Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Game News Stoic's John Watson at NASSCOM GDC 2016: The Banner Saga 2 was a commercial disappointment

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    In what ways? Combat? After DR we have the template and experience. Party members affecting quests? Relatively easy to script and write. Much easier than the parallel questlines in AoD which was a scripting nightmare.
     
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  2. Aenragender: ⚧ Guest

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    No. He means complexity. Reactions, different paths, how the game/PCs react to your party (rather than just the one character), how the other party members react to you reacting to the environment etc.

    I quit skoming so i can't think real well. Fuck you if this doesn't make sense. Thanks, lol
     
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  3. AMGgender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    First game was shit, so no surprise here.
    Turns out that chaining yourself to deliver a trilogy of games, before you even knew whether there would be any audience, is not that smart. Who knew.
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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    What Aenra said, basically. Developers like Obsidian talk about companions as being a large investment, so you may be underestimating this.

    But the first game had an audience. :M
     
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  5. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    VD was already talking about a party based CSG and a dungeon crawler more than ten years ago. Therefore, I doubt that he somehow got more ambitious in the past years. The only additional investment was hiring one more artist and using a better engine, and that’s it. The game as a whole is more conventional and less ambitious than AoD in design and scope. Thus, it's a counter-example to your point, not confirming evidence.

    I think you can be ignoring another motivation here. If you made the terrible decision of developing a sequel, you need to add news bells and whistles to keep people interested in the same title. I think the idea of developing sequels is good in theory: you can improve sales, since you take for granted your present costumers, and you need to spend considerable less, for you already have the engine, most of the code, the assets, it takes less time, etc. Thus, what ruined them was investing on a sequel. A decision that is not ambitious, but conservative. Of course, it is also deeply misguided. You just need to check the numbers on the thread about the sales of incline to be convinced. I’m also glad that VD dismissed right away fans that wanted an AoD 2.
     
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  6. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    And since they are the best in what they do, we should just take for granted their expertise, right? Go fuck yourself, Infinitron. First, it should be no surprise that they could think in these lines if you consider the ungodly amount of Wikipedia dumps in NPCs of their past games. This just shows how they have no clue how to write properly or succinctly. Second, AoD has more words than “Lord of the Rings” and was written by the same guy. But apparently this is not good enough since Obsidian developers are saying otherwise.
     
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  7. AMGgender: ⚧ Arbiter

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    No Man's Sky also had an audience. You think people who bought that will be around for the hypothetical sequel?

    The lukewarm reception of BS (fitting abbreviation) made it obvious that nobody wants to play more of this shit. Not to mention that most of the interest was drummed up by the whole kickstarter craze.
    "We thought that audience would still just be there". Because Banner Saga is a beloved and popular title, lmao.
    Every customer is a repeat customer, is not a correct assumption.
     
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  8. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    What can we learn from this?
    • Sequels are a bad idea.
    • Kickstarter is a bad idea.
    • Investors eat your profits.
    So, is it fair to say that Obsidian, InXile and Larian are making some of the same mistakes?
     
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  9. Thane Solusgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    It was in a humble bundle monthly and humble bundle standard so you can cut around 200-300k sales at 1-3$.

    At the same time i think they sold 100k to 200k at full price, the rest with discounts. So its far from 2 millions, 1 mil its more close to reality.
     
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  10. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    The single, most time consuming, complex aspect of AoD was the parallel questlines. Compared to it, writing and scripting party members is a walk in the park. It's still a relatively complex task but a very manageable one.

    As for Obsidian, their remark should be seen in the context of the overall design of their games. While they like reactivity, it's usually a welcome bonus not the focus. They make combat-focused RPG where killing enemies is about 60-80% of the game. From this perspective, writing and scripting something as reactive as party members (i.e. not a single case of reactivity) is a great investment compared to populating a map with enemies to kill. Additionally, Obsidian usually operates under strict time constraints, which means they really have to pick their battles wisely, whereas we can easily add another year if needed.
     
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  11. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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    It seems to me that depending on their complexity, companions can be a lot like "parallel questlines". They have their own independent states that evolve in "parallel" with the rest of the game. Basically every companion is like a sort of questline that can touch anything in the game where you take that companion (including other companions).

    It all depends on how much you invest in them.

    Can you now? Interesting to know.
     
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  12. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I assure you they can't. Not even close.

    Meaning multiple quest solutions at most (i.e. sometimes they provide a new solution, sometimes they alter your options), which will be done by default even if we had no party members. The party members are merely another layer. Plus reactivity and comments. Plus unique content, which too would be done by default. We'll do as many quests as we can say, let's say a hundred which is less than what AoD had. So 10 quests/events would be gated by the party members.

    I think that goes without saying. I have a certain game in mind. I think we can do it in 4 years but if we can't and it takes 6 years then that's what it's going to take. Simple as that.
     
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  13. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    New specious meme for me to circulate: "VD is dumbing down CSG, just like every other developer."

    :D
     
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  14. Make America Great Again Mozggender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Did no one ever master saying, "If we get more than X for our crowdfunding, we're just going to treat it as regular profit and not as a contract to increase scope."

    Wait, wasn't it Harebrained that eventually did that? Really advanced crowdfunding tech there.
     
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  15. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    I just don't get why they have to force a third game. There's no rule saying they HAVE to make it. It really just seems like their egos are getting in the way of making sound financial decisions.
     
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  16. Volrathgender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

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    An audience who played the game and found it shit not worth their time.

    It's not rocket science.
     
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  17. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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    I don't think it's that simple. What are you going to say if D:OS 2 sells less than the first game? It could happen.

    There's an area between "didn't sell because it was shit" and "sold a lot because it was good". With these games it seems more like "This was an interesting and new experience for me, but not enough to D1P a sequel". How do you avoid falling into that area is a question a lot of RPG developers need to start asking themselves.
     
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  18. Vault Dwellergender: ⚧ Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    I think they are stuck on that "trilogy" mentality. They are ex-Bioware, aren't they? So they want to be like the big boys, make critically acclaimed trilogies and shit. In a sense that's easier and even tempting as you have an established setting, combat system, art assets and animations, built-in audience even, whereas making a new game in a new setting with different rules is always risky. However, selling more of the same is even riskier as people have already played it at least once. It's easier to entice them to try something different.
     
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  19. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    I think that some developers can have the momentary delusion that they deserve a bonus pay for their profit like CEOs, ignoring for a moment they are beggars. Maybe this happened here, I don’t know. Developers can be divided in the following types:

    (1) Rock star developers that are well paid to do what they like (Shigeru Miyamoto, Hideo Kojima, etc.)

    (2) Well paid developers that work in shitty games (Avellone, etc.).

    (3) Poorly paid developers that work in shitty games (Most medium studio developers).

    (4) Homeless indies that work in great games (ITS, Stygian, Overhyped, etc.).

    (5) Homeless indies that get lucky (Phil Fish, Toby Fox, Markus Persson, etc.).

    (6) Homeless indies that release shitty games (most indies).
     
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  20. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I don't think that's quite right. The first game has a 90% rating on Steam with 8552 reviews. (Note that this doesn't include bundle reviews, and in fact there seem to be very few bundle reviews.) PoE has 88% with 7983 reviews. Grimrock has 95% with 4010 reviews. About 16% of players complete the game, which is low but not abysmal. (It's 12% for PoE, for example.) I think it's more that people played it, liked it, but didn't need to play the same kind of game again -- much of its appeal was its novelty (visuals, design, even narrative), and those things aren't novel anymore.
     
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  21. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    The only sound financial decision is working for a big studio in a triple-A game. Anything else is a gamble and the odds are against you. Either you do what you want with a financial loss, or you work for somebody else doing shit. There is no middle ground here.
     
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  22. MRYgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    FTFY.

    Basically every job in the game industry is underpaid because it's "fun" to work on games. An artist would make much more doing trial graphics for a law firm, a writer would make much more writing software documentation, a coder would make more programming ATMs, etc. I tend to agree with you, though, that if you are just going to chase the market with your games, you might as well work for whatever makes you the most money, which may be a studio.
     
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  23. I'm With Her Mustawdgender: ⚧ for prison Self-Ejected

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    You can't just hand wave it away by saying "games is risky bizness". There are decisions where you roll the dice, where you play it safe, and where you're being stubborn and unnecessarily risking the viability of your company as well as your personal fortunes.

    Larian rolled the dice and made a lot of risky moves in order to finance their company enough to make D:OS. However, these were calculated moves with a well thought strategy in place (one that ofc could have blown up in their face).

    The point is not that they should not be in a risky industry, but more so that there's ample evidence there is no commercial market for a BS3; at least as long as there are no huge changes made to the formula. This is probably when most publishers would say, "you know what? There's no market, so I think I'll pass". There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.
     
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  24. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

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    They promised a trilogy to their Kickstarter backers, it would be bad to go back on that now.
     
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  25. Feyd Rautha or Mr.Harkonnen? Whicheverisavailablegender: ⚧ Savant Patron

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    Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Exactly! They should just leave it. Do something else and then return to TBS if the fans demands it.
     
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