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-   -   Jade Empire - Special Edition Screens @ BioWare (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1152)

Dhruin January 19th, 2007 01:17

Jade Empire - Special Edition Screens @ BioWare
 
BioWare has released some new screens for Jade Empire Special Edition.
More information.

Acleacius January 19th, 2007 01:17

I was shocked to see GameBanshee has already complete the JE walkthrough, I guess they are trying to do console games as well now.

I didn't really look at it as not to spoil it for myself but it looks complete up to chapter 7 and "The Throne Room" which sounds endingish. ;)

Also in their forums are many positive post about the game.

mudsling3 January 19th, 2007 04:12

I think I have yet to miss a Bioware game. I can't believe they hold it in Xbox for 2 years.

PatrickWeekes January 19th, 2007 05:47

We had to hold it up on the Xbox for 2 years. That was the Xbox Exclusive deal that BioWare made with Microsoft — no platform beyond the Xbox for a year and a half, if I remember correctly, and Microsoft has the right to match offers to put it on other platforms (that is to say, if BioWare got an offer from a publisher to put Jade on the PS2 for a million dollars, Microsoft had the right to give us a million and one (or something legalistic like that) to NOT put it out on the PS2).

Obviously, they weren't gonna refuse to let it come out on the PC, but they were gonna make sure that it stayed an Xbox Exclusive for as long as possible. Getting people to buy Xboxes in order to get an otherwise inaccessible game is what those exclusivity deals are all about.

Corwin January 19th, 2007 07:47

Yeah, but it doesn't mean we PC gamers have to like it!! There's a name for that sort of thing IMO, but I'm too polite to use it!! :)

Acleacius January 19th, 2007 09:57

Are not! ;)

txa1265 January 19th, 2007 16:11

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickWeekes (Post 16280)
Getting people to buy Xboxes in order to get an otherwise inaccessible game is what those exclusivity deals are all about.

I hope is was worth a lot of bucks to you … since the sales were apparently only 'decent', certainly not up to usual Bioware snuff.

I know it is true, and that Jade Empire was targeted for XBOX only, but it still troubling …

PatrickWeekes January 19th, 2007 18:18

Well, yes and no.

People at BioWare didn't love it, but this deal was made before BioWare merged with Pandemic, so this was a relatively small company trying to buy itself a little independence by taking (what I understand is) a really nice deal from Microsoft to be the first really big RPG exclusive to the XBox. For a small company, that was a nice way to get some good money (you know, to stay profitable and keep making games) and to guarantee good marketing for Jade — since Microsoft gets behind advertising for their exclusives in a big way.

Now that we're a larger company, the amount of money that was given to us (and hi, I'm a writer, and I have NO IDEA how much that was, so take all of this as a gross generality) isn't as persuasive — it's better for us to get onto as many platforms as possible. We're honoring our commitment with Mass Effect, but after that, I'd expect that future console games will be released on multiple consoles (and ideally on the PC as well) simultaneously.

So, short version: it was a good idea at the time, because it gave BioWare the breathing room to actually make its own games (Jade, Mass Effect, Dragon Age). It's not something that I think we need to do any longer, though. And I don't think that anybody is pretending it was the ideal solution. (I didn't relish buying an Xbox in order to play Jade Empire, although I did subsequently find some games I liked on it.)

As far as sales being not up to BioWare's usual snuff, bear in mind that this is the first game we made with our own IP. It's kind of to be expected that BioWare's first foray isn't going to sell as well as the games that were backed by giants like the D&D license or Star Wars.

zakhal January 19th, 2007 18:38

Better now than never. Looking at som of the new impressive bioware games like mass effect Im getting the feeling theyll never release it to PC.

doctor_kaz January 19th, 2007 19:04

Interesting that Microsoft would pay Bioware not to put Jade Empire onto the PC, since they claim that is still their #1 platform. I'll bet that they were planning on Jade Empire selling a lot more than it did, based upon Bioware's reputation alone. That was supposed to be a Final Fantasy-esque killer app. They rolled out the epic marketing and hype blitz for it. They even had ads in movie theaters for it.

mudsling3 January 19th, 2007 19:47

So, PWee… MS could plan all that still ended up with short end of the stick…but who cares about a few yarn off a woolly mammoth. I am glad it's coming with all the new features. But I am afraid this path from console to PC will become standard practice.

Acleacius January 19th, 2007 20:14

doctor_kaz, I believe PatrickWeekes was refering to m$ paying to not have it on PS3 not on the PC, if I understand correctly. :)

txa1265 January 19th, 2007 20:44

There is much more competition between consoles compared to console to PC, so that makes sense.

doctor_kaz January 19th, 2007 20:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Acleacius (Post 16360)
doctor_kaz, I believe PatrickWeekes was refering to m$ paying to not have it on PS3 not on the PC, if I understand correctly. :)

He said that Microsoft wanted it to remain an X-Box exclusive as long as possible. Were it not for that, I think that Bioware would have released on the PC a while ago.

Moriendor January 19th, 2007 21:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by doctor_kaz (Post 16366)
He said that Microsoft wanted it to remain an X-Box exclusive as long as possible.

Not "as long as possible". Patrick said 18 months (one and a half years, actually).
It's really not that difficult.
The 18 months XBox exclusivity is not negotiable. It's an XBox exclusive by contract for that time. Period.
After those 18 months, however, Bio is free to (search for partners to) publish the game on other platforms (including all other consoles and the PC) BUT Microsoft always has the right to prevent other platform releases by making Bio a better offer (kind of like a preemptive option).
Microsoft have obviously chosen to not pull that option in the case of JE. That's why the game is coming to the PC now.

PatrickWeekes January 19th, 2007 22:33

Moriendor has the right of it.

From initial ship date (May 2005?) to November '06, BioWare's hands were tied.
As of now, MS can choose to match an offer to BioWare in order to supercede that offer to BioWare.

English: Until November, we couldn't do anything. Now, we have to run it by Microsoft, and realistically, that meant that they could keep us off the PS2/PS3.

The exclusivity deal is essentially Microsoft paying BioWare a whole bunch of money because they're betting that BioWare can convince people who don't already have an Xbox to get one.

Jade sold fairly well — not a blockbuster, but also not a failure. Its sales look a lot better when you factor in the idea that Jade came out at a point where a lot of hardcore gamers were no longer buying Xbox games in preparation to get the Xbox 360.

As for the question of whether only putting out a product on one platform is unethical or bad or nasty… my brief take is: No.

If I want to watch Rome, Deadwood, or the Sopranos, I have to pay for HBO. If you wanted to play Jade, you needed to pay for an Xbox. HBO doesn't just get good shows because they like 'em (although if they like their jobs, that's a really big plus). HBO gets good TV to convince you to pay more money for it.

I've been in a few meetings where people discussed the cost of developing a product for multiple platforms. If you're doing 360 and PC, it's ugly. If you're doing PS3 and anything, it's about ten times as ugly, because apparently the Playstation is, uh, more-different from the 360 and the PC than the 360 and the PC are from each other. If you're trying to develop for all three, then Holy God, you'd BETTER have a blockbuster on your hands, because you're sinking a lot of money into that baby.

So as a company, you have to look at the numbers. Microsoft offered "X" for BioWare to keep the game off of anything but the Xbox for awhile. BioWare people probably looked at the cost of making Jade for both Xbox and PC simultaneously, "Y", and how much money they'd get for that PC version, "Z".

Then it's a simple question of whether X > (Z - Y).

(Bear in mind: I'm a writer. That's the dumbed-down version that I understand. I'm sure it's a lot more complex than that.)

Evidently, "X" was more.

On our future products, now that we've merged with Pandemic, we've got more resources to streamline multiplatform development. That means that (Z - Y) is a much larger number than it used to be, so unless someone comes up to us with the mother of all "X"es, we're not likely to be interested.

(Mass Effect being different, of course, since we made that contract back before we were big. I don't know if the plan is for ME2 and ME3 to be multiplatform, or what's involved in the contract there. But I know that BioWare is really tired of being seen as "The guys who don't like the PC anymore.")

Dhruin January 19th, 2007 23:54

Thanks for the comments, Patrick.

I know that the sales figures for Jade are always balanced against the new IP, but I wonder if it tried too hard to straddle two grounds. I say this not as an attack on the game and only from second-hand knowledge — I've yet to play it. While a couple of reviews were over the top (IGN's 9.9/10) several others seem to feel it didn't quite get the action stuff "right" enough for real action gamers while some RPG elements were too simplified (inventory, for example) to really add enough crunchy stuff.

I'm looking forward to finding out in a few weeks.

Sorcha Ravenlock January 20th, 2007 00:00

I'm really looking forward to this one. I came into CRPG late, NWN was one of my first recent CRPGs. I loved NWN1 (I still do), I was dazzled by KOTOR (oh, the plot twist! I never saw it coming) and I have heard a lot of good stuff about JE.
I never felt Bioware sold out to console gaming (unlike other companies who I won't mention here because their crappy console port has a rant and rave thread all on it's own) and I have to say anything with the Bioware label is instant buy for me. I can't wait to play JE, I'm am very slowly coverting my hubbie towards an Xbox 360 for Mass Effect, and everything I've read about DA has me drooling over my keyboard.
Not just because of the great games I've played, but also because the continueing support for NWN1, and all the great premium models released. For me Bioware=quality, and the love for gaming shows not only in the games, but in the large presence from devs on the Bioware boards :)

(and if this makes me sound like a fan-boy, or girl in my case: bite me. ;) )

Moriendor January 20th, 2007 00:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dhruin (Post 16379)
I know that the sales figures for Jade are always balanced against the new IP, but I wonder if it tried too hard to straddle two grounds.

I believe that the much more mundane reason is that JRPGs or Asian themes in general don't really attract Western gamers all that much. I'm far from being an expert in JRPGs or J-gaming in general but it seems to me like the only franchise that "made it" in the Western hemisphere is Final Fantasy (and Zelda if we take consoles into account as well).

Anyway, I would almost dare to assume that Jade Empire was not even supposed to succeed in the West but that it was really more of an attempt of MS to get a foot in the door in the Asian market (read: to make Japanese kids buy Xboxes instead of the home brands). They needed a AAA Asian-themed title and they chose BioWare to make it for them. Strong sales in the West would have been a welcome side effect but were possibly never expected by the parties involved.
That's just a guess, of course, but I don't think/hope I'm too far off :) .

Cormac January 20th, 2007 00:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moriendor (Post 16383)
[…]That's just a guess, of course, but I don't think/hope I'm too far off :) .

Actually JE was the game Bio wanted to make for a long time, it wasnt at all MS's idea. And although Asian-themed, it's not at all a clone of JRPGs, it very much resembles in its story and character relations Bio's past games, like KotOR and BG2.


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