“Once choice changes everything.”—Revolution 60's Promotional Materials, revealing more than Giant SpaceKat realizes
Revolution 60 is an IOS game that was developed by Giant SpaceKat Studios, Brianna Wu's development firm, and indeed, its flagship title. As of August 15th, 2015, it is, in fact, the only title produced by Giant SpaceKat Studios thus far. The game was billed as free-to-play on the Apple Store and on xyo.net, but this is somewhat of a misnomer; it actually costs $5.99 (US), done through an in-app purchase, to unlock the game's content (though the demo is free). An optional world file, known as The Chessboard Lethologica, which has all sorts of information about Revolution 60, its world, and its characters is available if one purchases it for $3.99; this bonus content is featured by lolcow wiki staff as part of this article.
The game was slated for release on PC and Mac during the summer of 2014, but due to various issues, Giant SpaceKat Studios took over two years to get the port out. It finally released on PC on September 6th, 2016. The game is $9.99, with a "Special Edition DLC" offering a host of secondary content available for $4.99. It has gone on to be critically panned due to a number of problems, including its mechanical problems and a number of game-breaking bugs.
- 1 Development and Reception
- 2 Let's Play Series
- 3 Breakdown of Game Design
- 4 Plot Synopsis
- 5 Review Tampering and Collusion
- 6 Development Trailer
- 7 Holdovers from Socially Unconscious
- 8 Steam Version
- 9 References
Development and Reception
Revolution 60 is, in many ways, a continuation of her previous works done when Socially Unconscious Productions was up and running. After the complete failure of SOCCON, and the inability of Flynt to get his works publicized, Brianna Wu decided to take a bunch of concepts from Socially Unconscious and bring them to the world of video gaming in early 2011.
Wu claims she originally intended the game to be a strategy title, but began to work on concepts for a 3D game after seeing Infinity Blade, an IOS Role-playing game. Wu would later describe being lured towards making Revolution 60 a narrative-driven game after playing the game Heavy Rain and the Bioware/EA RPG Mass Effect.
Many characters and ideas from Socially Unconscious would wind up in Revolution 60, including Allison Holiday and Minuete Kiley. The unfocused design choices for Revolution 60 are reflected in the gameplay, which is a bizarre mash-up of different ideas and concepts, resulting in the game feeling generally unfocused.
The game launched on IOS in late 2013, almost four years after work began on it, and though it initially got surprisingly positive reviews at launch, a great many of these reviews proved to be highly suspect due to the close relationship Brianna Wu had with the reviewers. User reviews were less kind to the game, calling out for a seeming lack of quality and poor optimization.
According to Xyo.net user statitics, Revolution 60 has been downloaded under 170,000 times, the bulk of which did not go on to purchase the full version. According to AppAnnie data, Within two weeks of its release, Revolution 60 ranked just #1,322 for iPhone game downloads on July 24. It also peaked its gross revenue then, coming in at #840 among all iPhone games. On October 11, right after Brianna Wu's Operation FalseFag II self-flagging and after trying to say a threat by Something Awful was enough of a threat to her to cause her to leave her home (while conducting all her interviews from said home), Revolution 60 saw a brief bounce in popularity, reappearing at #1,005 in the top 1500, only to drop back to to #1,318 two days later, before falling off the edge and never returning to the top 1,500 hence.
While Revolution 60 is by no means a terrible game, and it did surprisingly well for an indie game launched with minimal fanfare, the game recouped less than $100,000 while costing over $400,000 (and four years) to make, marking it as an economic failure. Despite this, Brianna Wu has repeatedly and constantly repeated that the game was a massive success - something she's said in her Women in Tech article as well as repeatedly on Twitter, somewhat similar to how Brianna claimed SOCCON was a massive success in its promotional materials. Indeed, not enough people had bought it or reviewed it on IOS to even display an aggregate review score.
With this in mind it should come as no surprise that Brianna Wu is utterly intolerant of criticism towards Revolution 60, claiming that the game is "for neogamers" , and that those who thought the game was bad are simply dudebros who don't understand game design. During the GethN7 Incident, Brianna Wu became visibly enraged when GethN7 brought up the fact that Revolution 60 was a critical and commercial failure. During development, Brianna Wu complained about the feedback she got from the game's QA testers, which she claimed were too focused on the gameplay - and which, in turn, she blamed on the testers being male.
One interesting quirk of Revolution 60 is that its character designs were originally much more overtly sexualized and exploitative. In early promotional works and videos, Crimson 09 is depicted as wearing lingerie, and Brianna Wu was openly on-board with using the sexuality of the characters to boost buzz about the game, such as in her Moby profile, where she argued that Valentina's cleavage displaying as part of the icon "wouldn't hurt sales." She eventually ratcheted back this rhetoric and Crimson 09's appearance was toned down substantially, though the Icon of Valentina's face (and cleavage) remained the IOS icon for Revolution 60 until the Special Edition release on PC.
Despite its rough start, Revolution 60 did succeed in getting a Kickstarter campaign set up for porting the game to PC and Mac at the tail-end of the game's development cycle. It met its goals soonafter, and it was announced the PC versions would be coming to PC and Mac - via Steam Greenlight - in June of 2014. It was suspected that with almost all of the game's PC conversion handled by Wu's team during development (since it was an Unreal port).
Unfortunately, this was not the case; Revolution 60 took over two years to hit Steam, and Giant Spacekat Studios repeatedly failed to reach deadlines. Though the game was initially intended to be a straight port, Brianna Wu later expanded on this, stating her intent to release Revolution 60 as a new "special edition" with more features, improved visuals, and a number of tweaks to gameplay and style. The new version of the game eventually launched in September of 2016.
Let's Play Series
Lolcow Wiki maintains a Let's Play series of the IOS version of Revolution 60. Interested parties can watch it here.
Breakdown of Game Design
Revolution 60 bills itself as Heavy Rain meets Mass Effect. The game itself prides itself on being a story-driven and narrative-driven experience, in which the player, controlling one Agent Holiday - an assassin for the organization Chessboard, must help get control of an armed orbital weapons platform before it can be utilized by hostile parties. At times, the player will also control Holiday's associates Amelia and Minuette.
The game itself features three distinct categories of gameplay - exploration-based segments where the player must determine where Holiday goes, interactive cut-scenes using quick-time events, moral choice interactions done in the fashion of Mass Effect, and grid-based real-time combat. Each mode has its own unique controls and mechanics, often demanding that the player conduct quick-time events to advance or finish off an enemy.
Revolution 60, if nothing else, is a highly ambitious game, attempting to blend intrigue, narrative focus, and cinematic sequences, but in doing so, tends to expose the sum of its parts, which it sadly, is not more than. We will get into the various issues Revolution 60 has below, and though hardly a terrible game, especially for IOS, it has a number of issues keeping it well outside the realm of greatness.
Graphics and Visual Design
“Metal should solve some of the biggest technical limitations Unreal developers like myself face on iOS. For example, in my game Revolution 60 a character turns and fires at a cyborg hibernating in a tube. The bullet flies through the glass, and the cyborg smashes through the top of the tube. When we first made the visual effect, we had 50 shards of glass spraying as she smashed through the tube. It looked great on modern iPads, but when we installed it on an iPhone 4S, the frame rate slowed to a crawl.”
The graphics of Revolution 60 are sharp and colorful, making use of the Unreal 3 engine. The character models are extremely stylized, and clearly done to embrace a sense of 1960s sci-fi kitsch, harkening back to old space serials with silvered outfits and references to weird science. A number of these are easily apparent (Minuette's bio-mods for example). Many modern games use similarly unique styles to achieve a level of identity all their own, and in this fashion, Revolution 60 does have its merits; a unique look all its own, with the characters having both extremely expressive and stylish designs. Games like No More Heroes, Team Fortress 2, and Dragon's Crown similarly use stylized character designs in order to give their games and world a unique feel, so the designs, which have been criticized by some, are in good company here.
Unfortunately, whilst it has a unique style and look, Revolution 60's other visual aspects are far from great. The game features incredibly poor use of lighting effects, to the point that often the only shading going on is used to establish character and environment shadows. Whether this was a stylistic choice (such as trying to make the game maintain cartoonish visuals or a cel-shaded look) or one done due to limitations of those working on it is unclear, but it makes the characters look jarring and awkward in some of the environments, especially darker and more industrial ones. The environment designs are cluttered and jarring, often with bizarre color choices that make them look dissonant and out of place. Environment re-use is also rampant, with the game repeatedly having the player explore the same environments on multiple occasions. One specific connecting hall junction is used in the game upwards of 8 times. The repeated texture and environment use makes the environments seem lifeless and makes the layout of the station seem confusing.
In addition to prop re-use and environment re-use, enemies are also repeatedly re-used. By the time you're about 20% of the way through N313, you've seen the overpowering majority of the game's visual content - all the Geishabot enemies are identical, all the Fifth Column soldiers are identical, and you fight the same Bruiser boss four times in the main story alone. Even the female characters have a virtually identical facial structure and body mesh to the point where you can swap some add-ons and get a different character. This laziness has been widely criticized, and Brianna Wu has been utterly intolerant of people giving such criticism. In one Twitter exchange on February 12th, 2016, she flew completely off the handle over comments that Revolution 60 looked like a late-generation PS1 game stylistically and proceeded to attack the user over how Revolution 60 could not possibly run on PS1 hardware. Even the comments of the articles covering this bit of Wu going full burn pointed out the obvious issues with the argument she was making.
Revolution 60 has far more problems than mere asset re-use - especially due to the schizophrenic design of the game's assets. Whilst much of the game seems to want to call homage to the aforementioned 60s sci-fi cliches, the bulk of the plot takes itself extremely seriously, portraying a dystopian future and featuring a dark plot. These two objectives are directly at odds, and the game's assets reflect this, essentially being unable to choose a consistent tone - a sciency space station tileset gives way to a place where some idiot drew on a wall in crayon (and did multiple memes and references whilst they were at it). Characters like Minuette wear checkerboard minidresses and feature deely bobbers as part of a communications implant and this is somehow supposed to be tactical gear.
The game is also terribly optimized on IOS - on PC it runs much better, but on IOS, it's such an issue, and so blatant and obvious that it effects dozens of aspects of the game's design from how the QTEs play to how the player can react in combat. Putting it simply, Revolution 60 is not optimized at all for the hardware and indeed shows terrible use of resources. The models of the game are needlessly complex, often requiring multiple animation calls for each that whilst it does allow them to have more fancy facial animations, also eats up memory. Each character in the game has over 10,000 polygons - in a game on a platform where the average polycount per object is often less than half of that. In addition, the actual objects in the game - including the environments and vehicles - are just as detailed, and are giant resource sinks. In an interview Brianna Wu did for CultOfMac, she essentially displayed that the effects were kept simple because how much space everything else took forced them to simplify the effects. 
Effects in Revolution 60 are exceedingly poor. Many graphic effects, including explosions, smoke, fire, and steam effects are extremely lackluster and are either too thin or too heavy, resulting in grenade blasts that look exceptionally weak and gunfire effects that lack impact. This is because Revolution 60 can't handle better effects without further slowdown. Muzzle flash effects lack any style or effect whatsoever, and almost all enemy weapons fire projectiles that look, essentially, the same. Enemy projectiles in the IOS version sometimes desynchronize for their hitboxes, resulting in dodged attacks striking you anyway or attacks that appeared to hit missing entirely. The issue with particle effects carries over to an utter lack of trailing effects; virtually none are used by the game at all except for the ships' engines.
The worst graphical aspect of Revolution 60, however, is that it steals content openly and without credit. Props and environments are repeatedly re-used from royalty-free sites and in at least one case, stolen from Second Life, specifically a number of buildings in the cityscape and props in the control room on N313. Many of the weapons in the game are reskinned versions of existing weapons that are featured on Unreal asset shops, modified to be more fitting for the game environment. While there is no shame in re-using existing assets, many of these are done without giving any actual credit, or done against licensing agreements; for example, the buildings that Giant Spacekat palette-swapped and stole from Second Life' are done under a licensing agreement that says you can modify and share them, but not sell them - which Giant Spacekat Studios did when they put the game on the market.
Audio and Music
Main Article: Revolution 60 Music Sources
Revolution 60 has a solid soundtrack that is completely undermined by the fact that almost all of it is royalty-free and used without giving credit or permission. Many tracks in it, including one that Brianna Wu claims she herself made, are, in actuality, acquired via third-party sites, edited, and renamed to avoid giving credit. This said, much of the OST is good - a mixture of intense synth and tracks intended to give a keen feeling of action. Unfortunately, like the rest of the game, it doesn't have a consistent tone at all.
The game's ending song is Player 2 Press Start, by Danny Weissner.
The voice-work in the game is generally quite good, with a largely professional group of voice-actors that do a fairly good job of characterizing the cast - for the most part. Of the group, Holiday (Jill Melancon) is one of the best, with Crimson 09 (voiced by Amanda Winn-Lee) being one of the only people who appears to be having any fun with her speaking role. However, whilst the voice-cast is quite good, the same cannot be said of the dialogue and writing, which is absolutely atrocious. Most of it is terse and completely unsubtle, and comes across as exceedingly poor, with character motivations being either spelled out minutes in or never mentioned in the actual game. None of the characters have time for proper development. Valentina going down early on and being a tragic plot point for Holiday should, by all accounts, make for a touching moment, but in practice, it's hackneyed and stilted because we know nothing about these characters. Despite so much effort to control narrative pacing, most of the characters ultimately are treated as so much set dressing, and paired with some of the dialogue being outright forgettable when it's not being uncomfortable, we are presented with a world wherein the player is genuinely hard-pressed to care.
Putting it simply: There is not a voice actor in existence that could have saved this script.
Audio mixing and synchronization are bad in the IOS version of Revolution 60. Weapon firing effects are quiet and weak-sounding, even when coming from the ostensibly-not-silenced weapons used by Fifth Column. Explosions sound muted, and there is a shocking lack of effect sounds where they should be, with countless effects lacking impact sounds or discharge noises, resulting in bizarre cases of Holiday shooting something, punching, kicking, or stabbing something and the only noise heard being Holiday's grunting or the discharge of her Needler pistol, making the audio design look half-finished. Even worse, sounds constantly desynchronize from their animations constantly - even during cutscenes - resulting in movements, lip flaps, and more that simply do not match up, and especially when many objects are on-screen. The game has horrendous audio mixing, to the point where some of it comes across as comical. Gunfire and effect noises are drowned out by the soundtrack, audio stuttering is a constant when multiple effects occur at once, and even character dialogue is periodically drowned under background audio or the soundtrack. None of these happen in the PC Version - just the IOS one - but it's jarring nonetheless.
In at least one scene, the voices are synchronized to the wrong lip-flaps, causing Minuete's dialogue to come out of Amelia, and vice-versa.
Revolution 60's gameplay falls into three separate categories: Exploration, Combat, and Cinematics. Each has their own unique mechanics that all interlace into one another at some level. The bulk of Revolution 60 centers around the use of Quick-Time events, or QTEs, which are used to input commands by tracing patterns on the screen, hitting a carefully-timed spot on a timer, or pushing buttons. In and of themselves, Quick-Time Events are hardly an awful game mechanic, though they are maligned by a great many people due to overuse in games that don't need them. In a narrative-driven game like Revolution 60, however, Quick-Time Events can work quite well as an aspect of gameplay, and Revolution 60 does fine to include them given this.
Unfortunately, Quick-Time Events are the gameplay in Revolution 60 and account for fully 90% of the actual game. In these, Holiday and company must complete QTEs in order to solve problems, interact with characters in discussions, and make choices that ultimately effect the flow of the mission and the plot of the game. The only consequence for failing many of these is a lower score, bringing the player closer to one of the "bad endings" in the game; some failures (especially combat ones) have consequences but the bulk are either consequence-free aside from score loss or, more rarely, set up so that they simply cannot be failed, and the game will stay at them, forever, until the QTE is completed, even in situations that make absolutely no sense (such as Holiday perching atop an enemy Astronav).
The game uses a Mass Effect-styled dialogue tree, where a player can choose a professional response or one with "attitude" in the style of the Mass Effect Paragon/Renegade system. The system is implemented poorly, resulting in a number of bizarre quirks. In the IOS Version, it is possible to fail many of these due to command lag, resulting in less proficiency points being acquired, and ergo, guaranteeing a worse ending.
Combat in Revolution 60 is a major component of gameplay. In it, Holiday moves on a grid, taking pot-shots at enemies and moving in close to engage in close-combat and moving to avoid attacks, in a fashion nut unlike Capcom's Megaman Battle Network series. Unfortunately, this is a major area where Revolution 60 has serious problems. Combat in Revolution 60 is slow and lacks impact. While the game has a level-up system and open-ended upgrade system, the battles are hard-coded. Since the game is completely linear, and since you gain the exact amount of XP the game wants you to per battle, each section of the game is, in essence, tailored by the developer, and if taken advantage of could have meant Giant SpaceKat Studios could have made every encounter unique. Sadly, this did not happen, and leveling up as a result lacks any real impact.
Every single battlezone is roughly identical (in both appearance and format), and every enemy has the same overall AI and same overall abilities, plus a few unique ones for each enemy: Each enemy moves more-or-less randomly for a bit, tries to line you up for an attack, and will use one of its various attacks at random. Because of this, there's almost no difference between the enemies beyond their actual attacks and abilities - so even against different foes, almost every foe feels the same, with only Crimson 09, the Bruiser, and Valentina feeling any different. Nothing breaks up the monotony - no obstacles or cover, no unique environments or combat options.
This is made worse by the fact that even if you fail a fight, Holiday will inject a Medkit and get right back into the fight as if nothing happened once you unlock them. Eventually, it's common practice for Holiday to acquire over a dozen of these Medkits over the course of a play-through and essentially remove all tension whatsoever from the combat, since it becomes virtually impossible to lose battles, at which point the combat becomes completely unnecessary busy-work. If you go down, Holiday pulls out and uses a Med-Kit after a QTE, restoring half her health. There's no timer on using them; Holiday will just sit there until you swipe down and continue the battle.
Ultimately, however, the biggest problem Revolution 60 has is in its game mechanics as a whole: It's ridiculously heavily padded and unspeakably boring for the majority of its run-time. In just the Let's Play this Wiki did, you can see it for yourself, but almost 70% of the game is spent pointlessly moving around between set-pieces, doing quick-time events that have no real relevance beyond earning points for the ending, and though combat in Revolution 60 is slow-paced, it's genuinely the most entertaining thing in the game. The game has so much filler that if you remove the overpowering majority of the time pent faffing about in the above, Revolution 60 would be a little less than an hour long.
The game also features an auto-save system, which makes the save automatically as you go. This makes it extremely hard to replay a given area should you want to see a specific cutscene or try for a different ending without going through the rest of the game. With no chapter select or the like either, this game drags, and has no replayability whatsoever beyond the other endings (many of which are almost identical). With no New Game Plus or any real ability to fart around with options, Revolution 60 also struggles to have reasons to keep playing it after the first time - not a great thing for a game that bills itself as having multiple endings.
The QTE system in the IOS version of Revolution 60 is not adjusted for hardware scaling or power. Older and weaker systems run the game poorer, but even on the best systems it tends to run choppy. Revolution 60 is extremely poorly-optimized - the game clocks in at over 700MB when there's games on IOS bigger and with better graphics for about a third of that size. Poor optimization also means major problems with the game's framerate, which is highly variable, often becoming painfully slow during cutscenes - even on systems that just came out! During particularly "busy" cutscenes, seeing Revolution 60 hit a frame rate under 5/sec is a routine occurrence - most visible in the game's introductory sequence. The game also features embarassingly long load times; seeing the game take 20 seconds or more to load a section is not unheard of.
Technical issues in Revolution 60, however, are not constrained merely to framerate and file size, however - it extends to the game's Quick-Time Events (QTEs), and in doing so, effect the majority of the game's gameplay. The game will play acceptably on any relatively modern IOS-compatible device, including the 5th-generation iPod Touch, iPad 2, and iPhone 4S. However, the game plays notably better on the iPad, and significantly worse on the iPod Touch - specifically because of the screen size and sensitivity.
Very often, Revolution 60 demands motions following a track - specifically a circle or square, and demands that the player either trace it once or repeatedly. Whilst very easy to make on the large iPad, these movements are much harder to achieve on the iPhone - and much harder on the smaller iPod Touch. The iPad simply gives more wiggle room and makes the tracing QTEs significantly easier. There are no options for adjusting the screen sensitivity for tracing options and no options to change the scale size of the QTEs for different display sizes, so the game will always be easier or harder based on what platform you happen to be using.
In addition to these problems, Revolution 60 has a notable lag between when contact is made with the screen and when it registers for QTEs - roughly 1.25-1.5 seconds on the devices this Wiki has tested it on (A third-gen iPad, a fifth-gen iPod Touch, and an iPhone) - which makes completing many of the tracing segments much harder than they actually appear to be. It is uncertain what is responsible for this delay, but it happens on all platforms, undermines the progression of the game and can lead to failed events that impact which ending you get.
In addition, combat frequently suffers major bugs and/or errors. Collision detection issues are frequent and Holiday often takes damage from non-existent shots or no damage from ones that hit her dead-on due to hitbox desynchronization. During one of the best-known parts of this Wiki's Let's Play series of Revolution 60, a glitch occurred in which a single strike from one of the "Geishabot" enemies caused an overflow error, causing the player to instantly lose all health. It is a constant that in combat, Holiday and the enemies alike both hit - and get hit - by attacks that they are not remotely near.
Interestingly, many - if not all - of these issues are addressed in the PC version, but a number of entirely new issues are brought up in turn.
“In the future, an American orbital weapons platform has gone adrift over China, causing an international incident. Holiday is a member of Chessboard, a special operations team led by a probability-computing AI. Her team’s mission is to rendezvous with N313 and re-establish satellite control between the station and Chessboard – but not all is as it seems.”—Revolution 60's Promotional Materials
The plot of Revolution 60 opens with the main character, Allison Holiday, having just completed a mission in China. She successfully escapes, exfiltrates, and meets up with her team, but the mission goes bad and their cover is blown, resulting in one of the team being injured. The team barely escapes and patches Valentina back up with nanotechnology, before engaging on a mission directly from Chessboard's higher-ups: To arm the core of Satellite N313, take it back from Fifth Column, and relink the site to Chessboard's network before it can cause an international incident. With some difficulty, the group fights their way past Fifth Column and re-establishes themselves in the command center, only for things to go off the rails; Minuete is insisting on completing the mission despite obvious reservations and Amelia has obvious ulterior motives. Eventually Holiday breaks into the Comms Relay and learns the truth: The mission was never authorized by Chessboard and the team are in great danger. At this point, Minuete goes rogue, under the manipulations of an insane AI.
With her team either captured or compromised, Holiday needs to fight her way past enemy opposition and defeat the insidious AI behind the incident, hopefully saving her friends in the process. How successful she is is up to the player and what choices they make (and what QTEs they complete) in-game.
The Chessboard Lethologica
The Revolution 60 Chessboard Lethologica  is a PDF file elaborating on various things, characters, technologies, and more in the setting. Worded from the viewpoint of what appears to be a propaganda piece. Clearly an attempt to provide a codex of sorts and additional context to the game itself, the document does, to its credit, provide a number of new insights to the world of Revolution 60, and helps establish a couple of interesting things about the setting out that do, to its credit, make the setting seem somewhat interesting on its own merits.
All for an easy $3.99!
All of this, however, is secondary to a critical issue that Revolution 60 has, which is that a lot of the information isn't useful or is laid out poorly. Rather like Final Fantasy XIII, it is this document - and nothing in the game - that establishes that Valentina (Unknown) and Holiday have a history together and have been partners for years (the only other place this is discussed is in the ending sequences). Similarly, it is this document which gets across other useful tidbits of information about the cast, technology, and world of Revolution 60 that, simply put, would have been better in the game, where the player can be given proper context. Yet even with this information, what is established in-game is often contradictory towards what is in the Lethologica itself.
Worse, the vast majority of the document itself is irrelevant to the game setting. Numerous vehicles, personnel who do not appear in the game and have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and information about damned near everything else but what should be in the document take precedent over things that do have things to do with the plot, characters and settings of relevance. For an example: Less than five pages are devoted to Nanotechnology in the setting, which is critical for the plot itself. Over twice that number are dedicated to vehicles and spacecraft that never are visible in the game, serve no purpose to the plot, and are solely there to look cool.
As if to drive home all of this, Revolution 60 pitches The Chessboard Lethologica after the ending, instructing the player to purchase it should they want to see more. Those who are interested in what this file contains may view it for free here. Those who want to actually buy the work (if only to support Carolyn VanEseltine, the game's main writer) can check out iTunes.
Review Tampering and Collusion
Main Article: Revolution 60 Collusion
Brianna Wu is very big on touting the accolades of Revolution 60 - to hear her tell it, the game was a glorious success, and it has won many awards, including a prestigious iMore award for "Game of the Year." In truth, almost every review of Revolution 60 that has reviewed it with glowing praise has come from a personal friend or associate of Brianna Wu's, in a case of obvious conflicts-of-interest.
Public reviews of the game have been infinitely less kind, with the game's IOS release scoring a 2.3 on metacritic and its Steam review score being overwhelmingly negative. The metacritic reviews of the PC version have set it as one of the lowest-rated games of all time, with an aggregate user score of 1.2 and no actual critic reviews.
Revolution 60 is also known for having a hilariously bad promotional trailer, which has been often compared to the "John Romero's Going to Make You His Bitch" advertisements from the 1990s. As a trailer, it's considered by many to be one of the most unintentionally funny promotional materials for any video game.
The entire trailer almost transcends ineptitude, and is practically a lesson of Poe's Law in action, as it is completely indeterminate if the trailer was meant to be real or parodic. With an intro that begins with Brianna Wu's Husband, Frank Wu, flying his Hugo Award around like a spaceship, the scene goes to Amanda Winn-Lee, and virtually everything wrong with Revolution 60 is captured and immortalized in this trailer - from the poor writing ("If I felt anything when I lost personell, I wouldn't be a good commander"), to the unpredictable framerate, to the game's over-reliance on QTEs and poor scripting - this trailer has it all, and, surprisingly, no self-awareness. It then cuts to Frank Wu again, and the duration of the five-minute trailer is spent making jokes about Giant SpaceKat Studios.
Holdovers from Socially Unconscious
In many ways, Revolution 60 is little more than a gritty reboot of the original concept behind Election Eve, the first project of Socially Unconscious Productions, and ported into a different universe full of espionage and betrayal. Perusing the manuscript reveals a staggering number of commonalities, similarities, and flat-out recycled ideas from the first work. The following is a list of all of them:
- Allison Holiday and Minuete Kiley are both characters who appeared in Election Eve - one of the protagonists, one of the villains. Both characters are more fleshed out, and Minuete no longer has a completely asinine reason to hate Holiday (since they start as allies), but the presence of both characters in the work and them winding up opposed to one another is no coincidence.
- Crimson 09 is named for Mistress Nine, Minuete's patron from Election Eve, and Crimson 09 seems to have the same overall goal as Mistress Nine does - a convoluted plan that involves a two-digit number (Revolution 60 for Crimson, Paradox 90 for Mistress). This likewise ties into Minuete's Sailor Moon origins, where the Mistress Nine of this work serves a patron known as Master Pharaoh 90.
- Similarly, the "09" in Crimson 09 is "90" backwards. Similarly, the "60" of Revolution 60 is the 9 in 90 upside-down.
- The Geishabot enemies are an open reference to Ninth Accomplice in Election Eve, robot-like girls who serve Mistress Nine with murderous intent and wear lingerie.
- The original outfit for Crimson 09 was lingerie identical to Ninth Accomplice's.
- Holiday's motorcycle, the Hyperion, appears to date back to old concept arts made by Lauren Milovy during Election Eve.
- Amelia seems to be a modernized version of Lani - an engineer instead of a journalist, with similar dialogue and behavior. Her treatment of Minuete is also quite similar.
- Similarly, Valentina seems to be a far darker version of the character Carmet Criser; both are friends with Holiday in their respective works, and though Carmet in Election Eve was largely inane, Valentina is much more businesslike, with a tragic element to her character.
- Chase Wu seems to be an author stand-in for Frank Wu.
- The Fifth Column faction in Revolution 60 has no direct reference to Election Eve - it's a political term - but the name "Ninth Accomplice" from Election Eve was clearly based on said term.
On February 5th, 2015, Brianna Wu announced that a PC release of Revolution 60 was coming to Steam Greenlight. Covering the event extensively on Twitter, Wu announced that the PC version of Revolution 60 would be a significant improvement and feature multiple enhancements over the original. As it successfully got greenlit, Wu received a personal forum on Steam for the game, which Wu was not prepared for as it opened her up to criticism over her game's lack of quality. This culminated in the now-notorious Steam False-Flagging, wherein Brianna Wu was caught trying to false-flag herself. Prior to the forum closing, one major contention Brianna had was over the game being modded; though many people pointed out that Revolution 60 would have the chance to do much better and accomplish much more with mod support, Brianna Wu was recalcitrant, arguing that Mod support violated her right to her own creation and that it would destroy the game entirely.
Since the incident, the Steam version of Revolution 60 has had its forum taken down after Brianna Wu proved completely unable to deal with criticism, and indeed, almost no announcements about the game have come out except for periodic media-bursts from people Brianna Wu is affiliated with (such as MCV covering it, via Ben Parfitt, a long-time supporter of hers), and a trickle of news from Giant SpaceKat Studios itself. Though press releases are few and far between, Giant SpaceKat announced that the game is slated for release sometime in October 2015.
Appropriately enough, given Brianna Wu's past history with deadlines, Giant SpaceKat Studios was wholly unable to deliver on the promised October 2015 release. Even though she said the game would be out in October on the 31st, the final day of the month came and went, and Revolution 60 was not released. Brianna Wu would later go on to cite "needing visual polish" as the reason it didn't make its promised October 2015 window, and that it would "be done when it's done." One would imagine that Brianna Wu, as a game developer, understands the importance of not pissing off her fans, but she is actually rather well-known for attacking people who ask her about the game's release date. Multiple people who are interested in Revolution 60 have gotten responses wherein, apropos of nothing, Brianna Wu accuses them of being GamerGate supporters.
Despite the October release date still being visible on Giant SpaceKat's own website, The game would go on to be delayed repeatedly over the course of many months. Analysis quickly showed that the game's PC release has thus far been in Limbo for almost two years. Back in September of 2015, Giant SpaceKat also pulled the original version of Revolution 60 from the IOS Store in preparation for the release of the Special Edition - as of May of 2016, the game was unavailable for almost six months before the original version - not the special edition - went back up on the IOS store earlier in the year. The game's PC port was subjected to numerous graphical tweaks designed to make the game look better, with improved lighting and gameplay improvements. A new Text Parser mechanic was added to accommodate the new variants of the Quick-Time Events that the original had.
Giant SpaceKat would go on to announce that the game was released to Steam on May 6th, 2016, and was undergoing evaluation in preparation for launch. Finally after multiple failed attempts and false starts Giant SpaceKat Studios would release the game on Steam on September 6th, 2016, two years after its initial release date, clearly in an attempt to stave off the Kickstarter Backer Revolt.
The Steam Release of the game is a considerable improvement over the original game. The controls are more responsive and the framerate is extremely stable. Though the game has issues with certain GPUs, it is generally more functional and more competent than the original game, with a clear attempt made at addressing the laundry-list of technical problems the original game had. New content was added, including new responses for Holiday, new animations, and new skins for all the characters. By all accounts, this is an outstanding achievement on Giant Spacekat's part at fixing the game's various outstanding issues, and it deserves respect for doing so.
However, it isn't all good news. The problems with the game's narrative, story, writing, and tone are still present. A new issue was introduced that was not present in the original games as well - on the IOS port, the game's FMV cutscenes and standard graphics blended more-or-less seamlessly, to the point where most players could not tell the difference in-game. In the Steam Launch, the updated HD models and the problems held over from the previous versions of the movie mean that the re-rendered FMVs are extremely obvious and help to break immersion.
The biggest issue with the new version of Revolution 60 is the bugs. The game's text parser has a number of options that tend to not work, requiring space bar presses to get past, or which are buggy. A now-notorious example of this is found in one of the game's final bosses, where Crimson 09 is essentially unbeatable if you are playing using Keyboard Controls alone. Switching to Mouse Controls appears to fix this bug, which Brianna Wu has stated is a feature. The complete lack of playtesting the Steam release had is quite visible, with multiple players reporting issues with the new systems that clearly were not patched before launch. The reviews of the game on Steam have been overwhelmingly negative, and Brianna Wu has responded by declaring this to be caused by a "GamerGate hate campaign." This included several reviewers who had nothing to do with GamerGate, such as Lowtax of Something Awful fame.
Humorously, a stipulation in the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) for Revolution 60 declares that you may not make porn of its characters.
Kickstarter Backer Revolt
In June of 2016, Revolution 60 gained a Kickscammed page, and several of the game's backers began to discuss how they felt they had been ripped off by Giant Spacekat Studios. With the game nearly two years past its due date, an apparent backer of the project, known as HoskStation, posted a lengthy article about how Giant Spacekat Studios had gone months without contacting backers or giving any information whatsoever about the status of the project on Medium. Despite being a supporter of the project, HoskStation explained how Giant Spacekat systemically missed deadline after deadline and the backers' growing discontent with the project's seeming mismanagement - there's only so long that a community can be told that a game is "about to be released" before it loses all meaning. The post was further discussed and disseminated on Twitter and KotakuInAction.
In response to this, Brianna Wu, seemingly aware of the growing discontent, posted on Kickstarter and held a stream of the Special Edition that revealed that it was far from ready. The stream was hallmarked by additional backers demanding accountability, a brief appearance by old nemesis stating he was looking forward to the game and getting instantaneously banned, and a blatant false-flag attempt by an account called "Goobergate" that Brianna Wu then tried to milk for attention. In one of the most tasteless moves seen yet from Brianna Wu, she then went on to reference the Crash Incident as if it were anything but blatant exploitation of the loss of a pet and pins "harassment" she has been receiving on "GamerGate" without a scrap of evidence to prove this.
The backers, however, were having none of it, even as Brianna Wu asked for more time on Kickstarter and once more claimed she intended to get the game out soon. In response, HoskStation posted a second Medium article, again pointing out the numerous times that Giant Spacekat has pathologically failed to meet is release date goals. In the same article, HoskStation covered Brianna Wu's lengthy history of basically ignoring her responsibility to her backers so she could play video games or speak at conferences and engagements, and doing no marketing whatsoever for Revolution 60. HoskStation went on to encourage the Backers to continue their revolt and voice their opinion to Kickstarter en masse if Revolution 60 is not released by the end of August.
On July 27th, 2016, Hoskstation once again posted an article encouraging the backers to take action, posting additional evidence that they were a backer in the process. The article also covered the belief that Brianna Wu had intended for the stream to "fail" from the start. He furthermore brought up her closeness to another kickstarter scammer, Kiva Bay. Soonafter, Brianna Wu declared that the game would be released by the end of August, and Hoskstation responded by intending to hold Giant SpaceKat Studios to their promise, citing the game's many delays. Brianna Wu then finally posted a definative release date for Revolution 60, declaring that the game would be out on September 6th, despite Hoskstation and the others backers' previous demand that it be out by the end of August 2016. The final update, however, appeased the backers, who were anxious to simply get the game out, and Hoskstation posted that the backers would give Brianna Wu one last week, warning that they still intended to go to Kickstarter if Giant Spacekat delayed the game any further.
On September 6th, 2016, Giant Spacekat Studios made good on its promise, and launched Revolution 60 on Steam. Hoskstation again posted on medium, thanking Giant Spacekat Studios for finally meeting their obligations.
All evidence is that were it not for the ongoing pressure of the backers and repeated threats to go to Kickstarter (and their financial companies) over Revolution 60, the game would not have come out, as Giant Spacekat Studios was content to let it stay in limbo. Unconfirmed allegations by former associates of Giant Spacekat Studios, wishing to remain anonymous, have detailed the belief that Frank Wu is largely to thank for the game getting released, even in a somewhat unpolished state.
- Steam - Revolution 60
- Armed Gamer: Revolution 60 is Offensive
- Xyo.net - Revolution 60 User Statistics
- AppAnnie.com - Revolution 60 Sales Data
- Reddit: KotakuInAction - Revolution 60 an Economic Failure
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - QTEs are Great!
- Brianna Wu's Moby - Revolution 60 Icon
- BoingBoing.net - Brianna Wu Pwns Misogynist Troll
- COMMENTS - Brianna Wu Pwns Misogynist Troll
- Cult of Mac article by Brianna Wu
- Revolution 60 Forums - Stolen Music
- The Jaimas Archives - Revolution 60 World File
- iTunes - The Chessboard Lethologica
- Metacritic - Revolution 60
- IOS - Revolution 60 Trailer
- JaimArchive - Crimson 09 Alpha Scene
- TechRaptor - Giant SpaceKat's Revolution 60 Coming to Steam
- MCV Revolution 60 Appears on Steam Greenlight
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - Revolution 60 Will Be Out Today!
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - A Selection of Tweets about the failed October Release of Revolution 60
- Giant SpaceKat Studios - Revolution 60
- Revolution 60 - Special Edition Trailer
- Giant Spacekat Studios - Motocycle Hallway Scene
- Imgur - Revolution 60 Command Bug
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - It's a Puzzle!
- Youtube - Lowtax's Coverage of Revolution 60
- Bro Team Pill's Twitter - No Porn
- Kickscammed - Revolution 60
- HoskStation's Medium: Is Revolution 60 Just a Giant Scam?
- KotakuInAction - Revolution 60's PC Version is a Giant Scam
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - Special Stream!
- Spacekatgal Stream - Revolution 60 Special Edition Mirror
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - GamerGate Ruined My Stream
- Brianna Wu's Twitter - The Crash Shrine
- HoskStation's Medium: Follow-Up - The Revolution (60) Begins
- Hoskstation's Medium - Evidence That Giant Spacekat is a Scam Artist
- Hoskstation's Medium - GSX Concedes, But We Need to Be Ready!
- Hoskstation's Medium - Giant Spacekat Studios: One Last Week
- Hoskstation's Medium - Giant Spacekat Studios Pulls it Off: Revolution 60 is Out!