Postal III (stylized as PostaLIII) is a third-person shooter video game developed by TrashMasters Studios, co-developed by Running With Scissors and published by Akella. It is the third game in the Postal series, being the sequel to Postal 2, telling the story of the Postal Dude's adventures in a town named Catharsis, following directly from the ending of the second game in which the town of Paradise was destroyed by a nuclear bomb. Postal III was released in Russia for Microsoft Windows on November 23, 2011, and in North America on December 23, 2011. Ports for OS X, Linux, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 were announced, but ultimately canceled.
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Postal III includes performances by a wide array of minor celebrities, including Ron Jeremy, Jennifer Walcott, and Randy Jones. The game also contains characters depicting Uwe Boll (director of the 2007 Postal film), Sergei Mavrodi, Osama bin Laden and Hugo Chávez.
In Postal III, the Postal Dude emigrates to Paradise's sister town of Catharsis as he previously blew up Paradise with a nuclear bomb. Due to the economic meltdown, the Dude drives into town and becomes stranded because he can not afford a tank of gas. He must then find work and do various odd jobs to escape the town.
Through the course of the game, the player can choose one of two paths: the "bad path", which includes joining in on the schemes of Mayor Chomo and Uncle Dave, or the "good path", which involves the Dude joining the Catharsis Police force. The game plays out in a fairly linear and cinematic way, although the player's actions affect the outcome of the story and the game. Although the "good path" is more difficult to play, it offers more story line and a longer campaign.
There are three endings to the game as Postal Dude must escape from the impending Venezuelan invasion with Hugo Chávez leading the charge.
- Evil Ending: Escaping Carthasis by the skin of his teeth and leaving Chomo, Dave and Bin Laden at the mercy of Hockey Moms. Postal Dude winds up at the mercy of the law enforcement who was quick to give him and his dog the death penalty for his slaughter. His appeal to heaven completely fails and Postal Dude is sent to hell.
- Neutral Ending: Postal Dude succeeds in escaping Carthasis without resorting to murder or delivering swift justice and meets Jennifer "Jen" Walcott who tries to hijack his car but winds up marrying him instead and enjoying the honeymoon in Peru. He wins the lottery and has a bestselling book which details his personal view of the exploits in Postal 2 as Champ bites on the groin of the talk show host.
- Good Ending: Saving the world from Hugo Chávez, Postal Dude become one of the most popular yet controversial heroes of American history. He winds up becoming the President of the United States with Jen Wallcott as his wife and head of Secret Service who winds up annoying both sides of the political spectrum. As he moves into the White House, a certain nuclear button sparks the inner psychopath within.
Regardless of the endings, the Postal Dude's final words are "I regret nothing!"
The game was initially released for Microsoft Windows on November 23, 2011 in Russia. The game was originally set to be released worldwide on December 21, 2011, in downloadable form on Steam, but saw issues with listing until earlier the following year, where the game was only available for Steam through GameFly.
GameSpot gave the game 3/10, while Game Informer also lambasted the game, giving it a score of 1/10 and saying that "the people behind Postal III don’t have the writing ability to back up their gutter-dwelling mouths. As it turns out, they also don’t have the design or programming chops to create a stable game. This makes it one of a handful of games to ever receive such a low score."
In a much more positive review, QJ.Net stated that the game was "one of the most interestingly written, psychotic and harmful games I've ever played" and that the developers had "ended up with a product that looks good, sounds great and is often funny", but also complained that their "experience was marred with constant crashing and a lot of graphical glitches" as well as complaining that it often comes off as "mean spirited and lacking in heart".
Original Gamer also gave a positive review, giving the game a rating of 7.5, deciding that it was "a good game, just not a great one". The reviewer praised its storyline, wide variety of weapons, and creativity while deriding the game's "linear level design and gameplay" and complaining that it takes "a while to get to the meat of the title". It also called out the game's use of good and bad paths, which he believed unfairly favoured the good path, deciding that the game "punishes you for being bad, by being bad itself". That said, it concluded by saying that the "fun is there in Postal 3, you just have to work a little for it."
In an interview about a month after release, Vince Desi, the head of Running With Scissors admitted that the "fan reaction has been mixed" to Postal III, as well as stating that most of the complaints centered around the game having "too many bugs." Desi acknowledged that it was hard for him to hear from "diehard fans and hearing their complaints", but did however emphasize that the developers have been "making updates to fix a lot of the problems" as well as stating that people who purchased the game at that time would have a "much better experience." He also commented that while Running With Scissors had "designed a very big challenging game with great variety", their development team and publisher "were under tremendous pressure and decided to release a different game, something that they could deliver." He did however note that he was "glad that the publisher has tried very hard to make the necessary improvements" following the game's initial reception. He also commented that they were committed to making "sure that gamers get the best value they deserve" from Postal III.
On August 25, 2012 developer and Postal franchise owner Running With Scissors removed Postal III from their store, stating that it was "in the best interest of the Postal Community" and encouraged gamers to instead purchase their earlier titles, stating that they are "a far superior product for a lot less money". This came after revelations that Running With Scissors' relationship with Akella had broken down and that they no longer had any real involvement with the future development of Postal III.
Running With Scissors explained the situation by stating that Postal III "was licensed to a Russian publisher and developer who were supposed to produce the game to our design, with a much bigger team and budget than we had for Postal 2. Even taking those facts into account, it didn't work out very well. It was a mistake and one we will not repeat." They also added that "after the disaster that was Postal III due to the mistake of outsourcing it, we have decided to make the next game 100% in house."
A later interview with Running With Scissors employee Jon Merchant further clarified the situation, with him stating that "Akella had vastly more resources than we had for Postal 2, so it seemed reasonable at the time they could produce a game that was at least equal to the game we made inhouse. Things started out well but I think they got hit pretty hard by the economic problems of 2007-8, and it all started to go downhill from there. The final product was very far removed from our original design, and horribly broken." He also commented that "the game is a broken mess and should not be sold. We stopped selling the game ourselves some time ago when it became apparent that neither us or the community would get the SDK tools. We don't regard it as the third POSTAL game, just a dodgy spin off that should never have happened."
Vince Desi summarized the situation in a 2013 interview by saying that "some deals work, some don’t, PIII failed for many reasons. Worst of all we lost control of the project and that was the beginning of the shitfest. Historically we had a great relationship with Akella, our Russian publisher, and for the record the folks there were good people and I consider them my friends regardless of the fiasco PIII ... Again, it is a testimony to POSTAL fans around the world who have shown their loyal support beyond all odds and hurdles that allows us to keep on going."
Additional insults towards Postal III are featured in the Paradise Lost expansion pack for Postal 2, such as its intro sequence implying that the game was all just a nightmare The Postal Dude was having while in a coma. There is also an easter egg accessible starting from Tuesday; a house which can be accessed if the door is broken with a sledgehammer or from jumping on the roof contains the corpse of a Postal III fan hanging in a computer room filled with Postal III posters. The game is also shown frozen on his computer; the error message gives you the choice to "wait for the game to get better" or "uninstall and install Postal 2 and hope for Postal 4".
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- POSTAL 2 COMPLETE - Steam Greenlight - Frequently asked Questions Archived March 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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