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Decline Why 95% of the "modern" cRPG are so lame?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Darth Canoli, Jan 14, 2021 at 12:18 PM.

  1. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Now you know why a lot of modern open world games are filled with paint-by-the-numbers generic repeatable missions all over the place. That's the type of content such work conditions produce. You can't put a lot of creativity into your job, so you make it easy on yourself by just copypasting the same formula over and over and over again. Cool, made three "quests" today (each of them exactly conforming to the template issued by our corporate overlords), time to go home and get blackout drunk to drown out the void in my soul!
     
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  2. Twiglard Erudite

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    Hey, there aren't many games that make me feel any strong emotions. But when they do, I love it.
     
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  3. Melcar Arcane

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    Everything is shit, that's why.
     
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  4. Dycedarg Literate

    Dycedarg
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    It would be interesting to know if working for Obsidian and Inxile is just as bad as working for Crytek. Many people, including myself, had high hopes for games such as Pillars of Eternity and Wasteland 2. That didn't work very well. Is the process to blame for those games' mediocre writing? Or did they just choose the wrong people to be in charge of the narrative?
     
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  5. kreight Educated

    kreight
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    The general idea is that western gamedev is busted. It's out of ideas. When you are out of ideas, you start putting politics into games. The same with movie industry. I can't remember the last time I watched a new western movie.

    And the thing is it was neve actually good. The marketing was good and there were no competitors.

    High time for new studios to rise and shine.
     
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  6. samuraigaiden Savant

    samuraigaiden
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    RPG Wokedex
    The Kickstarter narrative of recreating the classics and reviving the genre probably doesn’t help. If anything, it leads devs to question their original ideas in light of what they think fans expect. It’s not a good mindset for creativity and innovation.

    When we think of the classics, like the games Lilura always mentions, they were all facing forward, not retreading old ground.

    Jagged Alliance 2 wasn’t trying to revive the spirit of JA1, it aimed to top it and be better in every way.
     
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  7. Tihskael Literate

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    Just wait until the Godd redeems himself.

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. lycanwarrior Literate

    lycanwarrior
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    Don't forget the soy, which is why are seeing an epidemic of "soy boys" LMAO...
     
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  9. lycanwarrior Literate

    lycanwarrior
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    This.

    Unfortunately, I don't see AAA game studios ever catering to the hardcore/traditional CRPG market.

    And no, CP2077 doesn't count lol.
     
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  10. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    I have no personal experience with and don't personally know anyone who worked at mid-size A to AA studios, such as inXile and Obsidian. They're not full-on AAA but they're not small either. I'd assume that their workflow is closer to AAA than to indie teams with 10 people though.

    When I interviewed Swen before the release of Divinity Original Sin 2, he said there's about thirty writers working on the game. It's not an exceptionally huge game though - what does it need THIRTY writers for? The writers were even working from different locations as Larian had several studios at that point: one in Ghent, one in Dublin, one in St. Petersburg (IIRC). With so many people in so many locations, coordination becomes harder than when you work with a small team that lives close together.

    When I worked on Realms Beyond, that was even before the successful Kickstarter so there were fewer people on the team, maybe 10 at max. We coordinated online and regularly talked about setting details, quest brainstorming, etc. Even with a small team you had to do lots of communication since different people had to coordinate their efforts: when you write a quest, you have to coordinate with the level designer who builds the town your quest is set in, and you both work off each other - you give instructions to the level designer on what you need for your quest (I need a hunting lodge for the local huntress and she has to have a dog at her side), the level designer gives you some ideas on what to do with your quest (I placed a little toolshed next to her hunting lodge, there's some items in there that might come in useful in your quest idea, maybe you can add the option of letting the player steal them), etc etc. This kind of coordination works very well in a small team, everyone can work off each other and there's a definite personal note in each quest, after some time you will easily be able to identify who made which quest and which location because everyone has their own style of quest and area design.

    Now imagine the same with three, four or even up to ten times as many people. Coordinating like that is going to be much harder. You're probably not going to talk directly to all of your colleagues, instead you'll just talk to the lead guy and he will consolidate all the suggestions and give people the okay or tell them to change their ideas. You end up with internal inconsistencies much more easily, and there's a high likelihood that the game story will feel disjointed rather than every quest harmonizing with each other and with the locations it's set in. Someone might be working on a dungeon you don't even know exist, and the questgiver is a character living in the same building you are currently designing... but you don't know this NPC is going to be placed there. With a larger team, it's impossible to know what everyone else is doing. When you have a team of 10 or 20 people in total, you are always aware of what the others are working on.

    Ah yes, John is currently building a cave network... Lydia is writing the characters of the noble house of Greywinter... I have an idea for a quest involving an old artefact once owned by that family, and it got lost in the ancient caves... gonna talk to John and Lydia and throw some ideas at them, maybe we can work on a quest together!

    Meanwhile in a big team of 100+ people you're more likely to think: John? Lydia? Who are these people? Have I met them before? Are they new hires or were they always here? I don't remember. Eh whatever, they're probably working on areas of the game far away from the one I'm working on so it's none of my business!

    When Obsidian and inXile had big name writers like Chris Avellone or Patrick Rothfuss work on their games, they didn't have them design a consistent area, or questline, or whatever - they had them design companion characters. Those are usually rather disconnected from everything else in the game (apart from the mainquest, to which they will occasionally react). While companions will often comment on things and have their own personal companion quest, they don't have to be integrated as closely with the world as a lengthy questline would have to be, or a location. You don't have to coordinate with level designers as closely as you would if you were to write a questline, because once a companion is recruited he is part of your party, no longer part of the world around you. While designing a questline often means level designers have to build new dungeons according to your design, designing a companion means you just have to look at the finished main quest outline and have the companion react to the characters and places the player comes into contact with.

    This seems to be a general trend in bigger companies with lots of writers and designers on the team. You don't coordinate as much, instead you work on snippets that can stand on their own to some degree because that reduces the amount of required coordination (because coordinating your creative work with other team members does take a lot of time).

    In the end, large teams means you end up with many cooks who aren't fully aware of what the other cooks are doing, all tossing their own spices and ingredients into the same bowl.
     
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  11. purupuru Learned

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    95% of any genre during any era is lame. One just forgets about the older mediocre games, as one should.
    Also I can't fathom how anyone can think that Arcanum's wolves is anywhere nearly as dangerous as Kingmaker's. The golems would have been a far better example.
     
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  12. AwesomeButton Personally falsified the US election results Patron

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    PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Insert Title Here RPG Wokedex Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Like I said, modern project management practices.

    You have agile tv series, agile videogame development, everything has to be modular, interchangeable, like in a McDonald's assembly line. That's how and why we get the opposite of quality.

    But again, the masses don't know better, can't tell the difference. Give them a coherent story and gameplay that complement each other, a "good game" and they won't appreciate it.

    (See my signature)
     
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  13. eli Novice

    eli
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    because women and chads;
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Dycedarg Literate

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    This sounds incredibly bad, but it explains one of the the things I noticed in modern AA rpgs: the companion characters are usually completely dissociated from the main narrative. The biggest example I can think of is PoE, where most of your party doesn't seem to have any connection with the Hollowborn crisis. Since the writers have little knowledge of where the lead designers want the main story to go, it stands to reason that they'll just do their own thing and hope it can somehow be inserted into the final product. What a mess.

    Anyway, thanks for the answer. It's always interesting to see how the sausage is made. And it's a shame most companies, even mid sized ones, are using a fordist model for game development.
     
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  15. Takamori Educated

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    Yeah corporate practices and RPGs not being profitable compared to popamoles, so less companies taking risks because in their cost/production sheet the value won't be worth it. The public for those RPGs usually are people with a more demanding taste so much more easier to fuck up and get your product classified as shit, while other games can get away with the "its fun at least", RPG can be destroyed in several ways, writing is shit, combat is shit, itemization is shit , character building is shit and so on.
     
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  16. *-*/\--/\~ Arbiter

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    Because 95% of the modern audience is so lame.
     
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  17. Takamori Educated

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    Also regarding the soy comment like I think this is part of corporate practice, marketing of the good ol trend of "ethical" consumption of product, product must be virtuous like me etc.
     
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  18. Dycedarg Literate

    Dycedarg
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    The model you describe makes sense for giant like EA, Ubisoft or Bethesda; not for mid sized ones. Sure, setting up an assembly line allows EA to churn out Fifa, Madden or Battlefield games every year, which will net more than a billion dollars in profit. But it doesn't work so well for the likes of Inxile and Obsidian. Had Microsoft not bought them out, Inxile would probably be long gone. The question is why do they still follow a method that is clearly not working for them. Meanwhile, some smaller studios seem to making better and more successful games.
     
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  19. Raghar Arcane

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    Racism. In old RPGs it was about fast breeders orcs vs most of else. It was fun juicy, and fight for survival, or for loot depends on which side party was. Orcs didn't have loot before they got it, thus a party was either on side of survival, or butchering attacked countries to get loot. Or on third side and fighting against both.

    It was quick dirty, and old alliances evaporated quickly just because orcs overpopulated and needed more money AND F*A*M*E. Burning down a large city gives F*A*M*E for decades.

    Now of course the equation was simple. Slow breeders like non orcs would take longer to replace loses from war, fast breeders like orcs can even losing 30 percent of population replace in few decades. And proper orc society basically works well only when nearly everyone is orc or similar, and they keep theirs traditions.

    Nowadays thinking about different species is something people are not able, they were nannied to think different color variations are the same genetics, and mixing everyone into one pot will not cause degradation of previously existing cultures and genetics.

    But that also makes games bland and less realistic. It's no longer different species, that have mostly military interaction, and there are sensible reasons for that. It's a random person painted in different color, or with different decorations. It's no longer a world where cats dogs and goats are living, it's a world where cat has dog decoration and is saying wouf.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021 at 6:33 PM
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  20. Takamori Educated

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    I think the smaller is the keyword, given what I read from JarlFrank post it helps those small studios to coordinated so they know what the fuck is happening inside the game.

    In pure theory, the ideal would be have a small crew to do the heavy labor of developing story, concept art and systems. After all this is solidified, have the bigger team to tackle on asset creation, animations and so on would be a matter of just implementing the document. In the current way you have large team doing everything and the games end up looking like Frankenstein monster so you have "good writing parts" but its overshadowed because you have several clueless people doing writting in other parts too
     
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  21. Tyranicon A Memory of Eternity Developer

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    If you're looking for good RPGs from AAA or even some AA devs, you're looking in the wrong places.
     
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  22. Takamori Educated

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    AAA no fucking way indeed, CP2077 proved that once again.

    AA this is me being fabulously optimistic but inXile at least did a good job for Wasteland 3, I enjoyed my time there. As for Obsidian, after New Vegas brain leak losing the key players in writting they never recovered, that would require a revamp in the writting team or at least hire experienced names to manage the current one to not fuck up.
     
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  23. Darth Canoli Magister

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    Thanks for sharing this, i had no idea they were working like this.
    But it shouldn't be a surprise, retarded management practices and workload organization leads to retarded games.

    I really think even a big studio could mana for a project and let them organize their workload in a way that makes sense.
    Also, word count shouldn't be a goal, better to write less with an average higher quality.

    If a single studio pulled something like this off; a big budget non dumbed down cRPG; it could be a game changer.

    Maybe the few indie devs working on ambitious projects right now are going to inspire a new generation?
     
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  24. Takamori Educated

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    Sadly with everything in this market they require some sort of spotlight, aka marketing. For example I'm almost sure that Space Colony is gonna be a good product, but given the lack of interest from the mainstream media outlets will it be able to reach the full market just by the quality of the product itself? So getting a good product is just a step, we complain that companies spend more money in marketing instead of the game itself but its for a reason. You have to constantly dangle the carrot in front of the retards and tell then to consume product.

    Its a fucking nightmare :negative:

    edit: cut the part that I would make a point regarding inspiration, to inspire sadly something must be seen by a large public so you have more chance to spark interest in the right talent.
     
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  25. kreight Educated

    kreight
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    You keep circle jerking the same shit over and over and over and over - Obsidian, InExile, Bioware, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Baldurs Gate, [put some other old murican shit in here]. That's it. You are in the fucking loop. Get over it.
     
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