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Can PoE grow as a franchise the way the Witcher did?

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For reasons Tig cites, tWitcher isn't really the best measuring stick if you're talking about Pillars going mainstream.  Given Obsidz's independence, scale, and American-ness, you'd need a big publisher to really believe in the project to fund the big leap to consoles, AAA production values, marketing, etc. 

 

The analogy for an American CRPG franchise moving from its PC-only isometric roots to a cross-platform, open-world, more action-oriented future isn't The Witcher-- it's Fallout. 

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I'm just gonna say it. I think the best historical marker for that exact transition is Bioware. How you feel about that is up to you.

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The Witcher series is, I think, a somewhat fitting example. The first game was a lot closer to PoE's genre - it was based on Neverwinter Night's engine, after all, and combat was still in the traditon of RTwP. They went full hack-n-slash only with the second game.

But there, the paths begin to diverge already. CDProjekt used their first game as a stepping stone into a genre that was much more promising, commercially, while Obsidian is staying with an isometric 2.5D game.

 

Now, I'd certainly not complain if PoE3 would propel Obsidian into an industry heavyweight. I wouldn't even complain about some "dumbing down" to do that. ;) I just don't see it coming.

Better be surprised by good news than bad ones. :grin:


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Bioware did the same, though. People forget how very non-RTwP and unlike their prior games Jade Empire really was, long before EA bought them.

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I had a rambling list of suggestions, so I'll shorten it down to this.  Obsidian's future success lies in the niche that really appreciates them.  Reuse resources and let story-tellers pursue passion projects.  One of them is more likely to break out than a company risking large bet on the mainstream.

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I wouls venture to say that, while not as wealthy or as well known in the mainstream, Obsidian is every bit as influential in the industry.

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The Witcher series' growth got supporting shots from a lot of other factors - CDProjekt is a major publishing house in Poland, which in fact localised some of the old school CRPGs (I think including BG), and created GOG. They were able to take advantage of these other revenue streams, as well as lower costs in Poland, to massively expand the scope of their games and the size of their teams - plus, of course, the commercial success of TW1&2. 

 

I think it'll be extremely difficult for Obsidian, a California-based studio which is stuck in the impossible financial swamp of being a US-based independent developer, one which was laying people off left and right to survive before POE KS, one which still has to scramble to keep growth going, to do the same thing. Not to mention that, as we can see, POE2 already involves Obsidian drawing on their future profits to fund their current game, which is what Kickstarter/Fig is from the producer perspective. 

 

BG2, in terms of the sales it got, and how ridiculously large the game managed to be relative to its production time and team size, etc., is pretty much a unique one-off. Its a game the people who worked on it look back on and say "that was crazy and I don't know it worked out", and it should never, ever be the yardstick for you to anticipate any game, unless you enjoy disappointment.

 

Well Im going to be disappointed then.

 

I reckon Josh and his team would absolutely be trying to replicate the success off BG2 with Deadfire.  Pillars 1 was a far better game then BG1 so there is the potential there IMO for deadfire to be better then BG2.

 

the only way they wlll do that is if they create an truly immersive world and they don't dumb it down

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Bioware did it when EA bought them.

Didn't a bunch of the core Bioware team--writers, leads, etc.--leave after EA bought them? I mean, Jade Empire and 3/4 of Mass Effect were prior to EA and they both show a *LOT* of that "dumbed down" stuff that you think EA forced on them.

 

 

Yes, absolutely. I made some researchs in the past, and what i understood is that the 2 remaining funders of Bioware agreed with EA buying them. They both quit Bioware several years ago. And a lot of people from the original Bioware quit over the years after EA bought them. It almost seems liike the 2 remaining co funders saw a way to make cash, and started to dumb down their games (did not play Mass Effect, but Dragon Age: Origins is still a good example of game developed before EA). I could even add to help your point that EA renamed numbers of random studios they owned across the world "Bioware XXX" while none had anything to do with Bioware, just to cash on the studio's name (like The remnants of Interplay tried to cash on the Black Isle name not so long ago (it was so pitiful though..)). And hence, a good part of the crap Bioware sell nowadays is actually not actual Bioware work. But Inquisition is. And still, it's not even comparable to what the already somewhat crappy Origins was. Inquisition had a lot more of the dumbed down features i mentionned than Origins. At the very least, it's hard not to notice that EA made no good to the studio in this regard.

 

But still, i really don't think that Dragon Age 2 would have been the same, or even existed without EA. Publishers nowadays are almighty, because... cash. They are the ones who can pay the salaries and they force disingenuous conditions on the studios who need the money not to shut down. They aim for mainstrem games, mass market. Obviously i would find that Pillars and mainstream should not fit together.

 

I looked into this thing at points, and heard rumours and hearsay from elsewhere, and what I got from it all is that the EA buying up Bioware situation is incredibly murky. 

 

From what I understand, Bioware sold itself to a different company with the idea of merging all their stuff together and to get Bioware set up as a publicly traded company only to then have the parent company bought up by EA.  This buying of EA is suspicious as it has turned out one of the guys who set up the parent company actually came from EA, and it was either all a back room deal or a big con to trick companies into being bought out (it wasn't just Bioware who was bought up in this transaction). 

 

The two founders of Bioware stayed on for pretty much exactly a year, which fits with a contractual obligation they may have signed to 'make it look like continuance of before', and then bailed not only on their company but on the gaming industry in general.  This could be either them making their money and legging it or them getting screwed and not wanting to stay around anymore.

 

Mass Effect was indeed three quarters done by the time EA bought them, but have you seen the earlier footage of Mass Effect, what they were aiming for?  It was a drastically different game (you could control your squadmates directly, doing missions in different order or not by a certain time causing knock on effects, Mako being modifiable, etc).  Having watched earlier footage, I see many areas in ME1 where I realised they were cut down or hangovers from an earlier plan.  Now, this could be a case of the typical game developer thing of promising loads of things they then realised they couldn't do or didn't have the time and/or resources for, but it could also be a case of EA moving in and going "Hey, that works as is, push it out the door now..."  Jade Empire I cannot comment on as I only played it years later after getting it on GOG and didn't really care for it, and Dragon Age Origins I'm not sure would have been much different (I wasn't impressed with it myself, and many issues with that was with its fundamental gameplay).

 

I guess the TL;DR version is: Its very very murky, which pretty much sums up the gaming industry in general.  Frack man, when did gaming become such a hellhole?

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.

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...and possibly become a mega mainstream hit like Witcher 3? PoE did similarly as the Witcher in terms of sales in its first year or so, maybe slightly better. The positive review scores are similar too.

 

I'm a little shocked and baffled by ME:A mixed reception. Could have used that pre-order money to invest on PoE:D instead. All this talk about the Infinity Engine renaissance when we are actually slowly running out of quality AAA RPGs, sigh. I know that nostalgia gave life to PoE. But surely, most of us want this franchise to grow and eventually reach a bigger mainstream following like the Witcher franchise.

 

Cyberpunk 2077 is the only guaranteed to be great AAA RPG in the foreseeable future. Dragon Age 4, sure, but those filler quests in DA:I and now ME:A tells me that Bioware will never be a sure thing anymore. 

 

P.S: Forgive me if that's not what most of you guys want. I'm just thinking out loud. Of course going mainstream can mean going from Fallout 2 to Fallout 3...

I love Witcher series to death... I just don't get comparison. PoE from definition is not mainstream. It is not a hipster thing, it is just trying to be a thing which will never sell THAT well. Why? Presentation. 

 

Let me first explain what I want from PoE and its continuation. Good story of course but most of all - reactivity. Being able to pick your race, background. Making choice and see consequences happen. When the budget comes I am not interested in shinier graphics or more voiceacting or moving to full 3D... those things can be nice, but I want the world and character I can interact in more meaningful ways. The problem with moving mainstream is that you have to look shiny. Have full voiceacting. More voiceacting means less dialogue choice, less reactivity. I would rather have plain text, than stilted animation and chopped dilivery of bioware games. You do spectacle or you do depth. 

 

Witcher is an odd RPG series as it allows you to play not only as one class but as one specific character. It is good in allowing you to roleplay Geralt, but it is limiting. 

 

My take on the situation is this: different games get better thanks to different things. Throwing more money into presentation won't make your RPG good. Isometric, text heavy structure does the job. The interactions make the game work. Does it HAVE to be isometric? No, as long as the game gets deeper not shallower. However, as bioware showed, putting more money into game creates the need to explain why things you do don't matter rather than showing why they do.

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.

 

Did we see the same story? Geralt is continually being called an outdated idiot working on a field that is going to eliminate itself, and he should really either modernize or quit, or die. He's told these things by his friends, collegues, acquaintances, enemies, rivals, clients, basically everybody. Being the stubborn fool, he just continues working. He also keeps running into various pick-your-poison scenarios. Sure, if by "wins every time" you mean that he survives a lot of crap thrown his way, sure, but I doubt it's really a victory if all the choices are bad.

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Witcher didn't succeed through any game-play merits, it succeeded because it is the very definition of adolescent power fantasy; you play an experienced character that wins every time and gets every chick, and everyone who is "good" likes and respects him while people who are "bad" hate him because they can't beat him. In other words, the shameless use of cheese on top of cheese is what made the Witcher sell so well. Beneath the cheese it's merely an ok game with an ok plot and an ok setting. All other reasons for its success are mere rationalizations; Geralt is a badass and that is the long and short of it.

 

Thus, as long as PoE tries to be a game for mature audiences, I highly doubt it will ever capture the large masses. It's a niche title and I'd like it to stay that way. If more people start buying the game, good, but if Obsidian begins to cater for the masses then they'll lose many of their current customers, including me.

 

Did we see the same story? Geralt is continually being called an outdated idiot working on a field that is going to eliminate itself, and he should really either modernize or quit, or die. He's told these things by his friends, collegues, acquaintances, enemies, rivals, clients, basically everybody. Being the stubborn fool, he just continues working. He also keeps running into various pick-your-poison scenarios. Sure, if by "wins every time" you mean that he survives a lot of crap thrown his way, sure, but I doubt it's really a victory if all the choices are bad.

 

 

Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy. Self-defeating professions don't really count in a fictional universe as it will never translate into the character losing, and it is a story that will never be told.

 

EDIT: in the eyes of a teenager, being stubborn fool and continuing on with your own way despite everyone telling you not to is the very definition of winning.

Edited by Ninjamestari
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Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy. Self-defeating professions don't really count in a fictional universe as it will never translate into the character losing, and it is a story that will never be told.

 

EDIT: in the eyes of a teenager, being stubborn fool and continuing on with your own way despite everyone telling you not to is the very definition of winning.

 

You clearly haven't read the books and know nothing about the character, or the universe. His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character. And a tragic one at that. Both the books and the games explore deep phylosophical and psychological themes that are hardly relevant to an "adolescent boy", as you put it. In fact, the main theme of them both i would argue is Geralt's love for his adopted daughter Ciri. Is that an adolescent fantasy to you? Maybe if you missed all of that, the issue is with you, and not the games?

Edited by Sakai
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Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy.

 

Disregarding the fact that not being killed is not the same thing as being undefeatable, I hope you realize that this applies to basically every video game player character there is, including The Watcher of PoE. The few player characters that are defeated and killed number in single digits, I'd claim. In every other case, the PC is a murder machine and mastermind extraordinaire, depending on the exact game mechanics, that is never defeated. At worst, in a few cases, they may not win the mission, but they will not be defeated.

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I guess another problem is that the competition gets harder and harder. Pillars was among the kickstarter wave of many rpg games and Obsidian profile isnt that high. CDProject Red somehow steadily rose in reputation and renown after the Witcher 1 and the Witcher 2 was a highly anticipated title at its release, if i remember correctly. I doesn't seem to be like that for Obsidian which is why i doubt that the PoE will become a triple A franchise.

I have to say CDProject positively suprised me back then with the increase in production value in the Witcher 2 in comparison to the Witcher 1. I don't think Obsidian can do the same with PoE 2 although i wouldn't mind to be proven wrong on this outlook. 

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I enjoyed the Witcher games and found the stories they told interesting and adult. However, I'm reasonably sure the whole "sex and violence" thing contributed quite a bit to their success. Nothing wrong with that, but that sort of thing just isn't in the DNA of the IE games.

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Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down.

And the reason for that is that I have to reload if Geralt loses. Or choose to reload if I screw up a quest.

 

Like in every effing videogame ever.*

 

* Exceptions prove the rule.

 

Edit: I mean, I can understand that not everyone likes Geralt as a character. I'm not really into him, either, even though I think Witcher 3 is a milestone for CRPGs that won't be surpassed for a long time.

Edited by Varana
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Surviving is the whole point of the character. He's undefeatable, nothing can ever bring him down. In game rhetoric about a non-existent future in a non-existent world hardly qualifies as 'not winning'. He's a badass without any real weaknesses and always wins in every single way that is relevant to an adolescent boy. Self-defeating professions don't really count in a fictional universe as it will never translate into the character losing, and it is a story that will never be told.

 

EDIT: in the eyes of a teenager, being stubborn fool and continuing on with your own way despite everyone telling you not to is the very definition of winning.

 

You clearly haven't read the books and know nothing about the character, or the universe. His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character. And a tragic one at that. Both the books and the games explore deep phylosophical and psychological themes that are hardly relevant to an "adolescent boy", as you put it. In fact, the main theme of them both i would argue is Geralt's love for his adopted daughter Ciri. Is that an adolescent fantasy to you? Maybe if you missed all of that, the issue is with you, and not the games?

 

 

Nah, the books are just as awful as the games, perhaps even worse.

 

Also, a virginal maiden character that needs your protection is indeed an adolescent fantasy.

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His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character.

So....he was created to be a whiny bitch, and somehow that makes it...better?

 

 

 

Obsidian profile isnt that high

Actually Obsidians profile is pretty high. They're *well* known and admired in the industry. Feargus is one of the main advisors for Fig, and the company Obsidian has a powerful legacy. They're not broadly known in the mainstream; but they are influential within the industry.

Edited by Katarack21
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His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character.

So....he was created to be a whiny bitch, and somehow that makes it...better?

 

 

 

Nope he's a successful bitch which bound to get **** for being successful.

 

My inner adolescent power fantasizing-self wants to create my own younger Witcher who could get with Ciri but I'm stuck with this ****ing old dude who just wants his daughter to be safe and leave this life before him, he wants a steady job instead of city-hopping and spend the rest of his days(rather long years) with Yennefer(preferably). I'm sorry but I can't see any adolescent fantasy in this, if anything this is a retirement fantasy.

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Big, strong, powerful manly man kills monsters, bangs four hot women with no consequences (despite supposedly Yennifer being the love of his life), shows almost no emotion, and is generally treated as the manliest and most attractive person ever. His main love interest is violent and irrational to the pointvof abusive, and this is treated as normal for women.

 

Last game hecwas brainwashed and raped; this is treated as cheating because she was hot.

 

Please. You couldn't make a more adolescent power fantasy if you set out to. Doesn't make it bad, but let's keep it real.

Edited by Katarack21
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His physical prowess aside, he was after all created for that particular purpose, Geralt is an extremely flawed character.

So....he was created to be a whiny bitch, and somehow that makes it...better?

Nope he's a successful bitch which bound to get **** for being successful.

 

My inner adolescent power fantasizing-self wants to create my own younger Witcher who could get with Ciri but I'm stuck with this ****ing old dude who just wants his daughter to be safe and leave this life before him, he wants a steady job instead of city-hopping and spend the rest of his days(rather long years) with Yennefer(preferably). I'm sorry but I can't see any adolescent fantasy in this, if anything this is a retirement fantasy.

There's a difference between "adolescent fantasy" and "fantasy about adolescents." Just because our protagonist isn't a young dude who's ridin' motorcycles and bangin' cheerleaders, doesn't mean he can't be an adolescent fantasy. Geralt is James Bond. He's someone who's only ever called ugly by people who are decidedly uglier than he is. A globe-trotting uber-stud who has the coolest job, the slickest weapons, and the bustiest chicks. He's the best of the best, but he doesn't need to tell you that; he can solve the craziest of problems and only break a sweat, because of course, it's all in a day's work, ladies. He's a pariah, hated by the common folk, but he's always right, either standing ardently for justice or condescending neutrality. His most difficult challenge: does he choose to pursue the young, feisty redhead or the proud ivory-haired beauty.

 

If anything, this kind of character is an even more relatable fantasy than a younger character because with an adult fantasy there's always the thought that maybe, just maybe, if your family is killed by a Columbian drug gang, and you subject yourself to a 10 year 80s training montage, you too might become the grizzled and chiseled righteous renegade.[1]

 

The Witcher 3 does a fairly decent job trying to ground our protagonist with simpler goals ("I just want to save my daughter and settle down"), but that sort of falls flat when you can fight and/or copulate with some of the most interesting magical phenomena all across the land on your grand quest to save your daughter and, coincidentally, the world.

 

[1] A reference to one of my favorite quotes from Snow Crash

Edited by RoboticWater
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Big, strong, powerful manly man kills monsters, bangs four hot women with no consequences (despite supposedly Yennifer being the love of his life), shows almost no emotion, and is generally treated as the manliest and most attractive person ever. His main love interest is violent and irrational to the pointvof abusive, and this is treated as normal for women.

 

Last game hecwas brainwashed and raped; this is treated as cheating because she was hot.

 

Please. You couldn't make a more adolescent power fantasy if you set out to. Doesn't make it bad, but let's keep it real.

Wow, i guess people see what they want to see. 

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