An audio commentary track is a common feature in many movies. These commentary tracks can be informative, funny, and entertaining. They are often the most important bonus feature.
However, video games have struggled to adapt the tool. You cannot just play the game with its developers. It should be integrated naturally into the user experience. It is rare to find developer commentary in games, and it should be used more often. However, certain titles make good use of the feature.
8/8 Duke Nukem 3D 20th Anniversary World Tour
Gearbox’s 20th Anniversary World Tour edition was released 20 years after Duke Nukem 3D was launched. It featured a fifth episode by Allen Blum (who was the original map designer) and Richard “Levelord” Gray (who were the official editors). The episode also featured developer commentary. This commentary speaks to a simpler time in gaming.
A lot of the article discusses how to use the Build engine, and the hard work that goes into making certain things happen. The authors mention that game designers may believe it is so easy to do these tasks today, but they did not have 1996 tools back then. It’s notable, too, that Randy Pitchford isn’t on his own level in It’s Impossible. Blum and Gray in this map are therefore more important.
7/8 Monkey Island 2 – Special Edition
The second game received the same treatment just one year after The Secret of Money Island’s special edition. Contrary to the first, console versions featured a slight overhaul in controls and provided developer commentary. It features Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman as well as Double Fine’s Tim Schafer.
It is interesting as it stands, especially since Ron and Dave created Return to Monkey Island. The players were described as having a tendency to play with them, such as in the opening gameplay. The money you have in your inventory is immediately taken from your account. People would try to avoid Largo by reloading a save point.
6/8 Alan Wake
After finishing the Max Payne games, Remedy began work on Alan Wake. This game, which is inspired by Twin Peaks and other Stephen King books, is a great treat for horror enthusiasts. Two different developer commentary tracks make this game unique. The first was included in the original game, and it was also available on the Collector’s Edition bonus disc.
The 2021 remaster also had the second edition. Both are amazing to view, especially when you consider the time gap. Sam Lake’s remastered commentary explains the story in detail and how Alan Wake is connected to Control. Both tracks are replayable and add a lot of replay value.
Valve is one the few developers who consistently includes developer commentary within its games. Half-Life 2 Lost Coast introduced it. Portal, however, is the most accessible for beginners due to its short length. This commentary includes talks about various design options as well as play-testing solutions. Play-testers have made many changes to the design.
A lot of technical information is included in the commentary about how the game was made with the source engine. Although it won’t be very interesting to average players, it is still a useful addition. Portal is short so you can listen quickly and still enjoy this iconic puzzle game.
4/8 Alyx Half-Life
Half-Life: Alyx was dubbed the first VR killer app. It went on to become one of the most critically acclaimed games in 2020. Although most Valve titles have developer commentary, you may not have noticed this title. Valve didn’t include developer commentary when it launched. It was included in November 2020’s update eight months later.
The commentary is quite interesting, as this is Valve’s first game in quite a while. It’s mostly about VR and the story. Half-Life 2’s developer commentary didn’t offer much information about the story. Alyx is the exact opposite. It makes sense that Alyx would have a more important story since it is the first Half-Life title in a while.
3/8 Hitman 3
Hitman 3, the final installment of the World of Assassination Trilogy, features developer commentary as part of its Deluxe edition. Hitman 3 has a shorter commentary than most other game commentary. Only the beginning of each mission contains the developer commentary. This feature is only supported in five missions, so it won’t be around for long. It is nevertheless quite significant.
It discusses how important the story was in the mission, and what that means for Agent 47. They also discuss how they created the feel for the different locations. These commentaries are an added benefit to the Deluxe edition, which has the main advantage of sweet outfits and exclusive escalations.
2/8 Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Even if your are familiar with developer commentary, you won’t be surprised to find that this game doesn’t have one. Deus Ex Human Revolution is the third in the series. It’s one of the greatest cyberpunk games. The base game was released in 2002, and a Director’s Cut included several additional features like developer commentary.
It’s an absolute blast, with both funny and informative stories. It is over eight hours long and very filling. The Director’s Cut is also available for purchase on PC. However the Xbox 360 version can only be played via the physical disc on an Xbox Series X. S online store.|S online store.
1/8 BioShock Remastered
In 2016, the BioShock Collection was launched. It offered remasters for all three BioShock Trilogies. BioShock 1: Remastered featured exclusive developer commentary. This commentary is different from other titles. Instead of activating the commentary when you reach a specific part of the game you will collect golden film reels. These enable you to play a commentary video right away or from the main menu.
While it’s a strange way to do it, it makes the game more fun. You can see the process of making this title with its gameplay elements, story and setting. The videos are excellent. Although it’s a shame Infinite did not get a commentary on the game, at least the first, which is arguably the most iconic and important, had one.
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