So, yesterday Wendy’s (yes the fast food place) released Feast of Legends, a role playing game. And if you go off my twitter feed, it was the end of the world. Several independent game developers were angry at this publicity stunt. They were mad that a fast food company got more exposure in one day than any game developer gets in their entire time of making games. Others were angry that the a mega corporation that doesn’t treat its workers well co-opted the hobby.
I am not here to weigh in on the ethics of what Wendy’s did by releasing Feast of Legends. On one hand, I can totally understand the complaints from the indy world. Many independent game developers struggle to get their product out there. Plus, they spend a lot of time, love, and money creating their games. For a fast food joint to come in and steal their hunger, as it were, has got to sting. I get it.
And this goes into the idea of the redhead led fast food restaurant has co-opted the hobby. I am not sure I agree with that take. Did they make a silly game that is both serious and a parody? Of course they did. And, did they have a lot of money to throw at it? Again, yes they did. Does that mean they are trying to corner the RPG market or slight game developers? I don’t think so.
Besides, as it states in this Forbes article, Critical Role played a hand in making this game happen, and that is a popular and well respected bastion of nerddom. I know not everyone enjoys CR (and I have never seen an episode), but lots of people do.
In the Face of Wendy’s Feast of Legends, What’s an Indy Dev to Do?
Does CR’s involvement in the game mean that a corporation can’t co-op a hobby? Of course not, but it makes it less likely. I don’t think indy devs are going to lose buyers because of this free pdf game. In fact, it might act as inspiration for some. Sure, they can’t use the exact ideas from this book, but they can easily adapt it to another franchise. In fact, someone else I follow on twitter was doing just that. It may have been tongue in cheek, but he tagged several big fast food chains in an attempt to get them to bite on one of his pitches.
But beyond getting mad, or trying to get a company to hire you to write an RPG, what can you do? Well, of course, if you are a creator: keep creating and keep promoting. I know it’s tough, and it can be frustrating to have a burger joint come along and put out something that shits on your efforts. But, you have to ask yourself: does Wendy’s Feast of Legends really shit on my efforts? I think the honest answer to that is no.
And of course, people can get mad about this. No one needs my permission to have feelings. So, yeah, get mad, and then put that energy to use. Petition fast food places to support indy developers. Or, promote your work and the work of other creators you know. Game designer or not, check DriveThruRpg and find games you can buy, try, and spread the word about.
By its very nature, independent game design is always behind the 8-ball. We need to support each other in ant way possible. But you know what? Part of that support is focusing on what we can do for our community.
Keep Trying and Don’t Let the Evil Corporation Get You Down
So, yeah, Wendy’s made Feast of Legends, and that made some people upset. It also tickled a lot of people’s funny bones (mine included). I don’t laugh because of the possible perceived damage to the indy developers. I would never laugh at that. It’s a hard job that usually comes with minimal monetary rewards. However, I do laugh because the game is silly. It’s full of bad puns and ridiculous locations, and I kind of want to play it.
We can so often become so wrapped up in what we’re doing that we get angry at the success of others. And true, Wendy’s is a major corporation with lots of money, but I think getting mad at them is a waste of time and energy, both of which are precious commodities. Again, though, I am not here to tell anyone how to feel or what to think. So please, don’t think I am.
If you have made it this far, thanks for reading. Please leave a comment if you have something to say about this.