Archive entry by Ste Pickford on Tue, 28 Apr 2009
Subject: Future Tactics
This is the original logo for the game that was eventually released as Future Tactics on PS2 / Xbox and Gamecube by Crave and Jo Wood. It was designed by Head First (in fact, they came up with the actual title as well), who also designed the Wetrix and AquaAqua covers and logos for us.
The game was called Pillage all the way through development - which was quite a long time due to difficulty with publishers along the way - and only changed to Future Tactics a month or two before release, so it's really hard for me to think of the game as anything but Pillage. I probably saw this logo every day at work for well over two years.
The name change was at the request of our US publisher as (like Plok, and several other of our early games) our title wasn't descriptive enough. As the game was a new, unknown IP, it made sense to try and explain what the game was to potential customers as clearly as possible, rather than trying to be clever and cryptic. A lesson we've tried hard to learn since then (all our subsequent game titles have been a lot more descriptive - if still sometimes a bit cheeky - than our earlier clever, cryptic ones).
At one point we signed the game to local publisher Rage (for around $2m if memory serves, which even then wasn't a massive amount), before they went bust mid-development.
Rage didn't like the title of the game, and wanted us to change it, but they never gave us a good reason why it should change. We loved it - we thought it was short, snappy and memorable.
Rage kept talking mysteriously about marketing concerns, and presumably they were worried about a vague, nebulous connection to the word rape, but they never articulated this to us. Without a good reason to change it, or a better alternative, we remained firm that Pillage was the name of the game. They kept asking us to come up with alternate titles, and both us and Rage compiled massive long lists of potential titles for the game, but none were any better. Then they started coming up with arbitrary reasons why the title was unsuitable. One reason they game up with was that their French distributor didn't like the name, so it had to be changed. Apparently the word wouldn't work in France, or in the French language (they couldn't pronounce it, or something), or so they told us. We smelled a rat, and did the tiniest bit of research and found that pillage was in fact a word from the French language, and its meaning in French was pretty much identical to the English meaning. They were just making up excuses because they didn't like it.
Anyway, the name discussion all faded into the background when Rage stopped paying us because they were running out of money. We ended up cancelling the contract and trying to find another home of the game, while continuing to fund development ourselves, which proved to be tougher than we expected.
I still think Pillage is a great title for a game, and I'd love us to use it in the future some time. As long as nobody nicks it in the meantime.
» Pillage softography page