There is no war in Sports Story
A new patch for Sports Story on Nintendo Switch has censored a cheeky reference to the game’s troubled development, with the new dialogue sounding similar to the Ba Sing Se government officials from The Last Airbender. What was once a small easter egg for the developers to vent their frustration has become a slightly troubling cover-up.
Sports Story launched in December 2022 with mixed reviews. Critics claimed the game was broken many levels with some even saying that the game was in an unfinished state. It seems that the developers at Sidebar Games were aware of these issues and vented their frustrations in a small development room within the game that players could access. The character dialogue in the developer room pre-patch seemed like the team was upset while the “head” of the studio downplayed issues to the player. The studio head greets the player by telling them, “We’re currently on an enforced break right now. Our new game is going to be coming out any day now”. A developer cuts him off by stating, “You said that a year ago!”
The conversations only further highlight issues, with one developer lamenting that studio interference has killed his original vision, while another angrily comments that they should be making sure the game works instead of putting in more features. These comments paint a bleak picture of an overworked and bloated development cycle for the sports RPG. While it may be tongue-in-cheek it makes the removal all the more suspect.
A patch released on January 29, 2023, notes that access to the room has been blocked for players. This information appeared to be correct as the original method of entry no longer worked, but dedicated players have found a new workaround to get into the room. It seems that the developers knew that players would still find ways in, either by in-game manipulation or third-party tampering, so they also adjusted the dialogue for the room, which was not listed in the patch notes. The new dialogue from the studio head now reads, “Not only are we ahead of schedule on development, we are also setting records in employee happiness. Our staff are all well-rested, well-fed and their self-esteem is skyrocketing. I promise”. The rest of the conversations in the room use this same level of corporate speak, with some small hints that these statements are coerced. Again this could just be humor but the patch locking players out of the room hints that there may be some at the studio who were unhappy with the initial dialogue. Whatever the case may be, it is an incredibly odd occurrence for a game that has struggled in the market due to technical issues.
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