Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Paradox admit Tyranny sold below expectations, DLC still in the works

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, May 16, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Tags: Fredrik Wester; Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Shams Jorjani; Tyranny

    I was hoping we'd hear something about the upcoming Tyranny DLC at PDXCON, but nothing came of it. Luckily, the esteemed gentlemen at PCGamesN attended the event and took the time to ask Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester and VP Shams Jorjani about Obsidian's seemingly forgotten RPG. They confirmed what we've all suspected - that the game didn't sell very well - and speculated about the reasons. They also dropped a bit of innuendo about their relationship with Obsidian, although they still like them and it sounds like the DLC is still in the cards. Here's an excerpt from PCGamesN's interview:

    “Tyranny did ok,” says Paradox CEO Fred Wester.

    “We’re overall ok with it, I think,” echoes Shams Jorjani, Paradox’s vice president of business development. “Everyone was hoping that it would do better.”

    In fact, Tyranny’s performance at release came in just under the Swedish publisher’s expectations.

    “The game’s really solid, it still has a lot of interest,” Wester expands. “A lot of people are still on the fence to buy it. I think we will see a long tail on that game with people coming in and playing later on as well. But it didn’t really meet the expectations we set for it initially, no.”

    Next question, then: why? Wester points to a tough launch window in November - a month in which other great games, including Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs 2, struggled to punch through the pre-Christmas noise. Jorjani thinks Tyranny’s timing issue goes much broader, arguing that the appetite for ‘90s style RPGs has already been somewhat sated through crowdfunding.

    “Obsidian did a great job of capitalising on the timing of Kickstarter and the wave of nostalgia for these type of titles,” goes his hypothesis. “We've seen that most of the titles after Pillars of Eternity, if you look at Wasteland, Torment - they haven't been anywhere near that kind of success. So maybe it's that a lot of nostalgia fed into the initial bubble and that's why. These games have a market, but it's never gonna be that peak [again].”

    [...] Wester shoulders the responsibility for Tyranny’s marketing, which ran with the slogan: 'Sometimes, evil wins.' It was an approach that wisely brought Tyranny’s twist on RPG morality to the fore - but didn’t touch so much on its singular world and cast.

    “We might have emphasised the wrong things when we sold the game,” he says. “I don't know. It didn't really come up to what we thought it could.”

    “It’s very dark,” offers Jorjani on the game’s theme. “It’s more niche in that sense, it absolutely is.”

    [...] Jorjani does volunteer, however, that the two companies have had their “fair share of headbutting” over the course of their working relationship. It sounds as if Stockholm and California came together with a certain amount of chafing.

    “I think there are slight cultural differences in how we work,” he theorises. “Sweden is consensus-driven, we try to have very flat hierarchies. It comes back to a lot of different factors but, at least at Paradox, we push a lot of major decisions down to people in the organisation. Not every company works that way. Some companies are not as comfortable with decisions being taken at that level, so they're pushed upwards. We end up with this weird situation where we can't have our CEO involved in every discussion.”

    It’s important, too, to point out that Paradox aren’t in a position to publish everything Obsidian work on. Though the publisher’s profits increased 51% in the last year, they’re still small fry next to a Sega or Ubisoft.

    “We talk to Obsidian all the time, we love them, but while our projects are much bigger today than they were three to five years ago, they do a lot of big projects that are far outside of the reach that we do,” says Jorjani. “That’s also a factor: what will they work on? What do we want to work on? Finding a good fit.

    “But I'd definitely be open. We want to make RPGs that are the best in class. If we can get the other factors to work it will be great.”

    [...] “In that respect we're quite happy,” says Jorjani. “It is a largely underappreciated gem. I think we see that also on the stats side of things. A lot of people have wishlisted the game, are very interested in it, but they know that they're not quite done with Pillars yet.

    “I think that, hopefully, it will take off a bit more in the long-term sales. We'll see, if we get a couple of expansions out, if that changes anything.”

    Jorjani does tease that Tyranny is structured in a modular fashion that makes it ideal for expansion.

    “Our publishing voodoo allows us to keep the long tail going which make expansions a more viable proposition,” he notes. “We'll have a bit more news on this in the near future. But we'd love to revisit the world - it ended in a bit of a cliffhanger so there's definitely more to tell there. We'll see what people are asking for.”​

    So yeah, no real surprises here, but it's always refreshing to see game developers speak frankly about these topics. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Shams Jorjani is saying that Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's project was too costly for Paradox to fund. In another article on PCGameN, they also discuss the possibility of a Bloodlines sequel, which they aren't ready to do yet.
     
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  2. oasis789 Arcane

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    "On paper" is rather telling as a qualifying statement...
     
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  3. Volrath Arcane Patron

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    Obsidian is literally poison in the industry.
     
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  4. M0RBUS Augur

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    I think Pillars of Eternity sold much better than it would if it weren't for the starved market AND for the fact it was pitched as the spiritual successor for Baldur's Gate.
    I don't think the market can sustain games like Tyranny and Pillars of Eternity being released once a year (from different companies) on average. They're never gonna sell as well as Pillars did, no matter how good they are.
    IMHO.
     
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  5. Wonderdog Neckbeard Shitlord's alt

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    How could they have any expectations anyone will by that nonsense?
     
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  6. Make America Great Again Kem0sabe Arcane

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    Fuck paradox.
     
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  7. Bumvelcrow Bellator Sempervirens Patron

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    If I'm the only one around, is it still fucking?

    HTH
     
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  8. Wonderdog Neckbeard Shitlord's alt

    Wonderdog
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    Depends how long your unit is.

    Anyway why can't they just make normal games people want? I mean god damn. You seriously can't care more about social justice than making money, can you?
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Kem0sabe Arcane

    Kem0sabe
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    You are never alone with paradox, there's always dozens of DLC in the same room.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  10. Leechmonger Learned

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    :lol:

    Your CEO isn't involved in every discussion? How unique and quirky! I'll definitely have to support this hip company in the future.

    PS: I'm relieved this derivative garbage doesn't sell well.
     
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  11. Ed123 Arcane Patron

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  13. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    I hate people who think recent isometric RPGs return to popularity is caused mainly by nostalgia.
     
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  14. Ed123 Arcane Patron

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    There are people who think Planescape was popular because "muh nature of a man" instead of Annah's tits
     
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  15. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Read Avellone tits :)
     
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  16. Explorerbc Arcane

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    I think it all boils down to this.

    Still they couldn't resist releasing DLC for it.
     
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  17. Fairfax Arcane

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    Interesting. They changed this bit:

    The original article said "Chris Avellone and the team over at Obsidian" instead. I wonder if Paradox asked them to change it after realizing the mistake. :M
     
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  18. Habbonovio Educated

    Habbonovio
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    This man speaks the truth.

    I really enjoyed this game and I hope to see how the story unravels, cause its end was abrupt and left me starving for more.

    Also,
    Existence is suffering.
     
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  19. LilSassy Novice

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    Darn you, Watch Dogs 2/Final Fantasy XV/Pokemon/Dishonored 2/ect for stealing all of our Tyranny sales!!! There was just too much competition for isometric RPGs in November! How dare they steal all of the customers!
     
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  20. Dicksmoker Arcane

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    That's easy - they asked for too much.
     
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  21. Make America Great Again Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    Maybe it didn't do all that well because hardly anyone wants low budget Dragon Age II.
     
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  22. Excidium II Arcane

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    But it is. That's why the sales have normalized post-poe.
     
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  23. Wonderdog Neckbeard Shitlord's alt

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    People didn't even really want DA 2 that much and sales for next DA will certainly be shit and put bioware under.
     
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  24. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    D:O2 will show you how normalized RPGs sales look like:salute:
    Tyranny and TToN were just flukes.
     
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  25. Excidium II Arcane

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    DOS 2 will only be representative of co-op meme game sales.
     
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