee of the company, but did not address the situation further.

Discussion

130 comments
SaxxyGamer18
SaxxyGamer18

What a dope. Critical acclaim doesn't come to games with rich political satire - which BlackSite wasn't exactly perfect at, anyway - but for great gameplay, production values, and unique stuff. It didn't have any of that.

4snake
4snake

so what about unreal should it be banned or playable?

Merl57
Merl57

jeez first Jeff G and now this? Can't people speak their minds and say the TRUTH.

lamprey263
lamprey263

Well, a lot of us werel saying "wow, he shouldn't be saying that" and now he's fired; no surprise. You don't bash where you work for when they can hear you, that's just common sense, even if he is right.

psyph3r-cn
psyph3r-cn

They made a lousy game alright but he didnt have to say it publicly, we knew it was a F***** up game. Audi ??? wat is that supposed to mean. As in Vivendi and Blizzard have just mercedesed !

twiztdmike
twiztdmike

I like the fact that he was willing to speak his mind, but it is possible that he was just blaming the studio for his inability to make a quality game. We'll see though. I hope this gives him an oppurtunity to find a place to make games with a little more freedom, and a less restrictive schedual. He seems to have the gamers best interest in mind, tainted with a little spite.

dj_b02us
dj_b02us

did anyone NOT exepct this? if he owned the comany then ok, he's still have a job but you cant go off on essentially your bosses product like that and expect them to keep paying you.

Jimminyfixit
Jimminyfixit

I'd be surprised if anyone employed this tit.

Melissa_Bunny
Melissa_Bunny

From what I know, Harvey took the reigns of the game in the middle of development. This isn't his game, it's someone else's. Harvey's request to push the game back was denied. Shareholders want profit now! On one final note, Harvey didn't blame his staff. He blamed corporate and their deadlines.

truenextgen
truenextgen

You get one guy who does not lie about his industry. And he gets fired. No wounder why Micro workers all shake in fear and say "yes we are good :P" Yes we are good, or master will whip us :P" Ant bets these terms and milestones he talks about. Were about the same terms Assassins Creed was made on.

tyzwain
tyzwain

Cor someone speaking out about a game? hadn't he learnt from Jeff?

auntbessie
auntbessie

The reviews saved me from buying Blacksite, it sounded like poop so I cancelled my pre-order, obviously the right choice given what this bloke said about his own product, shame though, looked like it had potential at one point

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Has Midway released a good title in the last few years?

DrKill09
DrKill09

The title of this article makes no freakin sense! :roll:

natron557
natron557

I read this article because I was unsure what audi meant... if this is true im getting my news from IGN from now on, least they use spellcheck. "I assume you mean "Adieu" ? No one at gamespot can spell after Jeff got fired ?" - ikreyer

BRETTJB99
BRETTJB99

Midways games always suck how did they not go bankrupt or sometin for all their ****

jimmyshabadoo
jimmyshabadoo

AUDI IS THE CORRECT TERM I can't believe this many people believe that a professionally written article that's been through the hands of an editor has been mistitled. At their worst, these articles will have slight grammatical errors, incorrect comma usage, or even a rare misspelling. To insist that the GIANT YELLOW TITLE on top of the article is incorrect after reading 10 different posts explaining that it's not is pure dookiepants. ONCE AGAIN, the writer does not intend for the word to be "Adieu." Yes, Audi is a vehicle, and that's part of the reference. The Audi 5000 (American revision and #) had it's break and gas pedals too close together. This made people believe that they were hitting the brakes and accelerating, when in fact, they were accidently hitting the gas pedal. The story differs from one Urban source to the next, but it always involves the actual vehicle. Anyways, the story caught on with Generation-X hipsters, Valley-girls, suburbinite kids - I guess they all qualify as Gen-X. These people started saying it as a means to an exit. Sometimes they'd say "I'm Audi." Other people would say, "I'm Audi 5000" (more popular version). AUDI means "I'm leaving." The title of this article would have fared a bit better if he said, "Smith says 'audi 5000' to Austin. But to the people who got it the first time - this was a very funny throwback reference to a great cultural period of American history. Those who would like to research this term further should rent teen flicks from '1990-97 (specifically Clueless), watch the credits to the film Reality Bites ('94), listen to Pauly Shore (ugh, currently), watch MTV VJ's from the early to mid-nineties (Kennedy/Brown), Beavis and Butthead episodes with Daria or the cartoon Daria, Arsenio Hall said it a few times. Or just google, "I'm Audi 5000." Once again, AUDI IS THE CORRECT TERM AUDI IS THE CORRECT TERM

UnholySaviour
UnholySaviour

This is more akin to bitting the hand that feeds you. I don't have a full time job yet but even I know trash talk the man that writes your check and find yourself fired...

GIF
GIF

Its correctly termed: "I Bid You Adieu" Now where are the Audis in this article? Great cars with awesome build quality.

yakov456
yakov456

Hmm, this sounds somewhat familiar. Seems the truth will set you free anywhere, literally.

Zoomer30
Zoomer30

Oh so he DID work at Ion Storm. That explains the ego.

delta3074
delta3074

Halo 2 would have been a greater game if microsoft hadn't pressured bungie to complete the project so quickly, microsoft learnt there lesson about putting unrealistic time scales on there projects, and rockstar put back gta4 to make the game better, midway should realise that if they rush below average products out there they won't make a lot of money (because of the high cost of games, people will only buy the best games) halo 3 and mass effect were both delayed, but in the end are both quality titles, i think midway need to get on board with this philosophy and take on board the things harvey said otherwise they will go under because i'm not going to part with 40 quid for a game like blacksite, we want QUALITY not QUANTITY, so developers should be allowed to set there own time frames for completing there games.

IXIAntiksIXI
IXIAntiksIXI

LOL and i was thinking of buying it until this.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Harvey Smith never struck me as the nicest person in the world, but I think that he's spot on with his comments on Midway not giving him and his team enough time and money to do things right. It seems to be a trend nowadays for publishers to arbitrarily force developers to meet milestones rather than to focus on fixing bugs, polish gameplay, and to take time to play their games and make sure that it's -fun-, and along with the focus on graphics and sound rather than how fun a game is to play that's leading to a lot of problems in the industry. Personally, I wish that Sony and Microsoft had been as brave as Nintendo and not gotten so sucked into the hardware/graphics arms race, and thought of the tradeoff that must come when you make games so expensive and risky to make. Just like in the movie industry, innovation and risk-taking and creativity gets stifled, and you start getting the same repetitive, but visually impressive crap shoveled at you again and again because the financial backers are too thoughtless to let developers do their jobs right and make decisions for themselves, even when it's the developers who know how to make the games fun, and not the publishers. Oh well, at least Harvey stood up for his convictions. Kudos for that, I hope a better and more honest game deveoper picks him up.

JamMessiahJC
JamMessiahJC

I would normally be one to doubt the whistle blower, however Midway has been the purveyor of weak games lately. I can not think of an excellent game since The Suffering or Psi-Ops that was well produced by the company. Judging from both those games, there seems to be a serious budget constraint from Midway which leads me to back Smith in his remarks. This, mixed with the dilemma around GS and Gerstmann, has certainly painted a bleaker image of the industry than I had previously imagined. I just hope with the pressures of the next-gen funding and development that future games are still able to defy the odds and come out excellent.

Grampy_Bone
Grampy_Bone

He wasn't really critisizing his own game, but rather not-so-subtley blaming the game's failure on the publisher. So yeah you can understand why they canned him.

ultrazone
ultrazone

Hey, this sounds familiar...fired for telling it like it is. Costs game company money because he says the game isn't what it should have been or could have been. OH YEAH! Thats right. Jeff. The point i'm making is that people are being punished for being honest about the quality of the games being put out. With new technology allowing for better graphics and sound, it seems taht the main goal is to make the game look good but, as we're forgetting about the reason why we play these games. Gameplay. Both Jeff and Smith pointed out the shortcoming of two long awaited titles as far as gameplay and polish goes. They paid dearly. Maybe the industry needs to be a bit more honest with themselves.

TheRealGL
TheRealGL

Are you sure he said Audi? No Mercedes? maybe Volkswagen?

bucanero05
bucanero05

so did he leave in an Audi? or does the main character of blacksite drive an Audi? I don't get it ------------------------------------------------- LOL, that was funny.

firstfist
firstfist

Don't see how you get he feels the game deserves better than its middling reviews, is saying that the game is crap? Are you all not reading the article? He isn't 100% bashing his game. He is quoted as saying he didn't like the time constraints that he was under, but goes on saying that he thought the game deserved better reviews.

omrikk87
omrikk87

well , i guess now we found out why most of midway's games are average , this is a warning for any company *aem* THQ *aem* *EA*

nappan
nappan

I assumed that this was the whole point of him coming out and trashing that company. On the other hand, who cares? Did anyone actually make the error of playing Blacksite? As for Gerstmann getting fired, maybe they'll fix the damned review system back to the way it was and we can all pretend the incompetant little bugger never existed.

hilltops
hilltops

lol @ ikreyer i thought so 2 :D

R3DN1N3
R3DN1N3

Why did u fire Jeff Gamespot???? Even if u guys didn't fire him but didn't speak out in protest than your ALL GUILTY BY ASSOCIATION. Hope u bastards have a good night.

McBainburger
McBainburger

When has Midway come out with anything GOOD the past few years?? Can you think of any sort of AAA title?

jakob_187
jakob_187

@FoxExecutive: Bringing EA into this kind of discussion is almost moot. While I may not always agree with their business tactics, the fact remains that they have more than plenty solid games and franchises under their belt, and I continue to end up buying games that they publish/make. Command and Conquer, Battlefield, Fight Night Round 3, Burnout, Rock Band, Crysis...there are honestly WAY too many to list. The sports titles...you can't really say much for those, as what do you expect? I hate Madden, don't get me wrong...but the fact is that...well, it's a football game. What more can you expect? I mean, it's not like they can really change the way you play football...as it's football. It's a professional organization with a strict set of rules. The most that EA really ever CAN do is update rosters and make it prettier. Outside of that, they just have to learn every year how to better balance the offense and defense for each team so you feel like you are really playing with your favorite team. 07 had horrible D in all versions, and 08 fixed a lot of that problem. So putting that in the same breath as Midway, a company with a horrible track record that I think only produced one INCREDIBLE game in nearly 10 years called Psi-Ops that we're ALL waiting for a sequel to, is a very VERY far stretch, sir.

GrayHalo
GrayHalo

So the other gaming controversy this week was Jeff Gerstmann getting fired?

Muppetguy21
Muppetguy21

There is being honest and constructive and then there is being just plain Stupid. well he was just plain stupid. he could have handled that much more profesional and kept his job. Any upper managment that starts spouting like that should be fired. You represent your company and if you speak like a sailor on shoreleave it also looks bad on your company

ernelson1976
ernelson1976

Wait a second here, guys. This was *his* game, and it seems like he's trying to make excuses for why its a POS--he's blaming everyone but himself.. Like all publishers, they want a game that will make money (if they don't make money, they don't make games). Smith knows that. He's been in the game for awhile. If he was really so admirable, he'd take responsibility for his share of Blacksite's failures. God knows there's enough of that to go around. As for the game being "subversive"--bull. It's boring, derivative nonsense. And not fun to play, either.

Esion
Esion

Hmmmm....An employee in the video game industry fired for criticizing his own game. That sounds vaguely familiar somehow, except that...Ah, what was it. I can't remember. I think though, that the employee's job...no, his duty, was to actually evaluate games. Agh, maybe I just dreamed it.

rancidbastard
rancidbastard

is audi supposed to be 'outie'? I love Clueless too.

Phazevariance
Phazevariance

I see it as a game needs to be nurtured from birth, and through its development cycle it needs certain attention to aspects of it's creation, but when rushed and pushed for completion early, games will get botched, and he was basically saying that it was ruined because of this type of situation...?

decebal
decebal

Publishers f*** up developers all the time. It's the endless battle between the people who think they understand sales numbers, and people who have a vision. The whole Sierra got fired one day because their new publisher "knew" better. Hope he'll go indie.