There has been a little controversy over the build of Rare’s Viva Piñata at LGC. Fellow game site 1up claims that the early build was “utterly unplayable. It’s not surprising — framerate issues have plagued the game since it was first demoed before E3, likely due to the great detail on the characters and environments — it’s just a shame that it would be shown to an audience (the general public) not necessarily accustomed to pre-release software bugginess.”
John Porcaro from the Xbox team explained why the problem occurred, “As for the game-play issues, there’s actually a good explanation. From what I’ve been told, the issue is with a piece of hardware on the kiosks that we are using. Normally, we don’t use retail kiosks at trade shows, but for GC, we did. I’m told the retail kiosks include a special piece of hardware that prevents someone from messing with the settings, or accessing the hard drive. For Viva Piñata, nobody can get to the tutorial because they can’t leave the game (which asks for a save destination). Also, Viva Piñata has an auto save feature, and with these kiosks, it’s not “aware” of where to save, so it pauses every few seconds while it tries to access the locked hard drive. I hear the team has removed the extra device from the show floor hardware, and the games should be performing more normally. At the same time, we should have made sure that we had knowledgeable staff on hand to provide instruction, and we should have double-checked the game play before putting it on the show floor. So our bad.”
None of us here have played Viva Pinata yet so we’ll reserve any judgment until later, but the cartoon is pretty good. We’re hoping that the game will surpass the quality of the TV show.