The Escapist - The Rise & Fall of Troika
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January 8th, 2007, 01:30
I think that the 400,000 copies of PS: Torment it eventually sold was over a total of 4 or 5 years. Sadly
—- the developers/publishers can't wait that long to get a return on their investment. It is the pubishers, mostly, I think that don't want to wait this long…
In what I'd like to refer to as the golden age of the crpgs, the 1990's, game companies seemed to be more about making games for the gaming crpg audience(s). Nowadays, most of them. even those making crpgs, seem to be in it - just for the money.
I don't know how much an average game costs to make, but I do not the Danish game devs. of the Hitman series once said in an interview that their latest game Hitman:Blood Money(tm) did cost about 15 millions US Dollars to make.
While this is partly due to the fact that people playing Hitman games demands more & better graphics/visuals, this may not be true for the hardcore RPG gamer. I, for one, was one of the few, who really liked Kult: Heretic Kingdoms. But I believe I'm belonging to the minority which also did like PS: Torment quite a lot. along with the other 4-500,000 people who bought the game).
This number, 4-500,000, is probably how large the hardcore gaming audience is for crpgs, maybe it is even 2 or 3 timers that number. However, today games cost so much to develop than even if a game developer would cater to this niche audience, the publisher simply would say 'no' since the publishers like to see a very quick return on their investment. This is the first problem a game developer has, while the next problem or challenge that they would face would be to actually develop a game which would be bought
by say 80% of the maybe 1,000,000 hardcore crpgs fans out there.
The problem here is that you'd never know what the target, or even the hardcore crpg audience wants. You could try making a game like PS: Torment today or a game like the old and now classic Infinity Engine games (BG1, BG2, Icewind Dale etc.), but you wouldn't
have any assurance that nearly all hardcore crpg gamers would by the game, not even if you made a game which had great story, great gameplay and the like.
As for games with more mature themes or which are made for adults (meaning age 21+ or so), I agree that there seem to be a market for for those. However, as long as people's minds still are focused on that 'gamez are for teh kids', then I don't see the game devs. or publishers changing their style, i.e. they still want to push that T-rating in order to generate as much sales as possible.
Somehow, I find it comforting that the indie scene has taken over making crpgs. This means that we hopefully and probably can get more games of the kind I like: weird games, strange games, which focus an gameplay, story, dialoque, and the consequences actions have in the game world. I would like to see more games like Kult: Heretic Kingdoms or PS: Torment. But that's just me…
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