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Obsidian and inXile acquired by Microsoft

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Wunderbar, Aug 8, 2018.

  1. ga♥ Liturgist

    ga♥
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    Does this open a way for MCA to go back at Obsidian (if the management is gone/replaced)?

    Inb4 Microsoft Office 2018 lead narrative.
     
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  2. Brancaleone Learned

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    As opposed to the tons of evidence provided about the "it was the casualz" theory, right. How was it? "The evidence that it was casuals lies in the fact that casuals never leave any evidence".
    It's adorable to read pages upon pages of people doing mental acrobatics in order to avoid entertaining the idea that PoE1 might actually have been a mediocre game. But after years of having invested themselves in explaining to the uncouth masses how each and every flaw of PoE1 was actually a feature/was the best option available/couldn't be done any other way/ was what the market was asking for/was done in the best possible way given the circumstances/etc. etc. etc., I do actually understand the need to die on that hill.

    Playing PoE1 feels like homework, an especially dull kind of homework with no significantly redeeming points. What you call "vicious backlash" is actually a deep sigh and "yeah, I'll pass the sequel".

    You definitely have a point there. That's at least part of what led Sawyer to be completely blindsided by Deadfire's commercial failure (apart from, as many have already said, his complete inability to understand the appeal of IE games).
     
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  3. Funposter Savant

    Funposter
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    I do not live in the US. The location listed under my post count is not a joke. I remember that leading up to the release of TESO: Morrowind (a relatively unpopular MMO), I couldn't walk around the city without seeing at least fifty buses carrying an enormous advertisement for it.

    The original Witcher? Yes. By the time of TW2, the brand had time to grow, and I would say many "core" gamers were peripherally aware of it. In contrast, before the release of D:OS, I had met literally two people that had ever played a Larian game.

    Youtube and Twitch are promoting Fortnite. Most sales for a game aren't produced after release, the casual consumer is caught up in the hype leading up to the release. Skyrim is a great example. It had a very effective trailer, and I distinctly remember people who had never even heard of The Elder Scrolls, let alone played previous games in the series, being incredibly excited for that game based on its very effective gameplay trailers. The Witcher 2 lended itself better to pre-release bullshots etc. than D:OS 2 did.

    :retarded:

    This is primarily due to the influx of Chinese consumers to platforms such as Steam. Don't kid yourself, the core PC gaming market that would purchase a game like D:OS2 has not expanded that much in the last seven years.

    TW2 released over a year after Mass Effect 2, and over six months after New Vegas. It was released six months before Skyrim. TW2 arguably had a much better launch window, releasing in a period where nothing was being released, whereas D:OS2 was released leading up to the traditionally busy holiday season.

    So did Crysis, and that game sold extraordinarily well. The rationale of "well it works on any machine" benefits enormous companies such as Blizzard, but being next-gen eye candy is actually an enormous selling point for a game. I would suggest that many players purchased TW2 because its visuals put the likes of New Vegas, Mass Effect 2 and even the not-yet-released Skyrim to shame.

    I think it's you that actually fails to understand the core market, and what drives the purchasing decisions of many consumers.
     
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  4. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

    evdk
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    Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Clippy: "What can change the nature of a paragraph?"

    Razor edge. Also slow.
     
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  5. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Maybe the game was way ahead of its time and the market isn't ready for woke games yet?

    Anyway, yes, Obsidian did try to present the game as something different but ultimately failed. Why they failed and what they could have done differently is an interesting topic to explore. The fantasy island thing does seem interesting in theory but the execution wasn't very enticing.

    [​IMG]
    ^ conceptually this doesn't look any different than PoE.

    An interview with Sawyer, Feb 2018:

    Sawyer: In the first game, another thing thematically is that you’re kind of in a post-colonial area. It’s an area that’s already been colonized, there were already wars between the native culture and the colonizers, and most of that stuff has been resolved even though there are still some lingering issues. But in Deadfire, it’s an area that is actively being colonized despite there being a native culture there. Those themes and issues are more to the forefront. One of the reasons why we chose to have two colonizing factions is I felt that if it were simply a native culture and a colonizing culture, it would be very easy for that to fall into a trope or a lot of tropes that aren’t necessarily that interesting to explore, and some of the things that I think are very interesting about exploring colonialism in Earth is that often you will get colonial powers not only fighting each other, but also trying to play that native culture against their rivals. That’s the space that I thought was interesting to explore in Deadfire in terms of the secular conflict on the ground.​

    How many people felt a strong urge to dive right in and explore the effects of colonization firsthand? 1 in 10? Less? Remember that question I asked earlier - why would anyone want to play Deadfire? Some folks thought I was being edgy or implied Deadfire was shit. I wasn't and didn't. It's a questions developers have to constantly ask themselves to make sure the answer is there. So Sawyer should have asked himself why people would want to explore these themes as eagerly as they want to explore dungeons and how big the potential audience is.

    The ship combat was tacked on, the game wasn't built around it, obviously. It reminded me of The Curse of Monkey Island, which wasn't the right association. Overall, it was a good way to grab attention but not a strong selling point.

    And then there were the reviews:

    https://kotaku.com/pillars-of-eternity-ii-the-kotaku-review-1826397542

    Pillars II has a lot going for it: a vast tropical setting, a story bold enough try unpacking issues like colonialism and oppression, party members who come across as refreshingly grounded and human...
    ...
    However, as I passed the 50-hour mark and started to deliberately make real headway in the main quest, I realized that many of Pillars II’s high points were fairly short-lived. Some, like the exploding pirate harpsichord and spider-faced merchant quests, revealed layers: alternate routes on top of alternate routes and surprising, enigmatic characters. But other side stories, including many of the companion quests, ground to a halt just when things were getting good.

    For example, there’s the story of Eder, a farmer-turned-fighter who was also a companion in the first Pillars of Eternity. In Pillars II, his personal quest involves searching for a woman he was involved with back in the day. Initially, he wants to make sure she’s OK, given that there’s a mountain-sized titan who slurps up souls as naturally as we breathe on the loose. Then he finds out that she had a son, and apparently begins to wonder if the child is his. He proceeds to go through an arc of being worried, then kind of excited about the prospect of being a father. It’s a decidedly un-epic way for an epic fantasy game to approach the idea of fatherhood, and it really took me by surprise. Then it turned out that the kid didn’t belong to Eder, and—to complicate matters further—that his mom had died. Worse, the kid decided to join a death cult whose members planned to sacrifice themselves to Eothas. I ended up having to chase down the boat Eder’s not-son was on, confront him before the cult leader convinced him to kill himself, and hear him tearfully explain that he was doing this because he felt that, by dying, his mom had abandoned him.
    Once again we come to the Most Important Question: why would anyone enjoy this questline?
     
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  6. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    Big hype train probbaly changed it. It was a New Age of incline, dream that came true right?
    So many hastened to leave a review, a positive one because of all that hype and prises.
    Anyway, how someone said already, it was 1% of those who reviewed the game.
    That mean the other 99% were not so satisfied by the game - and the exactly what I saw frequently on rutraker - and there were people who bought the game, nto just pirated it.
    They were disapointed enought to mentioned it but not enough to bother with review it seems.

    Anyway, as I said, you have very good example before your eyes that scores and reviews ratings could be a veri controversial thing - compare PoE2 and PKingaker.
    It mean that in many cases bad rating doesn't mean bad game, good ratings doesn't mean good game and in general IT JUST DOESN'T WORKS (at least without decipherment).
     
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  7. Riddler Prophet Patron

    Riddler
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    Bubbles In Memoria
    It looks a whole lot like the gaming equivalent of Oscar bait. Obviously it is going to garner a positive response from reviewers but that response will in turn have little to do with the actual revealed popularity of the product.

    Same thing happens with plays, classical music and art all the time. Things get reviewed well for predictable reasons (being "bold" or tackling "important questions" etc.) but the actual audience response is very unrelated to the critical reception.
     
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  8. AwesomeButton Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

    AwesomeButton
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Great, now who is willing to draw/collage the ending slides? :D

    I've spent a good amount of time with Deadfire because I find the set piece combat encounters interesting, the setting/region of the setting interesting, even despite the horrible writing. But the parts of Deadfire which I like were never a major part of its marketing. No one marketed its combat and no one marketed its setting. More its story - "Chase a god, save your soul" (struck me as a weird tagline even at the time, if directed towards people in their 20s and 30s).

    I wrote this back in 2016:
    I'm such a case.

    Dragon Age II did suffer from being rushed out the door, about 18 months after Origins' release.

    The joke's on you. I never fell for this meme. ;)

    Those are two examples of the phenomenon I described elsewhere - this is Josh sneaking into the game stuff which he personally likes, even if it contradicts, in tone and style, the expectations that are set for the game.

    I appreciate the political dynamics of colonial conflict translated into the Pillars setting both as a concept and as execution, (though I admire much more the way in which political dynamics were woven into Fallout New Vegas' plot) but I realize that a) I'm a very small minority, and b) This setting is supposed to house a spiritual successor to an epic fantasy game. Dude, your style is cool, but it's not what the audience is asking for...
     
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  9. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    It's cheating to compare PST and BG2 screens to Unreal since they were released later and had a bump in graphics quality over BG which looked like this only in 640x480 https://steamcdn-a.akamaihd.net/ste...e24804056ec7d5a12c.1920x1080.jpg?t=1532994508

    Additionally, Atari was selling The Temple of Elemental Evil for $50 in 2003 when 3D graphics had definitely improved a lot since 1998. Even worse-than-Fallout looking Arcanum from 2001 went for $50.

    :hmmm:

    Team sizes were the same. They had different priorities.

    Cyanide's last-gen-looking eight-hour Call of Cthulhu walking sim is right there alongside it for $60.

    D:OS 2 did just fine at $45. Going up an extra $5 isn't going to crater their sales.
     
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  10. Brancaleone Learned

    Brancaleone
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    I'll try to sum it up in a single sentence: they've shown that they have no clue about how the dynamics between what would come as familiar to player and what would come as unfamiliar work.
     
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  11. Gambler Augur

    Gambler
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    Amazon killed off physical book stores. Moreover, some retards on the web already advocate for closing of public libraries in favor of Amazon/Kindle. Netflix killed off rental stores and is slowly killing movie theaters. This sounds good to some people, but they only think about their immediate convenience, rather than long-term consequences. In the long run this will lead to hyper-centralization of movie production. No one is going to pay for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube Red and Amazon Prime subscription at the same time. And as the time goes by there is less and less chance that someone completely new will be able to compete with the established subscription services. And they will be able to simply buy their competition in case it gets reasonably good.

    Let's look at the inevitable consequences of games-as-a-service model:

    1. DRM.
    2. No game ownership of any kid.
    3. Money to the developers is distributed by some formula that's controlled by the platform, not through percentage of actual sales.
    4. Products do not directly compete with one another.
    5. Inevitable hyper-centralization in the long run.

    It's especially hard to predict how #4 will affect game quality, quantity and diversity. For example, right now indie games can compete with AAA titles by lowering their prices. This will not work under the subscription model. Also, newer games have to compete with much cheaper older games. This will stop being a real factor either. Most importantly: no immediate feedback. Right now, if your game sucks, no one buys it. With subscription model, the platform would be able to redistribute money any way their contracts allows them. Subscription a-la Netflix is the ultimate form of bundling, where every single thing on the catalog is bundled with every other thing. This gives the platform disproportionate leverage over consumers and content producers. Your only option as a consumer is to unsubscribe, and then you loose access to everything in the catalog.

    This stuff is not like cable TV or old-school magazine subscriptions.
     
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  12. Neanderthal Arcane

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    So about same time as New Vegas and far more than IWD2? Damn Bioware are shit.
     
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  13. Brancaleone Learned

    Brancaleone
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    Fine, but whether Obsidian had more confidence in IE gameplay or in PoE gameplay doesn't guarantee anything about the final product, since confidence in either model can be justified or misplaced.
     
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  14. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

    Roguey
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    Bioware feared stagnation, which resulted in their decision to completely overhaul the graphics and the systems within that short timeframe.
     
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  15. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Pleasant surprise it might have been but it suffered from the 'more of the same' curse all the same. Back when SteamSpy data was still available:

    http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,7530.0.html

    Bonus content:

     
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  16. AwesomeButton Cut a deal with the authorities Patron

    AwesomeButton
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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Vastly different requirements for both games I guess :) Also, Obsidian evidently had a number of ideas from Van Buren which they incorporated, so this saved some pre-production time.

    Yeah. I quoted that as in I agree with you.
     
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  17. Neanderthal Arcane

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    But it looked shit and they removed loadsa stuff, ah well don't care.
     
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  18. Fenix Cipher Vatnik

    Fenix
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    You DO realize that BG sold in over - dunno - a few millions copies? nd that NOT ALL who played it visit forums of any kind? Right?
    Many of them barely playing at all, not teling about reviews - they are almost 40 like I'm.

    I guess they expressed it on steam. The rest just didn't bother with that lie again, no matter the promises that were made.

    Yeah, that's too. It's an example of how bad games can hurt entire RPG-sector of industry, alomg with how hype train ran over a game it hyped.

    Seriously? That's somehting. :lol:

    I dreamed of more of the same in case of Fallout - what if in the end of the game you take submarine (with a video as good as about tanker), and just go on another continent for exactly more of the same.
    That's why people played Fallout Nevada.
     
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  19. Mustawd Arcane

    Mustawd
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    He announced his retirement 1-2 years ago (likely cuz he knew inXile was already in trouble). In the MS acquisition video he addressed it by saying he wasn’t gonna retire for a long time.

    So that probably means he’ll retire in 3-5 years.
     
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  20. Latelistener Cipher

    Latelistener
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    Improved. By a lot. Yeah, right:

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You also won't find anything like that in Fallout, so I would argue about art.

    But they have different production values. Maybe we should take a closer look at the Obsidian management Chris was talking about so much. I also think they pay less than Firaxis.

    It's actually $45 and had a -10% ($40) discount for several months until the release. And according to SteamSpy they sold 50-100k copies. Clearly it's still overpriced.

    And now that you said it I would ask you to link proofs next time you mention prices. I had a feeling you were possibly bullshitting me, but let it slide.

    1) Their own proprietary engine with modding support that took time and effort to develop
    2) Online co-op
    3) Fully 3D and looks quite good
    4) $5 matter more than you think when it comes to pricing
     
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  21. Quillon Magister

    Quillon
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    I agree with Eder questline part but for this, if devs were to choose themes that at least 7 out 10 people would particularly want to explore, then their selection of themes would be too narrow and probably nothing new. It isn't that important what themes they explore in the game, what's important is how they present that theme to us. Not everything has to be "marketable". CDPR didn't market W3 with "We'll tackle domestic issues in our game" but Bloody Baron ended up the most famous questline of the game. That said I don't think Obs did a good job presenting their chosen themes; there was too many themes in the game to do justice to any of it IMO. They tackled many new things, even brought with them what PoE1 had going for it then scratched the surface and called it a day.

    This is what Josh said to all the designers on Deadfire:
    Show Spoiler
     
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  22. IHaveHugeNick Arcane

    IHaveHugeNick
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    Yes.
     
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  23. Brancaleone Learned

    Brancaleone
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    Which only goes to show how clueless they've constantly have been about what works in IE games and what doesn't.
    I mean, you've got very little time, and you set your priorities on a complete overhaul of the graphics of what is the best looking IE game (IWD) and systems that while outdated had proved to be hugely successful in BG2. Which doesn't mean that moving to 3.5E is in general a bad idea, but when you are strapped for time you should really think hard about it.
     
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  24. TemplarGR Dumbfuck! Dumbfuck Bethestard

    TemplarGR
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    Care to list the competitors of DOS2 release window? Please, list the games... Provide me with the huge array of single-player multi-million seller games that stole sales from DOS2... Perhaps Assassin Creed? But Assassin creed was releasing back then as well, and arguably it was bigger back then with better games...

    Also, Larian was pretty well-known before the DOS games. They had released some games that got pretty good coverage on various gaming sites. Many people have played the original Divine Divinity. Divinity II was considered a borderline AAA game at that time. I think you should get out of your house and find more friends if you only knew 2 people who played a Larian game...

    Plus you must be really into Fortnite for Youtube algorithm to only suggest Fortnite videos to you... I have seen plenty of DOS2 coverage on Youtube, it got tons of hype...

    Crysis "sold extraordinarily well" because people got it for benchmarking their computers. People never actually played the damn thing. Multiplayer servers were completely empty a couple of months after release... Crysis was a tech demo, and to be fair, it run pretty well if you adjusted your settings. Plus it was a fucking AAA FPS from the largest game software company in the world, EA. What did you expect, to not sell? We aren't talking about Obsidian and CRPGs here, again, APPLES TO ORANGES.

    You really seem to have an 83 IQ....
     
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  25. Quillon Magister

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