Early Access: Mad Game Tycoon Impressions (Part 1)

MGT

I love tycoon games and management games, I love the grind towards success and digging deep to get there, I put an ungodly amount of time into these sorts of games, my Steam account is not going to be pretty reading on my death bed:

  • Banished – 275 hours
  • Game Dev Tycoon – 245 hours
  • Prison Architect – 97 hours
  • Rollercoaster Tycoon Deluxe – 73 hours
  • Football Manager 2015 – 761 hours

Mad Games Tycoon is somewhat similar to Game Dev Tycoon although rather than just one relatively small team, you can hire many employees, make multiple games at one time, license out engines for extra money and buy much larger studios for your employees to work in. You can also have a marketing and customer support departments, produce your own games with disc printing pressers, host your own server rooms for MMOs and in the future the game will open up with music, graphic studios, quality assurance and motion capturing studios.

Its a lot more about studio management and I really like that, its in early access so I don’t expect it to be “complete” but these are my thoughts on it as it is today.

From an early access view I think the game is quite polished, or at least it is polished sufficiently that I don’t notice many rough edges, it looks nice enough, runs smoothly and works well on a technical level which is nice.

What it lacks immediately is an end game, Game Dev Tycoon ends after x amount of years and gives you a score and a reason to keep playing which I love that about it but this doesn’t even end. Once you get to a certain stage you realise its just continuing on, the market stops changing, there are no new DRM types available and no more consoles launch, its a strange way to do it to be honest especially as the year has been added in to the date (you start in 1980).

Playing on easy and medium took me not much time to master and blast my way through to the big leagues, with plenty of money and a massive studio to make games in with many employees.

Hard mode took me a while to crack but it comes down to this: invest in your engine at the beginning, make games and minimise losses until your engine is top of the line with 16 colour support then you will get a hit sufficiently enough that if you sequel the hell out of it you will make enough money to move offices/make a new engine or whatever you like. You won’t be rich at this point but you’ll have enough money that if you follow that pattern with tons of sequels for a buffer, a bigger studio and hiring more people the game will be perfectly comfortable.

Making engines helps both your games and bank balance, you can sell them (which the game does randomly) to supplement your income and go towards offsetting losses from games which in turn then helps you build towards your next engine, it is easy when you “get” how the game works. The latest update included the patch note “Balance: NPCs now make better game”, I didn’t realise how this would affect me until I started a new save and I was raking in money from licensing as their games sold a lot more.

Making games also has a limited appeal once you have got to the time when you have cracked it, after a certain time as long as your engine isn’t outdated all your games will score high 80s to low 90s and if you pick the right publisher (go for fanbase genre over popularity) you will be quids in and largely fine. There doesn’t seem to be more depth to that side of the gameplay, with every game a hit there is not much enjoyment to have from it.

Game Dev Tycoon and Mad Games Tycoon differ in this way, the former has an unspecified review algorithm which can be frustrating but generally seems fair if you play the game, you will occasionally make an average or less than great game but it can still do well enough and budgets grow massively as you make new engines, go multiplatform and switch between small, medium, large and AAA games. Mad Games Tycoon doesn’t specify game size, you just make a game, its a bit peculiar how its lacking in some ways really.

Being in early access perhaps I am being harsh, it’s only been out for 2 months and I think it is the game Dev Tycoon sequel I’ve been looking for in some ways, it has complexity in multiple teams possible, more control over marketing, appealing to your fanbase (support), you can produce your own game, have your own servers, I like it a lot and the upcoming separate studios will add another layer, but given how shallow the rest of it seems I don’t think it will make much difference.

With games like this I enjoy the struggle of breaking out, grinding through doing contract work, making engines that are licensed out, and surviving, once I make it it’s not nearly as exciting if I’m just hoarding money and not doing anything with it. On Game Dev Tycoon the incentive and more money is used on making your own console, the cost of games increases massively and generally it isn’t until the very later years as you come towards an end and looking at your final score that you start to have potentially big cash reserves.

There are a number of things locked in early access: graphics/audio/bug testing studios and free to play, so more is obviously coming and I know that I just hope Eg code are able to give me the game I want.

There a few other oddities though, some of the topics overlap such as genre sports game topic sports, soccer, football, boxing, why is sports on there twice? Cities is spelt citys as well which seems lazy and it doesn’t seem to have any correlation between genre and topic which makes it easier for making games in genres and topics that are popular but disappointing to be missing that lack of complexity.

Its still early, I like the game and have played it a lot but the latest patches just make it easier and easier even on hard, I hope there is big plans for it in the future to round it off and make it satisfying as I would love for it to be the game I think it can be.

I will revisit my thoughts with part 2 and possibly even more once we get further down the line with updates.