John Romero on Daikatana "Bitch" Advertisement

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In an interview with Gamesauce magazine (via IndustryGamers), legendary developer John Romero laments over the famed Daikatana advertisement in which he claimed he was "going to make you his bitch." The ad was met with an incredible amount of adversity and led to a large amount of negative press over the game and for Romero himself.

Speaking candidly about the advertisement, John paints a picture of what happened:

I never wanted to make you my bitch, not you, not them, not any of the other players and, most importantly, not any of my fans. Up until that ad, I felt I had a great relationship with the gamer and game development community, and that ad changed everything. That stupid ad. I regret it, and I apologize for it.

Romero explains that the ad originated from trash-talking during deathmatches, but without context it comes across as abrasive and offensive.

There's the whole culture of smack talk that goes with games and especially FPS's, and that was something I was known for. If you deathmatched me, if you even played a game of foosball against me, I was so over the top. And I wasn't alone. At id, we smashed shit - desks, monitors, keyboards, whatever. It was part of the culture at the time. So, while we all said shit to one another, it was within context. Imagine if someone from The Who went into their local music store and started smashing guitars. A lot of people would be thinking, "What the fuck? What assholes!" On stage, in context, though, it's not only okay, but expected.

Although the man handling marketing for Daikatana was fired a few months after the ad was released, Romero admits that he "should have stopped it." Regardless, he is aware that the game itself had issues outside of the failed marketing campaign, citing the sidekick AI and the volatile situation at ION Storm during development.

It's a great read on some of the history behind the ad along with Romero's beliefs on MMO development and some fond memories of releasing DOOM.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 19, 2010 6:01 PM

    ugh john romero shouldn't have had to explain himself. offended people aren't the demographic

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      May 19, 2010 6:06 PM

      It's fine for a post-mortem. "That ad was a mistake." I don't remember him trying to explain his way out of it when it ran.

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      May 19, 2010 6:50 PM

      Actually, that's wrong.

      The problem was that the target demographic was offended.

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      May 19, 2010 8:15 PM

      I have to agree entirely. The ad fucking worked if we're talking about it almost a decade later?

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        May 19, 2010 8:21 PM

        If Romeros aspiration was to have this game and ad be the butt of jokes above all other bad games, then yes it worked. But I doubt that was the type of success he was going for. I would think he was shooting for dedicated mod community, hearalded landmark among PC gamers, one of the top grossing games of all time, that kind of success.

        But ya, Diakatana and this ad deserves more than what it gets in the press and in casual gamer talk. But it is what it is. I and saying it "worked" is a spin at best.