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Josh Sawyer on dealing with grognards

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Yep. The biggest problem with modern games is that they try too hard to appeal to the widest audience possible, and most of the time they treat that audience as stupid.

Yeah... it also sort of undermines the cohesiveness of their design. It reminds me of trying to pick a color to paint something.

 

"Well, we could go with blue, but some people don't like blue. We could go with orange, but some people don't like orange. Let's just go with ALL THE COLORS, TOGETHER!" Then they end up with a muddy grey, and wonder what went wrong. "We should've gotten all the people with each individual color as their favorite! Why didn't we?!"

 

To appeal to the widest audience possible, one must inherently appeal to a stupid audience. A bomb is far more effective at widespread devastation (i.e. sales) than a rifle, after all.

 

And so the term blockbuster was coined, after the devastating bombs of the same (colloquial) name.


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Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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  "Why was I sent to kill zombies when the damn far worse illithids have moved in?  Why were they placed in such a way that not only was I given false expectations about what to expect in the dungeon (I expected just undead, no prior evidence to suggest there would be anything else) but as soon as I open the door they see me and combat is on cause they are staring at the door?"

 

So you don't like surprises? Adventuring should be all about surprises. Should every area have a npc at the start tell you exactly what you'll face.

 

For example, maybe the illithids there are there for the same reason you are or maybe they used their umber hulks slaves to dig through stone and ended up in the crypt. Maybe they heard some sort of magic item was hidden in the crypt. Maybe the illithids (since theya re geniuses) figured out foolhardy advenures would plunder/play hero in the crypt and went there to ambush them.

 

There are many ways that a surprise encounter with illithids can be used to great effect and not all of them involve neccessary combat since mind flayers are actually smart and can communicate. Maybe the magic item they seek is protected by  the crypt's creators and only humans (possibly the PC) can reach it so the mind flayer's use mind control to force their new slave to get it for them but the magic item which the mind flayers weren't 100% sure about breaks their hold on the PC. Plus, while flayers are tough opponents they are not unbeatable (depending on hwat game system obviously) but in D&D they don't have lots of hp or unhittable ac so theya re killable. Also, mind protection spells aren't exactly high level. Plus, if there are zombies in a crypt something  - maybe an UNDEAD MAGE - created them since zombies don't usually randomly come into existence. Maybe a zombie lord, skeleton mage, Cryptkeeper (can't remember the actual name but undead priest tied to crypts usually), or even a lich. Maybe even a human necromancer. Or maybe... an undead mind flayer. Yeah, they exist.

 

Use your imagination.

 

Adventure is about discovery, surprise, and answered the often unwated question: what kind of trouble can an adventuring party get into around the next corner?

 

 

P.S. By that definition, Im no grognard as I'm fine playing and enjoying new games but also appreciate lots of stuff the old games did well. Mr. Sawyer is wrong as that is not a bad thing and such an insult is silly and misses the point.

Edited by Volourn
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DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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When DA2 came out, it got rave reviews from Journalists. It still has an 82 rating on metacritic.

 

When ME3 came out it got rave reviews by Journalists. It still has an 89 rating on metacritic.

 

What I get from that is that Journalists don't always have a good read on what gamers will like.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers.


Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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When DA2 came out, it got rave reviews from Journalists. It still has an 82 rating on metacritic.

 

When ME3 came out it got rave reviews by Journalists. It still has an 89 rating on metacritic.

 

What I get from that is that Journalists don't always have a good read on what gamers will like.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers.

 

 

As much as I, and probably every single person here wants that. I honestly highly doubt it will go far past a mild success or carving its own niche. 

 

A large part of the gaming audience is still young people, and I don't mean young adult, but children and teenagers. PoE is not the kind of game they want, even many people around my age (younger 20s) have absolutely no interest in these old format of RPGs. Your general audience finds them needlessly hard and complicated, and many just plain don't like the isometric style. Almost every single one of my gamer friends love Fallout 3 and NV for example, but thinks FI&II are awful crap and glad it's first person now.

Edited by Fluff

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When DA2 came out, it got rave reviews from Journalists. It still has an 82 rating on metacritic.

 

When ME3 came out it got rave reviews by Journalists. It still has an 89 rating on metacritic.

 

What I get from that is that Journalists don't always have a good read on what gamers will like.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers.

 

 

As much as I, and probably every single person here wants that. I honestly highly doubt it will go far past a mild success or carving its own niche. 

 

A large part of the gaming audience is still young people, and I don't mean young adult, but children and teenagers. PoE is not the kind of game they want, even many people around my age (younger 20s) have absolutely no interest in these old format of RPGs. Your general audience finds them needlessly hard and complicated, and many just plain don't like the isometric style. Almost every single one of my gamer friends love Fallout 3 and NV for example, but thinks FI&II are awful crap and glad it's first person now.

 

 
 
 
I understand that Fluff, all I'm saying is that despite that fact, old-school cRPG style based heavily on narrative, triggering imagination rather than graphic visuals and tactical combat need not disappear from the market, especially when the fans of such games can amass 5 MIL USD for the production of such a game.
 
Even more so when the majority of the people bought a digital copy of the game for 25$, like I did, yet still such a grand amount of cash was raised. Such games can easily be released at full retail price. The community exists and is more than willing to buy such games.
Edited by constantine

Matilda is a Natlan woman born and raised in Old Vailia. She managed to earn status as a mercenary for being a professional who gets the job done, more so when the job involves putting her excellent fighting abilities to good use.

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This will show if the Iso-cRPG model is sustainable or if it will never be more then a kickstarter funded game.

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When DA2 came out, it got rave reviews from Journalists. It still has an 82 rating on metacritic.

 

When ME3 came out it got rave reviews by Journalists. It still has an 89 rating on metacritic.

 

What I get from that is that Journalists don't always have a good read on what gamers will like.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers.

 

 

As much as I, and probably every single person here wants that. I honestly highly doubt it will go far past a mild success or carving its own niche. 

 

A large part of the gaming audience is still young people, and I don't mean young adult, but children and teenagers. PoE is not the kind of game they want, even many people around my age (younger 20s) have absolutely no interest in these old format of RPGs. Your general audience finds them needlessly hard and complicated, and many just plain don't like the isometric style. Almost every single one of my gamer friends love Fallout 3 and NV for example, but thinks FI&II are awful crap and glad it's first person now.

 

 
 
 
I understand that Fluff, all I'm saying is that despite that fact, old-school cRPG style based heavily on narrative, triggering imagination rather than graphic visuals and tactical combat need not disappear from the market, especially when the fans of such games can amass 5 MIL USD for the production of such a game.
 
Even more so when the majority of the people bought a digital copy of the game for 25$, like I did, yet still such a grand amount of cash was raised. Such games can easily be released at full retail price. The community exists and is more than willing to buy such games.

 

 

It hasn't disappeared from the market. It's just a much much much smaller part of the market, there's been a decent amount of games over recent years attempting to "revive" or hearken back to the old days though, it's far from dead.

 

What it has made from the Kickstarer though, sadly means almost nothing to the actual market.. as can be seen by a large majority of other successful Kickstarters. I don't say this to be negative, just to be realistic as while a revival of the genre on a grand scale is of course possible, I also think it's overly optimistic. Many niche things get amazing funding from Kickstarter to go on and do...nothing really, they may receive mild success but that's about the extent of it. There have been exceptions, but not that many.

 

Do I want to see it become a great retail seller and the next BG? Of course. Do I think it will happen though? Honestly, no.

I just don't think it's what your average consumer wants, we are a small community with an unpopular choice/opinion in game.

 

I don't mean to mislead though, this isn't what I want to happen though. I hope when the game sees a release I can eat these words.

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In a market where a multi million selling game cannot break even because of inflated budget and marketing however, a modest profit selling to an established fanbase seems more than sensible. If Poe makes a few hundred thousand sales on top of us seventy thousand or so backers, which I personally think is likely, then it will most probably be regarded as a sustainable model. Especially when combined with Obsidian's sterling work on other peoples intellectual property, which has been proved with South Park and New Vegas both hitting it out of the park.

 

Personally I see this as a far more sensible method of perpetuating ones work, rather than risking all to go after the big payday, something we have seen in the Financial sector carries great risks. Slow and steady wins the race, long terms goals and secure foundations.

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Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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In a market where a multi million selling game cannot break even because of inflated budget and marketing however, a modest profit selling to an established fanbase seems more than sensible. If Poe makes a few hundred thousand sales on top of us seventy thousand or so backers, which I personally think is likely, then it will most probably be regarded as a sustainable model. Especially when combined with Obsidian's sterling work on other peoples intellectual property, which has been proved with South Park and New Vegas both hitting it out of the park.

 

Personally I see this as a far more sensible method of perpetuating ones work, rather than risking all to go after the big payday, something we have seen in the Financial sector carries great risks. Slow and steady wins the race, long terms goals and secure foundations.

 

Exactly.  Not everything has to be a massive hit to make money, and certainly everything doesn't have to strive for photorealistic graphics to make money either.

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Personally I see this as a far more sensible method of perpetuating ones work, rather than risking all to go after the big payday, something we have seen in the Financial sector carries great risks. Slow and steady wins the race, long terms goals and secure foundations.

 

A nice (and sensible) theory. Unfortunatly for any publicly traded company it won't happen.

 

Investors pony up their money in expectation of a return, and they want a big return and right now. They don't give a stuff about quality, stable fanbase or quality.

A private company such as Valve, Obsid or CDProjekt can set their own marching pace, but the vast majority of companies such as EA, Ubi, etc have to obey their shareholders.

And just look at the average shareholder to see what they want - cash, lots of it, right now, and stuff the long term. Even if they have to 'eat the seed corn' to make that cash.

Edited by Lycana
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In a market where a multi million selling game cannot break even because of inflated budget and marketing however, a modest profit selling to an established fanbase seems more than sensible. If Poe makes a few hundred thousand sales on top of us seventy thousand or so backers, which I personally think is likely, then it will most probably be regarded as a sustainable model. Especially when combined with Obsidian's sterling work on other peoples intellectual property, which has been proved with South Park and New Vegas both hitting it out of the park.

 

Personally I see this as a far more sensible method of perpetuating ones work, rather than risking all to go after the big payday, something we have seen in the Financial sector carries great risks. Slow and steady wins the race, long terms goals and secure foundations.

 

If it sells 100k copies then it will be a major success. That means that they have a budget for the next game without a kickstarter and that it's a sustainable model. Anything above 100k is pure gravy.

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What would be desirable would be to end up with a product that is funded ahead of launch. That see enough sales over time to sustain full development of another title over at least a couple of years. Since that would actually make Obsidian independent of publisher money. Which would put them in a situation where the company can take on publisher funded projects if they wish to make use of inactive studio efforts. While making the real games that pay the bills over time in a different context.

 

So assuming that a hit like PoE can continue every year is probably not what they're going to set up if they were projecting sales targets.


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In a market where a multi million selling game cannot break even because of inflated budget and marketing however, a modest profit selling to an established fanbase seems more than sensible. If Poe makes a few hundred thousand sales on top of us seventy thousand or so backers, which I personally think is likely, then it will most probably be regarded as a sustainable model.

Yeah. Just look at that studio that makes all those B movies, like Sharknado. It's not that they're getting the sales numbers that Avatar and other such films are getting. It's that they cost like 1/1000th what films like Avatar cost. That's their niche, but it works quite well for them, as a business model.

 

Now, don't get me wrong... I'm not suggesting PoE is of the same quality as Sharknado. It's unlikely that anything'll ever even come close to that pinnacle of genius and splendor. 8)

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Personally I see this as a far more sensible method of perpetuating ones work, rather than risking all to go after the big payday, something we have seen in the Financial sector carries great risks. Slow and steady wins the race, long terms goals and secure foundations.

 

A nice (and sensible) theory. Unfortunatly for any publicly traded company it won't happen.

 

Investors pony up their money in expectation of a return, and they want a big return and right now. They don't give a stuff about quality, stable fanbase or quality.

A private company such as Valve, Obsid or CDProjekt can set their own marching pace, but the vast majority of companies such as EA, Ubi, etc have to obey their shareholders.

And just look at the average shareholder to see what they want - cash, lots of it, right now, and stuff the long term. Even if they have to 'eat the seed corn' to make that cash.

 

 

Investors also tend to be risk-averse, though, and a $50 million gamble on a big game makes less sense from that perspective than do five $10 million dollar games.  I think it's more that it's very hard for any of the major publishers to change their approach if everyone isn't doing it already, because that's also seen as a risk and your average investor is fairly similar to a chicken with its head cut off when it comes to panicking.

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I find it unlikely that 100k copies would float another game after cuts from steam gog and paradoxes you are at less than the kick starter got. That's at a 50 dollar price point.

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I find it unlikely that 100k copies would float another game after cuts from steam gog and paradoxes you are at less than the kick starter got. That's at a 50 dollar price point.

 

Depends on what kind of deal they made with Paradox, as for steam and gog I think you are overestimating their cut.

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"I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers."

 

Except POE won't be as like those games as you hope. I mean you have Sawyer mocking old skool gamers for a reason. It'll have similarities but it will not be those games.  If that's what you want you will be dissapointed. POE will have more in common with modern RPGs whether you like it or nott han old skool games.

 

 

"If it sells 100k copies then it will be a major success."

 

Your definition of 'major' success is weird. Just because it might (who knows what the actual costs will be like) make some money back at 100k copies sold won't make it a 'major' success. On top of that, if 100k sales is the goal  that is an insult to Obsidian which is a major game developer with 100+ employees that has had multiple games sold into multiple millions. As far as I'm concerned, if PE doesn't reach 1mil sales that's a fail. This is a company with a large pedegree for 2+ decades (going on 10 years as itself) that has ties with multiple other companies like BIO, MS, and Betehsda. Heck, their highest selling game has outsold BIO's highest selling. To me, if you (or Obsidian) are happy with 100k sales that is an attitude of failure and is an insult to Obsidian as a company.


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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"I couldn't agree more. 'Pillars of Eternity' is our chance to show the RPG gaming industry they are headed the wrong way, or at least that more games addressed to mature audiences are released. There should be more titles like Baldur's Gate I&II, Fallout I&II, Planescape: Torment and I really hope 'Pillars of Eternity' imminent huge success is going to send a loud message to producers."

 

Except POE won't be as like those games as you hope. I mean you have Sawyer mocking old skool gamers for a reason. It'll have similarities but it will not be those games.  If that's what you want you will be dissapointed. POE will have more in common with modern RPGs whether you like it or nott han old skool games.

 

 

"If it sells 100k copies then it will be a major success."

 

Your definition of 'major' success is weird. Just because it might (who knows what the actual costs will be like) make some money back at 100k copies sold won't make it a 'major' success. On top of that, if 100k sales is the goal  that is an insult to Obsidian which is a major game developer with 100+ employees that has had multiple games sold into multiple millions. As far as I'm concerned, if PE doesn't reach 1mil sales that's a fail. This is a company with a large pedegree for 2+ decades (going on 10 years as itself) that has ties with multiple other companies like BIO, MS, and Betehsda. Heck, their highest selling game has outsold BIO's highest selling. To me, if you (or Obsidian) are happy with 100k sales that is an attitude of failure and is an insult to Obsidian as a company.

Agree with everything except the number. I hope for a million, but anything above 500.000 is good in my book. Not mindblowing success, but a success nontheless.

(i'm talking about full price, first year sales, not down the road ones)

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Your definition of 'major' success is weird. Just because it might (who knows what the actual costs will be like) make some money back at 100k copies sold won't make it a 'major' success. On top of that, if 100k sales is the goal  that is an insult to Obsidian which is a major game developer with 100+ employees that has had multiple games sold into multiple millions. As far as I'm concerned, if PE doesn't reach 1mil sales that's a fail. This is a company with a large pedegree for 2+ decades (going on 10 years as itself) that has ties with multiple other companies like BIO, MS, and Betehsda. Heck, their highest selling game has outsold BIO's highest selling. To me, if you (or Obsidian) are happy with 100k sales that is an attitude of failure and is an insult to Obsidian as a company.

 

You say make money back, I'm not sure you understand what I mean. They will at the release of the game be in the black(unless they put some of their own money in the game), meaning that any copy of the game they sell will be profit. So 100k copies sold is pure profit.

 

As for my definition, well for my expectations it's a major success. In my opinion the market for Isometric cRPGs right now is not that big, though I think there is room to grow.

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" I hope for a million, but anything above 500.000 is good in my book. Not mindblowing success, but a success nontheless."

 

Oh, I agree. Half a mil isn't anything to sneeze at all and would be good but it's certainly not a 'major' success.


DWARVES IN PROJECT ETERNITY = VOLOURN HAS PLEDGED $250.

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Weren't there mentions here and there saying that expectations are that they are hoping for a 10 to 1 sales to "pre-order" ratio?


"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

"P-O-T-A-T-O-E" - Dan Quayle

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PoE doesn't have to do insane numbers to be a success. Paradox makes grand strategy games that sell two million copies, and they're much bigger successes than AAA games which sell three times that. Tomb Raider just recently became profitable despite being the fastest-selling game in the history of the franchise, and Resident Evil 6 was considered a failure despite selling something like six million copies in its first week of release. Success is about net profit from sales, not sales. If less money is sunk into the thing, profit is far easier to achieve.

 

That said, I seriously doubt this game will move less than 500,000 copies, especially in the long run. Same with Wasteland 2 and Torment, for that matter. Games like these are everlasting gobstoppers; BG2 and the rest of the IE games (along with Fallout) have been at the top of GOG's bestseller list since they hit the service. New games in that vein will have stupidly long tails and a perfect marketing story. They may not sell as many copies as Manshoot XII: Exploding Duty (I couldn't resist, I'm sorry), but they don't have to.

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I find it unlikely that 100k copies would float another game after cuts from steam gog and paradoxes you are at less than the kick starter got. That's at a 50 dollar price point.

Depends on what kind of deal they made with Paradox, as for steam and gog I think you are overestimating their cut.

30 percent and paradox prob gets 10

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For sure, PoE will be massive, like Half-Life 2 for Valve, and then Obsidian will open their own digital distribution portal that shames Origin and Uplay, for one because it's so cool with a name like Fracture,® and two because you can download PSN and XBL games right to your console.

 

It could happen. 


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