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InXile and budget problems

InXile's problems are

  • Small budgets

    Votes: 6 6.2%
  • Something else

    Votes: 61 62.9%
  • Kingcomrade

    Votes: 30 30.9%

  • Total voters
    97

StaticSpine

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In recent interviews Brian talks a lot about small budgets as the main problem for InXile and Microsoft solving all the studio's problems giving bigger budgets.

https://www.pcgamer.com/inxile-boss...he-microsoft-deal-he-canceled-his-retirement/
https://www.gamesindustry.biz/artic...o-i-spent-50-percent-of-my-time-raising-money

I think lack of money is not the main case. I was a huge supporter of InXile till TToN release and was a KS backer for W2 and TToN. I didn't fall in love with those two games. I think the main problem for the studio is not budget, but abscence of a strong team, which didn't form during InXile making RPGs period (after working on Choplifters and Demon's Forges) and lack of strong vision.

W2 - IMO the game was too long and could be cut in half and benefit from that. What could they do with bigger budget? Voice acting? Make the game even longer?

TToN - you all know everything about the game. What could they do with bigger budget? Hire even more writers? Leave Kevin leading the project? The game was too flawed in design which is not a budget problem.

BTIV - didn't play it, but as I heard it's very buggy + also is too long and would benefit if cut in half. Bigger budget? Better QA maybe. But if it was twice shorter...

Wht do you think?
 

Infinitron

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I think Brian has been more specific than that. He's not just making a vague complaint about "budgets". I believe he's specifically said that higher budgets would allow him to hire the stronger, more specialized team that he needs.

It's been observed on the Codex before that this is an advantage that Obsidian has had over inXile. As a larger company, they had access to more and better artists, more and better programmers, etc. Design is a different matter, but to a large extent, good game design requires that sort of support in order to shine.
 

Abu Antar

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Their problem isn't lack of money. It's organizational problem. For how long was TToN developed? Half that period was in pre-production, making new iterations. Wasteland 2 probably hade the same problem. Then, people were let go. Too many cooks was also a problem. So, in sohrt: Money issue was not the problem. There were many other factors.
 

Xeon

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Wonder if he is expecting 30mil or something for his pitches or something, I can see Obsidian getting big budgets from Microsoft because they did work on AAA games, but I can't imagine InXile getting that kind of money.

Also wasn't Torment with the highest money from KS? and after all that it still sucked.
 

StaticSpine

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I think Brian has been more specific than that. He's not just making a vague complaint about "budgets". I believe he's specifically said that higher budgets would allow him to hire the stronger, more specialized team that he needs.

It's been observed on the Codex before that this is an advantage that Obsidian has had over inXile. As a larger company, they had access to more and better artists, more and better programmers, etc. Design is a different matter, but to a large extent, good game design requires that sort of support in order to shine.
Yeah. That's what I'm talking about. InXile doesn't have a competent and harmonious enough team to design, manage and develop this kind of games. And they have been working this way for 6 years already (counting from W2 KS). It's not only about hiring more expensive professionals.
 

Infinitron

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It's not only about hiring more expensive professionals.

Well it's a start.

I bring up Obsidian because it really is a great example. Compare Pillars of Eternity and Torment - two games that started out with similar budgets, two games that many Codexers think had bad, incoherent design and leadership. Yet it's clear that pound-for-pound, Obsidian's developers out-programmed, out-artisted, out-scripted inXile every step of the way.

inXile just really need to reach that minimum level of production quality before they can even begin thinking about producing "masterpieces". They don't have a grasp on the basics at the moment.
 
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I mean, with enough money and time you can buy your way out of any problem, as the Department of Defense' project development history attests.

It comes down to whether you accept the kind of human error that led to organizational and personnel problems for inXile are a normal part of the games industry and a bigger budget is a normal solution to that problem.
 

Xeon

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Wonder if Microsoft now acquired the Wasteland and Bard's Tale IPs. If they did then I don't think InXile has any big value to get a lot of backing from Microsoft, like people said they probably lack the talents and they are not famous enough to have a big following or something especially for consoles so it will probably depends on Wasteland 3.

I hope Wasteland 3 will be great, Gorge Ziets deserve some better karma outcome or something.
 

felipepepe

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The issue was never budget, was management. Every single InXile game has glaring issues that came all the way from pre-production, chief of them all being their inability to properly scope their games.
 

Urthor

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Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
To be fair Bard's Tale 4 was made on a shoe string and if they had more budget they probably could have made more than 6 types of enemies.

But yeah Wasteland 2 (was a pretty solid game that needed 1 combat balance fix for assault rifles let's be honest) and TTON's issues couldn't be solved by throwing money at them, they were fixed by improving the core gameplay of those titles.
 
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The issue was never budget, was management. Every single InXile game has glaring issues that came all the way from pre-production, chief of them all being their inability to properly scope their games.

Depends if you see the glass as half full or half empty.

Lots of video games had management problems that still ended up becoming successful releases or even classics, because they had enough budget to overcome and/or learn from production mistakes, perhaps even discovering an alternative measure they wouldn't have imagined otherwise that winded up improving the final project immensely.

If inXile made such discoveries, they never really had the money to act on them in a way companies like Bethesda or CDProjeckt could.

And on the other hand, lots of intelligently managed products are boring or forgettable.

Which isn't to say that Brian isn't punting somewhat on his mistakes (his laissez-faire style of management doesn't work very well with AA-sized budgets where every production resource counts), but Microsoft backing might make it work in the future.
 
Last edited:

nikolokolus

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The spirit seems willing (Fargo), but the flesh is weak (most of the people working for him). I'm guessing Fargo started out with his heart in the right place (you don't make and market "Auld Skool Arrpeegees" if you're trying to make a quick buck) but you need people with real chops to do it successfully. Judging by the titles they've pumped out so far I'd wager that there's just not enough talent in the design and direction areas. Will more money fix that? I guess it depends on who is doing the hiring and if there are any changes to the way projects are scoped and managed. I guess that's if you believe some of the reviews of InXile at Glassdoor https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/InXile-Entertainment-Reviews-E31350.htm
 

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I think what Brian managed to get out of his budgets is well above expectations. Whether you agree with the memes or not, Bard's Tale IV, Wasteland 2 and Torment were great games on a budget. He squeezed a lot of juice into this games and that's likely why Microsoft picked them up, because at the core they are good developers and designers and Brian is a good leader. With larger budgets the games can only get better, and I think you'll see a serious return to form on a larger scale (i.e. less memes about how their games suck) once they get a budget large enough to do more necessary development things with.
 

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I think lack of money is not the main case. I was a huge supporter of InXile till TToN release and was a KS backer for W2 and TToN. I didn't fall in love with those two games. I think the main problem for the studio is not budget, but abscence of a strong team, which didn't form during InXile making RPGs period and lack of strong vision.
W2 - IMO the game was too long and could be cut in half and benefit from that. What could they do with bigger budget? Voice acting? Make the game even longer?
TToN - you all know everything about the game. What could they do with bigger budget? Hire even more writers? Leave Kevin leading the project? The game was too flawed in design which is not a budget problem.
BTIV - didn't play it, but as I heard it's very buggy + also is too long and would benefit if cut in half. Bigger budget? Better QA maybe. But if it was twice shorter...
Wht do you think?
I think bigger budgets can lead to stronger teams. Certainly won't hurt, particularly as Fargo's talking about getting crackerjack specialists. As all RPG veterans know, min-maxing your personnel is a clear road to success.

My feeling is that in general inXile needs to do more testing and more iteration. We're seeing huge patches after each release, and stuff like the W2 Director's Cut released a year later, which all implies that they just don't have the manpower to really go over it and over it and find out what works best in a reasonable amount of time.

Personally I loved Wasteland 2 ... I would have liked to see better balanced combat more than anything. They actually made a lot of progress on this but there were still some glaring problems at the final whistle. The Perks and Quirks systems in W2DC could have used more time in the oven as well, and by time I mean testing hours and design reiteration. With a bigger team and more specialists this could have happened. (Is that where they will choose to spend the $ in the future, I don't know, but they could.) Also despite what we all say about caring for gameplay instead of graphics, a vast block of critics (including many on the Codex) bitched about W2's visuals. These players are dumb assholes but this really leaves inXile no choice but to put more budget into art.

TTON, I don't know if more $ would help or not. The unfocused "anything goes" setting was a big turnoff for me, and the "crisis system" wasn't fun (for me) to play, I almost wish they would have made everything dialogue-driven like No Truce instead. Maybe a bigger team working on the combat would have made it more fun; other than that I don't see what more $ would have done.

BT4 I haven't even played since beta. "Too long" is a common complaint - "5 identical puzzles in a row" type of complaints. I wonder if a bigger budget would have helped them inject greater variety, more testing and iteration to make it less monotonous. Certainly they could use a lot more enemy types etc. and $ would be a huge help there.
 
Self-Ejected

theSavant

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BT4 I haven't even played since beta. "Too long" is a common complaint - "5 identical puzzles in a row" type of complaints. I wonder if a bigger budget would have helped them inject greater variety, more testing and iteration to make it less monotonous. Certainly they could use a lot more enemy types etc. and $ would be a huge help there.

Imo no. The game would have been better if it were cut in half. Cut in half means it would have required less money. So less money would have been more fruitful.

Also when I look at Star Citizen... I can't help but think, it should have stopped at much less funding (looking through the stretchgoals the "right" amount of funding should have stopped at ~65 million).


It's like when they have too much money they're losing it. And eventually mess it up. One reason for that may be because they think "now they got so much money for development, they need to put in adequately more content to justify their paydays, to justify themselves". And get caught up in their own mindfuck. It's a devil's circle. What all these guys need is someone with a sane brain, guiding them in a meaningful way, telling them when it's enough. You'd think all these game company veterans would know that by now... but obviously not. It's perplexing. Really.
 
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aweigh

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Wait, StarCitizen exceeded sixty-five million?

EDIT:

HOLY SHIT. Wow. I didn't know. That is a fucking INSANE amount of money to have crowd-funded. That's also in the same level of budget as a GTA 5 or a Red Dead 2, at least on the Development side; advertisement budget for games like that are probably 1.5x the Dev amount.
 

Whiskeyjack

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Bigger budgets don't fix shitty design. Design doesn't cost a dime.

Shitty excuse from a shitty developer.
 

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