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Layoff hits Obsidian?

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I wasn't really sure where to post it and it doesn't really look like my cup of tea, but if anyone wants a new free-to-play trade outpost management (?) game, a bunch of devs including ex-Obsidianites Jason Fader, J.D. Cerince and Liz Fiacco have launched a Kickstarter for "Steam Bandits".

 

The art looks pretty good, at the very least.

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Obsidian Entertainment is another developer trying to break even. They consider South Park: The Stick of Truth to be a low-cost triple-A game. According to THQ,

Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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The focus on better graphics is slowly killing the industry. Next gen costs will be crazy.

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The focus on better graphics is slowly killing the industry. Next gen costs will be crazy.

 

I know that's kind of the dominant mindset, and I'm hardly an expert myself, but from what I understand high-poly models are already generated and then simplified during production and a lot of stuff like baking lights is going to become outdated next-gen to be replaced with stuff that can be iterated faster, which could potentially bring the costs down. I say potentially because I imagine big productions will keep costing more, partly because of mismanagement and inefficiencies, partly because of marketing, partly because of the need to make blockbuster games even more like blockbuster movies.

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2 million units to break even? that's, what, $120 million? I'm confused. also, the next-gen game cancelled after the lay-offs? wha...

That article uses bits and informations that we already knew, I'm not sure everything they're saying here is factually correct. For example, I'm pretty sure a number of the layoffs were a consequence of the Next-Gen project being cancelled, not the other way around.

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The focus on better graphics is slowly killing the industry. Next gen costs will be crazy.

 

I know that's kind of the dominant mindset, and I'm hardly an expert myself, but from what I understand high-poly models are already generated and then simplified during production and a lot of stuff like baking lights is going to become outdated next-gen to be replaced with stuff that can be iterated faster, which could potentially bring the costs down. I say potentially because I imagine big productions will keep costing more, partly because of mismanagement and inefficiencies, partly because of marketing, partly because of the need to make blockbuster games even more like blockbuster movies.

 

I'm not really sure how it all works either. I can just use an example that sounded crazy to me: A car modeler for Gran Turismo 5 could spend up to 40 hours on a single car. That sounds crazy if you ask me.

 

I'm not saying there shouldn't be a focus on graphics, but I do think that not all studios should have such a big focus on amazing graphics. Some studios can't afford it, especially if they have to spend too much time on 3D models and textures. For other studios it might not even cost them unrealistic amounts of money to implement top of the line graphics if they have a good engine built or have grat programmers.

 

I'll use NWN2+Expansions as an example: It might not look good for a lot of people, but I'd take an rpg with the same or slightly better graphics if it meant I would get a party based rpg again.

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I'm not really sure how it all works either. I can just use an example that sounded crazy to me: A car modeler for Gran Turismo 5 could spend up to 40 hours on a single car. That sounds crazy if you ask me.

 

And that's probably just modelling, you still have to have someone UV it, texture it, create the materials, animate it and get it working in game while being bug free. Adding wear and tear to cars is even more work, if you want to actually have the car take physical damage those are extra pieces you have to create and hook up. It's a long process, but the truth is a game like GT5 wouldn't sell well at all if the art wasn't at that standard.

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I'm not really sure how it all works either. I can just use an example that sounded crazy to me: A car modeler for Gran Turismo 5 could spend up to 40 hours on a single car. That sounds crazy if you ask me.

 

And that's probably just modelling, you still have to have someone UV it, texture it, create the materials, animate it and get it working in game while being bug free. Adding wear and tear to cars is even more work, if you want to actually have the car take physical damage those are extra pieces you have to create and hook up. It's a long process, but the truth is a game like GT5 wouldn't sell well at all if the art wasn't at that standard.

 

It is true the graphics are a big part of the GT games, but the time spent on graphics sounds crazy to me. No wonder costs are rising. I wish there were more mid sized studios that could exist in this industry, but I've lost count of how many studios have been closed down this gen. I also believe publishers should take some of the blame.

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I'll use NWN2+Expansions as an example: It might not look good for a lot of people, but I'd take an rpg with the same or slightly better graphics if it meant I would get a party based rpg again.

Well, kickstarter makes people realize that but keep in mind we're talking about 50 000 at best. Hardly a market for publishers.

See Spiderweb Software. I don't think any of their games sold 100 000 units. And that's terrible.

 

Jokes aside, party-based RPGs won't die now than old-school designers found a niche market for this kind of games (And Steam can help). But don't expect Bethesda, Bioware or even Obsidian for that matter to do that. Only the indie scene can do something and even then, I doubt to see a lot of them again. Harebrained Schemes needed 400 000$ for Shadowrun Returns. Mitsoda (Doublebear Productions) wanted 150 000$, when the game was already in development since two years. Let us not talk of Fargo and the one million dollar he asked for the development.

 

As it is, a party-based good RPG is either too expensive to do for indie developers or not lucrative enough for publishers. There is no middle ground on the video game scene so I'm not expecting a lot on that matter.

I still think this is a good idea for investors.

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You're right, but I'm not talking about only party based rpgs. I mean that some studios have the money or know-how to produce games with great graphics and still make a profit. Other studios that don't have these resources should not focus on AAA graphics if they can't pull it off, or if they can but at the cost of maybe going under.

 

I like playing games with great graphics, but it shouldn't be the selling point of a game. But I know better than that, good graphics is what a lot of players want these days, and frankly, I can't blame them.

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the hardware is there, the software is there. why wouldn't they want/expect developers to take advantage of both? nobody cares if the devs don't have the resources. besides, "good graphics" doesn't necessarily mean "photo-realistic 3D".

 

if I had to choose between two absolutely identical games gameplay and overall design wise, but one with bad/mediocre graphics/art and the other - with good, I'd go with the latter.


Let's Play The Temple of Elemental Evil (Complete)
Let's Play Neverwinter Nights and Hordes of the Underdark

Let's Play Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

I was struggling to understand ths until I noticed you are from Finland. And having been educated solely by mkreku in this respect I am convinced that Finland essentially IS the wh40k universe.

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the hardware is there, the software is there. why wouldn't they want/expect developers to take advantage of both? nobody cares if the devs don't have the resources. besides, "good graphics" doesn't necessarily mean "photo-realistic 3D".

 

if I had to choose between two absolutely identical games gameplay and overall design wise, but one with bad/mediocre graphics/art and the other - with good, I'd go with the latter.

 

Ofcourse, I would do the same. But let us say the game with good graphics is sold for $50-60 like they are now, and the one with lesser graphics would be sold for $30-40, or something like that.

 

I'm not saying that developers shouldn't go for good graphics, be it with good tech knowledge or good design. I'm just saying that not every studio has the resources to do it, but do it anyway and then go under. How many studios has not been closed down this gen? How many more studios will get closed down? When I read that some mid tier games need to sell 2 million copies to be profitable, I start to wonder what the hell is wrong. (I blame mismanagement too, by the way.)

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Congratulations.

 

It's nice to see Obsidianities gettin' back

 

Also YAY for Robert Land. Tim Cain's especially happy I imagine :)

 

Edit: Though, when did he join? Seems to have been for a while.

 

Edit2: Oktober 1st according to facebook.

Edited by C2B

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It's nice to see Obsidian hiring again. They've gone from 94 workers to 102 according to LinkedIn.


Hate the living, love the dead.

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Wait, kickstarter just ended and layoffs now? Or this is Obsidian in whole and project eternity is just a 'division' of the company? Sorry i am new. I am a backer but dont follow the things obsessively.

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