No. From the heart, out of passion for the vision, not JUST for the paycheck. You know, like we always heard from the LGS devs.
While games like The Art of Theft and The Dark Mod are inspiring, one is extremely simplistic, and the other is an exceptional example. Volunteer labour is simply not a reliable way of making big complex modern games, even with all the R&D work donated by the commercial industry.
No. From the heart, out of passion for the vision, not JUST for the paycheck. You know, like we always heard from the LGS devs.
Was that replying to me? I don't see how it's relevant. Do you have any evidence that people in the industry aren't passionate? Does Zillameth seem to lack passion to you, just because he needs to think critically about the sort of games he can make and still get fed?
That said, I actually agree with what you say in that second sentence, if it should come to something new and different (and actually comes out awesome) - hell, thief and metal gear solid were sort of experiments to see if stealth action would actually work, I believe. The problem is to what extent do designers do what they want without making something that people frown on?
No, I wasn't trying to say something like that. What I'm saying is that games shouldn't be made sorely because some damn publisher is breathing down your throat to make the next generic FPS, and instead allow you to do what you want (passion and creativity to create something new.)Originally Posted by Chade
You don't need to remind me that publishers provide developers with finances, I'm simply stating my opinion on what I find wrong with the industry.
Theoretically, I'm saying that (personally anyway) if you handed me 20 million dollars to make you a game with a team of people, and all I cared about was money then hell yeah i'd accept it. This doesn't mean I'll want to make a game out of passion and the love of game creation. All it means is I'm motivated to make something. I'm saying essentially that I should want to make a game with all my heart and soul regardless of how much money I earn from doing so. Does this make any more sense? It's hard to convey what I mean. A little more about game creation: I don't think it's any accident that you look at small developers who aren't corporate owned or have some controlling publisher, and they make something new. Look at Frictional Games. They're like a really small group of people (I think, at least they used to be don't know about now) and came up with a great new IP with a somewhat innovative concept (the heavy use of object interaction which, excluding games that touch on it like HL2, are something new. I mean to say, the physics oriented engine it uses and the sort of innovative use of controls.)
I also want to make a statement to clear things up:
I don't claim to believe that developers are not passionate, and for the record, how would I really know right? I'm saying it seems to be in this modern "gaming industry," people create games more over trying to make money and less about making something new and different and has all their heart into it. This just seems to be what I see. The focus of modern games appears more about graphics first and foremost over everything else. You see, I enjoy old games because their fun. Not because I love looking at the shitty graphics. (but you know, there's something about old graphics that is somewhat right at home, you know what I mean?)
Last edited by sNeaksieGarrett; 6th Apr 2009 at 02:17.
This is why I tend to believe people that discovered terms like "target consumer", "focus group" and "lost profit" should be declared criminals
Seriously though - this is, in my opinion, just a side effect of the business getting bigger. It can be all about fun, experiments, creativity and productivity when there are two people working on the game, but there is some threshold after which the biz guys start jumping in and start "protecting their investments". The same thing happens to film industry and music industry. I see there are people that are even trying to subjugate creativity, but most of the time I'd say this comes from the investors trying to protect their money.
From this point of view its pretty logical we see the repetitiveness and uniformity in the games of today - big investments will often cause fear of change (Let's do the same sh*t everybody does, or else we can encounter problems). It surprises me to what degree this applies - see the producers only counting on the first week of sales. From the same source comes the effort to cause wow effect in gamers (pretty graphics).
If people would not be so quick to just buy anything that seems appealing, then we would see more effort to deepen the gameplay I'd say.
It still surprises me that maybe more than a half of the games that I see in the shops have some sort of War motive in the name and/or content.
Ultimately, it all comes down to development costs. As AAA games get better physics, better AI, more detailed content, etc etc etc ... they cost more and more to make. On the other hand, the price for a game has barely gone up at all. In the last ten years, I think development costs have gone up by about 1000% ... but I'm only splashing out about 10% more money for every game I buy. Naturally they need to sell to more people.
The thing is, you can't just scale down the development costs and get the same audience you used to get years ago. Remember that LGS's games had damn good tech when they came out. They could boast of advanced graphics, physics, AI, etc ... all the AAA stuff which sells games. If you replicated thief now, you wouldn't have that. I remember Warren referencing a slide produced a while ago, where someone had found that (at the time), there was a market for games which cost 10 million and up, a market for games which cost 2 million and below, and nothing in between.
Now, as it happens, I think we are coming to a time now where the games industry is really diversifying. The indie movement seems to be really thriving at the moment. It seems to me that we might be coming to a point where it is possible to survive doing late 90s era games again.
Which finally brings up my real point: there's a big difference between saying that you'd like to play games which don't need to sell to a lot of people, and saying that you don't think games should be made which appeal to a lot of people.
By all means, choose to play games with a more niche appeal ... I think that's a completely noble thing to do, and that this is a really exciting time for the indie scene ... but that's a different matter to saying that you don't think the AAA scene should exist.
Fortunately there are development houses that seem to understand this. Look at Stardock with GalCiv and Ironclad with Sins of a Solar Empire. Valve are able to do hugely successful games with smaller development teams (what I heard is that they don't go above 50 people).
Ah, great posts Volca and Chade.
I see your point chade. You're saying that games require lots more money these days just for people to survive and be able to make said games. On the same token though, it appears to me that money is largely the focus of publishers (and or developers?) at least. (Again, money versus passion issue.) And I think Volca explained well why things are the way they are from a publisher's perspective.
I see, and yes there is; But the thing is, if you're implying this is what I am saying, that is not what I am saying. I don't mind playing AAA titles, provided they actually came out well. The thing is, it's just how many typical FPS video games can you play before you get fed up with the same rehashed crap over and over again? Also, I don't mean to say that I "don't think games should be made which appeal to a lot of people." There's nothing wrong with that, in fact it's needed if you want a game to survive. The point is, it's the publishers or who ever's fault, as well as the consumers which cause this continuous cycle of rehashed stuff because that's what people want. What I mean is, why can't people actually embrace creativity (and yes there are people out there, and yes there is the indie scene but these seem to be minorities) and allow for something new, instead of keeping the current trend? (and you don't have to answer that, unless you're some kind of psychologist that understands why many modern gamers feel this way.)Originally Posted by Chade
Last edited by sNeaksieGarrett; 6th Apr 2009 at 16:07.
Oh, but I am the all-seeing all-knowing Armchair Intellect of the internet ... I can answer any question, qualified or not!
I understand your frustration. I guess it really speaks to the power of the medium, in some ways, that you can play the same patterns again and again and not get bored.
Really, if you are posting here, you've probably been a hardcore gamer now for at least a decade ... and quite possibly two or three. Most gamers probably haven't played so many games in such an intense way for so long. Also, we tend to prefer single player games, which have don't have any external rewards that accompany the game play. Whereas if you are a hardcore multiplayer gamer, there is a community, competitions, some sort of ranking system, etc etc ... I mean, people play and watch the same sports for their entire life without getting bored of it.
Also, I'm not so sure that creativity is what people here really want. We've seen some games recently that I would never have forseen in a million years ... Wii Fit, for instance. The games industry really is branching out.
Of course, that's not what you mean when you talk about creativity. I think most people here really want complex games, which doesn't necesarily imply creativity or passion. Do we really have much interest in completely new patterns? I think it is more a case of wanting to be challenged, and to get the oppurtunity to demonstrate mastery of various patterns that were common in the 90s but aren't used so much now (at least in the mainstream industry).
Yup, I guess that's true. I mean, with a movie one can't interact with it, but with a video game, a person can and a gamer doesn't necessarily mind playing the same stuff over and over again.Originally Posted by Chade
Yeah, I guess you could consider me a "hardcore" gamer been playing games since I was a little kid. I was like 11 or 12 when I first played thief I believe. Except with growing older you get more responsibilities and other things to do, so not so much anymore. (which is actually a good thing, right?)Originally Posted by Chade
Hmm, that's a good point. Yeah, I would agree at least personally. (Regarding wanting to be challenged and having deep games.)Originally Posted by Chade
You have to take what Yahztee (the guy that reviews games on escapist magazine for those that don't know) says with a grain of salt, but look at the games he reviews and in multiple occasions you hear him refer to that special term "innovation." He talked a bout how thief was innovative. Yeah, the thing is that you look back to the golden age of PC gaming in the 90s (well, that's what I call it anyway) and games seemed to have such creative and new ideas with games that were just plain fun. (In my opinion.) You fast forward to today, and you see a lot of the same things that were developed before, the only main difference being technology has come very far since the 90s. Don't get me wrong though, I do acknowledge the indie scene, and it's really great.
This isn't 1986... the times have changed.
It would be strange if video game companies havent realised that there are *plenty* of 30-40 year old gamers. We are the first generation of gamers. Plenty of us are still around. All this bullshit about wouldbe business and charts and demographics. Make a classic Thief game or make another mindless knockoff. Either way, I assure you that the classic Thief game would sell better.
Whereas, say, if you were a big fan of really hard text adventures, then for you the "golden age" would have been the 80s. And if you were big on graphical adventure games, or turn based strategy, the golden age would have been the later 80s and early 90s.* And the RTS genre has probably peaked now, but I would say that it's golden age was still going strong early in the 00s.
On the other hand, and I know not everyone is going to agree with this, but I think that if you are a fan of straight forward shooters and action games, then the "golden age" still hasn't ended. The AAA genre is still evolving towards greater "complexity" (to the extent that the word makes sense within the action genre).
The way I see it, the AAA game industry is characterised by being on the cutting edge of "progress".** It is basically a copycat industry in which it is meaningfull to talk about games being "better" then other games in the sense that they have "improved" AI, physics, graphics, etc etc ... the AAA playing field really is that well defined. I listened to a talk once in which a game programming lead lamented the fact that their games all had to have the "latest features", even when they weren't appropriate for their game. This ties in well with my perception of the game industry as a consumer.
Now, the AAA industry has a large audience, but the thing is that you need to stay on the cutting edge of progress to keep this audience. It's only natural for development costs to rise, because you need to keep up with the Joneses to stay in the AAA market, and the AAA market is where all the consumers where. Alternate distribution channels and audiences are only just starting to find their feet now (which is very exciting).
So I think what happens with these "golden ages", is that each genre had a certain limit to the number of people who were interested. Text adventures < graphical adventures < TBS < RPG < RTS < FPS. And as the games evolved and cost more, the size of the audience required to justify the costs started to brush up against those limits, and then exceeded them. And because there weren't well developed alternate markets, those genres just dropped off the radar. But there's nothing special about the 90s ... this has been happening for ages. It just depends what genre you are looking at.
This is the reason why I am emphasising the indie market so much. I don't see this change in the AAA market as a reversible process. I don't see any point in looking to the AAA market and saying "why aren't they making games like they used to?" The AAA market evolved beyond complexity, and it can't go back. Instead, we need to look to the growth of alternative markets that can sell games to ten thousand or a hundred thousand people. Greater complexity is not a matter of evolution, it's a matter of devolution.
* I am completely pulling these dates out of my arse, not being a big gamer at the time.
** A short disclaimer here: this is the view I have built of the industry over a while, and for a long time I think it has been pretty accurate. But recently I think this aspect of the industry is under attack from the growing popularity of retro games, arthouse games, "non-traditional" games, etc etc ... the playing field seems to be fragmenting, and about time too! Right now is a very exciting time to be a gamer.
LATE EDIT: Oh, and ...
1) You pull a demographic statement out of your assIt would be strange if video game companies havent realised that there are *plenty* of 30-40 year old gamers ... All this bullshit about [snip] demographics ... I assure you that the classic Thief game would sell better
2) You bash people making business decisions based on demographics (that they've actually researched)
3) You proceed to "assure" us that a classic Thief game would sell better, because of demographics
Why is it that we consider anti-intelluctualism to be the kiss of death ... except when it comes to business, and then suddently it is perfectly acceptable?
(That being said, I do wonder if it is silly to continue squeezing thief into modern clothes, and maybe the idea underlying your post is a good one.)
Last edited by Chade; 6th Apr 2009 at 23:06.
Interesting post Chade, I agree that certain genres of games have their peak periods (I think of RTS games around 1996-8 when Starcraft & Total Annihilation came out). Many may think that FPS games peaked in 1998 when Half-Life, Unreal and Thief came out, but they were just evolutionary steps in the FPS genre (as well as being great games, of course).
One thing I thought was that there may be a cyclic process occuring as well, since many of the Flash games that are around now are essentially remakes (with shinier graphics) of the 1980's games for the BBC and Commodore.
I think you're right, Chade. In my opinion the same applies to other genres as well - I'm still waiting for the Sci-Fi genre to peak again, dammit
Successful titles seem to step over this rule though - for example sport game series or car oriented games.
Someone from Pixar responded to a question about demographics with something like "We all have a inner child that watches our work - if we make a movie which is fun for us, it will be fun for others as well.". Not to say if this would apply to AAA developement but what I have on mind is that there can be other succesful strategies in the big biz, and those are often easily overlooked.
I think causing hype and biased interest in gamers is often more important than doing a good work - sadly - at least is seems so from the common strategies (no Demo, teasers all around, etc.). If Thief will be held under NDA's and stuff like that longer I can only be happy for it, as it would seem they are trying to sell the product differently
No no no no.... I'm talking about PC gaming as a whole in the 1990's as a "golden age" of video gaming. And while your point about genres is fine, my point about PC gaming is that it all started to become advanced with the early 90s(and story and passion and creativity followed from that point on in the 90s, at least it seems that way to me) - maybe with the start of Doom in 1994. (Technically, people could argue Wolf 3d was the first FPS ever and started the genre, but in my eyes Doom takes the cake for making an impact.) Yeah, you could argue one genre over the other, but I was merely stating that the 90s was a time of great games (in my opinion) and a "golden age" of pc games. The reason I don't consider the '00s a golden age is because the pc gaming industry has matured enough. (We've reached the point where technology allows us to do things not possible in the 90s, so yes it's evolving but I don't think it's a golden age personally. But then maybe our definitions of golden age are different?)Originally Posted by Chade
Yes, evolving is a better term than, golden age in my opinion. I guess we could argue on and on why a golden age does or doesn't exist, but I feel like we're going way off on a tangent when this thread is supposed to be about a theoretical thief 4. Though, I guess we're justified by the title of the thread.Originally Posted by Chade
Sneaksie, it is true that pc gaming had particularly high prominence in the later 90s ... but I suspect that this is just going to be a historical blip due to the pc's early adoption of the internet/internet community.
However, I disagree that you are not talking about genres. (I'm out on a bit of a limb here, because I wasn't playing many games in the 80s/early 90s.) But when you say that gaming started to become "complex" in the 90s, it seems to me that this is only true of the FPS, RPG, and RTS genres. Other genres, like adventure games and turn based strategies, seemed to grow less complex and eventually all but dissappeared.
This rise in complexity of out favourite genres (this forum has a heavy bias towards FPS/RPG), plus the fact that the 90s were unusual in that the internet was practically owned by the pc (we also have a heavy bias towards pc games), means that most people here will see the 90s as a golden age of gaming. But I think that this is only really true "locally" ... looking at the gaming industry as a whole, I do not think the 90s were a unique golden age.
EDIT: Oh, and yeah ... sorry about the whole tangent thing ... but at the end of the day, this thread is currently 44 pages long and is going to go on for months. This conversation will end soon, and a bit of thief 4 news will come out, and the thread will be right back on track. I don't think it's a big deal.
And Volca, I agree that really exceptional games can break these "genre barriers". Often these games actually create new genres, or show how an existing genre can "recreate" itself.
Last edited by Chade; 7th Apr 2009 at 18:10.
Take it for what it's worth but...
I work at a chain of a National Electronics Retailer, and today a customer came in, and his business card from Eidos. So of course I told him I loved the thief series and was happy they had re-released Thief 1 and 2 for Vistas. He told me that yes, they were working on Thief 4, but the plan would not be officially green-lighted until they felt that the concept and gameplay would be something that would they would stand behind as a company as being up to the Thief legacy standards. So..there is hope.
That's a new twist, and with marketing language, too!
Assuming you're telling the truth, and assuming he's telling the truth, then:
True... maybe he was just trying to keep a fangirl's hopes alive.
"the plan would not be officially green-lighted until they felt that the concept and gameplay would be something that they would stand behind as a company as being really mass marketable and they won't make the TDS mistake again to not 'streamline' enough."
I bet that guy totally broke his NDA by saying that.
Either that guy revealed the secret early or you are someone that works in eidos and know exactly what's going on.
Actually my impression was more to the effect that they haven't give up on it and they're trying to figure out how they want to do it. Do I think it will be out or even announced soon? No. But it sounds like they haven't trashed the idea and would like to see it in the next couple years. That's my impression. Nothing close to an official announcement and the fact that they won't green-light it until they all agree on it means it's not even in development yet, to me. I just wanted to pass along the idea that there's still hope!
Edit: If they were any where near announcing anything, he wouldn't have made an off-hand remark to someone he saw in a store. I think it was more a nod to effect that they know there are still fans out there and we aren't forgotten.
Yep. They WANT to make it.