Dyad dev Shawn McGrath on his game’s four-month European delay: “It’s totally my fault”
Dyad, a psychedelic shooter-cum-racer for PS3, was released on the North American PlayStation Store on July 17. Almost four months later it is finally being released in Europe, joining a growing list of mostly independently developed games to suffer significant delays in crossing the Atlantic. Developer Shawn McGrath insists, however, that those who take to comments threads and forums to blame SCEE are wide of the mark; instead, it was his lack of awareness of the workload required to bring a game to European shores that caused the delay.
“It’s totally my fault,” McGrath tells us in a phone interview. “Everyone seems to blame Sony, but it’s not really their fault. This is our first time publishing a game, and I had no idea that there’s this whole fucking bunch of other shit that needs to get done for Europe.
“Everything we do for the North American launch – there’s a tonne of store banners that you have to create, a bunch of marketing copy, things like that – has to be translated into five languages: English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, or EFIGS. Store descriptions need to be translated into, like, 17 languages or something.”
In fact, much of that work was completed when Dyad launched in North America, with McGrath originally planning a simultaneous worldwide release, the sort of thing that is now an accepted standard in digital distribution, making these Sony delays all the more puzzling. But it was McGrath’s inexperience that got the better of him.
“I didn’t write the font rendering code robustly enough to support multiple languages with proper text wrapping and things like that,” he admits. “German words are really long. I didn’t realise how weird other languages were: there are headings in Dyad that I wrote for six characters, but I made sure would fit for 12 characters. ‘Top speed’ is something like 46 characters in German, it’s ridiculous.
“There’s a whole tonne of stuff, and I was totally unprepared for it because it was the first time I had done this and I really just didn’t know.”
Now, 15 weeks and a day on from its North American release, Dyad is available on the EU PlayStation Store. McGrath is putting the game on sale immediately, discounting it by 30 per cent to £7.99/€9.99 – “As, like, a sorry-I-fucked-up kind of thing” – and members of the PlayStation Plus subscription service get a further 20 per cent off for the next fortnight. You can read our Dyad review here.
Yet people will continue to point the finger at Sony – at the moment it’s Retro City Rampage, still absent from EU PSN a month after its US launch, that’s the focus of attention – but McGrath doesn’t join in. Still, though, one has to wonder: does Sony not provide any support to help first-time developers through the localisation process?
“Oh yeah! They tested it,” he laughs. “They QAed it, and would come back with everything that was wrong, and just be, like, ‘There’s a lot of things that are wrong’.”