Official RPG Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

Company News Bioware goes episodic

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Vault Dweller, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. MacBone Scholar

    MacBone
    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Messages:
    554
    Location:
    Brutopia
    Look, Geminito, do us all a favor and expunge "unsurprising" from your vocabulary.
     
    ^ Top  
  2. obediah Erudite

    obediah
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2005
    Messages:
    5,051
    I can only imagine all the publishers and developers jerking off to sleep every night thinking of episodic content.

    It's the fucking Holy Grail. The relationship between market value and content is far from linear. An expansion to a $50 game can have 1/4 the content for 3/5 the price. A chapter can have 1/20 the content for 1/5 the price. And a post-release download can turn 15 minutes worth of mod work into a $2 download.

    Sucks for me, but I stopped being someone game developers cared about years ago.
     
    ^ Top  
  3. Slith Scholar

    Slith
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    West Coast, Canada
    Honestly, all the "episodic content" I've seen so far's just been a way to nickel and dime you for things that should otherwise have been free, or in an expansion pack. I wouldn't have a problem with Bethesda pumping out an expansion that contained all their current "episodic content" for $39.99 - I'd still say their expansion pack sucks, but at least that business model isn't designed to screw the customer over. I *do* have a problem with the way it's being done now.

    While it may be an admirable goal to make cool content more regularly for the fans, it really doesn't turn out that way. Instead you just get the developers churning out all these crappy little releases - like horse armour, in an attempt [and a very successful one.] to get their customers money.

    That's really what the whole episodic content is about. Money. Not actual content, but money. Why charge $39.99 for an expansion when you can charge $5.99 for every "episodic content" release that took a single developer two days to make? Which is what's going to be happening in all the studios controlled by their publisher. Yeah, some developers have very noble intentions, but 'some developers' do not run most game companies. I can easily see a publisher demanding a developer make content once week, every week, for a year. It's near impossible to get any sort of quality out of that - but at even just $1.99 a pop, you'll be raking in the cash.

    What we're coming to are hundred dollar [or more!] games. You pay your $69.99 at the store for the "next gen" titles, and then find out upon getting online, that half the good stuff is in episodic content which, lo and behold, is going to run you up another 60 dollars. Wheeeeee.
     
    ^ Top  
  4. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    570
    i don't think "crying little pussy" was ever a target demographic, obe. pretty sure they never cared.

    it'll be interesting to see how bioware handles this one. seeing as how the pretty much invented the idea with nwn premium mods, i get the feeling they'll be churning out something on the other side of superior to 'horse armour'.

    if it gives some of the writers and devs the chance to do some more off the wall shit interms of story and content, seeing as how the modules don't have to be totally market driven, i'm all for it. with reduced need for manpower and a finished engine there could be some really decent content in these things.

    or they could suck like the gravity produced by gaider's paunch... here's to a brave new world.
     
    ^ Top  
  5. doctor_kaz Scholar

    doctor_kaz
    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    517
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    I'll at least give Bioware credit for releasing micro content whose value is on par with full games. I paid $9 for Kingmaker and $29 for Shadows of Undrentide and Hordes of the Underdark and I would easily say that I got my money's worth from Kingmaker. But when it comes time produce new content for Dragon Age, I'd still much rather have fully developed expansion packs and new campaigns than a series of short chapters.
     
    ^ Top  
  6. denizsi Arcane

    denizsi
    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Messages:
    9,927
    Location:
    bosphorus
    Magic word is post-release. While it's immensely retarded that people do pay for shitty mods for Oblivion which could have been done in CS or 3DSM under 3 hours, it's that some of those things have been made pre-release and still sold as a mod. Having a door in OC that isn't functional until you get the mod is embarassing. There has been nothing like that in NWN premium modules as far as I know.
     
    ^ Top  
  7. Slith Scholar

    Slith
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    West Coast, Canada
    Does patching mean games are buggier? Hell yes it does. It's a pretty clear to me, anyways. Console games didn't have the luxury of patches - which meant they had to be rigorously tested to make sure there weren't any bugs. Nowadays though, consoles are connected and online, and guess what we're seeing? Patches.

    The problem with pumping out content for all the retards of the world, is that the content is going to be retarded to go along with it - and you'll end up alienating any intelligent fans. A developer *could* make a great game or episodic content that appeals to everyone. Or for half the cost, the developer can make mediocre, even shitty content that only the masses of idiots would buy, and make nearly as much money.
     
    ^ Top  
  8. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,772
    At least we don't pay for patches [yet]. Overall, I agree with you, as easily downloadable patches promote "let's ship it now and fix it later" mentality. In some cases, it's not too bad as a patch may already be waiting for you by the time the game hits the shelves. In some cases, it does take awhile. I had to wait for a KOTOR audio-fixing patch for 2 or 3 weeks, playing the game without any sound, which kinda sucked.

    Sad, but true.
     
    ^ Top  
  9. RadioGnome Invisible Scholar

    RadioGnome Invisible
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Planet Gong
    Actually, it brings up the following, maybe a little offtopic, but still disturbing idea - what's the point in "offline" (or "boxed") distribution at all, if you're forced to download tons of patches immediately after purchace just to play the damned thing? Sometimes patches you're supposed to download are almost as big as the game itself (FEAR, X3, Steam-based games...), it makes the people who pay for their traffic to - actually - pay that extra for patches with their ISP bills. And sometimes that "extra charge" can be higher than actual game's cost.
     
    ^ Top  
  10. Admiral Rimjob POOBUM Arcane

    Admiral Rimjob POOBUM
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Messages:
    5,933
    Location:
    Scotland
    After which, presumably, you played KotOR with sound, which kinda sucked.
     
    ^ Top  
  11. Dgaider Liturgist Developer

    Dgaider
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    316
    I just should point out the rather obvious conceit that is present in your post: that the money of the "intelligent fans" is somehow of more worth to any given company than the money of the "masses of idiots". Not that I don't think that plenty of opportunism exists as well as poor quality content, but such a conceit should really not be expressed without some self-awareness to go along with it.
     
    ^ Top  
  12. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,772
    Depends on what kind of games you want to make. Money of intelligent fans tends to sponsor intelligent games (Darklands, Fallout, Planescape, etc), while money of the "masses of idiots" tends to sponsor stupid games like Oblivion and extra content like Horse Armor.
     
    ^ Top  
  13. Dgaider Liturgist Developer

    Dgaider
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    316
    Note that neither Microprose nor Black Isle are still in operation. The job of the company is to make money, after all. I want to make good games, sure, but first I must continue to make games, and while there's always going to be some butting heads between commercial needs and artistic needs, to rail against it exclusively is to deny its necessity.

    That said, I'm well aware of the obvious greed of some publishers to capitalize on what seems like a good thing. At the same time, however, it's hard to deny the need for video games to make money where they can, especially considering how many game companies go under on a regular basis, both good and bad.

    Seriously, if Troika could have gotten away with selling, say, prestige classes for ToEE for a buck as downloadable extras, and there were enough people out there who wanted such a thing that it would have meant they could have carried on to make another game, would you really have denied them that? One must consider that the price of the average video game has not changed in a very, very long time (in fact, I believe it has even gone down), inflation be damned. Saying that ultimately charging more for games can only lead to bad things is, I think, a bit one-sided.
     
    ^ Top  
  14. doctor_kaz Scholar

    doctor_kaz
    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    517
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Black Isle was in operation until they decided to abandon the PC to make shitty console games like Brotherhood of Steel. Ditto for Ion Storm.
     
    ^ Top  
  15. Baphomet Scholar

    Baphomet
    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2006
    Messages:
    354
    Location:
    Americans do not need geography
    I like the idea of episodic content. Many believe that because Bethesda could not provide legitimate value for their modules ... no one else can. I say that's possible. It's also possible for that sentiment to be wrong. Here comes the beauty of capitalism: one of these companies (perhaps bioware, perhaps not) will come out with episodic content worth buying, and the standard will be properly set.

    (I am looking forward to purchasing new radio stations for the new GTA game. No such thing has been announced, but I think it's a sure thing.)
     
    ^ Top  
  16. Slith Scholar

    Slith
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    West Coast, Canada
    That's is not what I was implying at all.

    Is more in line with what I meant.

    Your response is exactly what I'd expect, there is no consideration that intelligent people offer anything more than what money they have. What I'm talking about is, you know, the idea that sometimes, money isn't everything. If you want a good game, it's best not to cater to the demands of the plebs.

    No, it doesn't always work that way, but it works that way more often in making a good game. I'd rather play a game that focuses on intelligent discourse and literacy, than something like Mass Effect which throws such things out in favour of "Imma threaten you BTISCH!!" This is of course, based on my limited exposure to the game. However, that's a result of hyping up something with a "Hey look ma! We dun ned werds!"
     
    ^ Top  
  17. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    570
    given that prcs are just slight stat modifiers, i don't think the guys at troika really would have considered that route. would atari? of course they would have, as they are souless and only wish to consume anything either green or good in this world.

    if sierra had been on board with conitinuing the arcanum line with extended adventures, i do believe they would have taken that option. from what's left of the corpse, troika seemed to be more goal driven (if never fully reached) rather than simply adding slight graphical extras.

    it's a real shame that we keep having to refer to dead companies when discussing what is/was good, but in all fairness they were killed due to really shite management, not because they couldn't move units.

    the funny part is, you're a pleb. so am i. just a sea of voices with currents going in a million different directions. if money was everything, bioware would still be making medical software with licenses that would make the cost of an m5 seem low. 'intelligent people' make demands that are not really all that feasible due to time constraints, publishing contracts, mechanics and such. 'idiots' demand more drizzit and dual-wielded katanas or nunchuks, which are just as inane to the setting as some of the ideas espoused here at to development time.

    i think bio's proven they're pretty decent at taking a middle road between the two... now ask me if it's sad that 'slightly above mediocre' is the new industry standard and i'll tell you yes.
     
    ^ Top  
  18. Jora Arcane

    Jora
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Messages:
    1,115
    Location:
    Finland
    I haven't tried any of the modules Bio and Bethesda have been selling but Black Isle's Trials of the Luremaster for Icewind Dale was a nice add-on that I could've bought for, say, 10 euros.
     
    ^ Top  
  19. Slith Scholar

    Slith
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Messages:
    231
    Location:
    West Coast, Canada
    You've misunderstood what I meant by pleb. In this case, I used it instead of idiot, in the implication that the common people are idiots. It's not meant to be literally taken at the value of what class you and I belong to, economically, but where we are at an intellectual level. Hey, maybe that's incredibly egoist, whatever. You can complain to my deaf ears.
     
    ^ Top  
  20. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2003
    Messages:
    27,772
    Not because their games didn't sell. BG3 would have sold like crazy if Herve didn't kill it.

    I agree. For awhile, in my opinion, Bioware was somewhere in the middle, between the art and the money, but it seems to me that lately the focus shifted toward the money. Dragon Age is the last PC only project, unfortunately, is it not?

    Well, I don't deny anyone anything. However, it's worth noting that if Troika did a better job with ToEE, then it might still be in business. If I had to choose between a better overall quality and some extras, I would have picked the former.

    Charging more for games and selling bits and pieces separately are two different things though, no?

    Anyway, an unrelated question for you, Dave. You are a writer. How does all the "our gaem has no wordy words, reading is for nerds lol" media attitude make you feel?
     
    ^ Top  
  21. aries202 Erudite

    aries202
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Messages:
    1,066
    Location:
    Denmark, Europe
    First, let me say, iirc, that there isn't any episodic
    content planned for Mass Effect, afaik.

    The game itself, Mass Effect, is planned (and has always been) planned as trology which means that the game itself are, of course, episodic in nature, but not in its form. Meaning that the game, Mass Effect, comes out in three installments.

    Also, like D Gaider (and other mentions) Bioware did
    offer Premium Modules (sor of expansions pack with 10-20 hours of gameplay) for a fee. I think the fee, or price was between 10 and 20 USD. This mainly paid for the maintenance of the nwn1 servers, while it also helped pay for the community and stuff like that i.e. the support of nwn 1.

    Also, Guild Wars has a sort of marketplace, where you buy new characters, and items and such things.

    To me, it seems that people do not react as strongly
    against paying for episodic content(s) if & when they think there is a reasonable explanation for why they have to pay a price for say Premium Modules.

    Most people understand that it costs money in order to maintain servers and get support for a game, say Neverwinter Nights 1.

    People were pretty, and to me, justifiably so, when Bethsoft released horse armor as extra content, and they could see that this clearly should have been in the game. They got even madder, when they realized that they had to pay 2 USD to get it. (for some reason this is somehow the most popular add-on for Oblivion ??).

    Anyway, given Bioware's past record, I'm pretty sure that they don't pull something like making us pay for + 5 sword. If they make us pay say 10 USD for a quest which rewards us with said + 5 sword, then it might be OK, provided of course that the quest should be at least 10-15 hours long...).

    Afaik, Bioware is making story-driven games, which up til now has meant linear games, where you follow the hero's journey in chapters, just like reading a book.
     
    ^ Top  
  22. doctor_kaz Scholar

    doctor_kaz
    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    517
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
     
    ^ Top  
  23. mister lamat Scholar

    mister lamat
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Messages:
    570
    you're also common, snowflake. just cuz you can climb up ontop of a mountain comprised entirely of your own bullshit, doesn't make you king of the hill.
     
    ^ Top  
  24. Dgaider Liturgist Developer

    Dgaider
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2004
    Messages:
    316
    Yes, I would agree with that.
    Hmm. I think it really depends on the point of the game. If you have a game that is mostly about fast-paced action, I agree that having lots of non-optional dialogue could really slow it down. If you're going to make your game more cinematic (whether you think that's a good thing or a bad thing) you need to follow cinematic rules for such things as dialogue and exposition. This doesn't mean you can't have plenty of interaction, including lots of optional side-dialogue, but you really have to be a lot more aware of the pacing.

    If the game is mostly about the story and the interaction, however (Dragon Age being a for instance, as we identify it internally as being more of a "novel" sort of game than our Action RPG's), criticizing it for something it actually intends to be seems a bit pointless. I've seen a few reviews for NWN2 where it seemed like the reviewer didn't like the type of game NWN2 was. It has too many rules, OMG you have to talk to people, that sort of thing. If NWN2 had claimed to be a fast-paced action game perhaps I could see that, but I'm pretty sure it didn't.
     
    ^ Top  
  25. bylam Funcom Developer

    bylam
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Messages:
    682
    Exactly you should judge a company by their past record and make purchasing decisions based on the value that you can reasonably expect. Bethesda have never done episodic content (I might add that I prefer the term downloadable content, because horse armour was hardly episodic!) and their first few forays have been less than impressive.
    Bioware, on the other hand, have an established record for delivering quality downloable content. Not only that, but Bioware used to give away quite a few freebies during their Neverwinter Wednesdays. Based on their past record I imagine that any content would be well worth the price that they ask.

    As for the debate about dev's withholding content to be sold later...again it depends on the company. You don't hear too many complaints about "Collector's Editions" even though these often contain extra ingame content e.g. Jade Empire.

    It is not as though a dev can/would withold anything gameplay pivotal, and then it is up to the player to decide whether it is worth their $2 for the uber sword of smiting or they would rather settle for the ingame sword of smacking.

    The only area for concern with downloadable content, IMO, is the affect on the modding scene. Will dev's start to move away from providing toolsets because some savvy modder will make for free what a developer could be selling?
    And on that note, are there still plans to include a toolset with Dragon Age?
     
    ^ Top  

As an Amazon Associate, rpgcodex.net earns from qualifying purchases.