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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Side Quest: 2006 - 2007 Overview, Part 1

Default RPGWatch Side Quest: 2006 - 2007 Overview, Part 1

January 3rd, 2007, 11:11
It's traditional at this time of year to release Yet Another Retrospective and we wouldn't want to let you down. Our latest Side Quest starts with an overview of the RPGs of 2006 and then kicks off the first part of a 2007 Preview:
2006 should be stricken from the annals of CRPG history. Not because nothing of any note was released - that’s something roleplay fans have learned to expect. No, it’s because it should have been a fantastic year and ended up a hodge-podge collection of botched releases, compromised gameplay and worse: failed potential that sometimes offered just enough brilliance to really make it hurt.
Read on…
More information.
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January 3rd, 2007, 11:12
As always, a well-written and thorough article Dhruin! Overall, the last year has been a huge dissapointment for me RPG-wise despite the relatively high number of releases, I hope things will change for the better this year.

Some of the titles I'm looking forward to:

1) Dragon Age
Will Bioware succeed in capturing the magic of the old classics in this party-based CRPG?

2) Elveon
The combat videos look really cool!

3) Locki
Enough with orcs and elves!

4) Gothic 3 expansion
With better physics, lots of dialogues and women!

5) [Slot open]
Will someone make a good sci-fi CRPG for PC plz!!!

Titles I will never consider:

1) Any Oblivion expansions
Beth has tricked me for the last time!

2) Any NWN2 expansions
Let's just say I have had enough.
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January 3rd, 2007, 13:01
I felt better about last year before reading this … it reminds me why:
- I'm glad I love PC FPS (not a great year for those either)
- I'm glad I love handheld gaming (pretty darn good year for GBA/DS/PSP)!

— Mike
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January 3rd, 2007, 13:02
Hmm.. I don't understand why people always complain so much. What are they expecting? Perfect games probably don't exist, and will never be made. People might remember certain games as being perfect, but are they really? Isn't it just a matter of having fond memories from a time when we were younger (and probably more accepting when it came to new games).

Personally I had great fun playing 3 major RPGs this year - Oblivion (not perfect by far, but I still invested quite a few hours in it and had some fun), Gothic 3 (again somewhat flawed, but it has a nice setting and I had fun playing it) - and lately NWN2, which I feel has a *much* better OC than the original game. Personally I'm not disappointed in 2006 at all - it's been one of the better years in a long time!

As always - just my opinion

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January 3rd, 2007, 13:15
As I said in the article, I was using hyperbole. I enjoyed all of those myself (to very varying degrees) but not of them comes without a caveat. In the years to come, I won't just say "I loved Gothic 3"…I'll have to say "Look, I know Gothic 3 was criminally unfinished but I still enjoyed it, despite the legion of problems". So, while I can sit down and enjoy a few hours playing Gothic 3 I still think it is tremendously disappointing that a group of games that all show signs they could have been classics ended up "good, but…" at best and all rely on me excusing or ignoring issues that just shouldn't be there.

As for this year, it shows a lot of promise…but I've said that for years.

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January 3rd, 2007, 16:17
I loved 2006 as well. Oblivion, NWN2, Titan Quest, Lazarus, and Minions of Mirth all got much playing time on my system. 2007 isn't looking so good but there are a couple of games that might get some significant play. I'm really hoping to see some indie games. Vault Dweller might release Age of Decadence, which would be a treat. Can't wait for the next part of your article, Dhruin.
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January 3rd, 2007, 16:49
Excellent article, as usual. Thanks for the precis of games to come—it's hard to follow all the individual studios and easy to miss a less-publicized game.

I can't talk about Oblivion or Gothic3 since I could find no incentive to purchase them. I got NWN2 for Christmas but it's still in the box. I ask myself why I am playing a game from 1998(Wiz8) instead, but I think anyone who's played it can probably supply the answer.

In the TQ newsbit thread I ranted a bit about this, and I know it's been 'cussed and discussed' ad nauesem, but I still think the issue is relevant and unresolved:

Why is it so difficult for modern studios with all their resources to make a great crpg??

I don't think I'm the only one who finds many of todays rpgs flat and showy, with little to suck you into their big shiny worlds.

It's said that it costs too much money and time to make a proper crpg. To me that's like saying it costs too much money to operate a five star restaurant—the chef's salary, the sous-chef's, the salad boy, the somelier, my god forget it—everyone just go to MacDonald's!

I say there is always a market for a quality product. Not everyone wants just fries and a milkshake.

Just my old grumpy two cents.

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January 3rd, 2007, 17:02
Originally Posted by KasperFauerby View Post
Hmm.. I don't understand why people always complain so much. What are they expecting? Perfect games probably don't exist, and will never be made. People might remember certain games as being perfect, but are they really? Isn't it just a matter of having fond memories from a time when we were younger (and probably more accepting when it came to new games).

Personally I had great fun playing 3 major RPGs this year - Oblivion (not perfect by far, but I still invested quite a few hours in it and had some fun), Gothic 3 (again somewhat flawed, but it has a nice setting and I had fun playing it) - and lately NWN2, which I feel has a *much* better OC than the original game. Personally I'm not disappointed in 2006 at all - it's been one of the better years in a long time!
Very well said. So there is in fact at least one normal person out there…

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January 3rd, 2007, 17:09
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
As I said in the article, I was using hyperbole. I enjoyed all of those myself (to very varying degrees) but not of them comes without a caveat.
Oh come on… you don't like Oblivion… just admit it!

I really liked what you wrote regarding Oblivion's scaled world and how you suggested that Bethesda most likely perceives that aspect of the design as a success to the game. I agree with that analysis.

I'm hoping however that the like with anything else, that the scaling concept continues to evolve. I think scaling as implemented in Morrowind was to a much better degree.

As much as I enjoy playing Oblivion, critics are correct that the scaling substantially diminshes the player's perception of 'growing' one's character. Leveled loot also has a similar effect. There is just something about hand-placed treasure that is super satisfying… a design element I belive made Gothic 1 and 2 so fun to play.

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January 3rd, 2007, 17:17
In my opinion, 2006 was a great year for CRPGs. I invested 100+ hours playing Oblivion.

I also enjoyed Dark Messiah a lot - it reminded me too much of my beloved Arx Fatalis

And after patch 1.12 Gothic 3 now occupies my nights ;-)

Finally, NWN2 waits in its box to be played.
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January 3rd, 2007, 20:03
Great article and it pretty much sums up my sentiments. I still look back on 2006 with a bit of disappointment, even though if you had told me in January that Oblivion, Gothic 3, and NWN 2 would all be released, I would have been ecstatic. All of them just weren't what I had hoped for, but for completely different reasons. Oblivion's level scaling was such a deep and fundamental flaw for me that I doubt I'll ever pick it up again, even with its expansion packs. Gothic 3 runs like ass on my system and the combat is just too tedious. NWN2 might be my favorite, but it was lacking in a couple of areas.

I hope that there's going to be a NWN 2 expansion pack. I would love to have a new 50-60 hour adventure with the reformed interface and with less linearity. All of the tools are in place. I'm hoping to see The Witcher this year too. After that, 2007 looks like a pretty lean year for PC RPG's again.
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January 4th, 2007, 01:37
In my opinion, 2007 will be a great year for gaming. With Geneforge 4, Broken Hourglass and hopefully Eschalon Book I and Disciples 3 it has me all hooked up.
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January 4th, 2007, 02:14
And Age of Decadence.
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January 4th, 2007, 03:08
And the Oblivion expansion.
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January 4th, 2007, 03:25
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
It's said that it costs too much money and time to make a proper crpg. To me that's like saying it costs too much money to operate a five star restaurant—the chef's salary, the sous-chef's, the salad boy, the somelier, my god forget it—everyone just go to MacDonald's!
Can we extend this analogy to the price at retail, and conclude that publishers won't fund RPGs because their fans expect five star fare at mass-market prices?

(I have less glib answers I could give, but without data to support my interpretation, or yours, or anyone else's, I don't see much purpose to speculating on publishers' motives.)

Statues wouldn't be better if they could move. Model airplanes would not be better if they were the same size as airplanes.
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January 4th, 2007, 04:34
I agree with almost everything said.

When the CD-rom media first came out was when RPG's stated taking a turn for the worse, with HD-DVD and Blu-ray I can only imagine it getting worse and worse as publishers realise they can fit more and more on a single disc without increasing unit costs.

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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January 4th, 2007, 06:00
And who knows, Grimoire might get released!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 4th, 2007, 06:05
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
And who knows, Grimoire might get released!!
What ever happened to that game?

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January 4th, 2007, 08:22
Originally Posted by abbaon View Post
Can we extend this analogy to the price at retail, and conclude that publishers won't fund RPGs because their fans expect five star fare at mass-market prices?

(I have less glib answers I could give, but without data to support my interpretation, or yours, or anyone else's, I don't see much purpose to speculating on publishers' motives.)
Glib, but not necessarily incorrect. : ) Still, when I go to an expensive restaurant I am obviously expecting to pay a higher price for something I perceive as worth it.

I know I sound a bit strident on this issue, and I know they're all, even the best of them —just games. A way to pass some time, a minor escape from the grim realities of the so-called real world…If people have fun playing Oblivion or Barbie's Dream Mansion, that's a good thing. I just dislike the tendency of our time to focus on the concept that money = success. If a game like PS:T only sells 75,000 copies, it's considered a lost cause to make a similar game.

I don't think the best things are created solely out of a desire to make money. I think they are born out of talent and inspiration, and are primarily gifts that are given to the future, and appreciated by those less talented and gifted. Art, literature, music, film- even games.

That said, I also have high hopes for 2007, especially from the smaller publishers and the indies. The torch will be passed on, I have no doubt.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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January 4th, 2007, 08:44
Nice article, thanks!
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