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thesisko

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thesisko last won the day on March 15 2012

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About thesisko

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  1. Glad to see more of my predictions coming true. And funny in retrospect how utterly wrong Nathaniel Chapman was in this thread.
  2. Guess I really should not be surprised considering how much wallowing in "PC RPG's are dead and we'll NEVER, EVER have a game like BG/IWD/PST/FO/NWN2 again!" there's been from most people the past few years. It would be really nice if people wouldn't be so quick to swallow the marketing crap from publishers about genre X or Y is outdated or how it has "moved on" or that gamers "demand" voice acting, or that the "rising costs of development" has forced them to streamline/dumb down sequels. I can't remember how many times I tried to make these points but always someone would insisted that "no, no it's true, modern gamers only want RPG's like Mass Effect now!".
  3. Kickstarter is a funding platform, a way to raise money for projects that aren't interesting to publishers. It's got nothing to do with actually believing that PC gamers aren't interested in old-school RPG's and that tablets are a much better fit for that type of game, since tablet customers have "lower expectations". In this thread Chapman continued to insist that gamers didn't want old-school RPG's on the PC. He even said that he wouldn't be interested in a new Planescape:Torment type game on PC, 'cause he'd rather play Skyrim. It's curious then, that Obsidian is pitching this as "the ultimate PC RPG made by legendary designers" and not "low-budget game that isn't remotely as good as Skyrim or Mass Effect but you might want to play it on your iPad if you have nothing better to do and don't mind reading a lot of text 'cause the budget wasn't enough for full voice acting and cinematics."
  4. I guess Chapman's views weren't representative of the whole company seeing as Project Eternity is announced for PC and not iPad. Good thing, otherwise I'd be pledging $0 instead of $280.
  5. I don't think you guys are realizing what kind of possibilities Kickstarter holds for a mid-sized developer, even a bigger one like Obsidian. The initial funding pays for the game's budget just like a publisher would, but once the game is released, the developer will not only own the IP and all assets but get to keep all future profits. One single successful game could generate millions of dollars and keep on generating money long after it's release. This is something most independent developers dream of, but with publisher funding it's hard to generate any excess profits once the budget of the game has been paid. Given the high profile of Obsidian's talent (MCA, Tim Cain, Sawyer), they could potentially fund a more expensive game than Brian Fargo. It would only need to sell a few hundred thousand to generate enough money for Obsidian to be able to easily self-fund their future games.
  6. Your entire quote only applies to making an "AAA" game - not all gamers care for production values.
  7. In 2008, Obsidian states that the RoI on MotB is good enough that they believe that a similar RoI for SoZ creates a strong case for another similar project. In 2011, Obsidian states that the RoI on MotB wouldn't get any publisher interested. Should I conclude from this that RoI expectations has risen sharply during the past 3 years?
  8. Again you are assuming I mean that the graphics should look like utter crap. Other niche games sell at full price (which in the case of digital-only releases is around 30$). Using recent examples from other genres, I'm talking about games like Civilization V, Heroes VI, ARMA, DCS-A10C and most games published by Paradox. Clearly not AAA productions but neither are they budget releases. The "won't pay full price for non-AAA"-argument only holds if the "AAA"-games offer nearly the same experience, not for unique niches. No one is going to say "I won't pay top dollars for ARMA because CoD has higher production values". "AAA" is required for mainstream games because visuals is the only way to market the game to non-fans. I respect that Obsidian isn't interested in going after a niche market, but there's nothing wrong with doing so and many other developers are successful at it.
  9. Nathaniel plainly said that he (and by extension PC gamers) wouldn't be interested in playing a game like PS:T if they had Skyrim readily available. Since Skyrim (based on Bethesda's track record), likely won't hold a candle to PS:T in terms of narrative, writing and C&C, I can only assume that Nathaniel thinks that the strongest selling point of any game, no matter it's audience, is "AAA" production values.
  10. Nathaniel, I suppose you think that in 3-4 years, platforms like the iPad will also be resigned to mainstream games with "AAA" production values? I beg to differ. Games that focus on strong narrative or offer unique gameplay aren't limited to existing in small windows of time on platforms with limited hardware capabilities. People read books even though they have access to movies and they watch serious dramas even in the presence of Hollywood blockbusters. And yes, people can appreciate and pay for strong and unique narratives and gameplay even if they have "Skyrim" installed on their hard drive. Quite frankly, it's disappointing to see your lack of faith in gameplay and writing over visual spectacle. PS:T and Fallout 1&2 where niche titles for a niche audience and I'm sure that audience isn't any smaller today nor that it demands ultra high-res graphics. The fact that Obsidian and/or the publishers you approach aren't interested in making niche games that sells 100K copies doesn't mean there's something wrong with gamers who appreciate a PS:T more than Skyrim. Your comments sound remarkably similar 2K's "Strategy games are not contemporary" and Starbreeze's "Time has moved on" comments, something I wouldn't have expected from an Obsidian dev.
  11. Mechanically, Bloodlines was a fairly straight-forward action-RPG with poorly implemented gunplay, backed by great writing and quest design. I'd imagine that with proper marketing, it could have been quite successful as a polished, multiplatform "AAA" title. In fact, Deus Ex:HR reminded me quite a bit of Bloodlines minus the good writing. I hope you're not so cynical to think that great writing would actually hurt sales
  12. I provided lots of examples of other games that are successful in niches where 1 million sales would be considered amazing. And as for why you would fund something other than Skyrim, well...do you think that if 10 Skyrim's were released, they would all sell 5 million copies? As for higher returns, a 1 million selling game would have the same return as a 5 million selling game if it had 1/5th of the budget. Which explains why Paradox Interactive is profitable whereas EA is not. I'm pretty sure Troika couldn't get anyone interested because their last few games were buggy messes and because their big(ish)-budget action-RPG with full voice-acting and cool vampires sold abysmally. It's pretty pointless to bring up Rovio, I hear Farmville and The Sims are pretty popular on the PC. I've seen nothing suggesting a game like BG2/NWN2 would sell well on the App Store. The tactical JRPG that are popular on the handhelds are nothing like BG2/DA:O/NWN2.
  13. The point is not relevant to this discussion. A CoD clone made by 4 people won't sell either, because most people would rather play an older game they missed. In the case of Vogel's games, there are many older PC RPG's that I haven't played yet and would rather play than Avadon. Such as: Fallout, Arcanum, ToEE, Divine Divinity, Divinity 2, Risen. All are more professional products and will likely be more satisfactory experiences. That's ridiculous. There are plenty of niche game that sell a couple of hundred thousand copies and have decent production values. There's a market in-between Vogel's 4000 Avadon buyers and New Vegas' 5 million. For the moment, U.S. publisher seem to be ignoring that market, but many European games successfully tap into it. I also find it strange that Nathaniel thinks that a medium budget turn-based strategy is unique enough to have no "AAA" competition from other strategy games like Starcraft 2, Shogun 2 or Civilization V, but a party based CRPG with tactical combat would face competition from a 1st person open-world hack n' slash RPG. A few other examples of lower-budget games that are successful: Death to Spies series? Apparently possible due to low-competition from 3rd person stealth games. King Arthur? No competition from Total War I guess. Men of War series? No other RTS games out there I guess.... STALKER? I guess FPS isn't a crowded market. Red Orchestra 2? Online-centric WW2 FPS really has no "AAA" competition. Oh wait.... Divinity 2 or Risen? Action-RPGs with no dialogue wheel, no competition at all there I guess. I could go on forever. I guess what annoys me is the response to the question: "Is there a market for a deeper, more tactical BG2/NWN2-type RPG with a medium-sized budget?" Instead of "Yes, such a game could sell enough to be considered profitable by a smaller developer/publisher but Obsidian isn't interested", the response I get from Nathaniel is: "No, I think those gamers would rather play Skyrim".
  14. I'll correct you. I've played all the IE games and NWN2/MotB/SoZ, DA:O, Drakensang. I'm not remotely interested in Avadon or Eschalon. Avadon looks far worse than even BG1 and seems simplistic and boring combatwise. The writing seems of much lower quality than anything Black Isle ever did. Eschalon seems to barely have any story and there's no party to control. And it also looks worse than BG1. Though, FYI, both games are considered successes by their developers, so I'm not sure what your point is. They aren't even attempting the market which I'm talking about here. The closest thing would be the unreleased "Dead State".
  15. Well, I'm not really hearing any compelling arguments why a reasonably modern looking, medium budget, party-based RPG with tactical combat that is done in the style of BG2 or MotB wouldn't be successful on Steam. I don't think "PC RPG fans would rather play Skyrim" is very convincing since they are incredibly different type of games. Skyrim has more in common with GTA IV than BG2 or MotB. You are obviously convinced the iPad is a better fit, but there really isn't any hard evidence one way or the other. There's never been anything like BG2 on the iPad and there's never been a new, party-based RPG with tactical combat on Steam for $10. If you include other genres, I'm convinced that Steam has been a far more profitable marketplace for deeper and more complex $10-$20 games, while the iPad is really dominated by simple, addictive games (like Plants vs. Zombies). Regarding the low RoI of NWN2, you needlessly (IMO) spent a lot of money on rewriting the renderer and I doubt the buggy state of the game and the fact that it was an enormous resource hog while not looking the part did anything to help sales or review scores. The camera controls and the upfront complexity probably could have been handled a lot better aswell. Also, I'd say Steam is a far better marketplace for such a game than PC retail was in 2006, not to mention for DLC and expansions. So I think it's a bit unfair to say, "NWN2 had poor RoI, therefore any similar game will too". Unless you're a publisher of course.
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