id and Zenimax, Sitting in a Tree

Zaldron said:

Ah, but is this lack a real tangible problem of the games themselves or the considerable inertia involved in shifting and attracting a modding community? I agree games such as Doom/2 and Quake were more replayable than some other critically acclaimed games, past or present, but I reckon they would be nowhere as interesting these days without the strong community you see here and everywhere else. Many game developers don't consider the option of releasing and supporting an SDK on the grounds of today's compartmentalization of modding communities into tightly-knit groups attached to specific games and companies. In a way, the highly replayable, highly supported, highly modular and highly famous games of the last decade/years have decimated the interest in customization, both developer and customer wise.

Anyone who thinks Doom would still be "loads" of fun without source ports or the massive amount of quality wads is a lunatic. It wouldn't be even half as fun as it currently is, it wouldn't even be a quarter of fun.


You know, I still love playing through Doom and Doom 2, the user made .wads are an added bonus. I would agree part of Doom's longevity is due to it's modability,but the original games are still extremely fun. I think it's mainly due to the fact that it's not scripted, so every time you go through a level it will be similar, but it will never be exactly the same. The rose tinted glasses help I'm sure, but they're still amazing games. The last game I played that really made me say "wow" was Half-Life, and that was 1999, but even Half-Life gets old because so many of the wow moments were scripted.

This brings me to my next point, Bethesda games aren't really scripted aside from the main story, they maintain a huge amount of user decisions, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. Coupled with the fact that they release the source code for their games, listen to user feedback, and update their games accordingly, albeit with some issues, they seem to be very fan based and focused on their work. If there was a single company that had to take over id due to financial issues, I'm glad it's Bethesda/Zenimax. At least they care about making games and seem to regard money as a bonus, as opposed to Activision or EA.

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TheeXile said:

Lack of game replayability is like built-in obsolescence. We could always have lightbulbs that don't die, or nylons that don't break, or plumbing that doesn't leak, etc. But when players stop buying new games, manufacturers stop making money.

Obviously no one here, who has been playing Doom since 1993-94, has ever bought any other game, just because Doom is so replayable. It negates the need to ever buy any other game, it's even so damn good you never need to play another genre either!

Translation: your explanation is bullshit. Replayability does not prevent new games from being taken up, nor do new games have to replace the old ones. I enjoy Doom, and I enjoy Half-Life 2, is that a crime?

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MikeRS said:

Obviously no one here, who has been playing Doom since 1993-94, has ever bought any other game, just because Doom is so replayable. It negates the need to ever buy any other game, it's even so damn good you never need to play another genre either!

Translation: your explanation is bullshit. Replayability does not prevent new games from being taken up, nor do new games have to replace the old ones. I enjoy Doom, and I enjoy Half-Life 2, is that a crime?

You missed my point, apparently.

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What point? As I see it you had none.

Non-replayability is only intresting from a shortsighted business standpoint that says that people are more likely to buy new games if the old ones lose interest.

I say if that happens people are far less likely to buy the next game for full price because they expect to get ripped off again.

Here's how it went with some modern games for me:

I never expected any long term interest from Doom 3 to begin with, so I rented it at a video store for a weekend, played half through it, got bored, brought the game back and deleted it from my HD.

I never expected any long term interest from Quake 4 to begin with, so I rented it at a video store for a weekend, played half through it, got bored, brought the game back and deleted it from my HD.

[repeat this paragraph for any other game I checked out in recent years.]

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Why buy new games when my old games are still fun? Plus they are too expensive now. Graf Zhal said he buys games for 50 EUR (which right now is 70 USD, that's an even more of a ripoff than it is here.

and MikeRS, saying that people who started doom in '93 and '94 havn't bought a game is a bad statement and pretty much is false.

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GhostlyDeath said:

and MikeRS, saying that people who started doom in '93 and '94 havn't bought a game is a bad statement and pretty much is false.

SARCASM

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Know what else sucks? Modern movies have no replayability. Every time you watch them, you see the exact same scripted sequences. You just can't watch the same movie twice anymore.

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Movies aren't games.

Games with good stories may be fun to play again just for the story itself (e.g. Max Payne) but come on: What's there in Doom 3 or Quake 4 that makes it worth going through these ultra-linear games again? (aside from the Stroggification cutscene in Q4, of course ;))

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Graf Zahl said:

Movies aren't games.

Games with good stories may be fun to play again just for the story itself (e.g. Max Payne) but come on: What's there in Doom 3 or Quake 4 that makes it worth going through these ultra-linear games again? (aside from the Stroggification cutscene in Q4, of course ;))


LMS Mod, but that gets boring after a while also...

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Graf Zahl said:

Movies aren't games.

Games with good stories may be fun to play again just for the story itself (e.g. Max Payne) but come on: What's there in Doom 3 or Quake 4 that makes it worth going through these ultra-linear games again? (aside from the Stroggification cutscene in Q4, of course ;))


Fair enough. After Doom 3 I found that I wasn't even interested in Resurrection of Evil, as it presumably would tell the exact same dull story once again (and I didn't feel like dealing with any gravity gun gimmickry). But, the point is: the design philosophy of crafting linear, "cinematic" games is not necessarily at fault - the problem is the execution. Most game developers give you a story, acting and cinematics that don't belong in a B-movie, and most B movies don't deserve to be watched twice either, but some rare developers take this modern design philosophy to heart and make great games, so adept in the telling of their stories, that they deserve multiple "watchings". I'd offer CoD 4 as my example, having played through it four times, I think.

I think we can agree that there is a problem, even if we disagree on its nature. The new games that I find myself most strongly drawn towards are those that succeed as stories and don't meander in the telling, like Half Life, Portal, CoD 4, etc., and the rate at which the industry produces noteworthy games is appalling. That (and economic reasons) are why I tend to look backwards in history for games worth playing - if something is remembered as a classic, then there will be something in it I can appreciate.

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I don't understand why in modern games the story has to drive the gameplay. IMO it should just be a means to connect the 'game' parts. Something like a mission briefing outlining the objectives but then leaving the player to approach the following mission on his own terms. Games that work like this mostly play fine. But as soon as the story needs to be 'experienced' while playing a game is lost - because it kills all flexibility the player can have.

This already was a problem in Half Life although not one that destroyed the game. HL is a bit schizophrenic in its approach. There are parts that are painfully linear (and dull) but there's also other parts that show some incredible creativity in setting up situations and the puzzles to solve to go on.

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Graf Zahl said:

I don't understand why in modern games the story has to drive the gameplay. IMO it should just be a means to connect the 'game' parts. Something like a mission briefing outlining the objectives but then leaving the player to approach the following mission on his own terms. Games that work like this mostly play fine. But as soon as the story needs to be 'experienced' while playing a game is lost - because it kills all flexibility the player can have.

This already was a problem in Half Life although not one that destroyed the game. HL is a bit schizophrenic in its approach. There are parts that are painfully linear (and dull) but there's also other parts that show some incredible creativity in setting up situations and the puzzles to solve to go on.

Have you never played Deus Ex?

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exp(x) said:

Have you never played Deus Ex?



That was a long time ago - before games went bad.

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exp(x) said:

Have you never played Deus Ex?

Deus Ex is a perfect example of what he's talking about - the story serves the gameplay, not the other way around.

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Graf Zahl said:
What point? As I see it you had none.

It's called inference. Look into it.

Non-replayability is only intresting from a shortsighted business standpoint that says that people are more likely to buy new games if the old ones lose interest.

That was exactly my point. Congratulations. :P

Except in an industry built on adolescents with nil attention spans, it's probably less shortsighted than you might think, unfortunately.

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TheeXile said:

Except in an industry built on adolescents with nil attention spans, it's probably less shortsighted than you might think, unfortunately.



... only if you plan to lose your customers when they grow up...

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Graf Zahl said:

... only if you plan to lose your customers when they grow up...

Most people lose interest in games when they grow up anyway. But there's always successive generations of impulsive brats to come along to fill the void.

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TheeXile said:

Most people lose interest in games when they grow up anyway.


Are you sure about that? I think that is probably an often perpetuated fallacy which feels right because, when gaming started seriously, older people "didn't understand these new computers". Lets face it, we all know people who still say stuff like that. So it's a common perception that only kids play games. However, the first gaming kids are now adults and do understand "those new computers". Unfortunately, I can't find the link, but I read an article recently which identified men in their mid 30s as being a sizable chunk of the game buying population.

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Enjay said:

Unfortunately, I can't find the link, but I read an article recently which identified men in their mid 30s as being a sizable chunk of the game buying population.

Here's the ESA (Entertainment Software Association, not European Space Agency) stats for 2008: http://www.theesa.com/facts/pdfs/ESA_EF_2008.pdf

The part of teenage boys (stereotypically supposed to be the overwhelming majority of gamers) is smaller than that of adult women (who stereotypically do not ever play videogames).

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Enjay said:

Are you sure about that? I think that is probably an often perpetuated fallacy which feels right because, when gaming started seriously, older people "didn't understand these new computers". Lets face it, we all know people who still say stuff like that. So it's a common perception that only kids play games. However, the first gaming kids are now adults and do understand "those new computers". Unfortunately, I can't find the link, but I read an article recently which identified men in their mid 30s as being a sizable chunk of the game buying population.

Well sure there are a lot of adult gamers, but I suspect a lot of them play the stuff with good replay value proportionately more than impulsively buying every new thing that comes out.

It's still the dumb kids who keep the money flowing in, I think.

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TheeXile said:

It's still the dumb kids who keep the money flowing in, I think.


Those dumb kids have no income. Their parents who are probably in their 30s buy the games.

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GhostlyDeath said:

Those dumb kids have no income. Their parents who are probably in their 30s buy the games.

You're referring mainly to younger kids, but yes. Parents and relatives are obliged to indulge their offspring, and our culture facilitates that. We even devote the latter portion of each year to nothing but promiscuous commercialistic rituals of mass spending and gift giving as an elaborate and superficial proxy mechanism of attributing value towards one another.

And guess who are the most 'valued' members of our culture?




blah blah blah.

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Graf Zahl said:

stuff


Um, Grand Theft Auto? You know, probably the most successful game franchise in the world right now?

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eXile, you're not winning.

Yes, planned obsolescence is one of this world's evils, but aside from crap like sports franchises with yearly releases, nobody is trying to make games that quickly bore the player. That really isn't a viable business model. The game industry is trying to sell good games. They're just failing, you see.

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Creaphis said:
eXile, you're not winning.

I'm not?

Yes, planned obsolescence is one of this world's evils, but aside from crap like sports franchises with yearly releases, nobody is trying to make games that quickly bore the player. That really isn't a viable business model. The game industry is trying to sell good games. They're just failing, you see.

I wasn't talking about boring the players. Though on that note, I remember an article, for instance, that talked about how developers now anticipate that a certain percentage of players stop playing a given game somewhere around the half-way point on average. Often doesn't matter how interesting the game is. It's just what people do.

So what do developers do with that knowledge? They focus their efforts into making the first half of the game the highlight of the player's experience. They just realize that the bulk of their game's success will come mainly from the allotted amount of attention span the average player, game reviewer, etc. will invest in it before making their decision, getting their fill, etc.



Similar concept applies for (and often factors into) the developers' investment into replay value. With the exception of some kinds multiplayer games (and especially MMOs), of course.

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eXile is exactly right,and I've been saying a similar point for years. Not only are low-replay value linear games easier to make, but the large publishers have a strong incentive to steer gaming culture towards people playing much more short games than only 1 or 2 really good games a year. If companies like EA had their way, games would be more like movies - much more of them and at a higher profit.

It's hard for us to accept, and that's why so many people are reluctant to admit eXile's right, but the basic fact is this: Like any other industry videogame companies are concerned with profits FIRST, quality second. The two are unfortunately NOT directly related, and often in direct conflict. Companies make MORE profit pushing shorter, un-moddable, and linear games because people will spend less time with them, and thus buy more.

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hardcore_gamer said:

After reading this article i don't think we have much too worry about, the people who are crying about how this will destroy Id need too relax.

Then the pr did its job. Of course you would feel better about the deal after reading the article - but the real proof will be in the following months/years. I think healthy skepticism is in order, but then, I haven't been the biggest fan of id's latest stuff anyway... we'll see, I hope I'm wrong.

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Well, I think it's good for id's survival. In the interviews, Carmack hammered two points: the responsibility of having a hundred households depending on the success of id's games, and the competition with the publishers' own shooters.

ZeniMax means a safety blanket in case of disappointing sales, the possibility to be their own publisher, and the marketing expertise that revived the Fallout brand and made it a blockbuster.

As for how much it will change id's games, wait and see. ZeniMax leaves more independence to Bethesda than most other owners leave to their internal studios, so it can reasonably be expected it'll be the same thing with id.

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