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Company News Obsidian is hiring again = RPG overload

Discussion in 'News & Content Feedback' started by Vault Dweller, May 19, 2006.

  1. Saint_Proverbius Administrator Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    The only thing stopping Gothic from being a console game is the fact it didn't come out for any consoles. Everything else about it feels very much like a console game.
     
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  2. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    It looks and feels like a console game, which isn't a surprise, considering that it was originally developed for consoles, but the non-linear gameplay (the first part of each game) and multiple solutions aren't something that console RPGs are known for. Unless I'm mistaken and you can recommend me a few games.
     
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  3. Data4 Arcane

    Data4
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    They forgot to list the number one qualification--

    A fucked up sounding first name that starts with F to replace Ferret, and thus continue the dynamic duo of... er... two guys with fucked up first names that start with F.

    -D4
     
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  4. Saint_Proverbius Administrator Patron

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    Agreed there. It's a shame that's where that gameplay ends, though. Your character finally gets interesting, and the interesting game world scenarios tend to abruptly end at that point.
     
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  5. Jora Arcane

    Jora
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    Chrono Trigger? IIRC, it has a story that is in some parts non-linear, multiple endings and some quests with more than one solution.
     
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  6. Naked_Lunch Erudite

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    I thought Gothic 2 remained pretty damn good and non-linear throughout the whole game (even moreso with the excellent expansion), at least up until the final part with the Island and the undead dragon and chit.
     
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  7. Keldryn Arcane

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    No reason Gothic couldn't have been a console game. Its control scheme would work far better on a console gamepad than with the keyboard, in my opinion. An Xbox or Gamecube version would have been great.

    There are many "action RPGs" with depth. Deus Ex. Jade Empire. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines. Ultima Underworld. Ultima Underworld II. Arx Fatalis. The Elder Scrolls. System Shock 2. Are they as deep as the Gothic series? I would say so. Obviously, Gothic has aspects that the other games don't -- NPC schedules come to mind -- but the other games, in turn, have aspects that Gohtic doesn't have. I wouldn't consider any of the games that I just listed as shallow.

    And while its RPGness is questionable to many, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker rivals a lot of open-ended RPGs in terms of its gameplay structure. The six major dungeons do have to be completed in a certain order (due to items or spells required to gain entrance), but once you have your boat (after the 1st dungeon), you can pretty much travel anywhere in the world that you want. And it's a pretty vast, continuous world, with many places to explore and many secrets to uncover. Many of the characters in the main town actually do have daily routines, which is a necessary part of a couple of sidequests (Majora's Mask did this as well).

    The action element doesn't really have anything to do with the game's depth. I'm only a few hours into Invisible War, but I'm finding it just as compelling as the original Deus Ex -- and perhaps even more open-ended. Most RPGs don't make me feel like I have these kinds of choices to make. I would have put Invisible War on the above list as well, but the lack of the skill system from the first game removes what would seem to be the most-agreed upon feature of what makes a game an RPG.
     
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  8. Keldryn Arcane

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    Eh, I never said that.

    That's what I'm saying. Obisdian's posting really only states that the upcoming game is a 3rd-person action RPG, and people condem it right away. Add the word "console" to the description, which is treated like a four-letter word here, and the game is already being judged as lacking "freedom, consequences, and story" which isn't a logical or rational conclusion.
     
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  9. Drakron Arcane

    Drakron
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    Whore have 5 letters ... oh you mean shit or crap?

    Console games from western companies tend to be whoring because consoles are teh mainstream thing, a lot (if not most) are shit because they put 0 effort on it beyond using the same formula we seen from Diablo + graphics.

    We take a stronger stand against "action" RPGs because they try to be FPS with lite RPG mechanics, they fail BOTH as a FPS and as a RPG.
     
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  10. Keldryn Arcane

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    By your definition, all of the SSI "Gold Box" AD&D games are action RPGs, as well as most of the Might & Magic and Wizardry games. And the original three Bard's Tale games. And all strategy RPGs. And all turn-based JRPGs. And all of the Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master games (Which are real-time, so maybe ARPG should appy). And Knights of Legend, with its grotesque amount of frequent hour-long battles.

    It's a poor definition of the term. I can only see "action RPG" defined as the game taking place in real-time, where you have direct real-time control of your character(s) and one keypress/mouse click/button press equals one action, and where the player's skill plays some role in the resolution of events. This would exclude all of the above games which are hackfests but are turn-based, as well as games like Baldur's Gate, Dungeon Siege, or Knights of the Old Republic, where combat is real-time, but your characters all act autonomously until you issue them new orders. They aren't action games any more than real-time strategy games are action games.
     
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  11. Keldryn Arcane

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    Not sure if you're just talking about Baldur's Gate or Jade Empire as well, but JE does have three variations of the persuasion non-combat skill: Charm, Intuition, and Intimidation. Of course, that's all it has in terms of non-combat skills, but they handle most non-combat interactions remarkably well, and different characters do respond to each approach to persuasion differently. And, of course, depending on whether you are following the path of the Open Palm or the Closed Fist, or somewhere in the middle, the approach you take must be taken into consideration.


    The BG games don't really have much dialogue at all. And often the conversation options to peacefully resolve a situation don't actually do anything and you still end up fighting. But this is very much indicative of the designers' desire to not stray too far from AD&D as written -- in which the vast majority of XP and treasure are awarded from combat. PS: Torment, obviously, takes a different approach regarding the AD&D rules.

    It's definitely less of a hack-and-slasher than the Baldur's Gate games were. There is still a fair bit of combat, but it doesn't feel like it's the focus of the game the way it did in earlier games, especially the original BG.
     
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  12. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    "The BG games don't really have much dialogue at all."

    This simply isn't true. The Bg games had lots of dialogue. Quality written dialogue. It is true the dialogue was not as open ended as,s ay, FO, but the amount of dialogue they had is pretty much hard to argue against with a straight face espicially with BG2.
     
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  13. Keldryn Arcane

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    Let's not equate "console RPG" with "Japanese-developed RPG" if we can avoid it.

    Yes, historically, the vast majority of console RPGs have been Japanese-developed, but I think that has a lot to do with game consoles being almost entirely product of Japan from the release of the NES through until the release of the Xbox in 2001, and with the general impression of RPGs being a niche market. There isn't any reason why console RPGs can't feature non-linear gameplay and multiple solutions to quests. RPGs have always been the most popular genre of games in Japan, but have not been perceived this way in North America -- even though, once upon a time, RPGs were pretty much the most popular genre of game on home computers, after the Graphic Adventure (King's Quest) genre.

    The Japanese approach to designing RPGs has become increasingly in favour of telling a strong story with memorable, pre-defined characters. And I would assume that this approach is what is popular with the RPG-buying public in Japan. Pretty much any Japanese-designed RPG released on the PC follows the exact same design approach as their console brothers.

    Bioware's and Obisidan's Xbox titles have received a lot of critcism on these boards, but both KOTOR games and Jade Empire have a hell of a lot more in commmon with western-developed PC RPGs than with Japanese RPGs. So does Fable, for that matter. I learned my lesson from Ultima IX about following a game's development cycle too intently, gobbling up every bit of information released about the game, so I didn't really follow Project Ego and all of the "great ideas" that Peter Molyneux had that never made it into the game, and my expectations weren't inflated to such proportions that the second coming of Christ would have disappointed me. So I quite enjoyed the 18 to 20 hours that I spent with Fable, and I'm looking forward to a second playthrough with The Lost Chapters, when I get around to it. Sure, it has its share of flaws, and it's not as open-ended as Molyneux made it out to be. And it kind of sucks being limited to walking on the paths. But there is still a lot of freedom to wander about, many choices to make in character development, and many fun ways to just play in the sandbox.

    Chrono Trigger was mentioned as an example of a console RPG with some degree of non-linearity and multiple choices to make. Much of the game is fairly linear, but it does have, I believe, 17 different endings, depending upon what you've done in the game. There are a lot of optional things that you can do, and you don't actually even have to have the main character alive to complete the game. When you finish, you get the "New Game+" option, which allows characters to retain their experience and item. Thus, when you encounter the main foe early in the game, which usually results in your characters' non-game-ending-defeat, you can actually finish the game very early on and get an entirely different ending.

    Phantasy Star III is often looked as as the black sheep of the series, but it did offer some pretty interesting concepts in terms of choices. There were three generations of characters which were featured in the game, and at the end of the first two generations, you had to choose which of two women your character would marry. Thus, you played 3 of 7 possible protagonists in one playthrough of the game. Unfortunately, a lot of the events in each generation didn't really change that much, or only occurred in a different order. But it was 1991 or 1992, and it was a pretty cool attempt.

    Even a game like Final Fantasy X possesses a lot more depth that it would appear on the surface. It's an extremely linear game that doesn't give you any real choices as to how the story progresses. All of your party members are pre-named and pre-defined, and all you can really do is name your main character. However, the game does possess a remarkably deep character advancement system that really does allow for a lot of choices as to how to customize your character. Of course, if you play long enough, you can eventually have your characters advance all over the entire Sphere Grid, but that does take an insane amount of levelling up. There is also a fairly deep and complex item customization system, and a large number of obscenely difficult optional "boss monsters" to fight. I was ready to finish the game at about 48 hours of gameplay, but I spent another 20 hours on my characters and their equipment before I decided to just finish the damn game. And I had barely even scratched the surface of the insanely difficult arena quests. That's way more hardcore than I'm good for. FFX-2 has a five-chapter structure, but allows you to travel the world freely throughout each chapter -- kind of like Betrayal at Krondor, I suppose. And you have to decide how to specialize your characters' development in each of the available classes. And it gives you plenty of optional stuff to do.

    The Suikoden series has a lot to offer as well. In each game, you end up becoming the leader of an army with your own stronghold to upgrade and customize. You need to recruit people to join your cause, and if you manage to do it right, you can recruit all 108 Stars of Destiny. Pretty hard to do without a walkthrough though, as it's easy to miss a few. The middle part of the game is somewhat non-linear, as it is about recruiting as many of the 108 Stars as you can. You'll also lead your armies into battle against other armies, and fight one-on-one duels. Later games include a fairly decent skill system to allow you to customize and specialize your characters. It's not a shallow series of games by any means.

    Skies of Arcadia is great, and is one of my favourite console RPGs. The main storyline is pretty linear, but you always get a nicely-sized chunk of the world to explore as more areas become accessible. And just when you've exhausted all of your exploration opportunities on the world map, you get access to the Lower Sky and Upper Sky areas. Your conversation options are limited, but your responses do affect your reputation (your "Swashbuckling Rating") and how some characters respond do you. You also get a number of optional encounters added to the Gamecube version that expand upon the storyline. one fairly unique aspect is that there are a number of "Discoveries" to make in the world, but if you take too long, your competitor will find them and report them. All you really miss out on is the reward (and credit) for reporting it, but I think Wizardry VII is the only other game I know of that does anything like this.

    I think we are in the beginning of a transition where we will start to see more "PC-style" RPGs on the game consoles. We're seeing companies like Bioware starting to focus a lot of their development projects on the consoles now. The Xbox 360 and PS3 are pretty comparable to high-end PCs, and for the first time actually have a decent amount of RAM. Grand Theft Auto has really popularized the free-form "sandbox" style of gameplay that we PC RPG fans have enjoyed for a good 15 years already. The success of Morrowind and Oblivion on the Xbox and Xbox 360 -- regardless of your feelings about either or both of those games -- has proven that there is a market for the more open-ended style of RPG. Even the staunchly traditional Final Fantasy is actually starting to change. FF12 will actually do away with random battles altogether, with all enemies being on the map and the combat system very much resembling that of KOTOR. The game is supposedly a lot less linear than previous FF games. So if the FF series can mvoe in the direction of more open-ended gameplay, then perhaps there is some hope after all. :)

    Mass Effect looks to be very much in the tradition of open-ended, exploration-heavy PC RPGs. Yeah, so the dialogue system replaces pre-written choices with moods which more clearly represent the intent of the dialogue choice. It's not really changing anything. It's still a dialogue tree (from the sounds of it), and it still works the same way.

    Fallout 3 might very well suck, but I'm not jumping on that popular bandwagon yet. There is absolutely no logical reason to assume that it is going to be Morrowind or Oblivion with guns, simply because Bethesda is working on it. It's not going to be the same exact team working on it, and, well, Fallout is not The Elder Scrolls. Just because Bethedsa hasn't really done much outside of The Elder Scrolls doesn't mean that is all that they know how to do. That doesn't mean that Fallout 3 is going to be great, either. It just means we need to wait and see before jumping to conclusions. It will definitely get a console release though, which I'm quite pleased about. (As I've mentioned before, I suffer from repetitive strain injuries in both forearms from heavy computer use at work; I simply can't spend hours playing games on the PC without causing myself extreme pain.)

    There's a lot of good stuff out there, if you don't limit yourself to a single platform. I get regular use out of my Gamecube, PS2, and Xbox, as well as my PC. And I'll definitely be picking up an Xbox 360 and a Wii in the not too distant future. Jury's out on the PS3 though. Maybe if there are enough compelling games exclusive to the platform. I don't see a lot of hope for my PC gaming future though. Aside from the issue of my RSIs, my aging Radeon 9600 card (which I only bought a year ago for about $100 CAD) can't handle most of the newer stuff, and my Athlon XP 2600 CPU is getting long in the tooth. For the price of a higher-end (but not top of the line) graphics card, I can buy an Xbox 360. Sure, there's the age-old argument that a PC can do a lot more, but my PC works just fine for everything we use it for other than current games. I can't justify spending $1500 on a new system just so that a handful of games will run properly. And like I said, using the mouse is giving me chronic tendonitis, which pretty much limits my recreational PC use.
     
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  14. ad hominem Scholar

    ad hominem
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    Well said!

    I know that the Codex tends to define an RPG by the decisions you are allowed to make, but there are games where the character defines the role, and games where the role is pre-determined. This forum leans heavily on the former while either dismissing or outright ignoring the latter, but by strict definition they're both role-playing games.

    Just imagine that there was a Lord of the Rings RPG, where you took the role of Frodo on his quest to destroy a little band of gold in Hell's ass-crack. Now imagine that the designers allowed you (as Frodo) to wear the ring and usher in an age of hobbit-ruled tyranny. What would that be like? It'd be freakin' awesome! But that's beside the point :lol:

    It's fun sometimes just to enjoy being in the story, even if you don't have a huge amount of impact on its outcome (other than succeeding/failing). In addition, I think some recent linear JRPGs have had much more enjoyable battle systems. Keldryn, if you haven't already, check out Tales of Symphonia and Baten Kaitos for the GC. BK literally has the worst voice acting ever, but they both have separately innovative gameplay (AFAIK) and pretty good storylines.

    Oh, and Chrono Trigger is one of the top 5 games evarz!!1!1twelve

    (*dons flame-retardant suit*)
     
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  15. Slylandro Scholar

    Slylandro
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    True, and I agree that this doesn't necessarily contradict CRPG design, eg PS: T had some memorable pre-defined characters and a strong story. (In fact, PS: T and console RPGs share many facets but let's not get into that again). However, the most important difference seems to be that in console RPGs, the main character's role is also pre-defined. Whereas in Arcanum or Fallout it's a lot more malleable. I don't think these two philosophies have to contradict. I think anyone who played Arcanum wished that NPCs were more talkative and had a greater sense of history than just being automatons you picked up on the way. I'm also sure anyone who has played console RPGs wished that you weren't railroaded into making dialogue choices you disagreed with or playing roles, as a main character, that you felt didn't suit you.
     
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  16. LlamaGod Cipher

    LlamaGod
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    Wouldn't he just end up like Gollum?
     
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  17. Vival Augur

    Vival
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    I heard that one fairly often but is there actually any proof that it was originally developed for consoles or is it just the shitty interface design that gives this impression? They started developing Gothic 1 back in the nineties and it took pretty long to get finished(could have been about 4 years). I remember reading about it in pc gaming mags from time to time and I don't think this was ever mentioned. Furthermore I have a very hard time to believe that such a memory-hungry game engine could have run on consoles back then.
     
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  18. TheGreatGodPan Arbiter

    TheGreatGodPan
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    Fuck Japan. In the days of the NES they were important in gaming, but afterward I think their net effect on gaming is negative (at least for me). My brother bought Skies of Arcadia and I tried starting up a game, but immediately hated my character(s) so much I tried to purposefully lose the initial battle or whatever on the airship I had been forced into. I couldn't. That's a huge glaring failure of design in my book.
     
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  19. Twinfalls Erudite

    Twinfalls
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    Yeah, there really should be more discussion of those cool RPGs Quake and Halo here. What a narrow-minded place this is! :roll:

    It is neither 'jumping on a bandwagon' nor 'jumping to conclusions' to observe that New Bethesda are incapable of making a decent RPG in the setting that they are comfortable and familiar with, let alone an entirely new one. Nor is it either of those things to make the most obvious and reasonable prognostication, based on overwhelming evidence, namely that

    FALLOUT 3 IS GOING TO SUCK DONKEY NUTS
     
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  20. Mefi Cipher

    Mefi
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    But we might be pleasantly surprised. It might be voiced by William Shatner.
     
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  21. Keldryn Arcane

    Keldryn
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    I stand corrected.

    I guess I was thinking more of the original Baldur's Gate when I said that. Maybe spending far more time fighting than talking gave me that impression. Now that you mention it, the romances in BG2 had some pretty good dialogue. I distinctly remember that the writing in the original BG was pretty sub-par. I don't think either BG game had as much dialogue or as well-written dialogue as Fallout or either KOTOR game.
     
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  22. Keldryn Arcane

    Keldryn
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    Thanks! My posts here seem to attract a lot more criticism than praise. :)

    True enough. Otherwise, playing a pencil & paper RPG with a pre-generated character provided by the DM wouldn't be role-playing either. Like the old AD&D Dragonlance modules, for example. Or a lot of tournament play.

    It can be, but it also gets boring after a while. Sometimes I feel like my movie is being interrupted by a bunch of button-mashing and random battles.

    I have both, but I've only played Tales of Symphonia so far. And I lost interest in it after about 16 hours. I've struggled on to about 26 hours now, somewhere i the second world (still the first disk), but it just doesn't grab me. The story is so typical, the characters are bland and cliched, and the battle system is utter chaos. I find the boss battles to be rather frustrating, as my characters are just dropping dead every 20 seconds and I'm frantically using resurrection items to get them back into the fight, hoping I win before I run out. It doesn't feel very strategic.

    It is a damn fine game. That and Skies of Arcadia are my two favourite console RPGs. Chrono Trigger is still better than Final Fantasy anything, in my opinion.
     
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  23. Keldryn Arcane

    Keldryn
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    Fair enough, but if I said the same thing about Gothic, Planescape: Torment, or Ultima VII, I would be immediately leapt upon with assertions that I was ADHD and that I need to give the games a fair chance. Or any other PC RPG, I'm sure.

    Skies is a really great game, with characters that I found pretty appealing. They're pretty upbeat and adventurous, which I thought was a very pleasant departure from the angsty navel-gazing that goes on in most contemporary JRPGs.
     
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  24. ad hominem Scholar

    ad hominem
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    Awright, point taken. They are still considered "rpgs" at least in some sense, though, mainly due to stat building and leveled character advancement.

    And yeah, this place is pretty damn narrow-minded :P
     
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  25. Keldryn Arcane

    Keldryn
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    Yes, because Quake and Halo are the equivalent of a game like Skies of Arcadia or Chrono Trigger. I might add that the often highly-regarded Betrayal at Krondor is just as limiting in terms of pre-defined character roles as any console RPG, but I suppose that being a PC game makes it immune to such criticisms.

    I wasn't aware they changed their company name. But having seen you use that term before in regards to Arena and Daggerfall being made by Old Bethesda and Morrowind and later by New Bethesda, I'd have to side with New Bethesda as making better games. I'll take Morrowind's design over Arena's or Daggerfall's any day.

    Still disagree with you on all points. It's not going to be the same design team that worked on Oblivion, as they will likely be working on Elder Scrolls V and the Oblivion expansion packs. I'm not saying Fallout 3 is going to be great, but it is simply too early to know at this point.

    Everyone said that Metroid Prime was going to suck ass too, and it turned out to be a great transition of the 2D Metroid games into 3D. Of course, that's a console game, so it automatically sucks.
     
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