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BioWare On Why Making a Blockbuster Game Is a Poor Goal

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do dept.

Businesses 192

BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk spoke at the 2010 Develop Conference about the current focus within the video game industry on making huge, blockbuster titles, and why that is the wrong approach. Quoting Gamasutra's coverage: "'While blockbuster game creation is everything that most game developers working today growing up wanted to do, it's precisely the wrong thing to chase in gaming's contemporary landscape.' Risk-taking from publishers and investors has dramatically declined in recent times, the Mass Effect and Dragon Age studio-runner noted: 'As a result, innovation and creativity [are] being squeezed. Where the bottom of the market had dropped out at one point, now it’s the middle of the market has dropped out. Unless you can be in the top ten releases at one given time, it's unlikely that a triple-A game is going to make money.'" Zeschuk also commented that consoles aren't necessarily the future of game platforms, and that BioWare is experimenting with smaller scale MMO development in addition to working on their much larger upcoming Star Wars title.

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Translation (1)

prionic6 (858109) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911108)

"Stay away from our turf"

Re:Translation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911446)

Correction: "Making a blockbuster is harder than you think and if you screw it up you won't make a profit therefore doing something innovative yet unproven is sort of risky so your publisher would prefer if you didn't do that and instead stick to what has worked in the past so basically creativity in the sense of doing something new gets thrown right out the window and you'll just be making an iteration of something you've already done."

Re:Translation (3, Funny)

uncledrax (112438) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911594)

No, more like 'Bioware doesn't aim to make a blockbuster game.. we've just been remaking KOTOR ever since we discovered it was a smash hit!'

Re:Translation (1)

Xphile101361 (1017774) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912000)

Except that they didn't make the second KOTOR game. If you consider "The Old Republic" the third installment of KOTOR, then you may have a point. I'd argue that most aspects of the game are going to be different, as you can't really take KOTOR and make it an MMO since the focus is on you being the hero of the galaxy.

Re:Translation (1)

phanboy_iv (1006659) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912182)

Hell, they've been remaking BG2 over and over too. Some of ther character archetypes/story arcs haven't changed at all since then.

Typical Slashdot drivel. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911118)

So games that aren't in the top X aren't going to make top X bucks. Is there any actual information being given here?

You misunderstand (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911284)

So games that aren't in the top X aren't going to make top X bucks. Is there any actual information being given here?

If it was that strawman, yes, that wouldn't be much information.

What he's saying is that is that of the games that try to be the biggest, baddest, most epic ever, only the top X will be making a profit at all. Most will actually make a loss.

And that is something that seems to escape most people, sad to say. From people going into making games with delusions of being paid a million like Carmack, to kiddies who think that pirating a game is some kind of act of resistance to some uber-rich fatcat who's only charging 40$ for it because of greed, to people starting some monumental epic as some mod and expecting to finish it with 5 people in a few months, to fanboys arguing that a publisher is the incarnation of pure Evil if they had an upper limit at all for budget and didn't give the team an infinite limit on money and time to produce the perfect game, to ultimately the devs end publishers who increasingly compete only in that segment. The fact that there's a finite amount of money to chase in that segment seems to be genuinely news to most people.

It's not even a matter of "get off my turf" as some other poster made it sound. We have the equivalent of, say, 90% of the car makers deciding they want to compete only at the Bugatti Veryon end of the market. Or 90% of the computer manufacturers deciding they want to make only supercomputers. Sure, it's great if you do manage to sell the next Bugatti Veryon for 1 million a pop, but there are only so many buyers who will buy at those prices. If actually all major companies, from Ford and Fiat and Volkswagen to Bugatti and Ferrari decided to make only supercars in that segment, that most _will_ make a loss. Same here. There simply isn't enough money in the market to cover the costs of _everyone_ who wants to make the next super-game.

Re:You misunderstand (1)

psulonen (972101) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911472)

Volkswagen owns Bugatti. Ford owned Aston Martin (but sold it in 2007). Fiat owns Ferrari. That makes your examples a bit unfortunate. Other than that, well spoken.

Not really (1)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911550)

Volkswagen owns Bugatti. Ford owned Aston Martin (but sold it in 2007). Fiat owns Ferrari. That makes your examples a bit unfortunate. Other than that, well spoken.

Not really. The keyword there is "only". Volkswagen for example still makes models like Fox and Polo and Golf for the low and mid-range, or largely the same as Skoda models for the even lower end, and as Audi models for the mid- to upper-mid-range models, and as Seat for, well, I can't really figure out for whom. Or its famous beetle. Well, "new beetle" nowadays. Ford still produces the likes of Ka and Fiesta and, well, probably no need to list all models actually. Fiat still produces the Uno (well, ok, is restarting it as the "new Uno) or Punto II or small and cheap city cars like the 600 and 500 (again, the latter as the "new 500").

My point was more like if VW decided to _only_ make Bugatti Veryons and Audi R8 and its own Phaeton luxury car, and basically got rid of any model below Phaeton prices. Because that's the phenomenon that's described in the article. The major game publishers got rid not only of the low end, but now of the middle segment too.

Re:You misunderstand (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911772)

Most will actually make a loss.

Do you have any data supporting your statement that most of the games that try to be blockbusters, most will lose money?

Thank you for the car analogy, but there are boundary conditions in effect when talking about a 2.5 million dollar Bugatti Veryon vs. a 40 dollar copy of Prototype.

Re:You misunderstand (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912286)

Do you have any data supporting your statement that most of the games that try to be blockbusters, most will lose money?

I confess that I don't, and of course I haven't actually rtfa yet, but isn't that the point of this whole article?

Games off the shelf are generally $60, and a title with paid content add-ons can easily double in price. Compare this to some great titles from smaller developers which have narrower focus but only cost $20-30, or small-scale MMOs that are only $5-10 (hrm, actually I can't say I've seen any, but it's a good idea).

There are only so many families that can fork over $100 every month for a game, or $120 for two games. Hell, I'm single and I can't squeeze a new game into my budget every month. Yes, they aren't porches, but then there aren't any free flash hondas either. You can't download a car. (but yes, I would...)

Looking back, I have consistently been more satisfied longer with smaller games with sharper focus and vision. That satisfaction is what develops into brand loyalty.

I think the whole DLC thing is a bad idea on its face, and as a matter of principle I won't buy games built around this model - although I generally don't have an issue with expansions that feature new mechanics as well as content. Dragon Age was trying to squeeze users for money the way online games have done, say with WoW's virtual pets, or dofus's... hats? Or whatever. It's a model which some users resent, and the market for these games is small enough as it is.

It would be a good idea for the game industry to take a hard look at the movie industry right now and decide if "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is a sustainable model.

there are no 'segments' in gaming. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912008)

that's corporations' delusion, probably more because their marketing departments employ usual marketing and market understanding shit they learned in college to gaming.

for the masses, there is a 'computer game'. and thats the only classification, apart from their genre differences. they either buy it, or, they dont buy it. they dont classify themselves like 'hmmm, i like short, easy to complete games. so, i should go for that segment. let me see, what games are out in that segment nowadays'. no such delusion exists. they go and buy a game.

the only classification apart from a 'game', is probably 'mmo game'. and that is because they require monthly payments.

Of course there are segments in gaming (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912602)

for the masses, there is a 'computer game'.

Really?

I like long-term games with depth, like RPGs with good single player storylines. I also like things like FPSes and RTSes, but the back-stories to these are mostly irrelevant and it's the game play and immersion that really count. There are significant exceptions and cross-overs with other genres, of which Deus Ex remains the most obvious example to me and perhaps things like Oblivion also count, but most FPS or RTS games are pretty straight-up these days.

In all cases, these are fairly high-end titles. I only buy a few of them, and even fewer these days, since anything with any sort of DRM that's liable to screw up my system or stop me playing in future or anything that tries to push extra-cost downloadable content on me is an automatic "no", which rules out a lot today. High production values count: I want good graphics, good voice acting, a well-planned story, spectacular effects, etc.

My better half, on the other hand, enjoys puzzle games. Most of them are very simple in concept, their graphics are pretty rather than spectacular, and their background music is OK but hardly going to win awards. A group of kids with the right backgrounds in programming and arts could put one of these together with a few days of hard work.

If you don't think we're completely different market segments, or that we look for games in different places and with different goals going into the store/web site/whatever, you're crazy. :-)

Re:there are no 'segments' in gaming. (2, Interesting)

Thansal (999464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912606)

I would say this was true a few years ago, and still true for a portion of the gaming population, however I wouldn't even say it's true for the majority any more.

There ARE non-AAA titles, and people do look at them differently. Indie developers are growing in popularity, and are viewed differently than the AAA games. There are also casual and those games you find on XBL Arcade, the PS3 store, etc. They might not be casual, or really indie, but they aren't AAA games, and people do view them differently.

I can say this for my self, and I assume there are others like me:
I have a price point for video games where I view them differently. For me it's $20. If a game is $20 (or less) I will likely pick it up if it interests me. I don't necessarily need a demo, nor do I hem and haw over buying it, I don't shop around for deals, etc etc. If I enjoy the game I'm happy, if I get a good number of hours out of it I'm really happy. If I don't like it and drop it in a week, I'm a little put out, but nothing big.

Anything over that $20 price point I have a much stricter limitation on. I have to try the game before I buy it. I have to see good reviews, especially from friends who I have similar tastes too. I will wait for it to drop in price, or go on sale, or whatever. This is all because I know that if I DON'T get a lot of play value out of it, specifically replay value, I'm going to regret the purchase a lot. I do hold AAA games up to a higher standard than I do indie/'cheap' games.

Oh, and don't forget that the casual games players are a (if I remember NPD's nubmers) majority of 'video game players' currently. These players are very specifically only looking for bejewled and it's cousins.

Re:You misunderstand (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912492)

To put it simply - people who make a huge game to be entertaining (like Dragon Age) tend to be succesful, while people who make huge games out of some ego trip (like *ugh* Daikatana) will hit a brick wall going 100 mph.

Re:Typical Slashdot drivel. (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911384)

Not really any news - it's been known for several years and there have been other Slashdot articles to the same effect. It costs a lot to produce a top of the line game, which means that you need to sell a lot of them at a high price to make any profit. If a game costs several million to produce, you need several hundred thousand sales at $40 to break even. If a game only costs a few thousand dollars to make, you can make a profit selling a few thousand copies for a couple of dollars. There's a lot more room in the bottom of the market for making a profit than in the top. Companies like PopCap have shown this, but new entrants typically want to aim for the top, even though it's not a good business strategy.

BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (2, Interesting)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911122)

Strange that it should be BioWare of all game studios to claim such, as they are one of the few creating huge games with a 40+ hours time investment, such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Also these games have been performing very well.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911178)

There is a difference between making a game with mind to be a blockbuster game, and having a game end up being a blockbuster even though you haven't created it that way.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (4, Interesting)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911328)

I think it's pretty obvious that BioWare has always intended to create blockbusters. Fully voiced games, professional actors, impressive game worlds, fleshed out storyline, excellent writers... "blockbusters" are BioWares success formula, which is why I'm so surprised about Zeschucks statement.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911676)

Blockbusters is a ad hoc definition, so we all have a different one.

To me a blockbuster title is a big budget game that cater to the more popular taste. Is my opinion that only recently the game indistru has started to make real blockbuster games. Everything created before has ben "training", "growing the industry" and exploring what works better to make a blockbuster. It seems the formula has been found, and is a rail shotter like MW2.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

John117 (717182) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912388)

Just because it's not his particular niche, that doesn't make him wrong. I see a lot of low priced indie games available on Steam and if they're even vaguely interesting I'm much more likely to pick one of them up for $10-20 than if they were $50-60. If I'm going to pick up a game for the higher price it had better be damn good. Speaking of which, Steam is an excellent method of content delivery for bargain bin type games. Easy access and low overhead.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911224)

40+ hours time investment

What? As in 40+ hour "play time"? Is it just me, or do those estimates always seem like rather poor value for money?

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (4, Insightful)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911272)

Depends. If you see it as an investment (it costs you, and you want something back for your precious time), then it's poor value. If you see it as "play time" (you pay $50 to enjoy yourself for 40+ hours), then it's excellent value for money.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (3, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911314)

Yeah. I got Oblivion shortly after it was released (4 years ago, I think), and with all expansion packs and mods, I'm 120 hours into the game, and I still have completed only half the quests and not even the main storyline (my second playthrough, so I wanted to check out all the sidequests and skip the main quest).
So for me, a 50$ investment has bought me 120 hours of entertainment and I'm still into it after 4 years. If you compare it to cinema, or bubble gum, that's unbeatable value, from a "blockbuster" game.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911524)

So for me, a 50$ investment has bought me 120 hours of entertainment

From an economical standpoint, you could've spent those 120 hours into creating more value which would exponentially enlarge your initial investment and pay someone 50$ to be entertained in your place, so you could free up those 120 hours for a decent return-investment.

Just saying...

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (4, Insightful)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911664)

You're absolutely right of course. The question now is, what is the purpose of life? To indefinitely create more value, or to have fun and enjoy yourself?
At some point in my life I decided that life is very enjoyable without being a millionaire and that being immersed in fantastic game worlds is something I enjoy. So my equation is: enjoyment > more value than necessary.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912672)

What is the purpose of life?

I actually know this one. The dual purposes of life are to learn and to have fun. Anything that anyone does as a willful act of a "this-is-something-I-consciously-want-to-do" will fall into one of those two broad categories. Making millions? It is fun for some people. That is why they do it. Studying linear algebra? Either the person finds it fun or they want to learn it because they want the knowledge.
 

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911782)

From an economical standpoint, you could've spent those 120 hours into creating more value which would exponentially enlarge your initial investment and pay someone 50$ to be entertained in your place, so you could free up those 120 hours for a decent return-investment.

If return on investment is the ultimate goal, why pay someone for the entertainment? If you only work and never do anything else, you make even more money.

Just saying...

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912190)

Millionaire asks Fisherman, "Why do you just sit there fishing and relaxing, making just enough to get by, when you could apply that time toward something profitable?"

Fisherman replies, "What would that get me?"

Millionaire says, "It would expand your business, bringing in even more money."

Fisherman asks, "To what end?"

Millionaire tells Fisherman, "As you bring in more money, your business expands further. Your initial time investment will bring in exponentially more value."

Fisherman prompts, "And then?"

Millionaire states, "Once your business is large enough, it can stand without you. The money you make just by having the business exist means you can just sit back and..."

Fisherman finishes, "Relax? That is what I'm doing now."

And Millionaire was enlightened.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911924)

>>>If you see it as "play time" (you pay $50 to enjoy yourself for 40+ hours), then it's excellent value for money.

I severely disagree. Unless there's a strong compelling story (like Final Fantasy), I think most 40 hour games are boring. For excample I thought Zelda the Wind Waker was dull. Like sitting and watching a 40 hour version of the Matrix. Zzzz.

For me the best games are usually the 10-20 hour ones, like Metroid Prime or Eternal Darkness. Short, to the point, but edge of your seat fun. And in terms of "what developers wants" if I was designing a game I'd rather do Pitfall or Populous or Metroid-type games. Easy to learn but hard to master.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912486)

a strong compelling story (like Final Fantasy)

Mod parent troll.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911286)

Well, I for my part measure games on how long they kept me interested. If an eight hours game could keep me interested the whole time, it was better then 40 hours game which I just finished for the sake of it. On the other hand, if a 40+ hour game can keep me interested over all that time, then that's even better.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (2, Insightful)

itlurksbeneath (952654) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911566)

That's actually not too bad. Forty hours of certain types of "play time" could run up to 10,000 to 15,000 dollars, depending on what area of the country you are in.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911242)

Thing is, before they made them, they didn't know it'd work. Probably not as much with Dragon Age, but definitely with Mass Effect. SWKOTOR wasn't a blockbuster, but you could see the direction BioWare was going.

Thing is, for me, "blockbuster" aimed games are the ones that interest me least. Gears of War, Halo, and others like them really haven't held my attention as much as SWKOTOR, Mass Effect, and Dragon Age.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911290)

Yeah, I also prefer games I can really sink my teeth into, such as BioWare games or Bethesda games (Fallout, Oblivion). Sure, there are a lot more casual gamers out there, but I think that the "hardcore" gamers are the ones from which a studio scoops a solid fanbase they can count on in the long term for some guaranteed sales. And many hardcore gamers are drawn towards big "blockbuster" games.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (4, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911316)

Strange not. He is talking about the industry. He say that if you are not already here (on the bioware position), is bad strategy to move to that position, because will probably get you killed.

Lets say the bridge that companies like Bioware have crossed, has burned. Anyway, why I am saying things like this? read the article, or better, assist to these conferences for a direct version and not a second hand one *lowbrownface*

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911692)

I don't know. It's still strange to me. Kinda like walking up to a bunch of kids playing ball on a playground and telling them "You know kids - statistically almost none of you are EVER going to make it to the NBA, so you really shouldn't even try.".

While the fact that very few will make it is undeniably true, if no one tries it, we never will get those rare breakthroughs like BioWare or Blizzard.

I say they should go ahead. If they're really THAT good, then they will make money.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (2, Insightful)

tophermeyer (1573841) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912002)

I'd like to play devils advocate for a moment...

If every game maker shoots for blockbuster games, the vast majority of them will fail and the companies will fold. This could lead to a "mediocrity vacuum" where there are no decent developers putting out games that are simply ok. This is bad for the industry, and bad for consumers.

To translate this to your example it would be as if every kid on the playground is aspiring to play in the NBA, and the ones that fail quit basketball altogether.

While this dude sounded really condescending in his statement, I think his point is valid. Not everyone can be top dog. Not every game can be Game of the Year. There is a market for lesser games.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912086)

It's more like going to a boxing ring and telling all the people there that pay everything they earn that at most one of them will become world champion, and they'd better not try.
      Usually a bunch of kids playing ball on a playground "play" for "fun", and aren't even training or really trying to be the next quarterback or whatever in the next winning team.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912314)

What I take away from the article is that Bioware can make games like that because they have a proven track record of making games like that financial successes, but that a development team with a less powerful resume probably couldn't get it done. Not because the team wouldn't be up to it creatively or technically, but because in the current market, management/investors wouldn't have enough faith in an unproven team to let them take the time to do it right.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (2, Insightful)

osgeek (239988) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912376)

40 hours of video game costs $50 (I only usually buy games after they drop down below $35, but anyway).

40 hours of movies at the theater costs: $200
40 hours of rub downs costs: $2,000 (happy endings not included)
40 hours of watching television costs: your soul

So, the video game thing actually seems like a bargain.

Re:BioWare has thrived with "blockbuster" games (2, Funny)

osgeek (239988) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912418)

ugh, replied to wrong post.

40 hours of my being stupid: priceless

Hypocrite (3, Insightful)

Oscaro (153645) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911130)

Well, they are remaking the same exact game since Knight of the Old Republic. Take a look at KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect. Always the same mechanics, always the same basic plot. While they are very good at it, they are not very "creative".

Re:Hypocrite (2, Insightful)

njen (859685) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911148)

Maybe they are ironically highlighting the fact that they their own best example of this...?

Re:Hypocrite (1)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911268)

Heck it is mostly even the same limiting engine, just ramped up...

Re:Hypocrite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911372)

Is Jade Empire engine UE3? Nope.

Re:Hypocrite (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911828)

KOTOR: Odyssey Engine
Jade Empire: "Jade Empire engine"
Mass Effect 1+2: UE3
Dragon Age: "Dragon Age engine"

so, only for Mass Effect did they use an off the shelf engine.

Re:Hypocrite (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911476)

Which is exactly the guys point: when you're spending that much money on a game, you can't afford to be creative, because if your new idea tanks you're left with a huge bill for developing it. Much safer to make something like another game that was previously popular.

Spend a tenth as much developing a game, and you can afford to take ten times as much risk, and maybe you'll get a runaway hit. Probably not, but it doesn't really matter that much...

Takes one to know one (5, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911526)

So? He knows what he is talking about.

And Jade Empire WAS creative. So was KOTOR. Yes KOTOR was Baldur's gate in Space! but THAT was also creative. An RPG set in space? Unheard off!

Mass Effect married many new elements to the Baldur's Gate style RPG. Sometimes you can create something new by cobbling together old parts. Coat of many colors.

As a side note, I think some people put to much emphasis on creative. Just because something is new, doesn't mean it is good. New Coke was creative, it was new, it was different. You want a bottle?

I wish Lucasarts stopped being creative and released one of their old style games, when you knew when you saw their logo, you were in for a good time.

Same with Bioware. Dragon Age 2 not creative? Who the fuck cares. Give me more off the same.

The plot is indeed always the same. But there really aren't all that many plots that you can put into a game. Yes, I have written a story line for a RPG in which you are NOT the hero. That is creative. I think it even works and might oneday turn it into a simple game. BUT I also realise that JUST the creative bit of you not being the hero isn't enough to make it a good game.

Bioware knows that a hero needs an enemy to overcome. Because the same enemy gets boring there usually is a plot twist that reveals a darker enemy behind the original enemy. There are simple game mechanics behind most of the plots.

Just as in a porn movie, somehow people always find a reason to have sex, often with attractive people. No pizza has ever been deliverd to my door by a randy teenager. Nor have I ever had to discipline a wayward schoolgirl with melons the size of melons.

Fantasy has rules, perhaps even more so then reality.

Re:Takes one to know one (1)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912290)

I wish Lucasarts stopped being creative and released one of their old style games, when you knew when you saw their logo, you were in for a good time.

Ballblazer! Fuck yeah!

Not to mention Rebel Assault and the whole Monkey Island series. Good times.

Re:Hypocrite (1)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911912)

Well, they are remaking the same exact game since Knight of the Old Republic. Take a look at KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect. Always the same mechanics, always the same basic plot. While they are very good at it, they are not very "creative".

By utilizing the same engine and mechanics, they can invest the majority of their development time and budget on art, story, and content, which are not-so-coincidentally the places where Bioware excels.

In other news.... (3, Insightful)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911154)

Meanwhile, billionaires say it's not all about money, and Hollywood stars say it's not all about looks.

Re:In other news.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912358)

It's not. Look at Mount & Blade, hardly a blockbuster, but they're making money, and it's a fun game.

Re:In other news.... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912504)

"But I want to be know for my acting skills"

"Just take off your shirt and shut up, Mr. Pattinson"

"small scale MMO"? Jumbo shrimp! (0, Offtopic)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911160)

When your self-delusion prevents you from eliding the contradictions and just saying "multiplayer game" then you've abandoned any attempt to communicate clearly what it is that you're trying to achieve. Can you imagine being given a design brief or a development spec for a "small massive" game? You'd waste half your time just trying to reveal the egomaniac who insists on calling it that as the Buzzword Bingo 'tard that they clearly are.

Re:"small scale MMO"? Jumbo shrimp! (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911188)

The term MMO doesn't just mean that it's multiplayer and there are lots of players, it also implies that there's a persistent world and players spend all their time in it. You can have that kind of game with as little as a few hundred players.

Re:"small scale MMO"? Jumbo shrimp! (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911418)

The term MMO doesn't just mean that it's multiplayer and there are lots of players, it also implies that there's a persistent world and players spend all their time in it. You can have that kind of game with as little as a few hundred players.

It doesn't "just" mean that it's Massively Multiplayer, but it does mean that it is. Massive. And if it's not Massive, then pick a different word to describe it, you or you might as well just start speaking in your own personal lexicon, you chuwero muptard.

Re:"small scale MMO"? Jumbo shrimp! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912668)

The term MMO doesn't just mean that it's multiplayer and there are lots of players, it also implies that there's a persistent world and players spend all their time in it. You can have that kind of game with as little as a few hundred players.

No, "persistent" means "that there's a persistent world". Long-running implies that "players spend all their time in it". Massively Multiplayer implies that it's got a massive number of people. Vega Strike has persistence, but it's not massive.

Not 'Why try?' (5, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911194)

This reads like 'Don't even bother trying to make games that are awesome.' They are actually trying to say, 'Don't overspend and try to make a blockbuster game just by spending money.'

It's perfectly possible to make and amazing hit game without the budget that Bioware and Square Enix put into games. Do games care about graphics and cutscenes? Yes. Do they care more about gameplay and controls? Absolutely. It's just a LOT harder to come up with good gameplay and refine the controls, so they throw money at the pretty pictures instead. It's never been a good idea, but they do it anyhow.

The #1 killer for videos games (for me) is bad controls. If controlling the character doesn't feel like an extension of myself, if the character doesn't always do what I think it'll do when I hit buttons, if the character is slow to react or I have to wait on its actions, it's absolutely killer for me. It's the reason I now rent games instead of buying.

Some of the better games, like Fallout and Resident Evil, I've never played because I felt like I was fighting the controls instead of fighting enemies. It's just not fun.

A coworker was just saying the other day that Sonic on the iPhone sucks because the controls are so bad, even though it was one of his favorite games. And that Street Fighter is amazing because the controls are perfect. Not a word about graphics or gameplay, just controls. (2 separate conversations, too, so it's not like he was comparing them.)

Re:Not 'Why try?' (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911274)

Have to agree with the control issue. On the PC it can sometimes be tracked down to games being designed with consoles in mind.
Recent victims of such crippling controls would be Prototype and Dead Space.

Actually, the first thing the summary reminded me of was Duke Nukem Forever.
The company started development in the wake of great successes and the fans were really looking forward to the game. Nonetheless the studio managed to bet the farm on pipe dreams in their chase of the perfect game and successfully developed itself into oblivion.

Re:Not 'Why try?' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911728)

I actually found Prototype to be not-that-bad, albeit I don't own the game and have only played it on a friends PC. I did buy Dead Space though, and it has been just about the most frustrating set of controls I've ever played - not even the arcane things you have to do with the mouse to actually fire your gun (who thought that "useless melee swing" should be higher in priority than "fire the damn gun"?) but the simple fact that wsad doesn't do what you think it does. I've largely strayed away from calling this a fault of the game, however, because the clumsiness seems completely intentional, especially considering the fact that you need to look at your own back to see health. It's more like a well-executed feature that nobody actually ended up liking.

Re:Not 'Why try?' (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911280)

Poor controls are also the biggest reason why ports of console games to the PC frequently suck huge donkey balls.

Controls (1)

dammy (131759) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911872)

I'll agree that controls and I'll throw in UI for a given platform can be a game killer. Games today, IMO, need to be on PC or console plus mobile platform. Problem for the mobile platform the UI/controls suck. I am surprised wireless companies have not been pushing blue tooth controllers for their smartphones to turn them into online game consoles. Having some really great games on smartphones (or tablets) is a great way to help lock in those customers for the next two to three years and add in additional sales of more blue tooth devices.

Re:Not 'Why try?' (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912318)

The big problems with developing games on the cheap isn't that you can't afford all the "pretty pictures," it's that you can't afford the *promotion*. I would be willing to bet that modern A-list games spend almost as much these days on marketing as they do on raw development. If you can't afford that kind of money for advertising, promotion, hype, press junkets, etc. then you're most likely not going to be making much money (if any at all). That's all well and good if you're a small indie, doing small games. But you're not going to make the next Gears of War, Halo, or World of Warcraft on a small budget. Even if you could make a great FPS or MMO without all the pretty pictures (and it has been done), it's not going to sell in those kind of numbers at $50-$60 a pop if no one has heard about it.

Gaming must go back to its roots (3, Insightful)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911202)

Bioware needs to jump ship from the cinematic epic and graphics shell game and take stock of the history behind RPG gaming.

If the Indie gaming scene is anything to go by, funds and personnel do not a great game make. Why don't Bioware practice what they preach and make a low-budget series, with the chief emphasis on hiring talented personnel with experience playing the finest RPGs of the past twenty years. It sure beats hiring expensive singers for your musical score, scores of artists and programmers, not to mention the marketing bill which inevitably follows big budget titles.

Gaming ought to, to some extent, go back to its roots by abandoning the constant, unending improvement of graphical quality to the neglect of gameplay. I started gaming as a kid in 1991 and have more memories from the 1991-1997 time bracket than 2005-2010. The only outstanding memory of Mass Effect I have is of Shephard emerging, alive and well, after a boss battle with a soaring musical score playing and stoical gaze on the part of the character - I wasn't awed or impressed, but amused as it outcome was obvious even before the tension of "Where's Shephard gone?!" played out for a minute.

On the contrary, Chrono Trigger, a simple RPG with graphics not much beyond classic Link to the Past, has so many memories with its 16-bit score and pixelated graphics. The budget and levels of personnel are dwarfed by these cinematic titles out today. I could ramble on about more titles as example but I believe most readers browsing games.slashdot can fathom a few personally.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911398)

On the contrary, Chrono Trigger, a simple RPG with graphics not much beyond classic Link to the Past, has so many memories with its 16-bit score and pixelated graphics.

If you have played Chrono Trigger, you already know the answer to all your suggestions:

"But... the future refused to change."

Besides, with the filters available in modern emulators, those old SNES games aren't pixelated anymore, but actually look pretty sharp. Hint, hint :).

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911568)

If by the future you mean Bioware's future then you may well be right. But since Bioware is one company among many, and other RPGs with less flash and more moderate graphics like The Witcher (once it got its bugs fixed and was expanded) beat the epically-styled stalwart Dragon Age in plot and gameplay terms...I do not think Bioware's pigheadedness (should it stand) will be all that much of a loss. This is my opinion; but in the Witcher with Geralt I saw more appeal than with any of DA's characters.

There's obviously a comprimise between a small Chrono Trigger type production and the massive budget, overelaborate epics. It will be economic conditions that play the biggest part rather than the voices of individual gamers; people have whined about gameplay getting sacrificed over graphics for a long time.

Doing away with the compulsion of graphics-focused games only needs to occur with one gaming house and for them to then attain success with a modestly budgeted title. Though the fixation on polygons is pretty entrenched, there is a hope that some will jettison that outlook and embark on making quality content.

The indie games do hark back to about twenty years ago, often having a single, original concept that keeps one interested or even addicted for a time. It may be that indie developers play a part in reversing the 'progression' towards lifelike graphics with their own titles.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911434)

That's only due to which one you experienced first, I'm sure there's plenty of guys who feel the same with Ultima compared to your Chrono Trigger.

And, honestly, even though I've been playing videogames just as long as you have I consider Dragon Age to be the finest RPG ever made, with only Baldur's Gate 2 (another Bioware big-budget title) coming close. Now, it doesn't mean that low-budget titles will necessarily suck, but it does mean that having a big budget doesn't make your game automatically inferior to a low-budget one as you seem to imply, *and* that if there's anybody who knows how to make a great RPG it's Bioware themselves.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (3, Insightful)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911688)

Did you enjoy Dragon Age before or after the bugs that were not fixed until late February; close to four months after release in a patch which itself caused further issues?

My beef with DA is that it lacked a convincing villain. We had a big bunch of orc-like Darkspawn, led by an infested dragon who periodically rose up to take over the world. The motives therein were not addressed at all; apparently motives were revealed in the expansion but since I never bought that having heard mixed reviews about...the plot.

None of the richness of the Jon Irenicus character; he was just one elf with prodigious talent who had been treated appallingly by his own people and as such became evil and sought revenge. But he felt a lot more intriguing and threatening than the thousands of darkspawn. His dialogue was a major driving point for Shadows of Amn - far more compelling than the grunts of darkspawn and the mighty roar of its Old God dragon.

Don't get me wrong, DA was a good RPG. I got over 100 hours out of it; but it never got me thinking like Shadows of Amn. You're entitled to your opinion, but you have to admit that there's an argument that DA's plot was inferior to Baldur's Gate 2's.

Also BG2's budget was small in comparison to DA's; true it was big budget at the time. But the time was 2000; a decade ago when things hadn't got quite as out of proportion in spending/graphical terms as they are today in 2010.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912724)

Each of the Origins had their own motivations for doing what they did. My human noble warrior was avenging the slaying of her family. She joined the Wardens as a means of getting power to further that goal. Quite honestly, the whole time I was playing that character, the Darkspawn were more of an annoying irritant on her path to that end. When it came time to deal with Loghain, there was no question; he died.

My city elf mage, on the other hand, started out as an idealistic young mage at the Tower, but quickly became disillusioned and bitter. He was out to basically throw his elfyness, and mageiness, into the faces of people. And defeating the Darkspawn was a great way to do that. 'Sure, it's a horrible evil out of legend, but you know what? Hey, a little elf, and a mage no less, made that evil be my bitch. Screw you all, humans.'

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (4, Insightful)

GauteL (29207) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911504)

"Bioware needs to jump ship from the cinematic epic and graphics shell game and take stock of the history behind RPG gaming."

Bioware needs to do no such thing. They are among the successful ones competing in the overcrowded £35+ game segment. Mass Effect was my least favourite Bioware game for a very long time but it was massively successful.

What they are really is saying is that unless you are as good as them, you are unlikely to make any money in the Blockbuster game segment and you might as well focus on smaller, simpler titles in the £20 range. This is clearly self-serving (they'd make more money with less competition), but it is also true and it probably would be in the interest of gamers.

There are too many games and games studios that fail and go bankrupt, striving for that epic. If they had just taken a somewhat narrower and leaner approach, they might have survived. And us consumers might have gotten a great (although less flashy) game instead of a pretty but bug ridden mess released in desperation.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (2, Interesting)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911650)

I agree with most of what you say; I remember suffering through Dragon Age's RAM-eating problems in which over time it would consume increasing RAM...before loading times ended up around 10-20 minutes on even the most powerful rigs. That this wasn't patched for months was pretty awful, and left a lot of customers wondering why this hadn't been ironed out during pre-release playtesting.

Economically yes they don't 'need' to abandon their cash cows at the top-end. Survival is likely if they remain there. But for reasons we've both elaborated on it would be better for gamers as a whole if they at minimum experimented with modest budgeting and graphics and bring out some new games.

I applied the term 'need' in the sense of that it would be for the good of the RPG genre. For RPGs on any platform to improve the need is for less focus on filmlike production and multimillion dollar budgets, and more on what has always made RPGs what they are; storyline, character-driven dialogue and novel elements unique to each game: I've already outlined reasons this would be beneficial, as did you in your fine post.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (5, Informative)

Edge00 (880722) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911734)

Chrono Trigger is a really bad example of the point you are trying to make. Today it does seem like a rudimentary game, but when it was released in 1995 it was anything but. The game was released by the biggest RPG maker in the world at the time and was made by a "Dream Team" of developers, including Akira Toriyama (creator of Dragonball Z). The graphics, gameplay, music, and multiple endings all went way over the top of what was expected in a game. This game was designed, ground up, to be a blockbuster...and it was.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

Robotron23 (832528) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911860)

That's entirely correct; however we're not talking about the situation with big titles in 1995 here, we're talking about the present day which is different by a long shot.

I don't understand why we divorce the concept of a blockbuster (in the financially well-performing sense) title and the potential success of a title which constitutes a 'modest' budget in 2010:

I think you'd find what qualifies as modest now would certainly be in the realms of Chrono Trigger's production budget and given technological and operational advances over 15 years would look more advanced anyhow. Your 'Dream Team' could be assembled from gifted artists and story writers, and the emphasis could be on a unique appearance rather than being a juggernaut graphics-wise. I've no doubt that with a relatively small team, this hypothetical game would have enough money left for a decent marketing campaign.

The Wii has shown us that big markets can thrive with games that have 'primitive' graphics. The reasons why this principle cannot be taken up by developers in the RPG market in earnest across the board are complex, but to me add up to a sobering reflection on the pigheaded mentality of gaming houses in this age of disproportionate budgets.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912130)

Call me greedy, but I want both: The picturesque, photorealistic graphics and the soundtrack that carry you through an amazingly detailed, almost lifelike world, and the deep, catching storytelling, the ever developing characters, the immersion into a different universe where anything is possible. CoD 4 and 6 have left me a spoiled brat of a consumer. I will not go back to ugly graphics and crappy MIDI sound, no matter how good the plot. At the same time I lived and breathed through both parts of KOTOR and the Elder Scrolls and Gothic series. I don't do Far Cry 2, and I regret to this day ever lending Prototype. Eye candy is nice, but not sufficient to get me to open my wallet.

That said, there certainly is a market for what you describe, and for something in between your and my expectations. I love Scorched Earth, and the Worms games still get me. I regularly play Day of Defeat (both Source and the old one) and Insurgency, so "technical" games with little plot and rather superficial immersion still end up on my machine.

Re:Gaming must go back to its roots (2, Interesting)

BenevolentP (1220914) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912186)

Interesting facts: Chrono trigger cost 80 bucks in 1995 in the US (http://www.fantasyanime.com/squaresoft/ctabout.htm). And it took just 3 years for (at least) 30 devs to finish it (according to wikipedia, "Kato and other developers held a series of meetings to ensure continuity, usually attended by around 30 personnel").

Oh my! (1)

Dr.Syshalt (702491) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911248)

Gaming companies start realizing that it probably makes sense finding *your* market, sticking to it, keeping your customers happy and loyal - instead of that childish "we make kewl product with tons of features and everyone buys it!" attitude? What's next? Realizing that draconian DRM contradicts with this idea and getting rid of it? I can't believe it, this can't be true!

Re:Oh my! (2, Insightful)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911302)

Why waste your money on developing an add-on and hence an additional source of revenue when you can develop an out-of-control DRM system which adds problems for the paying customers and will be cracked within days???

Milking (1, Insightful)

Bensam123 (1340765) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911346)

So, developers are starting to realize that they nickle and dimed the hell out of everyone to the point where no one has enough spare change or simply cares enough to buy better games. The gaming industry is literally hanging itself with its own rope.

Indies are never going to make a huge impression because for the most part they simply don't have the 'wow' factor to add to their games, even if they're good concepts. So they're stuck making good little games, which don't really account for something more then a 'cool little experience', but the gamers where the money is don't want just that. So indies end up needing investment anyways to make anything really great.

That aside, I'm pretty sure a AAA game WILL make oodles of money. It will not be a regurgitated game from Blizzard which now just excels at milking people, it'll be made by a little no name company that was able to pitch their idea to the right people. Too bad Relic botched DoW2.

And yes, sometimes unheard of games are really sweet. I still have not played a game so far that beat the experience I had playing Tribes 2.

Whatever happened to simple, awesome games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911424)

PSN, XBLA, WiiWare games, and similar systems on the computing side, as well as countless thousands of indie dev games.
All of these work, all of them are great to play, simple to make, easy to distribute.
And at a low price, more people would buy it, and a good chunk of the profits will go directly to them rather than advertising, (usually) greedy publishers, stores, etc.

How many would kill for some kick-ass classic RPG games on these services? I'd love for some old-style FF games being reborn on these services.
Or how about some physics-heavy FPS games, like that LEGO one i remember seeing a while back, and another of a similar style.
Just nice, simple game systems, no story is even required, multiplayer games are great for keeping people interested in the series.

If you throw out a whole bunch of games all the time, all pretty unique from the previous, throw your name somewhere in the title (needs a good company name of course) so people recognize it. (see Archer Maclean's Mercury as an example, very recognizable name, even if it isn't the company name)

Re:Whatever happened to simple, awesome games? (2, Interesting)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911542)

I find myself infatuated with Fantastic Contraption [ragdollcannon.net]. It seems simple [fantasticcontraption.com] enough but once I got through the levels and was able to view other player's designs [fantasticcontraption.com], I'm just staring at my computer muttering, "No fucking way.... Ju- oh what. the. fuck?"

Simple. Awesome.
Simply awesome.

Re:Whatever happened to simple, awesome games? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912176)

Terrible. Post.
Terrible post.

Re:Whatever happened to simple, awesome games? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912608)

Damnit... Now you've given me another time sink...

Well, at least it's cool and fun to play.

Maybe (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911508)

I think studios have started to catch on lately that most consumers have given up on the graphics card wars. Sinking $50 million into a game, and having 90% of that be due to the fact that the graphics are cutting edge is a stupid way to make a game. A very small percentage of gamers want their game to be so cutting edge... It's expensive to maintain a computer of that quality, usually the games buggy and constantly being patched, and in truth the graphics quality isn't all that much better than if they had let their tech lag behind a year or more. Unfortunately most studios also go cheap on content once they go cheap on graphics.

Re:Maybe (3, Insightful)

roachdabug (1198259) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912032)

I'd say it's the studios that have given up on the graphics card wars. More correctly, I believe they've all but given up on the PC entirely. There is a much larger market for consoles at this point, which is why the majority of new AAA titles for the PC are just ports of the X360 version with the same plasticy graphics, controls which don't feel quite right with keyboard + mouse, and Games For Windows slapped on for good measure.

I blame World of Warcraft. (2, Insightful)

mindwanderer (1169521) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911510)

How do you compete with it? Certainly not with DLC. And certainly not with yet another MMO that needs to build its userbase from scratch (BioWare's loyal fans are roleplayers; they couldn't care less about MMOs).

Re:I blame World of Warcraft. (2, Interesting)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912020)

The Old Republic is being billed as an RPG which happens to be multiplayer. Bioware's loyal fans should all be paying close attention, because if they deliver on their promises, the game will be EXACTLY what we want.

Re:I blame World of Warcraft. (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912624)

World of Warcraft will eventually kill itself. Its a great game, but its been nearing critical mass for quite some time now. I'd imagine it only has a couple more years left in it before some other MMO will take its place. And I have a gut instinct that it will be Blizzard will be the creator of that new game.

Slashdot delivers again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911512)

Nobody above me understood the summary (or know enough about Bioware).

The glorious past of Slashdot is over, and how pathetic it has become, filled with knuckleheads so obsessed with themselves and money they cannot understand a simple summary.

Yes I mad.

Eliminating the competition (0, Redundant)

pckl300 (1525891) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911516)

Company that makes blockbuster games says: stop making blockbuster games. Genius!

"For the developers" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32911530)

The title conveniently leaves out 'for the developers'.

He is just pointing out its a poor goal simply because the risk is higher.

When the budget is high, stakeholders prefer a tried and tested formula and leaves little room for the developer to be creative. Hence all the carbon copy 'blockbuster' games these days.

With all the carbon copy games, you aren't guaranteed of making alot of money. You won't enjoy the development process as you are just cloning game after game, and adding few gimmicks here and there.

So, you better have a good workplace culture or else no one will work for long there.

Nah: (1)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32912386)

So, you better have a good workplace culture or else no one will work for long there.

It's still the case that a lot more people would like to be video game developers than the market will support, and it's still the case that most employers place a very high value on having shipped titles on your resume.

These things seriously distort the video game dev job market from what it might otherwise be; as long as those things are the case, it's going to be easy to replace any turnover for cheap, and there are going to be people willing to make Hello Kitty Island Adventure 14 even in terrible working conditions.

I stopped buying games a long time ago (1)

kainosnous (1753770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32911616)

Many of the games that come out these days look appealing. However, when you play them, their gimmicks get old pretty quickly. Even when a game is genuinely good, it doesn't seem to be worth the price tag. Money is hard to come by, playable games are not.

When looking at the expensive games of today, I can't find many that would be more enjoyable and challenging than nethack, or perphaps Zork. Sure, some might be more entertaining, but not for the price when there are such great free alternatives.

missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32912458)

I think almost everyone missed the point of what the dev was trying to say...I think he is referring to "blockbuster" games as these games that are costing 40+ million to make and advertise. He's saying the big companies are putting all this money into tried and true formulas and expecting to be the next big game (and for the most part failing)...instead of trying something new and taking a risk. Bioware actually is a good example of going against the grain and succeeding. Look at Final Fantasy 13 and compare its success and budget to Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2. (Meanwhile the FF devs are making fun of Bioware for "not knowing what people want in an rpg".)

Bioware is only pointing out that companies cant keep churning out expensive generic games and expect them to be the next Halo, CoD, etc...

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