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Can PoE grow as a franchise the way the Witcher did?


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#21
Katarack21

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Bioware did it when EA bought them.

Didn't a bunch of the core Bioware team--writers, leads, etc.--leave after EA bought them? I mean, Jade Empire and 3/4 of Mass Effect were prior to EA and they both show a *LOT* of that "dumbed down" stuff that you think EA forced on them.


Edited by Katarack21, 20 March 2017 - 10:35 AM.


#22
KaineParker

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Bioware did it when EA bought them.

Didn't a bunch of the core Bioware team--writers, leads, etc.--leave after EA bought them? I mean, Jade Empire and 3/4 of Mass Effect were prior to EA and they both show a *LOT* of that "dumbed down" stuff that you think EA forced on them.

Not right away I believe. That seems to be the case now though.

#23
bonarbill

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Tamper with and try to improve for the worse on the classic IE-formula too much and you'll get something like Tyranny, which - surprise surprise - doesn't exactly sit well with the cRPG audience, going by the underwhelming sales figures.

 

While I'm not a fan of Tyranny at all, I seriously doubt that's the reason it sold worse than PoE.  Because from what I've seen, many of the core audience of PoE like Tyranny.



#24
Abel

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Bioware did it when EA bought them.

Didn't a bunch of the core Bioware team--writers, leads, etc.--leave after EA bought them? I mean, Jade Empire and 3/4 of Mass Effect were prior to EA and they both show a *LOT* of that "dumbed down" stuff that you think EA forced on them.

 

 

Yes, absolutely. I made some researchs in the past, and what i understood is that the 2 remaining funders of Bioware agreed with EA buying them. They both quit Bioware several years ago. And a lot of people from the original Bioware quit over the years after EA bought them. It almost seems liike the 2 remaining co funders saw a way to make cash, and started to dumb down their games (did not play Mass Effect, but Dragon Age: Origins is still a good example of game developed before EA). I could even add to help your point that EA renamed numbers of random studios they owned across the world "Bioware XXX" while none had anything to do with Bioware, just to cash on the studio's name (like The remnants of Interplay tried to cash on the Black Isle name not so long ago (it was so pitiful though..)). And hence, a good part of the crap Bioware sell nowadays is actually not actual Bioware work. But Inquisition is. And still, it's not even comparable to what the already somewhat crappy Origins was. Inquisition had a lot more of the dumbed down features i mentionned than Origins. At the very least, it's hard not to notice that EA made no good to the studio in this regard.

 

But still, i really don't think that Dragon Age 2 would have been the same, or even existed without EA. Publishers nowadays are almighty, because... cash. They are the ones who can pay the salaries and they force disingenuous conditions on the studios who need the money not to shut down. They aim for mainstrem games, mass market. Obviously i would find that Pillars and mainstream should not fit together.


Edited by Abel, 20 March 2017 - 11:05 AM.


#25
Tigranes

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The Witcher series' growth got supporting shots from a lot of other factors - CDProjekt is a major publishing house in Poland, which in fact localised some of the old school CRPGs (I think including BG), and created GOG. They were able to take advantage of these other revenue streams, as well as lower costs in Poland, to massively expand the scope of their games and the size of their teams - plus, of course, the commercial success of TW1&2. 

 

I think it'll be extremely difficult for Obsidian, a California-based studio which is stuck in the impossible financial swamp of being a US-based independent developer, one which was laying people off left and right to survive before POE KS, one which still has to scramble to keep growth going, to do the same thing. Not to mention that, as we can see, POE2 already involves Obsidian drawing on their future profits to fund their current game, which is what Kickstarter/Fig is from the producer perspective. 

 

BG2, in terms of the sales it got, and how ridiculously large the game managed to be relative to its production time and team size, etc., is pretty much a unique one-off. Its a game the people who worked on it look back on and say "that was crazy and I don't know it worked out", and it should never, ever be the yardstick for you to anticipate any game, unless you enjoy disappointment.

 

What you say here is very informative. I do agree that BG2 is a one off and thus I did not attempt to connect that game to PoE & the Witcher series. Again, right now when talking about numbers we can only compare PoE with the original Witcher game. PoE 2 is still a long way away. I hadn't thought about all the advantages CDPR have by being a Polish developer with all the extra help and cash flows.

 

In any case, if PoE 2 does a Witcher 2 and sales spike up exponentially, is it still that much more difficult to reach a Witcher 3 level of quality for PoE 3?

 

I admit, I want Obsidian to reach AAA with PoE because it's their flagship title. This is of course an unpopular opinion but I'm ok with it not being an isometric RPG anymore because to me the story, the world, and the lore matters to me more now. It would be good for Obsidian too. They could use the success having struggled for so long. And shamelessly, I want another developer that is an automatic purchase for me the way Bioware used to be until today, lol. 

 

 

I don't want to say it's impossible, of course, only that it's improbable. I think POE did well to hit a million sales given its niche stylings, and I don't see how POE2 would suddenly become a multi-million breakout hit. BG2 improved on BG1 sales, but BG was a huge hit with a very high profile back then. 

 

Remember that Obsidian have wanted to make games lke POE for a long time, but they simply could not find a way to make it an AAA title, which needs these days tens of millions of dollars and an expectation that you could make that tens of millions back. I don't think any big publisher is looking at POE and thinking "we were wrong, we should have funded this ourselves". When Feargus and others used to go to publishers and say "we need 50m to make the next Baldur's Gate" they used to scoff "no business sense, amigo" and I think they won't feel like POE is proof otherwise.

 

Obsidian continues to invest in making AAA games, and all indications suggest there's one multi-platform publisher-funded title in the works. 


Edited by Tigranes, 20 March 2017 - 11:24 AM.

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#26
Enoch

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For reasons Tig cites, tWitcher isn't really the best measuring stick if you're talking about Pillars going mainstream.  Given Obsidz's independence, scale, and American-ness, you'd need a big publisher to really believe in the project to fund the big leap to consoles, AAA production values, marketing, etc. 

 

The analogy for an American CRPG franchise moving from its PC-only isometric roots to a cross-platform, open-world, more action-oriented future isn't The Witcher-- it's Fallout. 



#27
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I'm just gonna say it. I think the best historical marker for that exact transition is Bioware. How you feel about that is up to you.


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#28
Varana

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The Witcher series is, I think, a somewhat fitting example. The first game was a lot closer to PoE's genre - it was based on Neverwinter Night's engine, after all, and combat was still in the traditon of RTwP. They went full hack-n-slash only with the second game.
But there, the paths begin to diverge already. CDProjekt used their first game as a stepping stone into a genre that was much more promising, commercially, while Obsidian is staying with an isometric 2.5D game.

Now, I'd certainly not complain if PoE3 would propel Obsidian into an industry heavyweight. I wouldn't even complain about some "dumbing down" to do that. ;) I just don't see it coming.
Better be surprised by good news than bad ones. :grin:

#29
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Bioware did the same, though. People forget how very non-RTwP and unlike their prior games Jade Empire really was, long before EA bought them.
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#30
MountainTiger

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It's a shame that, if we ever get a Jade Empire sequel, it will be a 200 hour super-serious open-world game from the slimy tentacle of EA.


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#31
anameforobsidian

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I had a rambling list of suggestions, so I'll shorten it down to this.  Obsidian's future success lies in the niche that really appreciates them.  Reuse resources and let story-tellers pursue passion projects.  One of them is more likely to break out than a company risking large bet on the mainstream.



#32
Katarack21

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I wouls venture to say that, while not as wealthy or as well known in the mainstream, Obsidian is every bit as influential in the industry.

#33
ThatUndeadLegacy

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I doubt it sadly this is a niche game.



#34
firkraag888

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The Witcher series' growth got supporting shots from a lot of other factors - CDProjekt is a major publishing house in Poland, which in fact localised some of the old school CRPGs (I think including BG), and created GOG. They were able to take advantage of these other revenue streams, as well as lower costs in Poland, to massively expand the scope of their games and the size of their teams - plus, of course, the commercial success of TW1&2. 

 

I think it'll be extremely difficult for Obsidian, a California-based studio which is stuck in the impossible financial swamp of being a US-based independent developer, one which was laying people off left and right to survive before POE KS, one which still has to scramble to keep growth going, to do the same thing. Not to mention that, as we can see, POE2 already involves Obsidian drawing on their future profits to fund their current game, which is what Kickstarter/Fig is from the producer perspective. 

 

BG2, in terms of the sales it got, and how ridiculously large the game managed to be relative to its production time and team size, etc., is pretty much a unique one-off. Its a game the people who worked on it look back on and say "that was crazy and I don't know it worked out", and it should never, ever be the yardstick for you to anticipate any game, unless you enjoy disappointment.

 

Well Im going to be disappointed then.

 

I reckon Josh and his team would absolutely be trying to replicate the success off BG2 with Deadfire.  Pillars 1 was a far better game then BG1 so there is the potential there IMO for deadfire to be better then BG2.

 

the only way they wlll do that is if they create an truly immersive world and they don't dumb it down



#35
FlintlockJazz

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Bioware did it when EA bought them.

Didn't a bunch of the core Bioware team--writers, leads, etc.--leave after EA bought them? I mean, Jade Empire and 3/4 of Mass Effect were prior to EA and they both show a *LOT* of that "dumbed down" stuff that you think EA forced on them.

 

 

Yes, absolutely. I made some researchs in the past, and what i understood is that the 2 remaining funders of Bioware agreed with EA buying them. They both quit Bioware several years ago. And a lot of people from the original Bioware quit over the years after EA bought them. It almost seems liike the 2 remaining co funders saw a way to make cash, and started to dumb down their games (did not play Mass Effect, but Dragon Age: Origins is still a good example of game developed before EA). I could even add to help your point that EA renamed numbers of random studios they owned across the world "Bioware XXX" while none had anything to do with Bioware, just to cash on the studio's name (like The remnants of Interplay tried to cash on the Black Isle name not so long ago (it was so pitiful though..)). And hence, a good part of the crap Bioware sell nowadays is actually not actual Bioware work. But Inquisition is. And still, it's not even comparable to what the already somewhat crappy Origins was. Inquisition had a lot more of the dumbed down features i mentionned than Origins. At the very least, it's hard not to notice that EA made no good to the studio in this regard.

 

But still, i really don't think that Dragon Age 2 would have been the same, or even existed without EA. Publishers nowadays are almighty, because... cash. They are the ones who can pay the salaries and they force disingenuous conditions on the studios who need the money not to shut down. They aim for mainstrem games, mass market. Obviously i would find that Pillars and mainstream should not fit together.

 

I looked into this thing at points, and heard rumours and hearsay from elsewhere, and what I got from it all is that the EA buying up Bioware situation is incredibly murky. 

 

From what I understand, Bioware sold itself to a different company with the idea of merging all their stuff together and to get Bioware set up as a publicly traded company only to then have the parent company bought up by EA.  This buying of EA is suspicious as it has turned out one of the guys who set up the parent company actually came from EA, and it was either all a back room deal or a big con to trick companies into being bought out (it wasn't just Bioware who was bought up in this transaction). 

 

The two founders of Bioware stayed on for pretty much exactly a year, which fits with a contractual obligation they may have signed to 'make it look like continuance of before', and then bailed not only on their company but on the gaming industry in general.  This could be either them making their money and legging it or them getting screwed and not wanting to stay around anymore.

 

Mass Effect was indeed three quarters done by the time EA bought them, but have you seen the earlier footage of Mass Effect, what they were aiming for?  It was a drastically different game (you could control your squadmates directly, doing missions in different order or not by a certain time causing knock on effects, Mako being modifiable, etc).  Having watched earlier footage, I see many areas in ME1 where I realised they were cut down or hangovers from an earlier plan.  Now, this could be a case of the typical game developer thing of promising loads of things they then realised they couldn't do or didn't have the time and/or resources for, but it could also be a case of EA moving in and going "Hey, that works as is, push it out the door now..."  Jade Empire I cannot comment on as I only played it years later after getting it on GOG and didn't really care for it, and Dragon Age Origins I'm not sure would have been much different (I wasn't impressed with it myself, and many issues with that was with its fundamental gameplay).

 

I guess the TL;DR version is: Its very very murky, which pretty much sums up the gaming industry in general.  Frack man, when did gaming become such a hellhole?


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#36
Ninjamestari

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.


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#37
Wormerine

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...and possibly become a mega mainstream hit like Witcher 3? PoE did similarly as the Witcher in terms of sales in its first year or so, maybe slightly better. The positive review scores are similar too.

 

I'm a little shocked and baffled by ME:A mixed reception. Could have used that pre-order money to invest on PoE:D instead. All this talk about the Infinity Engine renaissance when we are actually slowly running out of quality AAA RPGs, sigh. I know that nostalgia gave life to PoE. But surely, most of us want this franchise to grow and eventually reach a bigger mainstream following like the Witcher franchise.

 

Cyberpunk 2077 is the only guaranteed to be great AAA RPG in the foreseeable future. Dragon Age 4, sure, but those filler quests in DA:I and now ME:A tells me that Bioware will never be a sure thing anymore. 

 

P.S: Forgive me if that's not what most of you guys want. I'm just thinking out loud. Of course going mainstream can mean going from Fallout 2 to Fallout 3...

I love Witcher series to death... I just don't get comparison. PoE from definition is not mainstream. It is not a hipster thing, it is just trying to be a thing which will never sell THAT well. Why? Presentation. 

 

Let me first explain what I want from PoE and its continuation. Good story of course but most of all - reactivity. Being able to pick your race, background. Making choice and see consequences happen. When the budget comes I am not interested in shinier graphics or more voiceacting or moving to full 3D... those things can be nice, but I want the world and character I can interact in more meaningful ways. The problem with moving mainstream is that you have to look shiny. Have full voiceacting. More voiceacting means less dialogue choice, less reactivity. I would rather have plain text, than stilted animation and chopped dilivery of bioware games. You do spectacle or you do depth. 

 

Witcher is an odd RPG series as it allows you to play not only as one class but as one specific character. It is good in allowing you to roleplay Geralt, but it is limiting. 

 

My take on the situation is this: different games get better thanks to different things. Throwing more money into presentation won't make your RPG good. Isometric, text heavy structure does the job. The interactions make the game work. Does it HAVE to be isometric? No, as long as the game gets deeper not shallower. However, as bioware showed, putting more money into game creates the need to explain why things you do don't matter rather than showing why they do.



#38
Hertzila

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.

 

Did we see the same story? Geralt is continually being called an outdated idiot working on a field that is going to eliminate itself, and he should really either modernize or quit, or die. He's told these things by his friends, collegues, acquaintances, enemies, rivals, clients, basically everybody. Being the stubborn fool, he just continues working. He also keeps running into various pick-your-poison scenarios. Sure, if by "wins every time" you mean that he survives a lot of crap thrown his way, sure, but I doubt it's really a victory if all the choices are bad.


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#39
Ninjamestari

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.

 

Did we see the same story? Geralt is continually being called an outdated idiot working on a field that is going to eliminate itself, and he should really either modernize or quit, or die. He's told these things by his friends, collegues, acquaintances, enemies, rivals, clients, basically everybody. Being the stubborn fool, he just continues working. He also keeps running into various pick-your-poison scenarios. Sure, if by "wins every time" you mean that he survives a lot of crap thrown his way, sure, but I doubt it's really a victory if all the choices are bad.

 

 

Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy. Self-defeating professions don't really count in a fictional universe as it will never translate into the character losing, and it is a story that will never be told.

 

EDIT: in the eyes of a teenager, being stubborn fool and continuing on with your own way despite everyone telling you not to is the very definition of winning.


Edited by Ninjamestari, 21 March 2017 - 10:33 AM.

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#40
Sakai

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Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy. Self-defeating professions don't really count in a fictional universe as it will never translate into the character losing, and it is a story that will never be told.

 

EDIT: in the eyes of a teenager, being stubborn fool and continuing on with your own way despite everyone telling you not to is the very definition of winning.

 

You clearly haven't read the books and know nothing about the character, or the universe. His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character. And a tragic one at that. Both the books and the games explore deep phylosophical and psychological themes that are hardly relevant to an "adolescent boy", as you put it. In fact, the main theme of them both i would argue is Geralt's love for his adopted daughter Ciri. Is that an adolescent fantasy to you? Maybe if you missed all of that, the issue is with you, and not the games?


Edited by Sakai, 21 March 2017 - 11:14 AM.

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