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BronzeSphere

How morally binding are reached stretch goals for the developers?

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My question is simple: how strongly are developers morally bound to respect some aspects of the stretch goals? I'm talking about game design propositions like adding in X number of classes or races, etc, and not about purely technical things like translations.

 

Is Obsidian limited to what's has been put forward for the stretch goals that are finally reached? I guess not. But can they, during the development of the game, remove a class that was set to be part of a stretch goal, despite some backers likely to have backed the project based on those expectations? Can they reduce the number of companions, or double it? If the team ends up incredibly inspired with the companions and includes 20 of them (BG1 was close to that, if I recall), would it be, in a way, false advertising to have prompted people to give money to get to 9 companions, whereas those numbers in the final game would mean nothing?

 

In a way, I want the team to make the best decisions for the game, and I think that if a character sucks, it should be removed from the game, even if it means having less companions that what was announced. In the same way, if Obsidian finds the Barbarian class to be pretty silly in the end, I think they should be free to remove it from the game, or replace it with a more original one. If they create more recruitable characters than originally planned and if they are all really interesting, why not remove the Hall of Adventurers (which is a terrible idea in my opinion)?

 

Anyway, just a thought.

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I imagine they might add more to the game but I doubt they'll remove anything. Any company interested in doing Kickstarters MUST have stellar PR with the hardcore fans funding the game, or they won't be able to do another one.

 

Or is this just a thinly disguised attempt to bitch about a feature you don't like?

Edited by Infinitron
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IMO, they're targets. It's not perfectly cool to miss them, but if it starts to look like the game will be better without, it's acceptable to cut them.

 

I just want the best game they can make and I'd rather see them cutting and changing whatever it takes to reach that,

than to release something unfinished, shoddy or containing features that just don't fit there.

 

There'll be sheet'storm anyway on release. Nothing can fill the hopes of all the backers.

Edited by Jarmo
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I'm wondering if they can add any of the stretch goals they haven't reached further down development, if they find resources (time/money) for it.

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I sincerely doubt they would remove any features pledged during the campaign. Everything mentioned will be in the final game in some way. For things like classes, Obsidian have ~18 months to balance etc and how can a Barbarian feel silly anyway? It's an awesome class. Secondly, the Hall of Adventurers is an excellent idea from the perspective of a lot of people.

 

Obsidian are designing this game from the ground up, with a very strong narrative at it's core. These stretch goal features will be created around that, with the player able to pick and choose the options which make the game perfect from their perspective. And it is unlikely to affect players who don't like Barbarians or the Adventurer's Halls. A modular approach, if you will.

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I don't think they're going to add anything major or remove anything. They may shift some stuff around though. I just don't think they're going to have the luxury of, say in mid 2013, turning around and saying that they want to add a whole bunch of extra companions. That sounds like the kind of problem publishers would have introduced, these big shifts in the middle of development. I'm hoping they're going to keep to their design docs as best they can unless there's something pretty big that gets in the way. And if they have extra money towards they might expand some existing plans, add a new quest, or add another level to a dungeon, add a handful of spells. But I don't see them dropping in a new class and companion in the late stages.


"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."

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I could certainly see them cutting companion content- dialog and sidequests and so forth. But I don't see them cutting entire companions.

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I'd like to think that if they offer classes, companions and such as stretch goals, is because they have really looked into it basedon their experience in the field and seen it as possible. **** happens but as long as they don't burn the money in sending physical goodies to the backers (hi there, Star Command for iOS) and keep the developing process controlled, it shoud be ok. They may have to tweak stuff and if that case happens, I think that Obsidian would talk about it, look for alternatives and prepare the circle of protection against the incoming wave of berserkers. But remove? Wow, it'd have to be something really serious if we talk just design/implementation. Otherwise, it's about "We bought too many barbecue pizzas, Feargus! Again!".

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It's probably deliberate that it's called 'Goals' as in objectives, not bullet points on a formal quote.


“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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They all seem like very make-able goals, so I'm not expecting that they will be cut because that would negatively impact their product reputation. They've also got some fiddle-room in how they implement the goals, so I'd expect the richness of the implementations may vary depending on the rate of progress. Here's hoping it goes very well... :)


"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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They have to include them in some capacity. Failure to do so is a big screw you to their backers and folks would be less enticed by stretch goals of other products in the future.

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If they create more recruitable characters than originally planned and if they are all really interesting, why not remove the Hall of Adventurers (which is a terrible idea in my opinion)?

 

The announcement of the Adventurer's Hall stretch goal and the likelihood of it being reached has convinced me not to reduce my pledge despite some misgivings (and to consider increasing it). I don't get why you and others like you are so vehemently against something that doesn't affect you and should require only minimal resources to implement but will make the game more enjoyable for a significant number of players.

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Considering that they are goals they set themselves,they should be quite binding.Of course miscalculations could have been made,just not huge ones.

I don't think the backers would take their heads if there was one less companion but if there was no mega dungeon for example, people would certainly complain.

One other acceptable deviation i think is the release date obviously,within reason.

Edited by japol

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How morally binding are reached stretch goals for the developers?

 

Well, how morally bound someone is depends on the persons view on ethics as a whole, which can vary drastically from person to person. What you find a binding promise, to another may be a casual suggestion.

 

It is all a risk and how one assesses it should be determined more on the character of the company/person in charge. I think Obsidian have easily proved themselves and they will most definitely deliver on every promise, especially since none of their stretch goals are outrageous.

Edited by Aedelric

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Personally I kinda hope the stretch goals are things they can already achieve but are not sure whether to cut in favour of something else or not and are using them as "Well if we reach this figure we should be able to fit all this content that we think we may need so we'll bump this feature up to definite, since we should have enough money for everything else we may decide to keep and consider more important plus a few hundred grand extra to cover the unexpected..."


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By listing the goals for various funding milestones the devs (who should have experience budgeting this kind of thing) are telling us 'given the time and money we will have this feature will be included'. Now, something could come along and derail that feature, despite Obsidian's best intentions and they would be forced to more forward without it.

 

Now not only will this cause a firestorm among the fanbase, it creates a credibility gap with the fans: "Why should I support your future game that you claim will have features X, Y and Z? For all I know you cut Y down to an afterthought and removed Z entirely!" Obsidian already has this problem to some extent because some of their past releases (NWN2, KOTOR2, VTMB) were in a very buggy/unfinished state on release. I am hoping that this won't be an issue here because there won't be any pressure to release an incomplete game (aside from us of course).

 

Personally I expect the release date to slide before they would consider cutting things out to make the 4/14 date, which is already only an estimate.

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