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Default Larian Studios - Quality over Quantity

January 21st, 2012, 02:20
Swen 'Lar' Vincke writes about the "quality over quantity" debate and his own internal battle with the subject. He also mentions Project E in passing and although fans will know this is a full RPG, he confirms it saying "project E is very much what people expect from us, a big RPG with all the stuff that goes with it". He also discusses the data that suggests polish is better than game length at the end of the day:
Enthousiastically the designer told me – yeah cool, it’s going to be really epic, really really epic. Sadly this was quickly followed by him being disappointed because I told him –we should cut. This didn’t go down well and he argued quite strongly and well against it, but in my mind the decision was already taken – every single alarm bell ringing very loud inside of me. Looking at that very long and high wall, I knew that without intervention this game was going to be way over budget and really late.
So I told him, cut about one third, rewrite the story in such a way that we can still add the one third (for the unlikely event that we’ll be ready with it ahead of time) and then we’ll see.
I broke his heart, and I also broke mine, because the small boy in me actually wanted the world to even be larger. But the big boy said, you can’t do this. Probably one third isn’t even enough, you might have to cut half.
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January 21st, 2012, 02:21
From the article:
You can’t even blame them, because statistics obtained by monitoring how many achievements are unlocked in Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga on Xbox360, tell us that 40% of players finished the first part of the game, 18% the second part and a mere 7,5% the entire game.

I found those statistics very interesting. According to Steam it took me 84 hours to complete the DKS, both Ego Draconis and Flames of Vengeance, though the latter was a lot shorter. My interest started waning in the middle of the second part of Ego Draconis. I found the flying fortresses tedious and repetitious, and I think they could have left out some of those - the game could have been 20-30 hours shorter and I would have enjoyed it just as much. The other alternative would have been to make them more diverse since there wasn't a whole lot of variety between them.
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January 21st, 2012, 02:37
It breaks my heart to.I'm fine with 30-40 hr rpg as long as the cut content doesn't ruin the story there trying to tell. I don't want a game with a ending that basically says I have to buy DLC or a expansion just to finish it.

I dread the day Rpg's become Like FPS games. A 5 hour campaign and to much focus on the MP side.

As for the stats I dont pay attention as there not accurate or even repesent the majority of people. If I belive the stats the vast majority didnt even play half the game. That is sad.

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January 21st, 2012, 03:25
Everyone I've talked to stopped DKS after the first 1/3rd. Even I did. :/
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January 21st, 2012, 03:31
You can't base anything off of those stats since there are probably a lot of people that didn't play the dragon parts. I stopped playing because I didn't like the parts where you played as a dragon since it was boring and was barely even an rpg in those segments. The best part of the game was the first part and if the rest of the game had been that good I probably would have finished the game a long time ago.

PS. I wonder what the stats would be like for a game like Skyrim? From what I have read and from speaking to people the hours would be around the entire length of DKS for the most part and probably far more for some.
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January 21st, 2012, 04:02
Look at the Steam achievements for Skyrim to find out. It's all there on their page.. Unlike DKS which you can play without Steam, every single person who plays Skyrim on PC (non-pirated) generates those achievements, so the statistics should be pretty spot on in terms of what percentage experienced what.
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January 21st, 2012, 04:25
Originally Posted by darkling View Post
Look at the Steam achievements for Skyrim to find out. It's all there on their page.. Unlike DKS which you can play without Steam, every single person who plays Skyrim on PC (non-pirated) generates those achievements, so the statistics should be pretty spot on in terms of what percentage experienced what.
Well then if there as accurate as you say then the consumer has no one but themselves to blame for the way games are made now. You can block steam from getting the info also its as simple as blocking the program.

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January 21st, 2012, 05:20
Yeah, but the amount that does this is likely incredibly small.
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January 21st, 2012, 07:56
I checked the achievements and it looks like about 25% of the people. About 11% of the people have reached level 50 so have done much more then just going through and beat it. It looks like there is about 7 percent that either had achievements blocked right from the beginning or have the game but haven't played at all. This doesn't include people that blocked achievements after the beginning of the game and people that don't play the main quest.

PS. I didn't realize about the achievement statistics because I always ignore achievements. Do the achievements get recorded for people that play mostly in offline mode? Also do achievements get recorded for people who use mods? (there are a few hundred out there)

PPS. These statistics are not very reliable since there are many people who don't even play the main storyline and instead just do there own thing in the game also many people that are waiting for patches before playing.
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January 21st, 2012, 10:53
Originally Posted by Xian View Post
I found those statistics very interesting. According to Steam it took me 84 hours to complete the DKS, both Ego Draconis and Flames of Vengeance, though the latter was a lot shorter. My interest started waning in the middle of the second part of Ego Draconis. I found the flying fortresses tedious and repetitious, and I think they could have left out some of those - the game could have been 20-30 hours shorter and I would have enjoyed it just as much. The other alternative would have been to make them more diverse since there wasn't a whole lot of variety between them.
I'm not sure how many hours it took me to complete DKS (I played the retail version), but it didn't seem that long. I'm guessing around 65 hours, although it could have been more. I finished every side quest and cleared every fortress.

I agree that the flying fortresses were tedious in some parts, but I think it's important to point out that those sections were entirely optional.

I also never got why some people hated the dragon sections so much. I thought they were an interesting diversion, and they only made up about 5-10% of the total gameplay.
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January 21st, 2012, 12:01
I dropped DKS also, I think at 2/3
The fortresses weren't the problem, but once something goes bad, you start to see another flaw, and another, and another
Lost interest in gameplay, story, found myself picking dialog lines that I didn't agree with, reading uninteresting dialogs.
The entire game world fell, and I saw it as a "game", no magic left.

Oh, and ontopic, YES more polish, less content.
You can have a 10 h game be the most satisfying thing ever, especially if you add 2-5 distinct walkthroughs.
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January 21st, 2012, 12:31
Originally Posted by borcanu View Post
I dropped DKS also, I think at 2/3
The fortresses weren't the problem, but once something goes bad, you start to see another flaw, and another, and another
Lost interest in gameplay, story, found myself picking dialog lines that I didn't agree with, reading uninteresting dialogs.
The entire game world fell, and I saw it as a "game", no magic left.

Oh, and ontopic, YES more polish, less content.
You can have a 10 h game be the most satisfying thing ever, especially if you add 2-5 distinct walkthroughs.
Vaild points but I cant agree. A 10 hr rpg would be a huge setback from a decent developer. A balance of the two is the best option not one or the other.

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January 21st, 2012, 12:38
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
Vaild points but I cant agree. A 10 hr rpg would be a huge setback from a decent developer. A balance of the two is the best option not one or the other.
He said "game", not RPG, and he's absolutely right. I've played some great games that were 10 hours or less.
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January 21st, 2012, 12:48
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
He said "game", not RPG, and he's absolutely right. I've played some great games that were 10 hours or less.
I'm sure you have and there mostly action games or Fps games. Am I right? Graphics over gameplay seems to be the new model.

I dont mean to sound harsh but games keep getting shorter. Thats a fact just look at the current Fps games.

I will admit there are a few puzzle or casual games that are short and good but they don't cost $60.

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January 21st, 2012, 13:00
You seem to be missing the point. It's not about graphics, etc. It's the simple fact that longer game length doesn't equal quality.
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January 21st, 2012, 13:45
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I checked the achievements and it looks like about 25% of the people. About 11% of the people have reached level 50 so have done much more then just going through and beat it. It looks like there is about 7 percent that either had achievements blocked right from the beginning or have the game but haven't played at all. This doesn't include people that blocked achievements after the beginning of the game and people that don't play the main quest.
I haven't reached level 50 in Skyrim, I also have about 40 hours into the games according to Steam and that's over 4 different characters, but right now I'm plating other games.
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January 21st, 2012, 14:43
length has nothing to do with value.
I rather finish something instantly and love it, than love 1/3 of it and drop it.
That's a game I won't buy the next time, and my faith in that developer would go bye bye.

People , humans have the tendency to pick up addictions, so you need your fix, that's what you're saying. You need time for closure. You get rid of the addiction because it loses value in time, that is the safe way to play it.
Having shots of greatness causes pain, and you want to avoid it..

I think I'm complicating things, it might just be that people don't realize how less they care about length. It's like any other misconception taught to us as kids.
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January 21st, 2012, 15:11
Everybody who didn't finish DKS should give it another shot. The add-on is practically a different 20 hours long game. Skip Divinity 2, start with the add-on and build a new character. You'll be surprised how different the gameplay.
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January 21st, 2012, 15:23
For me the few short games I have played have either had a sequel or have felt cut or rushed which ruined the experience. I have the same problem with movies where the ones that I am interested in that are 1 1/2 hours end up feeling like a lot was cut out or didn't have a proper ending so now I try to avoid them.

PS. There have been a few exceptions to this (very few) but the majority of short games and movies have been disappointments because it felt cut or rushed.

PPS. I will eventually finish Divinity 2 but I have a huge amount of games to play so it will be awhile.
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January 21st, 2012, 15:53
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
Everybody who didn't finish DKS should give it another shot. The add-on is practically a different 20 hours long game. Skip Divinity 2, start with the add-on and build a new character. You'll be surprised how different the gameplay.
Whith the add-on (forgot the name but I believe the acronym was FoV) I couldn't get through the change of pace part towards the end (I don't want to spoil it). But my lack of skill (and/or insight) prohibited me from getting through the gameplay. I even used a trainer but still couldn't get through (although I have to admit I hate gameplay timers). Eventually I settled to see the last 5% of the game through a let's play.

Nowadays for most games I will get to the end even if I have to use some help.
For most using trainers would take the fun out of it, for me it's a way to still get to enjoy a part of the game I would otherwise have had to ignore and not finish.
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