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Avowed will not be PoE3, and that's a good thing


necrobrain

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Easy to say if your studio is not on the brink of bankruptcy. Obsidian had a big project canceled before doing PoE. PoE (being a crowdfunded game) was the clutching at the last straw.  

Crunch and Deathmarch don't lead to less buggy games. If anything they lead to less polished/more buggy games because the amount of errors you will do increases a lot when overworked. Crunch also leads to talented people leaving the industry which reduces the quality of games even further in the long run. So overall it just hurts and is counterproductive. The reason why it's still done: money. You grind down your employees in order to make more money and/or get your money sooner. Earlier release means less cost (salaries mostly) and an earlier cash day. Sometimes that's inevitable because your studio is going to close if you don't make that money. Sometimes it's just greed (hello Red Dead Redemption). The reason is NOT that crunch or even deathmarches would create better software. They just don't. So there is no point in doing this except making more money.

There was no deathmarch with PoE and Deadfire. With no game of Obsidian afaik. They publicly speak up against crunch culture as a studio and don't have high fluctuation with their employees. So I highly doubt that they would do deathmarches.

I linked the definition of deathmarch above, doesn't matter what the word sounds like. There was no deathmarch at Obsidian. Not even Josh (who opposes constant crunch and deathmarches publicly and vehemently) said that. He spoke about limited crunchtimes that were bearable or "sprints" - but not a deathmarch. You can watch his talk about crunch where he says that he found a much better work/life balance around 2009 (which was before PoE and Deadfire were done):

It's a good talk.

I don't think Feargus Urquhart "threatened" to fire Josh and Adam - I believe it was more like "We will have to close Obsidian if this crowdfunding project doesn't work out". 

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/29/2020 at 2:03 AM, Boeroer said:

There was no deathmarch with PoE and Deadfire. With no game of Obsidian afaik. They publicly speak up against crunch culture as a studio and don't have high fluctuation with their employees. So I highly doubt that they would do deathmarches.

I've talked with several current and past Obsidian employees, all of which started out in QA which is crunch central, and they all confirmed that Obs doesn't do crunch.

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  • 1 month later...

What do you mean crunch? Having a lot of work to do in a short period of time with deadlines? Why does everyone get all upset about Game developers doing that? Accountants have to do that at period end every month. That's just the nature of work isn't it? Some periods are busier than others.

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2 hours ago, daven said:

What do you mean crunch? Having a lot of work to do in a short period of time with deadlines? Why does everyone get all upset about Game developers doing that? Accountants have to do that at period end every month. That's just the nature of work isn't it? Some periods are busier than others.

Josh Sawyer defines crunch as working more then 60 hours per week for more then 8 weeks.

Edited by Wormerine
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On 2/27/2021 at 12:56 PM, Wormerine said:

Josh Sawyer defines crunch as working more then 60 hours per week for more then 8 weeks.

And the thing is though with most development studios, they are salaried and do not get paid for those extra hours.  Lot's of tyrannical behavior in game development over the last couple decades.

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“If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” 

-Ulysses S. Grant

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On 2/27/2021 at 12:32 PM, daven said:

What do you mean crunch? Having a lot of work to do in a short period of time with deadlines? Why does everyone get all upset about Game developers doing that? Accountants have to do that at period end every month. That's just the nature of work isn't it? Some periods are busier than others.

People seem to be mixing up overtime or sprinting with crunch. Overtime isn't crunch, and is also not really the problem when used appropriately for sprints or the likes. Crunch is overtime spread over a long period of time, to the point it becomes detrimental to the workforce and production. So, for instance, two weeks working 60+h per week isn't crunch, that's a sprint. 60+h per week over the course of three months isn't a sprint, it's crunch.

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Currently playing: Fallout 2

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Re: Obsidian and crunch, I think Josh mentioned somewhere that Neverwinter Nights 2 was a deathmarch, and it was during that period that he also decided to change the work ethic at Obsidian and avoid crunch at all costs. In that talk he does mention some specific people during Fallout: New Vegas may have crunched, but he avoided the practice where possible and for the most part that game and others since have been done with no crunch.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Never really heard about "Pillars of Eternity" being planned as trilogy though, kinda saw it as "they will do as many games as they feel like in different parts of the world" dealio :p

But anyway, I don't think they should shut out CRPG genre as option completely considering Pathfinder CRPGs still seem to be doing fine and Baldur's Gate 3 I suppose as well. Wasteland 3 doesn't seem to be doing badly either, but I don't know much about that one sales success wise. They just need to figure out what their games did right and wrong and what competitors are doing right and wrong as well.

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3 hours ago, BrokenMask said:

Never really heard about "Pillars of Eternity" being planned as trilogy though, kinda saw it as "they will do as many games as they feel like in different parts of the world" dealio

I don't think it was originally planed as a trilogy but given that the second game is a direct sequel and it ends in a cliffhanger, everyone, including myself, expects a POE3 to finish up the Watcher's story.

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9 hours ago, the_dog_days said:

I don't think it was originally planed as a trilogy but given that the second game is a direct sequel and it ends in a cliffhanger, everyone, including myself, expects a POE3 to finish up the Watcher's story.

I don't think there is Watcher story per-say. I don't even think that "Watcher" had a story in PoE2. Even if PoE3 happened and it was a direct sequel to PoE2, they can swap the protagonist and it would still be fine. And who knows, perhaps the "cliffhanger" (which I don't think is an accurate description of PoE2 ending, as unsatisfying as it might be - conflict in Deadfire is resolved, and Watcher recovers his soul) sets up the universe for Avowed?

Edited by Wormerine
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4 hours ago, Wormerine said:

I don't think there is Watcher story per-say. I don't even think that "Watcher" had a story in PoE2. Even if PoE3 happened and it was a direct sequel to PoE2, they can swap the protagonist and it would still be fine. And who knows, perhaps the "cliffhanger" (which I don't think is an accurate description of PoE2 ending, as unsatisfying as it might be - conflict in Deadfire is resolved, and Watcher recovers his soul) sets up the universe for Avowed?

Spoiler

In the first game you find out the gods aren't real. In the second game you see the wheel as it's broken. Presumably the third game would have you chose between fixing the wheel, leaving it broken, or forging a new path. Why is the Watcher connected in all this? 'Cause he/she's the only person who knows about this. Even if the have a sequel with a new character it wouldn't make sense because while the wheel is broken no one outside of the Watcher and his crew would know how to tell that it's broken (thanks to his conversation with Eothas).

 

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7 hours ago, the_dog_days said:
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In the first game you find out the gods aren't real. In the second game you see the wheel as it's broken. Presumably the third game would have you chose between fixing the wheel, leaving it broken, or forging a new path. Why is the Watcher connected in all this? 'Cause he/she's the only person who knows about this. Even if the have a sequel with a new character it wouldn't make sense because while the wheel is broken no one outside of the Watcher and his crew would know how to tell that it's broken (thanks to his conversation with Eothas).

 

 

I respectfully but strongly disagree. 

1) You overstate the importance of the Watcher. Yes, Watcher learns of the nature of the Gods, and yes, Watcher witnesses the destruction of the wheel. He is powereless to do anything about either. Giving player-character a power in PoE3 to shape the future of the universe would be contrary to the tone of the games so far. Yes, in PoE1 we discover the secret of Engwith but it only puts into question point of our existance and our companion's past choices. In PoE2, we witness Eothas plan coming to fruitition, but that's all we can really do - witness. Forces of that cosmic scale are beyond our reach, and even if games allows us to shape the world to a bigger extend then a single kith could (like help shift the balance of power toward a faction in Deadfire) we are still subjected to a more powerful forces at play.

I don't think it is impossible that with Josh Sawyer not at a helm we might get something closer to universe shaping powerfantasy, but that would be unfortunate. While I don't think PoE2 handled confrontation with Eothas well, the overall concept is something I approve a lot. Dealing with something beyond our power to solve is something I really like about PoEs setting. I was genuilly expected PoE2 to be a fight agaist Gods (or it being one of possible paths) - we know they nature and now after years of thinking we can do something about it. That is not so - we might know the secret, but no one of importance really cares - and if they did they are fully capable of killing us. 

2) The very purpose of breaking the Wheel is to make the nature of Gods clear to everyone. Considering how poorly PoE2 sold, if PoE3 were to happen (or Avowed to continue the conflict) having a fresh new protagonist who discovers secret as the result of Wheel being broken is a good continuation of the story, and a good jumping point to newcomers. Let's say that rumors and theories are true and that Avowed does take place after PoE2 and follows invasion of Living Lands by Aedyr - we might very well play as a servant of Woedica who tries to deal the aftermath of PoE2 - learning their secret in the process wouldn't be a big stretch. At any rate, I doubt we will just deal with the problem if the series continue - the biggest issue is the universe chaping nature of such decision - solving the conflict of that scale would alter the universe forever (think Deus Ex1 or ME3 where a good direct sequel in impossible without either overrding the ending, or picking a cannon). I think it is better for story and IP reasons, to keep the events of that scale outside player's influence. Do intereting things with more powerful being then us, and allows players to get by - just as Watcher did in PoE1&2.

EDIT: I suppose the biggest question is whenever it was intended for PoE3 to follow immediately after PoE2. We know it is not the case now, but was something planned before PoE2 underperformed financially? Feargus was talking about Skyrim-in-Eora for a while, so I doubt that Avowed is a knee-jerk reaction to a PoE2 underperforming - I find it more likely that it was intended to be done anyway. As such I still believe that unresolved set-ups in PoE2 are more intended to open the universe for other games (like Avowed) rather then set up PoE3. Really, the only major thing set up is - reincarnation wheel is broken, and now everyone will have to face the reality. It could be a set up for big finalle in PoE3, but is also could be a set up to step into shoes of those "everyones", without a need to play PoE1&2. I mean, it does remind me of the Jade Empire story a lot.

Edited by Wormerine
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On 9/1/2020 at 3:27 AM, necrobrain said:

 

Even besides the financial benefits of making a game like Skyrim rather than a game like Baldur's Gate, there's no reason for us to be disappointed by a game just because it forces us to play in a familiar world in an unfamiliar way. The shift in perspective, quite literally in terms of going FP from isometric, will feel fresh, if you allow it to. Don't go in thinking we'll see the same kinds of depth we had in PoE1 & 2, but look for something different in it.

Well, at least nobody has to be forced. If I don't like it, I don't have to buy it. I'm not even trying to be salty, I just won't spend money on a game I have no interest in. I love Eora but that love is deeply connected to 'my' watcher, her story, her decisions and her connections to her companions. And to the darn cliffhanger that will apparently never be solved. 

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On 12/29/2020 at 2:03 AM, Boeroer said:

I don't think Feargus Urquhart "threatened" to fire Josh and Adam - I believe it was more like "We will have to close Obsidian if this crowdfunding project doesn't work out". 

According to "Blood, Sweat, and Pixels" (which was written by a journalist) he did. it's the Pillars chapter, obviously.

It's possible the author was misrepresenting Feargus, but that seems out of place. Not that threatening to fire someone is any better, though.

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  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

"Crunch" is defined as working more than a normal work week of 40 hours. Am I missing something?

I feel like "well, if it's not 60+ hours, it's not really crunch, it's something else," is just a way to avoid saying "we crunch," when it feels like it's true.

I admire Obsidian not crunching, but if we go by their definition, overtime without pay for salaried employees is still bad, although I'm sure most Obsidian developers are happy to work longer hours.

Edited by NullandVoid
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14 hours ago, NullandVoid said:

"Crunch" is defined as working more than a normal work week of 40 hours. Am I missing something?

Josh Sawyer defined crunch as "Excessive Overtime: 60+ hours per week for more then 8 weeks.

As I understand discussion regarding crunch isn't: "game devs should have a right to a more comfortable right and not be taken advantage by employers", but "game devs are being worked to the point that is unproductive, bad for their health, and drives talented people away from the industry". Baby steps I suppose. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am pretty disappointed with PoE 2 so my expectations are not high (I did really enjoy the Beast of Winter dlc though!) Outer Worlds was disappointing after the first 15 hours and had no replayability for me. 

I'll still play whatever they make but it really feels like obsidian has been lacking in what I've come to expect of their games. If only we could get the visual and mechanic talent of inXile and the best writing of obsidian crammed into a game but idk. 

I hope Avowed doesn't water down and gut the rpg systems like skyrim did to the attributes, signs, story, lore, and skills. I'd appreciate a thorough rpg system in and seeing the signing of the spell in the trailer has my hopes high that there will be nuance in avowed (not that listening to Aloth say mara inla ixum over and over doesn't get old lol but he does it for like every spell.) [And] Obsidian's games have a good record for interesting stories too.

I typically play any rpg I can though, because it is my favorite genre and I am looking forward to it. 

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