Jump to content

Expanding the Audience

Aaron Contreras

Recommended Posts

Bioware's a RPG developer that's one of the giants of the genre, is only around 6-7 years old, and manages to stay afloat, hire people, fund multiple projects and resist draconian outside intervention during development for the most part. That in all means Bioware must garner at least decent sales in its games. BGs, NWN, KoTOR have been the big games from them, and while they are fairly mainstream, especially compared to, say, Looking Glass / BIS, they're not as far down that road as something like Diablo or Halo is. Bioware makes games that cater to a fairly wide audience, getting enough sales to sit in a comfortable financial position - where they can fund ambitious projects like NWN (which was very ambitious, even if you think it's crap). Bioware will continue to prosper and produce games for some time, which is great if you like their games...

Actually they are 9 years old, having been founded in 1995. Their first game Shattered Steel, which wasn't an RPG, came out in 1996. After MDK2, they seem to have been focusing only on RPGs although Jade Empire is a bit of a departure.




I agree that they have been very successful, largely because of Baldur's Gate 1 which despite its flaws put them on the map and sold well for no other reason is that it was the first really good D&D game for many years. At the end, I think SSI was just putting out recycled crap like Death Keep. I am not sure if I would call NWN very ambitious since it wasn't the first game to have a DM or a toolset to make modules. Vampire was the first one there to my knowledge. There was also a D&D game to make modules back in the early 90s by SSI. The first game with the name Neverwinter Nights was the first online D&D RPG and it ran on Amerca Online for years. I would say NWN was more ambitious than BG series or any game they did previously was but not as much as it may seem. Besides, it wasn't that risky because being D&D and being made by BioWare meant they were guaranteed a certain level of sales success since the majority of the players only bought it for just the single player campaign and never used any of the other features.


There are also some sales figures on that page I linked to above if you are interested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The practiceof widening an audiance is similar to watering down your drinks. In the end, nobody wins.

I have an entirely different perspective.


I am enough of a Lord of the Rings nerd to wince at the major plot departures in the recent film trilogy. Not snarky forum fanboy upset...but it certainly 'watered down' the films for me.


In exchange, I've gotten a pretty awesome visual representation of Middle Earth. Hell, the arms and armor book sitting on my coffee table was probably well worth the Arwen subplots alone. There have been a number of LoTR games - some not so great - produced simply because of the wider audience the movies brought to the brand. It is a great time to be a Lord of the Rings fan. There is a new LoTR tabletop RPG out and tons of young people probably are in awe of LoTR as I was in awe of Star Wars.


None of this would have been possible without a wider audience - which might just mean Arwen subplots, Faramir almost jacking the Ring and no Tom Bombadil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

BIS's biggest failure was an attempt at mainstream moolah - Lionheart.


The only real niche games they did were Fallout 2 and PS:T. I fail to see how BG and BG2 were mainstream and IWD and IWD2 weren't mainstream.

Lionheart was not made by BIS, but yes, you are correct about it.


I will concede IWD and IWD2 are not PS:Ts in terms of nich

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...