The Fanatic and His RPG

Wormwood Studios writer Mark Yohalem, who some of you might know for his writing on the point and click adventure Primordia, decided to dedicate a Gamasutra piece to the indefatigable "Vincent D. Weller", the driving force behind the development of The Age of Decadence. While Yohalem still feels the game has a few problems, the article largely reads as an ode to the work of the developer, who doggedly pursued his own vision of RPGs for more than 10 years while ignoring both the common design trends and the expectations of role-playing fans.  

As someone who has been very critical of the title, I certainly think it's worth a read:

(The artist ... shall be socially non-conformist, even to the point of diverging violently from the psychological norm...; and he shall not cater for a public.) - Roger Cardinal

Four years into the development of The Age of Decadence, Weller was interviewed by Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Even pre-Kickstarter, this was the kind of opportunity that could transform an independent game from a bust into a commercial hit. At the time, Weller was still Vice President of Marketing at a large corporation, yet the interview is the antithesis of the marketing-speak that typifies game developers, even indie developers. Weller grows increasingly frustrated and incredulous at Kieron Gillen's inability to understand him. Gillen, for his part, comes across as more bemused than combative. At last, Weller declares, (It's nice that your site tries to attract morons and makes them feel at home, but shouldn't you be educating them too? It wouldn't take much to double their IQs, so if you want, I can give you a hand there.) Gillen asks why Weller's answers are so angry and whether he might be alienating potential customers, but Weller just snaps back, (I don't really care who'd think what and how my comments would affect sales. I'm making this game on a bold assumption that there are some people out there who are interested in complex games that aren't made for retards.)

Over the years that followed, Weller has mellowed. When customers ask for hints or post negative reviews, he may not be cordial, but he is precise and factual. There is still a sense of frustration, simmering and ready to boil over. It is easy to read this as misanthropy, and Weller has given critics and skeptics plenty of ammunition in that regard. But to me, it is something almost exactly the opposite of misanthropy: like Cassandra shrieking dire prophecies or Plato's philosopher losing his patience in the cave, Weller seems angry less at the people who can't understand his work and more on their behalf. He has something to teach them, something important, but powers greater than his pandering games and pandering game journalists have dulled their minds.

Roger Cardinal, who dubbed the genre of (Outsider Art,) explains that such works open our eyes to entirely new perspectives and possibilities. The outsider is so defiant or ignorant of accepted limits that she will pursue goals that have been deemed unattainable by reasonable, rational folks. She will walk paths that have become overgrown or were never blazed at all. Whether she reaches her destination or not, she serves to remind us that the paths and goals are there.

In this regard, and in many others, The Age of Decadence is a triumph.