Jump to content

Recommended Posts

This is really a general question about all Kickstarters, but it also applies very specifically to PoE. I see a lot of comments on not only PoE but DFA, etc., stating how criticism of the game is invalid because the person making the criticism is talking about features that would "invalidate" the feel and/or mission statement of the proposed game.

 

For instance, lots of people wanted to be able to hold down the mouse to be able to move in Broken Age, as is modern convention in keyboard design, but others responded with "you're playing it wrong" or "but that's not how old games were made" or even - and this one I love - "go back to playing Call of Duty".

 

Subsequently, lots of people have a problem with a lot of the Old Skool Design Elements that Josh Sawyer has decided to get rid of, almost as many as those that have a problem with them being taken away in favor of balance. Again, this has led to everything from name calling to personal attacks on the IQ levels of certain or all forum users. 

 

My question is this: how much of an obligation do developers who make these retrostarters have to their fans? Obviously, they have to make a game they themselves are proud of or what's the point really? But also, they do make statements that will be interpreted to mean they are making a game that is a 1:1 design of whatever it is that they are mimicing.

 

As a secondary follow-up: are criticisms of these games invalid just based on the simple idea that they go against what the game "is trying to do"?

Link to post
Share on other sites

My question is this: how much of an obligation do developers who make these retrostarters have to their fans? Obviously, they have to make a game they themselves are proud of or what's the point really? But also, they do make statements that will be interpreted to mean they are making a game that is a 1:1 design of whatever it is that they are mimicing.

 

As a secondary follow-up: are criticisms of these games invalid just based on the simple idea that they go against what the game "is trying to do"?

 

Absolutely zero.  If we're going just from a "Kickstarter" point of view, even the website itself states do not back a project unless you are 110% behind the "vision" that the creators are trying to show you.  The little grievances and nuances that arise from a project coming to fruition should be of no consequence.

 

I honestly don't understand the complaints.  It's fine to have strong objective preferences about certain gameplay design and aesthetics, but calling a developer out because a certain design decision doesn't rub you the right way is silly.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well... yes and no?

 

The thing is, they told us what they were planning from the get-go, THEN said "hey, if you like this, or even if you just like blindly supporting projects with money and aren't even reading this statement right here, please support us with your money, and if this gets funded to the goal, we're making this bee-yotch!"

 

So, if they only told us "some of our favorite animals are wolves and bears and dogs, so we're going to be making a four-legged animal with a muzzle/snout, in keeping with those animal themes," and everyone was like "YEAH! WE'RE GETTING AN AWESOME WOLF-BEAR-DOG!", and then they end up making an elk... I don't think people can really be like "But wait! I totally gave you money based solely on the assumption that it was SPECIFICALLY going to be the exact animal I thought it was going to be! You now have to do only what I like and had assumed you were going to do!"

 

However, that doesn't mean no one gets any input on stuff. Obviously, even within the realm of perfectly feasible variations on things, there's a lot of room for different implementations and designs, and the backers' feelings on such particulars are probably the most important set of opinions there are. That said, they are still just that: opinions. They play their part and influence things, but they don't just overrule any other design considerations.

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

Link to post
Share on other sites

Should Pillars of Eternity even be considered a retro-type game? Wasn't the entire pitch what an infinity engine type of game - isometric, tactical, text dialog rpg would be like if made today? When I watched the kickstarter video I took it as Obsidian has the pedigree. They just need the funding to create the game that funding didn't exist for. Most of these games use the term "Spiritual Successor" for a reason.

 

From all the rules and lore mentioned in the updates, I personally couldn't be more excited for Pillars eventual release.

 

On the Call of Duty insult, which is often spewed  on pretty much every forum. It's terrible and misplaced whenever it's used. By that the Call of Duty franchise is actually quite good. Sure each game is basically a re skinning of the same game-play mechanics, but that same game-play arguably does one of the best jobs at first person shooters in the medium. Having played it online, it's an excellent, balanced skill based game.

 

My personal take on critism's of many of the kickstarters, is that the customer - aka backer - feels more like an investor in the kickstarter idea. This leads to an entirely different mindset in those backers. For instance if I had backed the Occulus Rift, and if you haven't been keeping up with it, the inventing company sold it to Facebook after the successful kickstarter. The customer would feel a lot more vitriol and anger at the company. Then if say - they had just paid for an initial product and later learned that the creator of was bought by another. Like if you bought a new vacuum cleaner by Dust Devil and later learned they were bought by Dyson a month after purchase. The former a backer; might swear never to buy a product with a facebook logo. While the latter would just go oh well now Dyson owns dust devil, not too big vacuum cleaners are still going to be made.

 

Quite interesting differences to be sure, as backing a project on kickstarter is in reality the equivalent of a pre-order. Just on a much longer time scale then traditionally expected.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

My question is this: how much of an obligation do developers who make these retrostarters have to their fans?

A pretty fundamental one. The money we gave them is NOT a charity. It's direct funding for a product. We are paying for goods and services. But, there's a huge difference between not fulfilling that obligation, and... not dotting every "I" and crossing every "T" (like the petty grievance examples you cited in your OP)

 

More to the point: Any developer is totally free to do a Kickstarter with an intentionally vague mission statement like "Hi! we're your favorite developer. we're gonna make a game WE want to make.... back us and let us work on it. Period". But when they go out of their way to describe this vision specifically during the kickstarter campaign, then they kinda ARE obligated deliver a game that is as consistent to that vision as technically and feasibly possible.

 

The problem arises when Developers do the latter, and then several months into development (and well after they've gotten everyone's money), we, the fans begin seeing gigantic discrepancies, one after another, in slow-drip form, between what they promised and what they plan on delivering. Thankfully, This hasn't happened with PoE yet (or any of the games you mentioned), but that doesn't mean that the fans have no reason to complain when they see small stuff. Sometimes when there's some smoke, there might be a fire.

 

As a secondary follow-up: are criticisms of these games invalid just based on the simple idea that they go against what the game "is trying to do"?

Depends on the criticism. And here, I'll talk about PoE now, specifically.

 

I, personally, have a gut feeling PoE is going to be a brilliant game worthy of being judged on its own merits. However, I'm certainly not going to dismiss anyone who decides to judge it based on how well it emulates the IE games. And neither should the Developers. Like it or not, THEY'RE the ones who opened those flood gates in the first place by citing the IE games to attract more backers. It was a calculated marketing decision, and they know full well that sometimes those have costs.

 

 

Of course, if they manage to deliver some amazing masterpiece that not only stands on its own merits, but also manages to have a story as deep as Planescape Torment's, combat as tactical as Icewind Dale, and scope as massive as BG2, then they will have absolutely nothing to fear. NO criticism will be valid against such a dream-come-true-game.

Edited by Stun
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

It often seems that people misunderstand how Kickstarter is designed to work, by both backers and project creators. As Kickstarter isn't meant to be pre-order platform, but funding platform where people can fund projects and they are compensated with rewards that project creator offers. 

 

Kickstarter model works fine in pre-ordering when project seeks only funding for mass production of completed product, but problems with model start to become surface when project seeks funding to develop product and offer that product as reward, because then backers don't know exactly what they are pre-ordering or even if product will be completed in first place. It is this uncertainty that make (some) people become invested on development on product, as they have paid for idea of product and they want to be sure that product will coincide with that idea in degree that they find to be acceptable. And when project creators promise that they will let backers have influence in development people become even more invested on product, which of course leads that people start to feel that they should have right to demand things from project creators.

 

To answer OP question: I would say developers have as much obligation towards their backers as they have promised in their rewards, so if developer offers as reward a game which development backers have direct influence then I see they are in obligation to deliver such. But if developers only offer as reward a game that is their vision of retrogame then developers are only obliged to deliver that game, although they are free to make modifications in their vision if they find out during development that some their ideas don't work or some other ideas would be better. This of course becomes more complicated if developers promise specific mechanic/features/etc. to be in the game, as dropping such during development becomes much more questionable thing to do, which why is see that developers should have superb reason to dropping that, as they have used it to get at least some of their funding for the game.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Legally, they are under no obligation to do anything. Morally, they are obligated to deliver a really f***ing great game in the style of the IE games. The style. Not "the exact same next game we would have made if Black Isle hadn't gone kaput." That's impossible, not to mention myopic.

 

The IE games were all pretty astonishingly different from one another anyway. If you absolutely can't accept this game as a spiritual successor to the IE games, accept it as a fourth series in the IE stable.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Morally, they are obligated to deliver a really f***ing great game in the style of the IE games. The style. Not "the exact same next game we would have made if Black Isle hadn't gone kaput." That's impossible, not to mention myopic.

Sure... in the style, which is vague enough to allow for almost any kind of game

 

ALMOST being the key word here. It's safe to say that if you promise an RPG in the style of the IE games, and then deliver a game in the style of one of todays popular MMOs, for example, you have not delivered on your promise.

Edited by Stun
Link to post
Share on other sites

It clearly bears repeating... Kickstarter isn't a pre-order system; it's a patronage and sponsorship system. Sometimes stuff fails in any of a variety of ways. (I backed Forsaken Fortress, and that didn't go so well.)

 

Nevertheless, the devs are morally obligated to their backers to do their best to deliver what they promised in the pitch.

 

Thing is, from where I'm at a lot of the rage around P:E or T:ToN hasn't actually been about what they promised in the pitch. It's been about what people assumed was in the pitch. People have (legitimately) different ideas about what, say, "the IE experience" means. The overall picture is pretty clear and was in fact defined relatively precisely in the pitch -- top-down isometric with hand-painted backgrounds, party-based, fantasy cRPG, deep companion interactions, plenty of tactical combat.

 

The further away you get from those nailed-down core features, the more subjective it gets. Maybe someone really likes gnomes and always played a gnome in all the IE games. That would make the ability to play a gnome a core part of the IE experience for that person, and he would be legitimately pissed off that P:E doesn't have gnomes.

 

But ultimately there's no way to satisfy everybody. Some of us want to see things we didn't like in the IE games being changed -- improved upon, from our point of view -- if they're not part of that core vision. Others especially liked those things and consider them integral to the IE experience and feel betrayed when they're removed. The converse is true too; I bet most of us would be a little miffed if Obsidian produced something with a max rez of 800 x 600 and pathfinding that gets characters from Venice to Milan via Jakarta.

 

Beyond what they promised in the pitch, I would prefer that they use their own judgment to do what they believe is best for the game. I'm pretty sure they want to make a great game, and they'll want to make more after this one. If I didn't trust them to do that, I wouldn't have backed.

  • Like 17

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

We all have our spells of entitlement now and then, but sometimes I wish we could take Obsidian's PE for what it is: a brand new isometric party-based CRPG, inspired by and in the style of the IE-games.

  • Like 4

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thing is, from where I'm at a lot of the rage around P:E or T:ToN hasn't actually been about what they promised in the pitch. It's been about what people assumed was in the pitch. 

I guess we also can include things like EnXile putting WL2 on Origin?

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bryy I guess. I never got the angst about that kind of stuff either. From where I'm at the big problem with the publisher system is that (1) the publishers rather than the studios get the rights, and (2) the publishers get final say over the product, which pushes things towards playing it safe and going for the lowest common denominator. I would be pissed if inXile or Obsidian announced that they've sold the IPR's to WL2 or P:E to EA because they run out of moolah. Distribution deals and such don't bother me the least.

  • Like 2

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess one of the biggest problems of customer oppinions on any product developement is that what the customer needs and the what the customer wants are two different things.

 

You know what happens when customers do developement decisions? The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus.

 

 

That's why a good game developer asks for community feedback and considers it, but still always sticks true to his own intend. I also come from a modding background (and I'm still doing it today; I made a very successful Warcraft III RPG map called "Gaias Retaliation" with over 100.000 downloads) and you wouldn't believe what some people suggested to me to implement at times.

 

As a rule of thumb: if the whole community can agree on a matter, then there's definitely something true about it. If there's an argument about it, however, then it's better to follow your own intentions.

 

And then there's features that nobody asked for to implement. I had that in the past where I simply made those because I thought it would be a cool feature. And in the end everyone liked it. There's nothing wrong following your own intentions. Crowdfunding is not like being an investor, where your voice matters. It's about trust. If you don't trust a developer to make a game you would enjoy playing, then don't fund it.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it depends. If they woud change a significant and important element that was shown one way during the Kickstarter and would suddenly be something different when they release the game, then criticism is absolutely appropriate. When you gave money up front for something that was shown one way they cannot simply change it to something different - at least not without asking the backers first or informing them of the change.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For me this is rooted in where I expected games to go after the IE games.  They went downhill IMO, so give those responsible the Kickstarter chance to continue that incline, and input what advances have been made in the past 15 years and how they might improve PE - but ultimately I'm not a game designer and it should be up to those that have made a craft out of it to make the decisions.

If money and time were infinite I expect a lot of this stuff could be solved with difficulty and game settings.  Maybe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It clearly bears repeating... Kickstarter isn't a pre-order system; it's a patronage and sponsorship system. Sometimes stuff fails in any of a variety of ways. (I backed Forsaken Fortress, and that didn't go so well.)

 

Has something happened to FF? I was really excited about that, although their updates were always sporadic at best. Has it failed?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure how this is a very difficult thing. But Broken Age is a bad example to pull up, because 1. the pitch was so vague it essentially amounted to "Schafer and team should make an adventure game again". And 2. they had a few community managers running around shaping the feedback into fitting with their preconceptions of how casual gamers work.

 

So in the end, can anyone really complain about the game? No, it was made (at least halfway), and the idea was realized.

 

But, of course, the way it was adjusted towards the end of the project may have caused a few problems. And the way the game was pitched when part 1 was released, that wasn't very wise. First because of some of the puzzle designs and the need for "continuity", even if you were never stuck, and couldn't move on to something else, etc. Some of the control elements weren't picked up and fixed. Making it some sort of compromise between simple puzzles and fidgety controls.

 

And second because the game was pitched as a modern casual variant of an adventure game. As what an adventure game would look like if it was made after Call of Duty showed up. And that's basically the opposite of what people who backed the project wanted. And by all accounts, the opposite of what Schafer wanted as well. And that combination of an a bit out of touch, "modern", community manager bunch, and a PR office a little bit too much hung up in old release dogma, with magazines and IGN and so on - has probably hurt the release of that game more than no press at all would.

 

But the criticism of the game is shaped by that. After all, the game isn't as horribly casual as it might appear, specially in some of the pitches. And there are complex puzzles in the game - they just don't take the form of "use monkey on pump to drain river, so as to get access to hidden anachronistic drainage pipe that in turn opens up unrelated next solution to second unrelated quest". So when someone actually do complain about the game being difficult, or the controls being fidgety - then it's "go back to COD!". Because BA has been pitched as being as easy as buttering loaves of toast. 

 

I don't know.. Somehow I don't see the same problems happening with PoE.

The injustice must end! Sign the petition and Free the Krug!

Link to post
Share on other sites

People need to have faith in the developer and keep an open mind if they back a project.

 

What concerns the premise that is told during the kickstarter funding, may be it takes a little common sense. In terms of PoE, we haven't seen anything like an infinity engine games since the infinity engine games (and may be Toee). So this is one. Infinity engine game is something very different from games like dragon age or witcher, so if they say the are going to make something similar to an infinity engine game it IS meaningful. It does not allow for a huge amount of room to make "just any game".

 

I know because I havent and wouldnt touch dragon age or witcher with a five foot pole, but the moment I saw this, bam - backed.

Edited by Sheikh
Link to post
Share on other sites

They are bound to the promises made in the Kickstarter. They are not bound by law, by they sure as hell are bound by the customers. What that means is, if they fail to deliver on the promises they made they will lose any backing on the next project they wish to Kickstart.

 

In the case of PoE they were not as clear as they could have been, they said it was going to be a spiritual successor with a different setting and their own system (non D&D). Some people took it as being a brand new iso cRPG and others took it as being IE game with a new setting and a "different" system. They did nothing to dissuade either camp during the kickstarter and now it may come to bite them in the ass, in the form of disappointing one camp and losing their future backing. On the other hand they could deliver the best of both worlds and make everyone happy, which is exactly what I am expecting.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It all depends on ones personal preferences I assume, for some the IE games are represented by the interesting locations and soundtrack of the Dale, for others the chess like strike and counter strike combat of the Gate and for yet others the choice, consequence and recativity of Torment. Personally i'm hoping for a little more of the Dale and Torment's best features as I personally thought that the Gate prioritised combat a little too much, to the point where there was no other method of solving any scenario but yet another melee.

 

However i'm more enthusiastic for the Darklands reactive text segments than any other feature, but then again i'm a bibliophile.

 

Personally I have my problems with various aspects, but i've had problems with every rule system i've ever played except for the one I created for pen and paper, and this does not dilute my enthusiasm for the game. Obsidian are my favourite developer due to the quality of their previous work, not for any other reason, i'm not a blinkered fanboy outraged by any suggestion of complaint, indeed I think criticism is fair and useful when valid, well conveyed and reasoned.

  • Like 2

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!

Link to post
Share on other sites

They are bound to the promises made in the Kickstarter. They are not bound by law, by they sure as hell are bound by the customers. What that means is, if they fail to deliver on the promises they made they will lose any backing on the next project they wish to Kickstart.

 

In the case of PoE they were not as clear as they could have been, they said it was going to be a spiritual successor with a different setting and their own system (non D&D). Some people took it as being a brand new iso cRPG and others took it as being IE game with a new setting and a "different" system. They did nothing to dissuade either camp during the kickstarter and now it may come to bite them in the ass, in the form of disappointing one camp and losing their future backing. On the other hand they could deliver the best of both worlds and make everyone happy, which is exactly what I am expecting.

 

They are bound by law.  US courts have found that kickstarters constitute a contract, and in the kickstarter FAQ, it says backers can take legal action if creators don't deliver.  That said, the real issue is whether someone wants to go to court for $15 to $5000 bucks over minutia.

Link to post
Share on other sites

They are bound by law.  US courts have found that kickstarters constitute a contract, and in the kickstarter FAQ, it says backers can take legal action if creators don't deliver.  That said, the real issue is whether someone wants to go to court for $15 to $5000 bucks over minutia.

 

I stand corrected.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...