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Thread: about the game title....

  1. #1

    Lightbulb about the game title....

    Hi everyone,


    This is my first post on this forum, so firstly I'd like to introduce myself - Cork (Ireland) officially joins the army of enthusiasts waiting for Xenonauts to be released.

    Now, about Xenonauts just mentioned... first of all let me ensure you that I do not want to sound rude, nor do I feel excessively self-righteous about my ideas, and let me warn you that possibly my post can cause quite a stir amongst forum members. I'm just expressing my opinion and are eager to hear what others think. Now, with that out of the way, without further ado...


    I don't like the game's title, Xenonauts. Can you change it?


    Now now, holster your guns, let me explain When I first heard about the title (which was about two weeks ago-at that point all I knew was that it's a UFO remake by a small/independent studio) I wasn't too keen on finding out what was it all about. Reason behind it was, believe it or not, the title.
    I'm deeply in love with original UFO and still play it from time to time, I was also repeatedly insulted by different studios trying to resurrect the UFO series and who failed utterly. I was then even more looking forward to hearing ANYTHING about any new approach to the topic. But Xenonauts couldn't be a title more noteworthy that other would-be titles, could it? It just doesn't sound like a suspense-filled strategy that would allow us to save the world from those blasted aliens we beat 18 years ago while biting nails at every single corner! It just.. doesn't sound serious enough. I would said Xenonauts could easily be a cartoon-style platformer about two guys dressed in space suits from the sixties, with obligatory antennae on their ball-shaped helmets. In my particular case I was quite close to ignoring this game altogether. But, by all means, it could be just me.

    Anyway, feel free to comment, criticise and all the usual forum stuff I do feel bad about not providing possible replacement names for the title, but I'm not a very imaginative person. I would say anything that would indicate close relationship to the original would be in place. I'm not very well versed in law either, so I'm not sure whether anything along the lines of just "Enemy Unknown" would be possible.

    That's it on my part, for the time being at least. I'm looking forward to finding out about your opinions, and (possibly?) ideas. Cheers!

  2. #2
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    Interesting you're not judgeing a book by it's cover, but by it's title? And you are not judgeing it by the entire title either, it seems you are simply judgeing it by the "-nauts" part of the title?
    You are aware that the Xeno- part of the title denotes the foreign and the unknown?

    Are you thinking of double fines "Psychonauts" when you hear Xenonauts? Did you not like that game perhaps? If there is a connection then it technically has marketingvalue imo.

    Enemy unknown feels forced to me. As if the game can't carry itself, but needs to ride on the name of X-com.
    Furthermore the name Xenonauts stands for both the game and the organisation. Detatching the name from the game title will impact on how you approach the name of the organization. It might fel too silly as an organization if the game title is trying to be all too serious.
    Personally I think the Xenonauts has the apropriet level of serious, cool (and silly) mix to it.
    Last edited by Gorlom; 03-29-2012 at 19:32.

  3. #3
    Squaddie
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    I think it is anyway too late for that.

  4. #4

    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorlom View Post
    Interesting you're not judgeing a book by it's cover, but by it's title? And you are not judgeing it by the entire title either, it seems you are simply judgeing it by the "-nauts" part of the title?
    You are aware that the Xeno- part of the title denotes the foreign and the unknown?
    Indeed I am - both judging and aware. If there were two, or even twenty games being published every year, I would pay close attention to each and every one of them. Since there are thousands upon thousands of games released every year you sort of start to adjust your level of attention, your brain "filters" out at least some of the games which, even by the sound of it's title for this instance, will most probably not interest you. Call it judging the book by it's cover (by the way - you are right, it is exactly that), but the reality is - with several thousand books out there and limited time on your hands to spend reading, what will you do?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gorlom View Post
    Are you thinking of double fines "Psychonauts" when you hear Xenonauts? Did you not like that game perhaps? If there is a connection then it technically has marketingvalue imo.
    I haven't played the game. There might be some marketing value there indeed, but solely based on popularity. Since Psychonauts is a platformer, I don't personally think it would be a good idea to have this tactical/strategy game being associated with Pychonauts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorlom View Post
    Enemy unknown feels forced to me. As if the game can't carry itself, but needs to ride on the name of X-com.
    Let's not forget it's a remake after all. And it does exactly that - ride on X-COM's heritage. Most of the customers, I think, will be people well acquainted with the original X-COM series, therefore maybe it should?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorlom View Post
    Furthermore the name Xenonauts stands for both the game and the organisation. Detatching the name from the game title will impact on how you approach the name of the organization. It might fel too silly as an organization if the game title is trying to be all too serious.
    That last sentence sums up EXACTLY what I think, even though it might not be what you meant I'd say - let's name the organization differently, perhaps with the name derived (not copied) from currently existing organizations or other "seriously sounding" names, like Defcon, Nospa (hah just joking ), Nama, USCIS, CPSC, Darpa to name a few.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorlom View Post
    Personally I think the Xenonauts has the apropriet level of serious, cool (and silly) mix to it.
    I personally think "silly" should be out of the mix - saving the world it a serious matter after all...


    As for your concerns ZZZ, I think it might not be that hopeless, but I guess the developers would be the only ones to know.

  5. #5
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartpabicz View Post
    That last sentence sums up EXACTLY what I think, even though it might not be what you meant I'd say - let's name the organization differently, perhaps with the name derived (not copied) from currently existing organizations or other "seriously sounding" names, like Defcon, (hah just joking ), Nama, USCIS, CPSC, Darpa to name a few.
    I fail to see how those are serious (none of them have anything to do with extra-terrestrials) and how anything derived from them concerning dealing with aliens will ever be able to acomplish a serious tone. Lets face it an organization that fights aliens will never be able to have a serious sounding name because of the concept beeing somewhat sily to begin with (unless you're a concpiracy theorist wearing a tinfoil hat). The name Xenonauts diffuses that notion since it is not trying to be either serious or silly. Therefor it has the right ammount of silly.

    It's "Fridge brilliance" really. Let it grow on you.

    Your idea suffers a bit from "Royal ShadowGuards of Doom syndrom". Trying to force the cool (or in your case seriousness) too hard that it becomes ridicolous and somewhat stupid in my opinion. Yes, i've sen far too many of that kind of guild in MMOs, combining shadow, guard, soldier, royal, infernal, legion, holy an whatnot ending with "of doom" or similar and it makes me want to barf.


    PS. A name like "enemy unknown" would make it harder to search for and to market. Xenonauts is unique and far better from a PR point of view because of that.


    PPS. Do you brows everything by title rather then genre? There should be other reasons to look further into a title then jsut its name. I'm very pussled by the act of knowing it's a game you are interested in but still passing it by because of the title. You are the only one that I can imagine doing that... No I can't even imageing you doing it. It feels like a made up story to strenghten your argument about changeing a name you don't like (because you apply some arbirtry values to it that as far as i can tell doesnt make sense).
    Last edited by Gorlom; 03-29-2012 at 23:10.

  6. #6
    Squaddie
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    Let's not forget it's a remake after all.
    Don't foget about copyrights and other stuff. Developers try to avoid any intersections with already existed trademarks to avoid possible issues.

    I think it might not be that hopeless
    I think it's already something involved(invested) in current title. And i think developer have some reason to name game like that.
    Last edited by zzz; 03-29-2012 at 21:23.

  7. #7
    Commander Jean-Luc's Avatar
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    I think we're just used to there being the acronym "UFO" in the title.

    "Xenonauts" isn't as catchy and its retro reference to Greek mythology might make it sound a bit awkward in the context of the sci-fi-ish X-Com-like games.

    However there is nothing cartoonish or silly about it. It's a perfectly valid blend of Greek words and a reference to the Argonauts from the Golden Fleece myth. While the current title may be a bit lacking in terms of "brand recognition" (UFO series) it's really not that bad.

    In any case it's waaaaay to late to change it.
    "This is a primitive culture. I am here to facilitate its incorporation"

  8. #8
    I don't mind the current name. It even manages to work in the 'X' motif in a reasonably subtle fashion, so is true to its roots without blatantly trying to ride in on its coattails (something the original game was doing with the X-Files, obviously).

  9. #9
    The OP has some valid points. Particularly concerning the importance of the title for impulse buys and getting noticed in the first place. Even if you restrict yourself to only looking at new releases from one particular genre (and I don't think there are a lot of people only interested in one kind of game) there are still far too many to look into all of them. That's basically the reason why reviewing websites and magazines exist after all - they boil down the information to a manageable level. And even then there is still so much of it sites like metascore thrive...

    While Xenonauts is a good title, it isn't as catchy as X-COM: Enemy Unknown (which was a genius name on many levels: X-Files reference, name modelled after real life organizations, subtitle suggests horror and combat elements). In fact I would like Xenosquad better because for a computer game a reference to Laser Squad resonates better with me than one to greek mythology, despite how much I enjoyed reading Homer and the like in college. But it's a title I can easily live with. It's probably going to get a subtitle added to it before release anyway, mayhaps one that hints at combat and horror. Then everyone will be happy

  10. #10
    Moderator Gauddlike's Avatar
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    I don't really see the name as an issue.
    If you want people to realise that it is an x-com styled TBS game just by glancing at the name then you would have to call it "X-Com style TBS Game".
    If you called it, for example, Enemy Undetermined then that could also be ANY kind of game.
    Is it a space invaders clone?
    Maybe it is a port of the popular board game Guess Who but with the faces of wanted terrorists?
    Perhaps it is an FPS where your opponent is randomly chosen each fight.

    Look at it from another point of view, once you see something about Xenonauts on a website or in a magazine you are unlikely to mistake that name for another game.
    It stands alone without being too close to another game to be mistaken for it.
    I have no idea how many UFO: Afterwhatever games there are because the titles blend into one.
    If a new one came out tomorrow I would probably miss it because I wouldn't know it wasn't one of the existing games.

    To summarise my ramblings:
    Any name you give a game, unless it is a direct description, will be a bad guide to what the game is about.
    Any name that refers to another game would only interest those who already know about that other game, and who spot the reference.

    I think the X-Com: Enemy Unknown title is only a good title if you know the game.
    Nostalgic rather than good I reckon.
    Last edited by Gauddlike; 03-30-2012 at 08:45.
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