|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » BioWare - Jennifer Hepler Leaves BioWare

Default BioWare - Jennifer Hepler Leaves BioWare

August 19th, 2013, 09:05
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post

And that's probably the reason why I feel so uneasy with most of today's games.

Had she been making Adventure Games, then they would have been perfect for her - but unfortunately she ended up in a company making Action-RPGs.

And - to be honest - who does Adventure games nowadays ? Apart from a few european companies ?

No-one.
If you restrict the definition of adventure games to means used to implement them, like point and click, not many companies. When you see adventure games for what they are, a lot of companies keep doing adventure games. They simply no longer appear under the point and click form.

Because "Action" always trumps "Story" nowadays.

And that's why "Action" lovers will ALWAYS harass "Story" lovers nowadays

I call this total focus on "Action" the "degeneration in PC gaming". The Action crowd has won and harassed all of the storytellers out off the industry. Hooray.
It is plain wrong. The share allocated to story has been ever increasing in video games.

Games that are now called RPGs are either combat games, that is games the combat is the main focus. Or narrative games, that is games for which the elaboration of a narrative act is the main focus.

For the second, story is all. And that is a lot of the so called RPGs these days. The Witcher 3 is another one, aiming to deliver a plot in the most appropriate manner to players.

Now players might not like the way story is delivered in those games. But it is plain wrong to state that the part allocated to story has been declining recently in video games.
In the past, players who bought their games to be delivered a story were few. Players prefered to look at the gameplay mechanics to buy a game, (adventure games were priced for the quality of their puzzles)
These days, story is a selling point. Players buy theirs games to be told a story, the first thing they look for is the story.

Place of story has been growing in video gaming. It dwarves stuff like gameplay.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#41

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,025

Default 

August 19th, 2013, 09:36
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
If you restrict the definition of adventure games to means used to implement them, like point and click, not many companies. When you see adventure games for what they are, a lot of companies keep doing adventure games. They simply no longer appear under the point and click form.



It is plain wrong. The share allocated to story has been ever increasing in video games.

Games that are now called RPGs are either combat games, that is games the combat is the main focus. Or narrative games, that is games for which the elaboration of a narrative act is the main focus.

For the second, story is all. And that is a lot of the so called RPGs these days. The Witcher 3 is another one, aiming to deliver a plot in the most appropriate manner to players.

Now players might not like the way story is delivered in those games. But it is plain wrong to state that the part allocated to story has been declining recently in video games.
In the past, players who bought their games to be delivered a story were few. Players prefered to look at the gameplay mechanics to buy a game, (adventure games were priced for the quality of their puzzles)
These days, story is a selling point. Players buy theirs games to be told a story, the first thing they look for is the story.

Place of story has been growing in video gaming. It dwarves stuff like gameplay.
Stories have just been worse and worse so has gameplay. These days it is all about graphics.
GothicGothicness is offline

GothicGothicness

GothicGothicness's Avatar
SasqWatch

#42

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 4,165

Default 

August 19th, 2013, 18:49
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
I just retracked what Hepler said in 2006:
IMHO a game writer that doesn't want to play games is better off writing books.

The unnecessary catering service for casual gamers is against the original design ideas of Baldurs Gate and Neverwinter Nights. Nerd games with micromanaging, combat tactics, interesting character & party development, exploration etc.

It is false to launch personal threats against devs, but fans of the old Bioware have every right to critisize the new "everything is awesome" design directive.

I personally return to Bioware games, if they become more interesting and challenging for me again.
I agree and I think pretty much everyone agrees that this kind of harassment in the form of death threats is never acceptable. Besides in most countries treathing someone's life is a serious crime. So that side of this discussion is not intresting to me because sane people naturally think its wrong to treath someone's life. Crazy people on the otherhand will do what they've always done and best course of action is to jail them before they can cause any harm.

People are killed daily for stupid reasons, so it doesn't come to me as a surprise that even videogame developers get death threaths. For example people working in customer service jobs get those same treaths for equally stupid reasons. So you'll just to have to deal with the crazies and inform the police about the serious ones.

As for action vs story debate. I honestly don't get Hepler's point. Storytelling in videogames is more than writing bunch of characters, dialogs and cutscenes. Even point and click adventure games weren't always linear and they had some interactivity going on. Adventure games had quite many puzzles for example which hepler seems to dislike.

And by the way its intresting that she mentions deus ex 1 as an example. DX1 doesn't really follow bioware's story structure at all. How could you remove gameplay portions of that game? How could you for instance remove the part where JC has to sneak through abandoned catacombs to the MJ12 hideout in paris? Story content is not only delivered to player via dialogs and cutscenes, but also through datacubes, overheard discussion between npcs, books, computer terminals, newspapers. Even locations themselves tell stories about the deus ex society. You cannot just fast forward through all that and think its the same experience.

I just find it difficult to swallow that a writer for videogame wouldn't like the medium he or she is writing for. Hepler may have been likely exaggerating her point in that notorious interview, but when she bluntly says that she doesn't like any aspects of traditional gameplay (and i mean not just combat parts of video games), it puzzles me a lot.

Imo gameplay and story cannot be separated so cleanly and tidely. Best and most memorable videogames don't even try to.
Dez is offline

Dez

Dez's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#43

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,130

Default 

August 19th, 2013, 19:04
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Stories have just been worse and worse so has gameplay. These days it is all about graphics.
I'll agree partially.

One example why I agree - Skyrim.
Unbelievably good graphics, yet almost empty storywise and gameplay is… Um… Sorry but I'd call the system retarded.

One example why I disagree - FarCry3.
Good story and good gameplay. Yes it has topnotch graphics, but it's only a bonus. It's coming from me - and I couldn't care less for FPS.

So I'd say… It's RPG as a genre that degenerates with story/gameplay, other genres are trying to up that part of the game. Luckily, there are a few upcoming titles that could and should bring RPGs back on track (Torment2, Eternity, TheWitcher3).

Toka Koka
joxer is offline

joxer

joxer's Avatar
The Smoker
RPGWatch Donor

#44

Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,973

Default 

August 21st, 2013, 12:07
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Stories have just been worse and worse so has gameplay. These days it is all about graphics.
Yes. And about combbat.
And about loot.

Both replaced Story.

Originally Posted by Gokyabgu View Post
Isn't that the writer who hates games and have never played one?
I rather assume that she hated the fighting parts of them - like a good friend of mine who hates the jump & run parts in games (she doesn't play shooters, by the way). She once told me that she let her son doing the jump & run parts.

Me, I'm playing games for the story, not for the combat.
And now please say to me that I hate games.




(And that's why I don't like games where the combat is overwhelmingly dominant.)


Originally Posted by Dez View Post
I just find it difficult to swallow that a writer for videogame wouldn't like the medium he or she is writing for.
That you are limiting her - implicitely - to only

- RPGs
- Shooters

shows me that you have already begun ignoring that there once had been a much greater diversity of games on the Pc platform :

- Adventures
- Jump & Run.

Somehow, EVERYONE saying/writing something in the sense of your "wouldn't like the medium he or she is writing for" just DOES NOT mean adventure games or jump & run games.

EVERYONE is meaning "RPGs" and "Shooters" when they write "PC games" or "this medium" nowadays.

To me, that's a good sign of

a) the degeneration of the Pc platform
b) how much biased gamers (and especially those DA lovers fighting her) have vbecome. They don't even consider jump & run games as "proper games" !
They just leave them out. jump & run just doesn't exist anymore. Plus, it is considered "immature", "childish" and so on - and that's something DA lovers would most likely NOT want to be seen as. "I am mature, so I want a mature game, not some childish, mindless jump & run game."
That adventure games can be mature as well is simply ignored. That Beyond Good & Evil told the story of the freedom and the power of press - it's ignored. Because they - I'm sure of that - didn't want to play that game because it looked far too "childish" for them.
A serious story told in an colourful setting - that must not be ! They'd argue. If Beyond Good & Evil had been dark & gritty, it would have sold. But not this "colourful shit" …

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#45

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,935

Default 

August 21st, 2013, 13:50
I dont get how everyone is limited to RPGs and shooters. Are you implying that Adventures and Jump&Run do not need a story?

Especially looking at the post you quoted, I cant really follow your reasoning. Maybe you can elaborate on that a little bit.
Cacheperl is offline

Cacheperl

Sentinel

#46

Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 275

Default 

August 21st, 2013, 18:19
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post

That you are limiting her - implicitely - to only

- RPGs
- Shooters

shows me that you have already begun ignoring that there once had been a much greater diversity of games on the Pc platform :

- Adventures
- Jump & Run.

Somehow, EVERYONE saying/writing something in the sense of your "wouldn't like the medium he or she is writing for" just DOES NOT mean adventure games or jump & run games.

EVERYONE is meaning "RPGs" and "Shooters" when they write "PC games" or "this medium" nowadays.

To me, that's a good sign of

a) the degeneration of the Pc platform
b) how much biased gamers (and especially those DA lovers fighting her) have vbecome. They don't even consider jump & run games as "proper games" !
They just leave them out. jump & run just doesn't exist anymore. Plus, it is considered "immature", "childish" and so on - and that's something DA lovers would most likely NOT want to be seen as. "I am mature, so I want a mature game, not some childish, mindless jump & run game."
That adventure games can be mature as well is simply ignored. That Beyond Good & Evil told the story of the freedom and the power of press - it's ignored. Because they - I'm sure of that - didn't want to play that game because it looked far too "childish" for them.
A serious story told in an colourful setting - that must not be ! They'd argue. If Beyond Good & Evil had been dark & gritty, it would have sold. But not this "colourful shit" …
Alrik, you're putting words into my mouth here

Maybe i'm wrong here, but I got an imperssion that she didn't really like jump&run games either, because those kind of games required decent reflexes/hand-eye cordination and she didn't like that kind of challenge at all.
Puzzle heavy adventures weren't cup of tea either, because she could get stuck into puzzle which would simply frustrare her. A puzzle was her a simply an obstacle which could potentially ruin her enjoyement. Then again its silly to assume this and that, because the interview was done in 2006 and her views may have changed a lot from that day.

And you're barking the wrong tree here. I don't look down jump&run games. I've quite enjoyed sonics, marios, megaman, prince of persias and rayman for example. Very first videogames I've played were platform games (turtles, super mario and megaman 2 for 8-bit nintendo home console). The latest sidescroller I've enjoyed was trine.

As for adventures, isn't beyond good and evil an action adventure? I've read most favorable reviews about it and its one of those games I need to play some day.
Dez is offline

Dez

Dez's Avatar
Keeper of the Watch

#47

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,130

Default 

August 21st, 2013, 19:47
Well, whether she doesn't like to play video games in general, or the BioWare RPGs in particular, doesn't really matter, because in my opinion someone needs to like the medium he is working with in order to be truly good at it. Sure, there might be exceptions, but to use an example:

Who would you prefer to buy a sports car from: A car body designer who hates driving cars and has difficulty doing so, or someone who loves to drive fast cars and knows how to handle them?

Sure, designing the shape of the car has not much to do with creating the motor, electronics, chassis, etc., but personally, I'd pick the latter (if I were into sports cars that is). And that's why her interview probably rubbed people the wrong way, especially since DA2 was for many quite a letdown.
abharsair is offline

abharsair

abharsair's Avatar
Grumpmaster
RPGWatch Donor

#48

Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 144

Default 

August 25th, 2013, 07:54
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
Stories have just been worse and worse so has gameplay. These days it is all about graphics.
If stories have just been worse in spite of all the attention and money they were given over the last decade, story should be dropped as a goal in video gaming.

As to gameplay, it might be the case for so called RPGs. But other genres have had their priorities right,
It will be hard to tell that gameplay has been worse for shooters, driving games, sports games, strategy games etc

Maybe that is because socalled RPGs have put so much emphasis on the story that the gameplay has suffered in return.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#49

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,025

Default 

August 25th, 2013, 08:04
Originally Posted by Cacheperl View Post
I dont get how everyone is limited to RPGs and shooters. Are you implying that Adventures and Jump&Run do not need a story?
Most games do not need a story. They all need gameplay.
But most games tell a story as they are played out.

Levels in Super Mario Bros were designed with a story in mind. Never meant that the delivery of a story was the focus of Super Mario Bros and his designer.

Today though, clearly, players have grown the expectation of the delivery of a story over gameplay.
How many people, twenty years ago, bought SMB with the expectation of a story first?
How many people played that game without even bothering getting into the plot?
How harmful was it for that game to be playedwhile skipping content directly delivering story elements?

Today, games are bought with the expectation of being delivered a story.
Delivering a story is made the main goal of games.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#50

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,025

Default 

August 25th, 2013, 18:02
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Today, games are bought with the expectation of being delivered a story.
Delivering a story is made the main goal of games.
I heavily doubt so. I can't see much of a story nowadays - yes, I'm biased, I know - especially with all of this mindless hack & slay.

Adventure games ? Who plays adventure games nowadays (apart from Germany) ???

LucasArts GAVE UP Adventure games - the games they got big with in the first place ! - for … Shooters. AND failed.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#51

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,935

Default 

August 25th, 2013, 18:18
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I heavily doubt so. I can't see much of a story nowadays - yes, I'm biased, I know - especially with all of this mindless hack & slay.

Adventure games ? Who plays adventure games nowadays (apart from Germany) ???

LucasArts GAVE UP Adventure games - the games they got big with in the first place ! - for Shooters. AND failed.
I don't know, he might have a point. Back in the day when I was playing on the Amiga, many of the old classic games (including RPGs) had basically no story to speak of. Sure, Adventures did (Zak McKracken, Monkey Island, etc.), but RPGs? Ususally only a very minimalist and bad one.
abharsair is offline

abharsair

abharsair's Avatar
Grumpmaster
RPGWatch Donor

#52

Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 144

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 09:04
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I heavily doubt so. I can't see much of a story nowadays - yes, I'm biased, I know - especially with all of this mindless hack & slay.

Adventure games ? Who plays adventure games nowadays (apart from Germany) ???

LucasArts GAVE UP Adventure games - the games they got big with in the first place ! - for Shooters. AND failed.
I guess that is because the stories as provided by games today are not wished to be called stories, just to keep the illusion that nowaday, games do not come with stories.

Story has grown big. If Tetris was to be made today, it would come up with a story.

What game does not come with a story these days? Even sports games come with a story mode these days.

So called RPGs? Most of them no longer bother to provide a role playing experience, it is all about delivering a story.

Shooters? They come with a story.

Sports games? They come with a story.

Strategy games? They come with a story.

RTS, RTT? They come with a story.

The number of video games titles that do not come with a story is low. I cant think of one at the very moment.

Can someone provide a few?
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#53

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,025

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 09:44
Alric's comments are what happens when your first "rpg" is oblivion.
ManWhoJaped is offline

ManWhoJaped

Sentinel

#54

Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 564

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 10:04
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I heavily doubt so. I can't see much of a story nowadays - yes, I'm biased, I know - especially with all of this mindless hack & slay.

Adventure games ? Who plays adventure games nowadays (apart from Germany) ???

LucasArts GAVE UP Adventure games - the games they got big with in the first place ! - for Shooters. AND failed.
How about "The Raven", Alrik?
GhanBuriGhan is offline

GhanBuriGhan

GhanBuriGhan's Avatar
Wose extraordinaire

#55

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,466

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 12:17
Originally Posted by abharsair View Post
I don't know, he might have a point. Back in the day when I was playing on the Amiga, many of the old classic games (including RPGs) had basically no story to speak of. Sure, Adventures did (Zak McKracken, Monkey Island, etc.), but RPGs? Ususally only a very minimalist and bad one.
I agree to that in so far that I came into gaming fairly late (eraly 90s), and began RPG gaming with

- Lands Of Lore
- Blade Of Destiny
- Albion

And all of them do contain some sort of story.

Only a few years ago I played Eye Of The Beholder partially. Yes, there was almost no story at all.

Before them, however, I played Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It blew me away, so to say. To this day I'm measuring every game against it - and against Monkey Island, too.

Originally Posted by ManWhoJaped View Post
Alric's comments are what happens when your first "rpg" is oblivion.
My "home genre" are Adventure games - are and will always be.

Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
How about "The Raven", Alrik?
I heard about it, but I currently prefer comic-like adventure games. Bought "Kaptain Brawe - A Brawe New World" several days ago.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#56

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,935

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 12:46
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I heard about it, but I currently prefer comic-like adventure games. Bought "Kaptain Brawe - A Brawe New World" several days ago.
That's what I thought. I think your problem is not the lack of games with stories or even a lack of P&C adventures, but the lack of the light hearted tone and subject matter that you prefer.
GhanBuriGhan is offline

GhanBuriGhan

GhanBuriGhan's Avatar
Wose extraordinaire

#57

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,466

Default 

August 26th, 2013, 13:49
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post

Before them, however, I played Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It blew me away, so to say. To this day I'm measuring every game against it - and against Monkey Island, too.
If that means that current games coming with stories are not considered as coming with stories because their stories do not match Indiana's, Atlantis, Monkey Island, it follows that the effort to deliver stories through video gaming should be given up.

The cost of developping a story these days dwarves what was invested to developp the stories in the Indiana, Atlantis, Monkey Island games.

When you invest more and get lower result, it is time considering to end the endeavour.
ChienAboyeur is offline

ChienAboyeur

SasqWatch

#58

Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 2,025

Default 

August 27th, 2013, 13:36
I personally don't believe that the costs to develop a story - just can't be that high. I just don't believe it. Any programming is imho much, much, more costly !

A skilled writer needs only a few months for developing a good story - if it has to be better, longer, perhaps, although I'm not quite sure whether time & creativity really correlate with each other.

There are basically 2 kinds of writers : Spontaneous ones and planners. Both have completely different nethods & styles to write their stories down, but both have the same "amount" of creativity.

The industry might well prefer "planners", though, I guess, because that makes it easier to plan the money resources ahead.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; August 27th, 2013 at 14:08.
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#59

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 15,935

Default 

August 28th, 2013, 01:05
To my mind, e.g Game of Thrones surely has a story, even one that I quite like when I can make meta-strory commentaries with friends, but quite certainly written in a context of a target group of youthful male audience. I dare say almost any female that has done sports can state that the barbarian no-hardware dancing scenes are rather silly for such a practical race.

While Ms Hepler possibly might have suffered the brunt of a culmination of an era of RPG low, to my mind this should have had nothing to do with DOA:2 that was still a pretty decent title.

Dragon Age Origin set aside, what was there anyhow after Baldur's Gate series, Torment, Morrowind or Neverwinternights 2 inbetween? In view of sorry state of RPG story telling in general, why should she have merited a hostile reaction?

I would say that only The Witcher has been that interesting addition, yet assuming that female gamers shall take the "barbarian titty-dancing" humorously, as I do with Game of Thrones.

This said, I could no longer like the sequel TW2 due to attitudes portrayed in the gameworld (besides what I thought was a poorly console-port gameplay), and I cannot say there are so many titles that almost anyone can resonate to with an equal mesure be they a boy, a girl, a hetero or a gay.

Most often, these are Stories for Boys, really. And looking at BG:2 - a good story requires a lot of writing effort that needs craft besides money, IMO. The way Jaheira was inter-weaved into a lot of time or encounter triggered content in context of carefully written lore and dynamic to the lead player and party members… this has not been replicated, really - and is money the only obstacle there?
TalsiStael is offline

TalsiStael

Traveler

#60

Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 2
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » BioWare - Jennifer Hepler Leaves BioWare
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 00:05.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch