Cian Hassett
27 Feb, 2011

Bloody Good Time Review

360 Review | A bloody lie.
It's just like Team Fortress 2 but with movies and stuff! Oh no, it isn't. Comparing Ubisoft's Bloody Good Time to Team Fortress 2 is like publicly excreting outside the front door of Valve's main office. The similarities barely stretch beyond the fact that both are multiplayer and both are first-person shooters, but for a measly 400 MSP (AU$6.50), is Bloody Good Time worth the pocket change? Maybe, and it's a big maybe. Assuming a few of your mates feel like foolishly purchasing this, a minuscule amount of fun can be had. If they don't, then you're going to be playing this on your own.

To start off, there is a bit of a story here. A terribly annoying director, whose actors vanished under suspicious circumstances, has himself gone missing. Now based in some abandoned location on Earth, he has built three movie sets and thrown generic actors in there to battle each other to the death. You're better off trying to ignore all of this nonsense, because that's exactly what it is. It would have been forgivable, except that the director also acts as the commentator during matches. To put it politely, he is one of the worst commentators in video game history. He doesn't say much, but when that occasional burst of audio rips into your game, you'll feel like teaming up with your enemies to hunt the idiot down. With the stupid scenario done and dusted, let's discuss the gameplay and how it pales in comparison to Team Fortress 2.

Why hello thaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr...

Why hello thaaaaaaaaarrrrrrr...
Although, that would be unfair, considering the difference in budget and price. In all honesty, Bloody Good Time has a couple of interesting ideas. Most shooters will give you a standard set of weapons to tweak and upgrade, but not here. Instead, you'll start off unarmed and be forced into acquiring one of the many weapons scattered around each map (sniper rifles, bats, kitchen utensils and so on). There's also a number of defensive items which add a nice mix to proceedings. Everything has a specific purpose but the HUD becomes too overcrowded, so you'll easily lose track of what needs to be done and how certain items operate. However, even if you don't have a weapon, there's usually a way to take out your opponents. Traps are rigged all over the place, ranging from brutal spikes to collapsing floors, and everything in between. Killing your friends in this manner is a joy. The controls however, don't feel natural at all. Movement is sluggish and the shoulder buttons aren't quick enough when you're desperately trying to change weapons in a hurry. Because there's no class system, every character is identical and in turn, Bloody Good Time becomes tiresome before you'll ever get a chance to see the potential.

Since this is a budget title of sorts, content is strictly limited and Bloody Good Time has a very short lifespan. There's only three maps and none of them offer enough variety to keep you entertained, but the graphical style can be appreciated when you're choosing a character. All of the models are rendered fairly well, and the game will choose a random name for you, often leading to hilarious results. Four different modes are included here, most of them are rudimentary but 'Hunt' distances itself from the rest. You'll be assigned a single target to kill and that's the only way to earn stars/points, killing anyone else will trigger the security guards into making life very difficult indeed. The whole security element is a real pain and Bloody Good Time, with an extra bit of freedom, could have been more satisfying. Success is driven by map knowledge as opposed to skill with the triggers. As a result, matches become unbalanced, infuriating and messy.


Bloody Good Time really falls to pieces when you try to connect online. Lobbies are rarely available and over the past ten days, we were only able to find a total of two. After joining, the game immediately froze when we selected a character. This happened on both occasions so we were unable to properly test the online functionality... because it's completely broken. For a title that has been designed with Xbox Live as a top priority, the outcome is shocking. Bloody Good Time is unplayable with lag, so the only way you can squeeze some fun out of here is with local multiplayer. Playing solo is an alternative, but who likes playing against AI? And it's poor AI. Targets will wander around, occasionally stopping to stand still with their back turned to you, making the challenge non-existent.

This is a basic package with very little to maintain your interest. Bloody Good Time is one of the cheapest downloadable titles on the platform, and if you can wrangle a few players together, there's about an hour of entertainment to be found. The main problem is that a tiny amount of players are still active, so any potential is cancelled out by barren servers. It's a shame, because there are a couple of redeeming features. Taking the low price tag into account, it's still difficult to recommend Bloody Good Time unless you're bored and literally have nothing else to play. These days, you really do get what you pay for... and you're paying for a whole lot of nothing.
The Score
A spectacular failure in terms of content and technical quality. Don't bother.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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3 years ago
"What was it like working with Ubisoft on the game?

Contractually, no comment.

In general, having worked in the industry for over 12 years, I can say that the creative freedom and the efficiency of independent development is somewhat inevitably lost, and that the milestone driven nature of working with a publisher is both open to abuse by publishers due to it's basis on subjective results (try to define "good" & "fun" in a contract!), and inefficient due to the slow turnaround of feedback and the distance of the working relationship.

While I have never met a developer who has a good thing to say about a publisher, I was still hoping that it would be a lot more of a co-operative venture, taking the best of Outerlight, and the best of Ubisoft, and combining them. On a positive note, I can say they had an excellent QA team in Romania.

While people often compare the games industry to the film industry, I'd rather compare a games team with a band, trying to come up with a new hit album, the publisher being the guy that sits in the corner and suggests you try a major rather than minor key for the chorus, and maybe change the lyrics to mention lady Diana...oh, and have you thought about hot backing singers, and maybe wearing monkey suits, marketing says they are both big right now. Not ideal.

In retrospect do you believe that Outerlight should have self-published the game?

I guess this is the right time to talk about the two business models, publisher and independent.

The traditional publishing model is awful for developers, it's their gilded cage. It requires costly pitching, to emissaries of publishers, who return to corporate rooms & badly pitch the idea to large groups who need consensus to act, and typically take 6 months to close any deal they offer. Publishers are motivated by greed, but restrained by fear of risk, and thus seek sure deals, licenses and sequels, which makes pitching innovation almost pointless. Should you get a deal, the usual is 20 percent royalties, but after the retailer takes their share of 50 percent, you are getting 20 percent of the 50 percent left (so 10 percent of retail price). That doesn't sound too bad, until you realise that the developer is the one that actually pays for the development, the publisher has just advanced the developer their share of the royalties to pay for making the game.

So...the developer takes 10 percent of retail, after ALL costs have been repaid from that 10 percent. Assuming the game cost £2m to make, and sold for 20 pounds, the developer gets 2 pounds for every unit, once the 2 million punds is repaid, so that's 1 million copies before the developer sees their first 2 pounds, meanwhile the publisher has recouped their 2 million pound and is sitting on an extra 6 million pounds. What happens next? History shows us the developer goes bust, or gets acquired by a publisher, and the publisher maybe buys another publisher for kicks.

The self-funded, digitally distributed model should be the future, it brings 70 percent of the retail price back to the developer, which means 14 pounds for every unit sold. Assuming the game cost 2 million pounds to make (although it wouldn't, being independently developed it would be half the price, being twice as efficient!), that's a break even for the developer at 142,000 units, instead of at 1 million units. If they did get very lucky and sell 1 million units they'd make a profit of 12 million pounds, instead of 0. For an efficient team like ours, we made the game for 700,000 pounds, so our break even would be at 50,000 copies. Instead of games development being seen as a hit or miss industry, it should be seen as a break even or profit industry, there is no miss, only the chance to do better next time.

All money aside, innovation is hard. Coming up with the next big idea is hard, and it's even harder to make it into a reality. Creating a good team, keeping them happy, and keeping the project on track is hard. Developers don't need a monkey on their backs making it harder.

However, the independent route still has the key flaw of needing funding. Investors are justifiably skeptical about developers (after all, we usually go bust), and banks don't lend, despite the public bail out, so where will the development capital come from? At the moment, the main option remains a publishing deal, and while it seems like a lifeline, it's more like a shackle with a death sentence at the end."

3 years ago
^ I read that just after this game came out, and I couldn't agree more. It is EXACTLY like that when dealing with pubs. There is no way get out of that god forsaken loop of hell unless you manage to find someone with enough cash and balls to allow you to self publish.

And these guys did go under after this game came out I believe too.
3 years ago
They went under before the game was even publicly announced by Ubisoft. The interview I posted above was by the Studio head who was the only one left to talk to when the game was coming out, he was hoping that sales of The Ship would continue to allow the company to "exist" until royalties came back from Bloody Good Time which seems very unlikely. There was a bit of hoopla about Ubisoft bringing in Bloody Good Time so they could pretend to care about publishing it whilst stealing the mechanics for the multiplayer portion of AssCreed Brotherhood but I can't remember the details 100%.

In any case it is sad to see talented modders who created a fantastic experience in The Ship fall into the trap of retail publishers. Thankfully DD has come a long way since The Ship so hopefully other indies can steer clear of the likes of Acti/Ubi/EA etc.
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    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  28/10/2010 (Confirmed)
Year Made:

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