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I wouldn't mind a first person Arcanum like game. Could even see this being done with Bethsofts Crapengine.

Dear God NOOOOOOO!  I have no qualms with an Arcanum sequel/reboot/reimagining being first person, even with action-oriented combat, but keep it as far away from anything Bethesda as possible.

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I wouldn't mind a first person Arcanum like game. Could even see this being done with Bethsofts Crapengine.

Dear God NOOOOOOO! I have no qualms with an Arcanum sequel/reboot/reimagining being first person, even with action-oriented combat, but keep it as far away from anything Bethesda as possible.

Yeah, CryEngine or UE4, please.

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Well, I have no idea what the person is referring to, as well... Balancing to perfection in modern games? Yeah, if you count microtransactions as a perfection, then maybe some modern games are balanced to withdraw as much from your balance as possible...

 

He was fishing for a comment on PoE.

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Leonard, please make that Arcanum sequel/spiritual successor/whatever. I know you guys are probably working on a Vampire game, and I'm all for it, but Arcanum needs love too. If there was ever a Kickstarter I would throw money at.....

Interesting point of fact, as a side note, Arcanum just hit Steam a little over a week ago. It gave my cold dead heart a glimmer of hope.

 

I wholeheartedly agree...  with 2 caveats.  Make the combat not suck (pick turn-based or real-time and stick with it, don't try a hybrid again) and find at least some balance between magic and technology (to say Arcanum was unbalanced in this regard would be the understatement of the century).

No argument here. They need another way to make tech work other than crafting/dumpster diving for gunpowder like Arcanum's equivalent to a hobo. They had good ideas with things like the Tesla gun, but needed more time to balance it. Nerf Harm spell.

 

TB vs RTwP... I would go TB, but if it is as combat filled as Arcanum... there needs to be a way to quickly resolve trash fights. I dunno. I agree one or the other, though. Definitely not the two crammed together like Frankenstein's RPG-monster.

 

Interesting, in the interview, Leonard talks about his love for Arcanum, his preference for working on games that are his own IP (not something like Vampire, Star Wars, etc), and says he is working on his dream game. God... it gets me too hopeful. I know it isn't likely, but I would flip out. Vampire makes more sense to be the current project. Activision owns Arcanum, and it isnt likely. However, a pitch like "Bioshock meets Elder Scrolls" might get Obsidian's foot in the door, and I'm sure Leonard knows people. It's probably Vampire, though. It's an easier situation.

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I wouldn't mind a first person Arcanum like game. Could even see this being done with Bethsofts Crapengine.

Dear God NOOOOOOO! I have no qualms with an Arcanum sequel/reboot/reimagining being first person, even with action-oriented combat, but keep it as far away from anything Bethesda as possible.

Yeah, CryEngine or UE4, please.

I'm pretty sure it was stated by Feargus (IIRC) that Mr Cain and Mr Boyarsky are working on a project using UE4. An incredible engine suited to doing either a Vampire, an Arcanum sequel/successor, or something new entirely.

 

So, I wouldn't worry too much that whatever they are doing will involve Gamebryo/Creation/whatever-Bethesda-is-calling-it-today. It almost certainly won't.

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Well, I see it different than you people, because I create mods. Gamebryo is extremely powerful in this area, while the unreal engine is completely not.

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Well, I have no idea what the person is referring to, as well... Balancing to perfection in modern games? Yeah, if you count microtransactions as a perfection, then maybe some modern games are balanced to withdraw as much from your balance as possible...

 

He was fishing for a comment on PoE.

 

 

Huh, I'd think it was a comment on Blizzard, since they are pretty obsessive about balance.

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Huh, I'd think it was a comment on Blizzard, since they are pretty obsessive about balance.

 

Well they are all about the multiplayer games and those games hinge on being balanced. For single player games, balance shouldn't even make the shortlist.

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Balance should make the shortlist, for sure, or you end up with Arcanum combat where you have super builds like anything able to spam harm non stop and everything else is progressively weaker.

 

The problem the Codex (or a certain subset of it) had with PoE was more that the attempts to balance everything and have anything be a viable build left the classes/ characters feeling too generic and cookie cutter. Which I have a fair bit of sympathy with, without agreeing completely.

 

So the 'Codex position' is essentially that balance should not be an end in and of itself, it's only a positive when it contributes to the game being enjoyable. If an obsession with balance results in a lack of fun then it's not actually an asset for the game to be balanced, it's a weakness.

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l

The problem the Codex (or a certain subset of it) had with PoE was more that the attempts to balance everything and have anything be a viable build left the classes/ characters feeling too generic and cookie cutter. Which I have a fair bit of sympathy with, without agreeing completely.

Well, to be fair with PoE I believe the search for balance didn't make the classes less unique at all, even if some nerfs were undeserved.

 

The problem was mostly that the game mechanics are too byzanthine, so it takes a lot of trial and error to discover the great potential for originality, something people who attach themselves too much to OP builds don't really like to do again after having found and lost their "holy grail".

 

And the initial lack of respecing didn't help.

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No argument here. They need another way to make tech work other than crafting/dumpster diving for gunpowder like Arcanum's equivalent to a hobo. They had good ideas with things like the Tesla gun, but needed more time to balance it. Nerf Harm spell.

 

TB vs RTwP... I would go TB, but if it is as combat filled as Arcanum... there needs to be a way to quickly resolve trash fights. I dunno. I agree one or the other, though. Definitely not the two crammed together like Frankenstein's RPG-monster.

 

Interesting, in the interview, Leonard talks about his love for Arcanum, his preference for working on games that are his own IP (not something like Vampire, Star Wars, etc), and says he is working on his dream game. God... it gets me too hopeful. I know it isn't likely, but I would flip out. Vampire makes more sense to be the current project. Activision owns Arcanum, and it isnt likely. However, a pitch like "Bioshock meets Elder Scrolls" might get Obsidian's foot in the door, and I'm sure Leonard knows people. It's probably Vampire, though. It's an easier situation.

I haven't gotten the sense at all that Obsidian is currently working on a Bloodlines game. Seems to me that there's just been this **** tease thrown around a few times to see how interested people are in a sequel, but that's as far as it's gone currently.

 

An Arcanum successor seems more likely right now. I'd welcome it, as it'll be in UE4 and surely more interesting than nearly anything else in the industry, but am the opposite of you in wishing it over a Bloodlines sequel.

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Balance should make the shortlist, for sure, or you end up with Arcanum combat where you have super builds like anything able to spam harm non stop and everything else is progressively weaker.

 

The problem the Codex (or a certain subset of it) had with PoE was more that the attempts to balance everything and have anything be a viable build left the classes/ characters feeling too generic and cookie cutter. Which I have a fair bit of sympathy with, without agreeing completely.

 

So the 'Codex position' is essentially that balance should not be an end in and of itself, it's only a positive when it contributes to the game being enjoyable. If an obsession with balance results in a lack of fun then it's not actually an asset for the game to be balanced, it's a weakness.

 

Guess my shortlist is shorter than yours. I agree that it should be taken in to consideration, but it should not take over the game design it self.

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Arcanum from Obsidian doesn't feel likely at all as Activision Blizzard owns the IP.

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I hate being negative but dredging up **** from the past is a sure sign that the genre is on its last legs.

 

 We need new ideas to take the genre in unexpected directions - which is what Arcanum and Bloodlines were at the time. A decade ago. But they were also half broken or downright broken in many respects and were never very successful for a damn good reason. Bringing such games back is nostalgia bait and desperation of the worst sort.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor

И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
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We need new ideas to take the genre in unexpected directions - which is what Arcanum and Bloodlines were at the time.

Mass Effect games are also taking the genre in new (and for many unexpected) direction, I just don't think it's a direction you enjoy. But still, *cough* Indie games *cough*. They've got our backs. I still think major re-emergence of cRPGs is just a matter of time for mainstream as well tho - and if VR gets widespread enough, we'll get a whole bunch of entirely new takes on older genres.

 

I'd also like to point out that I never really saw either Arcanum or Bloodlines as games which pushed the genre forward in any significant way - they were just extremely well designed games in unorthodox settings without enough time to get finished. Mechanically there wasn't all that much interesting about them.

Edited by Fenixp
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I actually think the old cRPG is done. It was a bridge between Pen and Paper in an era when hardware couldn't really show what was implied by the action on screen.

 

Now with games like Witcher 3 or Deus Ex the hardware is more than capable of doing more or less anything. The genre has fused with the single character action adventure while keeping its mechanical complexity and the element of choice - both of which have seeped into almost every other genre, (elements of experience and character progression are practically obligatory in games now) further diluting its uniqueness. 

 

Mass Effect is a good example. While you could optimize every character in the "party" it was painfully obvious by the game's difficulty curve that Bioware expected players to almost never bother with automated party members and therefore allowed the player to just focus on what Shepard was doing.  By Mass Effect "party based" was merely a descriptive  term - for gameplay the actual party mechanics of Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale were already all but dead. 

 

I don't think traditional RPG's will ever have mass market appeal again. They'll be supported for as long as the niche audience allows but when the gaming market finally starts contracting, they'll become all but extinct, like the flight simulator or turn based strategy.

 

The way forward is not so much to tinker with the overarching mechanics of the single character action adventure/RPG genre but with settings, stories and novel gameplay ideas. The things that are much harder to do than putting a new coat of paint on Arcanum.

 

We need things like Wraith or Changeling or a credible science fantasy that isn't Star Wars - or a game like Mage where you have magic that can manipulate the world in creative ways. Or fantasy that isn't yet another derivative of Tolkien. Where are the urban fantasy games like Persona (that aren't a ****ing drag to play) - the modern world can be just as good as setting as anything else. Etc. Etc.

Edited by Drowsy Emperor
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И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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In AAA it might be dead, yes. For you for sure. For average gamer as well, but for me, the genre is flourishing, like never before. I am happy, that my money can be still spent on good RPGs made by many indie developers. And My money can be also spent on many good JRPGs because, they still use the mechanics, which I liked when I was younger, and are fulfilling enough even now.

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So the 'Codex position' is essentially that balance should not be an end in and of itself, it's only a positive when it contributes to the game being enjoyable. If an obsession with balance results in a lack of fun then it's not actually an asset for the game to be balanced, it's a weakness.

to be more specific, the Codex wants attributes and character progression to be designed in a way that allows broken character builds. your character is too weak and you cannot advance in the game? your own dumb fault for not reading tutorials/guides. your character is too powerful and blazes through every encounter? your own dumb fault for developing him that way.

 

basically, that's what most people find enjoyable - or so they think. which is absolutely not the case. I could never understand this irrational position, but I also think it would've never been an issue if Sawyer hadn't given any insight into how he designed his systems. people just started to freak out even before the game was available, and then it was so much easier to find something validating their complaints.

 

I mean, they think Arcanum is the best game ever, and that game had probably the worst combat I've ever experienced.


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Now with games like Witcher 3 or Deus Ex the hardware is more than capable of doing more or less anything. The genre has fused with the single character action adventure while keeping its mechanical complexity and the element of choice - both of which have seeped into almost every other genre, (elements of experience and character progression are practically obligatory in games now) further diluting its uniqueness.

First of all, isometric, party-based RPG offers a significantly different experience than single chracter action games do, and are attractive to different audiences. Sure, the more streamlined games are appealing to a much wider audience - but that doesn't mean audience to which slower-paced games with a different focus appeal will ever disappear, even if such audience remains small. I'm also not entirely sure Witcher games are even close to mechanical complexity of Pillars of Eternity or Divinity: Original Sin, just by the way - and guess which experience will the crowd preferring mechanical complexity go for.

 

Mass Effect is a good example. While you could optimize every character in the "party" it was painfully obvious by the game's difficulty curve that Bioware expected players to almost never bother with automated party members and therefore allowed the player to just focus on what Shepard was doing.  By Mass Effect "party based" was merely a descriptive  term - for gameplay the actual party mechanics of Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale were already all but dead.

I'm pretty sure you couldn't even do anything with your party members in the Xbox version of Mass Effect. I can be mistaken tho.

 

I don't think traditional RPG's will ever have mass market appeal again. They'll be supported for as long as the niche audience allows but when the gaming market finally starts contracting, they'll become all but extinct, like the flight simulator or turn based strategy.

Turn-based strategy games are actually seeing a bit of a resurgence on mobile devices and in the form of 4X games, which brings another point - you can never predict where will these old mechanics rear their ugly heads. CRPG games are niche because they always were niche, even when they were "mainstream" back when gaming itself was niche. I believe they will emerge either on devices with limited input methods or their underlying mechanical complexity will be used in unexpected ways in mainstream media, perhaps even mixed with the character action approach - Dragon Age: Inquisition is already trying, but it's not doing a very good job of it sadly.

 

The way forward is not so much to tinker with the overarching mechanics of the single character action adventure/RPG genre but with settings, stories and novel gameplay ideas. The things that are much harder to do than putting a new coat of paint on Arcanum.

Eh... Doesn't 'novel gameplay ideas' equal 'tinker with overarching mechanics' pretty much? Anyway, I would strongly disagree with a statement that we should just stick to what we have and just try to explore new settings with it (I'm not claiming that's what you said - I'm just not entirely sure what did you try to say). To explore new settings and new stories, we can use any medium, not just videogames. But only videogames can explore new ways to interact with either novel or classical settings.
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So the 'Codex position' is essentially that balance should not be an end in and of itself, it's only a positive when it contributes to the game being enjoyable. If an obsession with balance results in a lack of fun then it's not actually an asset for the game to be balanced, it's a weakness.

to be more specific, the Codex wants attributes and character progression to be designed in a way that allows broken character builds. your character is too weak and you cannot advance in the game? your own dumb fault for not reading tutorials/guides. your character is too powerful and blazes through every encounter? your own dumb fault for developing him that way.

 

basically, that's what most people find enjoyable - or so they think. which is absolutely not the case. I could never understand this irrational position, but I also think it would've never been an issue if Sawyer hadn't given any insight into how he designed his systems. people just started to freak out even before the game was available, and then it was so much easier to find something validating their complaints.

 

I mean, they think Arcanum is the best game ever, and that game had probably the worst combat I've ever experienced.

 

 

Pretty sure they think Fallout (1) is the best game ever, or PST, though neither of those had 'balanced' combat either. Well, I guess PST's combat problem was not lack of balance (and in most combats you literally could not die, so obviously balance per se was not a concern), to be fair, but rather that its combat was pretty crap.

 

I do tend to agree with the Codex that you need to have potential 'broken' builds. That's part of learning games and improving in them, and the alternative is what? Oblivion, where you can win the game at level 2, and it's probably easier to do it that way than by playing properly? Arcanum and Oblivion are two extreme positions, the happy medium is what should be aimed for, especially in a party based game like PoE where the weaknesses/ strengths of one character build are (or should be) complemented by the strengths/ weaknesses of another class.

 

The classic example would be something like a D&D mage from BG2- massively underpowered if you don't know how to use them or make mistakes, or even are unlucky with saves. But they're extremely powerful when handled correctly. Correct positioning, spell selection and risk minimisation are the keys to using them correctly, if you focus on 'balance' too much you end up with a class that can take more punishment and is more flexible in terms of choices, but also is weaker overall. It's the 'glass cannon' dichotomy, the glass part inherently balances out the cannon part; 'balance' as it is usually used tends to dictate that every class ends up as some sort of mid calibre gun.

 

Guess my shortlist is shorter than yours. I agree that it should be taken in to consideration, but it should not take over the game design it self.

 

 

Thing is, there's not a single game I can think of where poor balance did not detract at least somewhat from the overall experience. The holy codex troika named above all have bad balance, and it all detracts from them at least somewhat. Though for F1 and PST other aspects make up for them they'd be better games with better balance. System Shock 2, great game, where any combat build except standard weapons makes little sense, psionics are massively underpowered for half the game then massively overpowered, some skills are basically useless etc. Balance wouldn't be at the top of the list, 3/4 of those games are great even with their balance problems (Arcanum's combat is just so bad though, it's a travesty) so clearly there are other factors that are more important for enjoyment, but I'd have to have it on the list if only to stop another potentially great game like Arcanum from being ruined.

 

If 'balance' had been on Arcanum's priority list it would have been a far better game than it was. For that matter, if proper balance had been on Oblivion's priority list it would have been far better too.

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I hate being negative but dredging up **** from the past is a sure sign that the genre is on its last legs.

 

 We need new ideas to take the genre in unexpected directions - which is what Arcanum and Bloodlines were at the time. A decade ago. But they were also half broken or downright broken in many respects and were never very successful for a damn good reason. Bringing such games back is nostalgia bait and desperation of the worst sort.

We don't need new ideas. That's how you end up with garbage like the Witcher 2. We need games with good quests/writing/characters/dialogue worth the time it is to play them.

 

And I'd much rather play an inspired game with a few bugs than some super polished but stale one.

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There was literally nothing new about the Witcher 2. It was just a bland attempt to distill the Witcher 1 into a checklist and then give "more of it" while making the combat action oriented.

 

Precisely because it approached a creative process as a formula to be followed it ended up sucking so badly. Exactly like everything Bioware makes now. Which is also what new Wastelands or Arcanums or the Numenera crap are going to do - trying to replicate something in a test tube.

 

Games like Fallout or Arcanum or Torment were good because they were inspired - they had their own twist on things. Sometimes they could make lightning strike harder the second time around like Baldur's Gate 2, a game you could also argue was something completely different from its predecessor and therefore also new.

 

But the moment you start treating these things as templates or some idol you can resurrect you get ****. Yes we need good stories and good writing - but new stories and new writing and new quests. Not old ones. 

Edited by Drowsy Emperor
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И погибе Српски кнез Лазаре,
И његова сва изгибе војска, 
Седамдесет и седам иљада;
Све је свето и честито било
И миломе Богу приступачно.

 

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