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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

JarlFrank

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
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.

Yes, this. Budgets weren't the problem. Small teams weren't the problem. Constantly changing teams and visions were the problem. Look at the disastrous development history of TToN: they already had some things, and those things were decent, but then were scrapped because someone demanded a change in direction (like the change of the portrait artstyle in the middle of development, when most companion portraits had already been made and looked much better than the new artstyle they were replaced with). Horrendously long time spent in pre-production and then when they actually go over to implementation of content, they still don't have a 100% straight, worked-out plan to follow so the implementation can happen without any kinks in the process. What was the point of the long pre-production when there are still changes in direction afterwards? Isn't the point of pre-production to make sure everything fits together and the implementation process can go smoothly? But it didn't go smoothly at all. The project management was just fucked from start to finish.

Meanwhile Troika managed to release three flawed gems in the amount of time inXile took to make ONE game, and they had a much smaller budget and much smaller team, too. And yet despite their flaws, Arcanum, ToEE and Bloodlines are three classics that are still worth playing due to the great elements in them. And Troika weren't exactly known for great project management. Still they managed to deliver better products on smaller budgets with fewer development time.

A bigger budget wouldn't help inXile. What would help them is a better approach to project management.
 

felipepepe

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My hunch is that what's happened with some of inXile's games is that they start with a certain not-big-enough budget
Not big enough for what? A producer's job is exactly that, to analyze their budget and resources and then manage them appropriately. If you budget is "not-big-enough" for a 60 hour RPG, you do a 30 hour one, FFS. You don't do a shitty 60 hour one and then blame the budget.

All this shit should be decided in pre-production. If you're constantly being surprised at how big & expensive making a game is, maybe you should't be in charge of deciding the scope.
 

MicoSelva

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Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut Codex+ Now Streaming! Enjoy the Revolution! Another revolution around the sun that is. Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I helped put crap in Monomyth
The post below is 100% my speculation based on Brian Fargo's (and other inXile people) words from various interviews and tweets.

IMO what Brian Fargo wants the most is to really matter again in the gaming world. He is seeing RPGs as a way to achieve that. He wants to create true classics that will be remembered for times to come, similar to what Fallout has become (ignoring the F76 disaster). BTW, I think he still considers Fallout his biggest misssed opportunity (for Interplay - Bethesda obviously made a killing with the IP). After Kickstarter revolution he was hoping for a success similar to what Larian is achieving, where he could scale up production after each game. Swen is slowly but surely treading towards that "one RPG to rule them all", and Fargo's ambitions seem in the same vein. However, Wasteland 2 only did "okay", then Torment flopped hard.

EDIT: releasing Torment around the same time as Nioh, ME: Andromeda, Breath of the Wild, Nier: Automata and Horizon: Zero Dawn probably was not Fargo's best ever business decision.

I believe at that point he kind of gave up, even announcing that he would retire after Wasteland 2's release. Maybe he realized that he does not have the required talent at inXile and would never be able to afford it at California rates?

But then he got the opportunity to create a cheaper studio in New Orleans. Being addicted to Hearthstone, he told the team there to make Bard's Tale IV's to have a similar feel, and got high hopes for that as another chance at a smash hit... And we all know how that ended. Maybe BT4 can still be salvaged somewhat, but it will not sell those two million copies that BF hoped for.

Microsoft money are (once again) giving him a (final?) chance to make another classic for the ages. I am sure most of us thinks he will fail (once again), but he seemsto at least regained the will to try.

Some of his recent tweets:









And he tweeted this after Outer Worlds reveal:



My guess is inXile is already working with Microsoft to create a large-scale RPG... but we will not see any of it for a LONG time (if ever - it might be cancelled in three years, when Microsoft's management changes, or something).
 
Last edited:

Junmarko

† Cristo è Re †
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My hunch is that what's happened with some of inXile's games is that they start with a certain not-big-enough budget, hire a not-efficient-enough team with that budget, and then have to pile on more cash as development drags on.
Not big enough for what? A producer's job is exactly that, to analyze their budget and resources and then manage them appropriately. If you budget is "not-big-enough" for a 60 hour RPG, you do a 30 hour one, FFS. You don't do a shitty 60 hour one and then blame the budget.All this shit should be decided in pre-production. If you're constantly being surprised at how big & expensive making a game is, maybe you should't be in charge of deciding the scope.
That's what has shaped Obsidian though, years of experience working through the same problems. Love or hate their games, the most recent titles haven't suffered from a fraction of the problems the studio were known for - and they can manage scope quite effectively now.

Not saying InXile is homefree or anything, but if Wasteland 3 is just slight improvement on W2, then they will at least get a lot of the fanbase's confidence back.
 
Last edited:

Nano

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Grab the Codex by the pussy Strap Yourselves In
Meanwhile Troika managed to release three flawed gems in the amount of time inXile took to make ONE game, and they had a much smaller budget and much smaller team, too. And yet despite their flaws, Arcanum, ToEE and Bloodlines are three classics that are still worth playing due to the great elements in them.
...Huh? All three of Troika's games were backed by major publishers. Activision in particular not only published Bloodlines, they also gave Troika some extra funds for the Atari-published ToEE.
 

Big Wrangle

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Let's not forget how they all launched in extremely atrocious technical states.
 
Self-Ejected

theSavant

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Well, I'd really like to know what kind of RPG he comes up with next. Is he done with blobbers? Is he going isometric again? Or something completely different?
 
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Codex Year of the Donut
I realize this is partly in jest, but there's an unfortunate grain of truth to it, and it's bound to eventually cause problems. The absence of actual real programmers means that the expertise and functional knowledge-base of game development is eroded, and there won't be many able to do something "outside" of the "toolbox", let alone teach others how to do it.
senior programmer job security
 

Zombra

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Well, I'd really like to know what kind of RPG he comes up with next. Is he done with blobbers? Is he going isometric again? Or something completely different?
When I read that tweet about isometric/FP "travel time" issues, I misread it as "time travel" issues. I'm going to roll ahead with this. inXile's next game Meantime confirmed.
 

Catfish

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Truth is, we all just need to overcome the pavlovian response upon seeing names from FO1-2 credits in game trailers, and go back to judging games based on merit of the actual gameplay. Full disclosure, I desperately tried to enjoy WL2 and TTON and failed :(

1509657923144.gif
 

SpoilVictor

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Aside from mismanagement, poor team etc. I think that biggest Fargo problem is lack of thought. He sparked "RPG Renaissance", got crowd-funded and went nuts.

One can't simply take old school RPG, slap new coat at it and call it a day. Especially if you are dealing with "masterpieces", games considered by many as a pinnacle of RPG design, you have to carefully examine what made them great, how to emulate that and how modernize. You can't half-ass everything on the fly and expect good game. We got money on WL2, it's like Fallout but not really. Now Torment, let's go. Bard's Tale - we made it before, what's the problem...

If he wanted sequel to masterpiece he should have virgin-tight design document and execution. It reminds me of documentary about first Witcher game, where they said that there were like 3 of them, no one know how to code, they had 1million budget and they were expected to deliver AAA game. Ultimately it worked out for CDPR, nut that's good for debut, not for legendary comeback.

And he ended in reality where one of the OG Big Daddys of RPG is responsible for games that look like cheap knock-offs of originals, made by untalented studios, just to cash on popular trend.

What's even worse, the very same Renaissance Fargo helped to flourish can abruptly end thanks to his sub-par offerings, when gamers will get fed up of mediocre old school RPG re-imaginations.
 

Chunkyman

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Bard's Tale IV, Wasteland 2 and Torment were great games on a budget.

No, FTL and Dwarf Fortress are great games on a budget. Wasteland 2 was a boring slog, Torment blew their budget on endless pre-production and hiring writers to churn out more purple prose than the entire length of the Bible, and Bard's Tale IV was an uninspired mess with hardly any variety in combat or through repetitive puzzles.

None of these issues were the result of them not having enough money. They're just incompetent.
 
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Brian Fargo should get some credit for management. Just think of how hard it would be to attract a great team when you're starting a "crowd-funded based development team in New Orleans." They didn't have a lot of money or know how much money they would have in the future. New Orleans allowed them to save a ton of money on taxes. The biggest problem with making RPGs is they are extremely technical and extremely artistic. There's no way he got the top talent to join his company, and he still made two big RPGs with interesting stories and pretty good graphics. Some of his biggest strategic decisions have been enormously important to the survival of his company. Choosing which games to make next and marketing them appropriately was done insanely well. Wasteland 2 and Torment Numa-Numa raised a lot of money because of that.

But as always the complexity of making RPGs shows the classic problem: Attracting artists is easier than attracting great programmers. BioWare had legendary achievements because the founders were also programmers. Troika had a good programmer founder, but no great businessman, so it was as mercurial as it was meteoric. It looks like InXile has a good businessman with Fargo, but he's a founder that is not a programmer, and so the colossal difficulty of making games is exponentially harder, because he's not in a good position to hire great programmers. Maybe that will change now that he has money, but it will never be as good as having a programmer who is also a founder.
 

Yosharian

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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.

Yes, this. Budgets weren't the problem. Small teams weren't the problem. Constantly changing teams and visions were the problem. Look at the disastrous development history of TToN: they already had some things, and those things were decent, but then were scrapped because someone demanded a change in direction (like the change of the portrait artstyle in the middle of development, when most companion portraits had already been made and looked much better than the new artstyle they were replaced with). Horrendously long time spent in pre-production and then when they actually go over to implementation of content, they still don't have a 100% straight, worked-out plan to follow so the implementation can happen without any kinks in the process. What was the point of the long pre-production when there are still changes in direction afterwards? Isn't the point of pre-production to make sure everything fits together and the implementation process can go smoothly? But it didn't go smoothly at all. The project management was just fucked from start to finish.

Meanwhile Troika managed to release three flawed gems in the amount of time inXile took to make ONE game, and they had a much smaller budget and much smaller team, too. And yet despite their flaws, Arcanum, ToEE and Bloodlines are three classics that are still worth playing due to the great elements in them. And Troika weren't exactly known for great project management. Still they managed to deliver better products on smaller budgets with fewer development time.

A bigger budget wouldn't help inXile. What would help them is a better approach to project management.
What did those original portraits look like? Are there screenshots?
 

Yosharian

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Aside from mismanagement, poor team etc. I think that biggest Fargo problem is lack of thought. He sparked "RPG Renaissance", got crowd-funded and went nuts.

One can't simply take old school RPG, slap new coat at it and call it a day. Especially if you are dealing with "masterpieces", games considered by many as a pinnacle of RPG design, you have to carefully examine what made them great, how to emulate that and how modernize. You can't half-ass everything on the fly and expect good game. We got money on WL2, it's like Fallout but not really. Now Torment, let's go. Bard's Tale - we made it before, what's the problem...

If he wanted sequel to masterpiece he should have virgin-tight design document and execution. It reminds me of documentary about first Witcher game, where they said that there were like 3 of them, no one know how to code, they had 1million budget and they were expected to deliver AAA game. Ultimately it worked out for CDPR, nut that's good for debut, not for legendary comeback.

And he ended in reality where one of the OG Big Daddys of RPG is responsible for games that look like cheap knock-offs of originals, made by untalented studios, just to cash on popular trend.

What's even worse, the very same Renaissance Fargo helped to flourish can abruptly end thanks to his sub-par offerings, when gamers will get fed up of mediocre old school RPG re-imaginations.
Would it be unfair to say that we need to stop expecting old has-beens like Fargo to resurrect the isometric RPG genre? We need fresh talent with new ideas that can "carefully examine what made them great, how to emulate that and how [to] modernize". These old farts just can't hack it any more.
 

SniperHF

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That's not even all of them, some characters had more than 2 revisions, here's an Aligern from one of the alpha systems tests:
4fEYM0P.png


Or Callistege
W76A459.png
(From AST)
ZxsMSbX.png
( final I think)





What did those original portraits look like? Are there screenshots?
 
Unwanted

a Goat

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That's not how you necro. Learn from the best.
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?
Theoretically they could make more assets, since that was part of the problem in wl2 and iterate on systems. But then you look at dc and see that the for instance atrocious balance was just reshuffled, at best.
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.
Cancel it before it hit kikestarter. Pst was the worst selling IE game for a very good reason.
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...
The money Fargo claims went for BT4 probably served as a backburner for borement.
I think Brian Fargo should stop shovelling money directly into his tax haven bank accounts if he cares so much.
Fargo doesn't need to shovel money anywhere. What you have to understand about him is that making videogames for him is just something he does out of boredom. As far as living in mansion and having trophy wife he has this part covered, always had.
Wonder if Microsoft now acquired the Wasteland and Bard's Tale IPs
IPs are privately owned by Brian and one of the clause of the buyout is that he remains a part of the company.
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)
Again, it's more of a hobby for him. He "botches" games because there are no consequences of his failure. Oh no, my company does bad. Sell it to others before I'll have to announce bankruptcy. No biggie. If you look at the history of both interplay and inexile you'll notice that under his direction they failed to capitalise on multiple potential series that might have been long term money makers. Why? Because it's not what Brian Fargo dreams about. Brian wants to remind himself of the days whem he developed wasteland, he starts wasteland 2 dev and other shit. Midway into it he gets bored and decides heh I can build business model around crowdfunding, and post apo is boring, how about making spiritual successor to that game with zany setting and writing that has bombed back in interplay times? Then midway through this he figured out, damn this is boring, I bet we can make blobbers too.

He got the basics right(retentive 3 year dev cycle) but then it started tumbling down. It's obvious that the money he got from borement 2 kikestarter went into finishing touches on WL2(not enough), but it was successful enough to actually fund the development of the game anyway, except it evidently went through some minor hell and they ran out of money again. Wat do? New kikestarter. Then borement unsurprisingly flops and he can't repeat what he did before. Tries WL3 but it still isn't enough and while when it comes to borement, at least the vocal minority said they'd love this kind of game, blobber was seemingly less attractive to the wide audience. BT4 unsurprisingly flops again, because they didn't have enough time to iterate on content for the length they wanted to have(and sat on awful lot of unused assets and levels, it would be a shame if they got wasted), so even the actual blobber fans out there avoid it and he has to do the exit strategy and sell the company.

Now my little friend half of the people who used to post itt get notifications to read absolutely redundant post.
 

KeighnMcDeath

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Did his Torment Numenera come out before the pnp Numenera? I just notice there’s a whole line up under the Cypher System pnp games. I need to look at those more closely as I’m wondering why try to combine the old Ad&D 2e planescape torment CRPG with some other world called Numenera? Or is there no similarity at all between both CRPGs or the pnps?
 

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