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Company News Bioware goes episodic

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

  1. obediah Erudite

    obediah
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    I deny it's necessity. All the great games were made be people out to make great games, not by people out to run a profitable company. Those companies are out of business because making great games is difficult and artistic success doesn't guarantee financial success. As a gamer, so what? We want great games, not companies with a 30 year legacy.

    At one point, maybe you wanted to make great games. Now you want to make commercially safe games as good as possible. That means you will never be the factor that makes a game great. As long as your work with others who feel the same, you will never make a great game. That's good enough for IGN, but not the codex.
     
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  2. aboyd Liturgist

    aboyd
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    ^^^ not sure that represents all of the Codex.
     
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  3. dojoteef Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    A company that makes great games can also be a company out to make a profitable game. Just look at a game like God of War which was made by Sony. Also look at the Half-life series. Those two companies are definitely in it for profit, yet they still make compelling enjoyable games.

    True as a gamer I want great games, but if all the people who make great games are in it for the short run then there are going to be fewer and fewer great games. The video game industry is a tough business. Companies do what they have to in order to get by. I have talked to a number of studios that say, "Hey we want to do original IP that is fun and compelling instead of the sports games that none of our employees even enjoy playing let alone making., Unfortunately we do not have the resources yet. Now that we have made a bit of a name for ourselves and paid our dues we have the resources to make the games we want."

    Really it all boils down to money. Statistically western style RPGs have never been at the top of the sales charts. Publishers are less willing to fund original RPGs and independent developers typically do not have the resources to self-fund a multi-million dollar project. Sure you can do small indie projects like Vault Dweller's game Age of Decadence, but it is not going to be a cash cow. Hopefully it does well enough in order to support further games by Iron Tower Studios. I know I am looking forward to it.

    To ignore the fact that video games are a business is to set yourself up for failure from the get go.
     
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  4. Mithter Thibbs Novice

    Mithter Thibbs
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    I just hope thesse episodes are worth not only the price for which they're being offered, but the inconvenience of having to install a game piecemeal. I found NWN1 to be almost more trouble than it was worth. The base game, the patches, the updates, the patches, the expansions, the patches, the modules, the hackpacks.... so much work just to play the game.

    I suspect the staggered nature of the game's release will also be reflected in the game itself as a more disjointed sort of gameplay experience -- another thing I'm not all that thrilled with -- but... maybe it'll work out. Maybe it really will be worth all the inconvenience. We'll see...

    ... eventually.
     
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  5. obediah Erudite

    obediah
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    I haven't played either, but what evidence do you have that either Jaffe or Newell didn't go into the design process to make a great game? Sure Sony as a producer has an interest in profitability, but you want to see the Developer at least fight for their vision. This quote from Jagge would suggest that God of War wasn't designed by focus group. "I think when you talk about inspirations for God of War, it comes from a real desire to work on what I felt would be my ultimate action adventure game."

    Interesting conjecture. From my point of view, the opposite is true. Over the past 20 years game companies have become more and more consolidated, more and more geared towards long term viability, and the number of great games has not increased. The number of good games probably has, but I don't have time for good games any more. Most people do and are in video game heaven at the moment.

    Thanks for the tangential essay. I've said something similiar in countless 'OMFG Publishers are teh ev1l' threads. But my point is that games that make you stay up to to 3AM every night for a week, grinning the entire time and telling everyone you know about them are not designed by focus group. Making such games on a $10M budget with super sexy 360 graphics may not be practical, but that isn't an excuse to forget what excellent games are like.
     
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  6. Dmitron Arbiter

    Dmitron
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    I'm too lazy to read this entire thread, all I got to say is this:

    Episodic content is a rip off.

    Though it is part of the natural evolution, games have gone from taking 30 hours to finish to 10 hours..only logical that the next step is 3 hours every 6 months.
     
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  7. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    vd suggest a dangerous approach. expansions never sell as well as the core game. big sales come from basic game, not the expansions. so if a developer/publisher plans on generating future sales by holding features out of the core product, they clearly is gambling that such absence o' features from core game won't hurt the more important core sales.

    gamers is like junkies. you need only looks at day purchase practices to see just how little self control gamers gots. day 1 releases is seemingly evermore likely to be buggy... which is probale in part due to fact that publishers is keenly aware that fans is gonna buy before they gets real feedback 'bout stability. 'course as with all junkies, the gamer junkie gots a short attention span... can only focus on immediate future and the next fix. if Bioware Game X sucks, then the junkie is unlikely to wait for an expansion to see if game is made better to get next fix. there is always some new drug being developed by bethesda or obsidian or ea or square soft or whomever. but if game is popular, then some segment o' purchasers is gonna be serious hooked, and they is gonna buy anything with the Game X label, even if it is only horse armour... or crap like HoW.

    vd boogie man not seem plausible... not at the moment when expansion/extra content sales is so damned small compared to core game sales. publishers gots most motivation to release desirable content for the core game, not the expansions.... expansion material is free money for publisher... relative cheap to develop, but sales #s simply ain't same scale as core game. steal from peter to give to paul not make sense.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  8. Jabbapop Scholar

    Jabbapop
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    lol single player rpgs with mmorpg pricing models
     
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  9. dojoteef Self-Ejected

    Self-Ejected
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    That quote is pure PR bullocks. Sorry, but they focus tested the shit out of that game. They have a making of documentary and then a gallery of models they made for the main character that are unlocked when you beat the game. The making of clearly states they focus tested and actually drastically changed the design because of it. Additionally they went through something like 6 or 7 variations of fully modeled and textured main character. It is natural to do a process like that when you can afford to. Look at all of Blizzard's games. They sell millions on even their worst games because they spend the time to balance, play test, and focus test.

    As for the rest of your post, I think you have a valid view point, I just do not share the same opinion.
     
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  10. Slith Scholar

    Slith
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    Nahhh, those are pretty much my sentiments too.
     
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  11. zioburosky13 Educated

    zioburosky13
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    Episode game is like shareware game back in the 90.
    If you want more, you gotta pay more. Sorta.

    It's good for small developer for them to be able focus on gameplay rather on technology while able to make a living to fund their effort.
     
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  12. Ladonna Arcane

    Ladonna
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    Yeah, except the shareware game is fully unlocked after one payment, so nothing at all like this content rubbish.

    I think the GTA games are definately labours of love, apart from that, I find it hard to find any other finished ones at the moment.
     
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  13. doctor_kaz Scholar

    doctor_kaz
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    SOU and Hotu were expansion packs, not full games. They automatically sell a lot less than original games. It says nothing that Jade Empire, as an original game, sold more than a couple of expansion packs. I also don't know where you get the numbers from that say this. Jade Empire was discounted to bargain price before Christmas the year it was released, something very unusual for a console game. YOu can find it for $10 or less on ebay now. :lol: Only flops go from $50 to less than $30 in the time that Jade Empire did. I should also point out that this happened despite a massive (i.e. expensive) advertising and hype campaign, something that Bioware's more successful PC games never got. I saw advertisements for Jade Empire in movie theaters. The only other game I have seen this for before is Halo 2.

    Even if Jade Empire sold 600,000 copies, that's a far cry from the 2 million+ that Bioware's previous four RPG's sold. The game was a huge flop when compared to Neverwinter Nights and the Baldurs Gate series. You can argue that it flopped because it was a new IP, but the smash successes of games like Gears of War and Halo prove that the X-Box market will enthusiastically adopt unfamiliar IP's if they are well done . And guess what -- Mass Effect is a new IP as well. Don't be surprised if it also ends up costing $29.99 after a few months.

    More advertising for less sales? So much for Bioware making more money on console games.

    It's only a trend, but it's not always true. The Sims have sold far better on the PC than any console. Interplay's excursion onto consoles with the Fallout series was a commerical disaster. They were a successful company up until then. Ask Warren Spector and Harvey Smith how well the Deus Ex and Thief series did when they went to consoles. Maybe you could if Ion Storm hadn't gone out of business because of it. Ask Funcom how well Dreamfall did compared to The Longest Journey. Ask Bioware how well Jade Empire did compared to Baldurs Gate, Baldurs Gate 2, and Neverwinter Nights. Ask Valve how well Half-Life 2 did on the X-Box, compared to the PC (hint -- Valve has already publicly said that it did not sell well). Ask Croteam how well Serious Sam 2 sold compared with the first two installments on the PC.

    There is clearly a small subset of games that do well better on the PC than on consoles. Unfortunately, hardly anybody outside of EA seems to know this. (I predict that we'll be adding Irrational to that list in the previous paragraph once Bioshock flops). I'll make a prediction right now. Dragon Age will outsell Mass Effect by at least a 2 to 1 margin.

    Baldurs Gate, Baldurs Gate 2, KOTOR, and Neverwinter Nights were all huge commercial successes. I take it the D&D games of the late 80's/early 90's did okay too, since there were like eight of them. The trend seems to be that Western RPG's that are based on D&D or some other licensed property do, indeed, sell well. It's a baffling mystery as to why more of them aren't being made.
     
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  14. crpgnut Augur

    crpgnut
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    I really think if developers want to release "episodic content" they should just release a torrent on the same day. I have no problems with buying full games. You can bet that I didn't pay for any horse armor though. I just waited for the torrent to show up. My moral compass doesn't seem to mind stealing the shoestrings that should have come with my pair of shoes.

    Will I buy Shivering Isles? Of course. Did I pay for any Bethesda "episodic content"? Nope. Will I pay for Dragon Age modules? It really depends on how much bang I get for my buck. I'll for sure torrent the first few. If they give good value for the money, I'll buy them. I bought a handful of the premium modules, but never before I had "demoed/stolen" them first.

    What's sad is that by far the best things released for Oblivion have been totally free. Episodic content will signify the end of toolsets. If Bethesda could have legally sold Oscuro's Oblivion Overhaul, they would have made a nice chunk of change. It is much, much better than anything that Bethesda has churned out so far.
     
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  15. Sir_Brennus Scholar

    Sir_Brennus
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    I wouldn't compare Bethesda's DLC to the "Apogee business model" because the game we BUY (and do not freeload from a ftp server) is supposed to be finished (or sort of... G3), while "Commander Keen Episode 1" is officially not complete, but an introduction with a cliffhanger.

    The Bethesda business model is best compared to the "mother of all rip-offs": Datasofts "ALTERNATE REALITY - THE CITY" also had those doors that couldn't be opened without one of the announced (and never released) modules. The box itself makes one think that the game is complete, while in fact it's not.

    On a sidenote: Wasn't BG1 also planed in a similar way? TALES OF THE SWORD COAST was in parts obviously ripped from the main game and I remember an announcement that more "modules" were about to come...

    So nothing really new for Bioware, except for the Internet-to-HD technique.
     
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  16. aries202 Erudite

    aries202
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    First, let me say that it also is my understanding that
    consoles sell more copies of games developed
    for the xbox 360.

    Mostly because games developed for the xbox 360 mianly are wargames, shootergames, scifi-games and
    the like.

    Prey, Gears of War, Halo, America's Army and similar games are developed for what is known as the FPS-crowd, which, afaik, revel in shooting
    games, tactical combat and the like.

    Mass Effect, imo, will sell well, simply because it
    is a sci fi tactical rpg combined with the fast paced action that appeals to the FPS crowd. I also hope that ME will sell well, mainly because the proceeds from this could help further the development of Dragon Age.

    Also, if MS approaches any game developer and MS says to these (developers) that if you develop a
    game for the Xbox 360, then we, MS, will give you
    Y amount of $$$$$, then these developers usually will take the money ---and run with it, both with the idea as well as the money.

    Whether or not this is OK is debatable, but you should remember that business is still business...
     
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  17. kris Arcane

    kris
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    Problem is mostly that there is nothing to suss out or their reason to like or dislike it doesn't make sense. not to forget that they can say some things that goes totally contrary to what really was the case. Just see comparisons on Oblivion and Gothic3 reviews.

    I must agree on your last sentence though.
     
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  18. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "I also don't know where you get the numbers from that say this. Jade Empire was discounted to bargain price before Christmas the year it was released, something very unusual for a console game."

    I get the numbers of articles, the BIO site, and so on. JE is not even bargain price now. At leats not where I am. And, it didn't flop either. You have yet to give any numbers to prove it has.

    I believe MS, and BIO before you any day.

    If JE was such a flop, they wouldn't bother rereleasing it for PC.

    Dumbass.
     
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  19. FrancoTAU Cipher

    FrancoTAU
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    Re-Releasing on the PC is irrelevant to how well it did on consoles. If it's cheap to port and company thinks it's worth it than they will. We've seen both scenarios where a game sells well on consoles and than gets a PC port and the a game bombing on a console and than doing a PC port to try to recoup costs.
     
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  20. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    O RLY? Name some. I'm sure that's easy siunce there are always exemptions to the rule. And, btw, don't count those who were being released on multiple platforms from the get go.

    I doubt JE is that cheap to port considering BIO has to pay a new publisher, and they're getting another company to actually developer the PC version.

    Cheaper than the original's cost of course; but that doesn't say much.

    Still, games that bomb usually get thrown in the trash.

    Plus, selling 600k+ copies in about 6 months is not bombing. :roll: :roll: :roll:
     
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  21. Higher Game Arcane

    Higher Game
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    Bingo. Old RPGs in the 80's cost about $100 in today's money, and computers were also a hell of a lot more expensive. I would DEFINITELY be willing to pay $100 for another Fallout or Planescape: Torment. The cheapness of games recently just shows that they're becoming another commodity, like crude oil and pork bellies, not a work of art.

    Damn it. Why can people afford $300 video cards, but won't shell out more than a paltry $50 for a game? This is definitely putting pressure on publishers, who pressure developers, and game quality has clearly declined because of it. Stupid graphics whores.
     
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  22. bylam Funcom Developer

    bylam
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    Amen to that. Not to mention that Xbox games retail for about 1/3 more than PC games (where I live Volourn, don't ask why I lie!) so Bioware probably make more money from less copies.
     
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  23. Jim Kata Arbiter

    Jim Kata
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    Well, since they are not making any games I would play any more in the first place I guess it's moot.
     
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  24. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    Bored now.

    Not to suck all the fun out of the room... well, actually I need some fun so I'll take it from anyone else, but like anything else, there is a rational approach.

    If it looks good (subjective tastes permitting), and the price is reasonable, buy it. If not, don't. Don't get Volourn's panties in a twist with speculation, because he thrives on the attention. Even when it isn't about him.
     
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  25. Ivy Mike Scholar

    Ivy Mike
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    While I disagree with your comment about games turning into just another commodity, beacause that's what they've always been, with more or less artistic merit, I completely agree with the stupidity of complaining about prices. If anything the lower real prices has caused many of the problems within the games industry we see nowadays. Also I don't see anything inherently wrong with episodic content, as long as you're getting your money's worth so to speak. Case in point: The new Sam and Max. Sure, I'd rather see a full-fledged follow up to one of the best adventure games ever produced, but 3-4 hours of fun at $9 a pop is, in my opinion, worth it.
     
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