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Default Mass Effect - New PC Patch Coming

February 1st, 2009, 08:57
Personally I enjoyed Mass Effect greatly, and I look forward to the patch, because I do get various technical issues and bugs from time to time. Most are pretty easy to work around though, so it's not a big deal, but it's always nice to see developers supporting their products.

Hopefully we'll be getting some more information on Mass Effect 2 soon, as the game is probably well on its way (considering most of the tools, the background history and what not is already available).
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February 1st, 2009, 09:04
Originally Posted by Stormwaltz View Post
Check your history, friend. BioWare was sold by Elevation Partners to EA. BW didn't sell; we were sold.

The drawback of accepting money from private investors is that sometimes they want their money back before you've had a chance to earn it back. When that happens, they sell you to get their lucre. If they can't sell you, they close you and sell off your physical and intellectual assets to get their lucre.

Welcome to the cold equations of the game industry…
Then forgive me for being wrong.

I've obviously been misinformed.

I was primarily basing this on the various interviews with your leads guys - Muzyka and Zeschuk (IIRC) who certainly presented this deal as a mutually desirable and beneficial one.

Anyway, if Bioware really didn't have any say in the deal, I apologize for suggesting that they did.

However, it still doesn't really explain why your games have made the unfortunate turn from BG/NWN/KOTOR to Jade Empire and Mass Effect. You guys used to turn out the best stuff, and I always expected so much.

Could you clue me in as to whether that's a conscious "willing" choice on the part of Bioware, or if it's just another cold equation? I'm very curious to know if you consider these latest games superior, or if they're based on the economic realities dealing with investors?
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February 1st, 2009, 10:58
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
However, it still doesn't really explain why your games have made the unfortunate turn from BG/NWN/KOTOR to Jade Empire and Mass Effect. You guys used to turn out the best stuff, and I always expected so much.
Totally agree, except that KotOR should be included with the latter group, and not the former imo.
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February 1st, 2009, 11:27
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Totally agree, except that KotOR should be included with the latter group, and not the former imo.
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February 1st, 2009, 11:45
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Totally agree, except that KotOR should be included with the latter group, and not the former imo.
To an extent I agree, because it was heavily influenced by the console problem, but I still consider it a game worthy of Bioware. I very much enjoyed the setting, the D20 system (though simplified), several of the characters, and even the overall story and plot.
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February 1st, 2009, 11:54
I wounder if you guys will eat me, if I say jade empire is by far my favourite bioware game?

As far as the move in games, the sales of PC games go down every year, the sales of console games go up every year, does that give any clue as to why developers moves to consoles ?
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February 1st, 2009, 12:12
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I wounder if you guys will eat me, if I say jade empire is by far my favourite bioware game?
I would never blame anyone because their tastes differed from mine, and indeed I recognize my own taste in computer games as being extremely particular and demanding.

I'm glad you enjoyed Jade Empire and I have no doubt the average gamer would prefer it to something like Baldur's Gate 2.

That said, I think of it as the weakest game they've done since Shattered Steel - significantly worse than Mass Effect, and I attribute its weaknesses in no small measure to the hardware limitations of the original Xbox and the perceived audience of said console.

As far as the move in games, the sales of PC games go down every year, the sales of console games go up every year, does that give any clue as to why developers moves to consoles ?
I think I know why developers are moving to consoles, and I think I know why they're making games more accessible in general.

What I'm curious to know - as I asked - is whether the people on the floor are doing this gladly and if they, themselves, think of the new games as an improvement. I'm just really interested in whether this "necessary" move to reduce complexity and restrict games around a limited hardware platform is recognized as the path to the best game - or perhaps instead to the most profitable game. Also, I'd like to know from a developer whether he thinks it's more enjoyable to create the most profitable game versus the best game - or if he even think there's a difference.
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February 1st, 2009, 12:21
Jade Empire's dialogue system wasn't as dumbed down as Mass Effect and the adventure itself was great. The mechanics was quite lousy. It tried to be a RPG+Beat Em Up hybrid and failed both, just like ME tries to be a FPS+RPG hybrid and failed both. JE also had a greater range of interesting companions who actually had a great deal of interesting sidestories that could be explored, which really made up much of the bulk of the game (and sadly missed by those who rushed it through).

ME's strongest point was it's story and graphics, but is in almost every way a weaker game than Bioware's previous titles as far as I concern.

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February 1st, 2009, 12:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Also, I'd like to know from a developer whether he thinks it's more enjoyable to create the most profitable game versus the best game - or if he even think there's a difference.
Do not represent an opinion as fact. You're not more demanding, you just have a different taste. Jade Empire as well as Mass Effect were great games, in quite a many ways better than Bioware's old games and their worst RPG was NWN. IMHO of course.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:00
Jade Empire's dialogue system wasn't as dumbed down as Mass Effect and the adventure itself was great. The mechanics was quite lousy. It tried to be a RPG+Beat Em Up hybrid and failed both, just like ME tries to be a FPS+RPG hybrid and failed both. JE also had a greater range of interesting companions who actually had a great deal of interesting sidestories that could be explored, which really made up much of the bulk of the game (and sadly missed by those who rushed it through).
Indeed, and you can't go wrong with john cleese as a voice actor gave quite a few laughs! What I absolutely loved about JE though was the beauty and the wounderful setting, I fear that JE 2 will only be for xbox 360 forcing me to consider to get one.

I think I know why developers are moving to consoles, and I think I know why they're making games more accessible in general.

What I'm curious to know - as I asked - is whether the people on the floor are doing this gladly and if they, themselves, think of the new games as an improvement. I'm just really interested in whether this "necessary" move to reduce complexity and restrict games around a limited hardware platform is recognized as the path to the best game - or perhaps instead to the most profitable game. Also, I'd like to know from a developer whether he thinks it's more enjoyable to create the most profitable game versus the best game - or if he even think there's a difference.
I will be the first to admit I hate the dumbing down of games, I absolutely love hardcore RPG's like the wizardry series, and even less hardcore but still more complex than today like M&M series. The answer to your question, I think is yes. Troika proved it, so did Origin, so did SI , so did Sirtech, new world computing, etc etc, hardcore RPG's just doesn't sell enough these days, and it costs so much to develop games these days, you can just not fail, or you are doomed to go bankrupt.

So you either dumb them down and make them appeal to the console public, or you go bankrupt.

I dare to say the number who pirated the hardcore RPG's surpassed the ones who bought them, a game like VtmB , a lot of people I know played it very few bought it, it is often discussed on many RPG sites and it looks like most people played it, yet sales show few bought it.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:03
Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
Jade Empire's dialogue system wasn't as dumbed down as Mass Effect and the adventure itself was great. The mechanics was quite lousy. It tried to be a RPG+Beat Em Up hybrid and failed both, just like ME tries to be a FPS+RPG hybrid and failed both. JE also had a greater range of interesting companions who actually had a great deal of interesting sidestories that could be explored, which really made up much of the bulk of the game (and sadly missed by those who rushed it through).

ME's strongest point was it's story and graphics, but is in almost every way a weaker game than Bioware's previous titles as far as I concern.
I personally found the JE story juvenile and predictable, and particularly the NPCs were painful clichés - and I thought the tiny areas of obscenely linear structure were a huge turn-off.

Mass Effect followed much the same formula in terms of linear areas - but at least they were sizable and weren't constrained by the tiny amount of memory present in the old Xbox.

But as you said, the RPG mechanics were horrid just like the combat system as a whole.

Mass Effect suffers from very similar problems, but I guess I'm a sucker for the sci-fi setting and felt it had an aesthetic power which made it go significantly beyond Jade Empire.

But when it all comes down to it - neither of the two games are worthy of Bioware for very similar reasons. Not that they're BAD games - and I actually think JE was passable overall, and ME was quite good.

No, it's largely because I used to hold Bioware to the very highest standard - and I thought of them as absolute top-tier developers. I was especially impressed with what they tried to do with Neverwinter Nights - and it was as if they were pursuing one of my life-long dreams of converting the real RPG experience to the computer format. They didn't succeed as well as one might have hoped, but I still think they came closer than anyone else ever did. The OC might not have been very good - but I consider NWN an evolution over BG2, which in itself is a classic. They were truly on the right track before succumbing to production values over creative ambition.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:08
Originally Posted by Estel View Post
Do not represent an opinion as fact. You're not more demanding, you just have a different taste. Jade Empire as well as Mass Effect were great games, in quite a many ways better than Bioware's old games and their worst RPG was NWN. IMHO of course.
What opinion did I present as fact?

You - on the other hand - are TELLING me I'm not more demanding and presenting it as a fact. You do this without having the slightest idea of what I want.

Let's try to imagine all we say is based on our opinions, so we don't need to bother with "IMHO of course".
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February 1st, 2009, 13:09
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
The answer to your question, I think is yes.
What question would that be?
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February 1st, 2009, 13:14
What question would that be?
I mean yes as in necesarry, and I know for a fact many developers hate it.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:22
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I mean yes as in necesarry, and I know for a fact many developers hate it.
That's unfortunate. I don't think I could work like that, if I hated it. That's why I asked, because I can't really believe it's that bad for them.

Especially because it's only necessary to compromise when you invest big - which you don't have to do.

With artists as talented as those working for Bioware - it might be wiser to invest less, and be able to contend with less profit. As long as profit's there, it can't be all bad - and you could potentially evolve the genres along the way.

But no, I guess big hits and huge profit is the only way forward. Something I don't think I'll ever understand fully.

Then again, it's what happens to all companies when they get too big. There's this idea that bigger must be better, and more profit must result in even better games. A misunderstanding, in my opinion, and a middle-ground is typically the best place to exist.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:37
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
What opinion did I present as fact?
Pretty much everything you write sound like you thinking you have "a corner of the truth"*.

*is this the right expression? sorry, english is not my primary language…

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
You - on the other hand - are TELLING me I'm not more demanding and presenting it as a fact.
No, that's my opinion.
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February 1st, 2009, 13:49
Originally Posted by Estel View Post
Pretty much everything you write sound like you thinking you have "a corner of the truth"*.
We all think that - though some hide it better than others. We all cling to the idea that what we perceive in life isn't all pure imagination or conjecture. Life is hard enough without certainty, and we don't need complete ignorance to make it worse.

That doesn't mean I'm presenting my idea of truth as fact - it just sounds that way because I have a certain way of articulating my mind. It requires an open mind to get around my "confrontational" style and I find many unable or unwilling to take my words at face value. They must apply something horrible to my person, and the irony is that I'm unable to hold back my way - so I guess I deserve what I get.

*is this the right expression? sorry, english is not my primary language…
English isn't my primary language either - but I think I get what you're saying.

No, that's my opinion.
Thanks for demonstrating that your "corner of truth" problem is a universal one.

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February 1st, 2009, 16:17
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
the sales of PC games go down every year
I'm not entirely sure that's true. The NPD group is the primary source of sales charts seen in the media and by the public at large AFAIK, and they don't track download sales at all. So their data has nothing from Steam, Direct2Drive and so on. Digital distribution and direct-to-consumer retail is very much "where it's at" and is the industry's future in the same way that distributing on CDs to brick and mortar retail became the industry standard/future at the dawn of the PlayStation era.

I've seen as much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the "death of PC gaming" as everyone else, and I know it's a frequent, almost omnipresent meme, but it is not the only well-articulated interpretation of current and future gaming market conditions.

Originally Posted by JemyM View Post
ME's strongest point was it's story
IMO this was one of the weakest elements. It was over-the-top, cliched tripe like bad 80s B-grade sci-fi. Plus the races are in many cases, again IMO, simply the standard fantasy races reskinned.

Also, Drew Karpyshyn's first ME book was overwhelmingly bad, full of cardboard cutout characters and a write-by-the-numbers plot with Michael Bay-esque Hollywoodish "big exploshun" moments.

When I hear Bioware say "epic" these days I cringe.
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February 1st, 2009, 20:39
Originally Posted by Penny View Post
I'm not entirely sure that's true. The NPD group is the primary source of sales charts seen in the media and by the public at large AFAIK, and they don't track download sales at all. So their data has nothing from Steam, Direct2Drive and so on.
This 'PC sales go down every year' has been debunked constantly since 2004 … yet it keeps coming up. And GG, you keep asserting this non-truth, at least 3-4 times this year alone! It is like saying that all retail is dying, when not counting any online sales. In fact, it is *exactly* like talking about retail without including Amazon.

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February 1st, 2009, 22:00
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I personally found the JE story juvenile and predictable, and particularly the NPCs were painful clichés - and I thought the tiny areas of obscenely linear structure were a huge turn-off.

Mass Effect followed much the same formula in terms of linear areas - but at least they were sizable and weren't constrained by the tiny amount of memory present in the old Xbox.

But as you said, the RPG mechanics were horrid just like the combat system as a whole.

Mass Effect suffers from very similar problems, but I guess I'm a sucker for the sci-fi setting and felt it had an aesthetic power which made it go significantly beyond Jade Empire.

That is almost exactly the same way I feel about those games. Jade Empire did indeed feel very constricted, almost claustrophobic, with it's linear level design. I also felt most of the NPC's were nothing short of annoying.

That's not to say it was a bad game. I really liked the art direction in JE, as well as the music. I also didn't think the combat was really that bad, although it falls far short of games like BG2. I enjoyed it playing through it once, but it's simply not the type of game I would ever replay.

Mass Effect is definitely more engrossing to me. Perhaps it's partially due to the rarity of space opera type RPGs, but I find the atmosphere in ME to be somewhat unique and refreshing.
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