- Now, here's a weird thing. You may remember that we've previously mentioned the Surreal Game Design blog, a group blog including the folks at Midway-owned Surreal Software talking game development critiques/issues in a pleasantly open fashion.

Well, GSW friend Andrew Armstrong pinged me to point out that the blog now redirects to Midway.com, and all the old posts are gone too. Doh.

I asked PR supremo Reilly Brennan at Midway about this, and he kindly got back to me to explain what happened from an official Midway perspective, saying: "The crew at Surreal is in full production on their next game so the blog is inactive for now. We plan to relaunch it in a few weeks when their next project is officially unveiled."

Looking around some more, I noted that Surreal's Simon Cooke has posted a couple of things on his personal blog, firstly noting that the site would be relocated to another URL with the same posters, but "...it's just not ... er... an official Surreal Game Design blog." However, this never happened and he then noted that the blog is permanently gone, commenting vaguely that 'lawyers' might be something to do with the change.

Now, I hope I'm not getting Simon in trouble for finding and reblogging his comments, but honestly - though it was a bit caustic about other games in places, Surreal Game Design was, as I mentioned, "one of the first times a major developer/publisher... has set up a group-contributed, game design-specific weblog." If it's just going to be replaced by an official site for Surreal's new game, even if there are some blog elements, then that's hardly as good, is it? But let's not judge the new content before it's launched, I guess.

Overall, honestly, wider-ranging development blogs like Surreal Game Design are great publisher and developer PR, because they show the personalities of the people making the games, and they aren't relentlessly on-message. Other companies are realizing this - blogs such as the official Bethesda Blog are getting much better at humanizing and endearing developers to us by giving them insights into our world and their viewpoints, not only why their next game is going to rock. [Picture from 'Bully', mainly because it was already uploaded!]