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Default Atari - Gone: Single-Player, Narrative-Driven

May 24th, 2008, 16:30
New Infogrames President Phil Harrison has spoken to Gamasutra about their upcoming Alone in the Dark title and the future of Atari. Along the way, he embraces a social online model and says they will be moving away from AAA single-player, narrative-driven games:
Based on statements you've made, I get the impression this might be the type of title you're going to be angling away from - this large-budget, core title. You've spoken about a desire to do more social kind of gaming. Does Alone in the Dark represent a sort of swan song for that kind of thing at Infogrames/Atari?

PH: "Swan song" is probably not the right word, but I think Atari is part of an industry in some transition from pure packaged media to an online business model and social communication and community model. If we are part of that transition, perhaps we are going to take a slightly aggressive, leading-edge role in that transition.

I don't see that we're going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won't be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.
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May 24th, 2008, 16:30
Great…. So I don't have to check out upcoming Atari products anymore. Saves me time and money. Thanks, Mr. Harrison. Really appreciate the upfront info.
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May 24th, 2008, 18:04
The market continues to move away from me…

Sorry. No pearls of wisdom in this oyster.
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May 24th, 2008, 18:21
Oh yes more sandbox games - possibly subscription based - is what we need.
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May 24th, 2008, 19:32
I want to say this would be a problem if they want to continue producing games with the D&D license exccept rumours are consistently putting that franchise in this direction. One wonders if 4E is aprt of the cause.

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May 24th, 2008, 21:21
Originally Posted by lef View Post
Great…. So I don't have to check out upcoming Atari products anymore. Saves me time and money. Thanks, Mr. Harrison. Really appreciate the upfront info.
Almost exactly what I had been thinking as well.

Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
I want to say this would be a problem if they want to continue producing games with the D&D license exccept rumours are consistently putting that franchise in this direction. One wonders if 4E is aprt of the cause.
I bet that the new 4.0 edition of (A)D&D is just aimed towards that - and Atari/Infogrames can and will be devilering that.

My intuition heavily points me towards an (A)D&D MMORPG - sooner or later.

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May 24th, 2008, 22:28
Alrik

So they want to repeat that D&D Online mistake? I thought they're already deep in the red.

Oh well, there are a lot of smaller devs who are actually still making nice singleplayer games (don't mind MP options for those who need it), albeit even they tend to make games for the casual mass market these days.

We're a dying breed, I suppose, haha.
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May 24th, 2008, 23:08
Originally Posted by dteowner View Post
The market continues to move away from me…
… and me as well…

<RANT ON>
I can't stand online games… can't stand 'em! I'm a very social person in real life, but I have no desire to play a game with thousands of people in it at the same time… it just bores me.

As many of you may remember, this is the only website where I post regularly on the forums. There are a lot of very cool, diverse, well read people on this site… and it's a pleasure to read their opinions. But I don't need to pay a monthly fee to listen to a bunch of L33T K3WL DUDEZ ramble on in a game.

To me… in a PC game you are supposed to feel like the "Main Character"… possibly the "Hero", or the "Villain". In any type of MMO game you are just another of a thousand people who are all doing the same thing. BORING!

So… I'm so happy that I have about 180 games on my shelves that I will gladly play over and over if it ever comes to the state where all game companies are making online only games.

<RANT OFF>

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May 24th, 2008, 23:22
Actually I am glad that Atari won't be destroying anymore of the games I look forward too. They have ruined several games that I would have liked because of there deadlines and their greed.
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May 24th, 2008, 23:36
Will this concern Atari Europe too? I really can't see how a satisfactory sequel to The Witcher can be published under this new banner. I hope CDProject can get themselves a new publisher…
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May 25th, 2008, 00:16
I'm not so much against online games - actually I'm still dreaming of playing with people I know ! Cooperative, of course !

But I'm very much hesistant on that, because I feel that online gaming already has developed its own kind of … policy ? Culture ? Yes, I think culture is the best word to express what I mean.

And I fear that I might not fit into it.

(Currently, for example, I'm wondering whether I should join any Batlefront I server or not …)

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May 25th, 2008, 04:44
Originally Posted by MaskedMan View Post
Will this concern Atari Europe too? I really can't see how a satisfactory sequel to The Witcher can be published under this new banner. I hope CDProject can get themselves a new publisher…

I bet Publishers will be throwing themselves on the doorstep of CDProject to get the rights to publish The Witcher…So I say don't worry about this

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May 25th, 2008, 04:53
Alrik, playing online is fun in certain situations. Our Team Corwin NWN sessions are a hoot, but that's due to the people playing, not the game itself. Similarly, I play GW online with Cm, but then it's basically just the 2 of us working co-operatively on quests and GW has no monthly fees. As for playing with tons of strangers; NO WAY!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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May 25th, 2008, 06:06
Goodbye Atari. Hello indies/European Devs.

I have this sinking suspicion that I will not be buying too many AAA games in the near future. I'm seeing more and more indies that are filling this supply gap that the devs and publishers are creating. I'm really looking foreward to Frayed Knights, Eschalon 2, U6 project (technically not an indie), AOD and Grimiore (if it is ever released that is.)

I've said this a million times but I think the future for our genre lies in Europe. CDprojektRed looks like they're really serious about supporting their product and whether you love em or hate em PB is still doing Gothic like games as well as Jowood. So European publishers/devs and indies. Our genre doesn't look like it's in bad shape to me.

Edit: I've got a question that has been bugging me for awhile maybe someone who's smarter than me can answer it. Why don't these pubs/devs create CRPG's that are less expensive to make?

Instead of investing millions and millions of dollars on a game that doesn't have such mass appeal like a narrative RPG SP game, the devs and publishers only spent 1 or 2 million to create it. That way realistically they could make a profit. It won't be a blockbuster like GTA4, but if it geared toward our little niche and sold world wide then it will make a profit or is it just the blockbuster hits that the publishers are interested in?

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Last edited by skavenhorde; May 25th, 2008 at 06:34.
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May 25th, 2008, 10:24
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Goodbye Atari. Hello indies/European Devs.

I have this sinking suspicion that I will not be buying too many AAA games in the near future. I'm seeing more and more indies that are filling this supply gap that the devs and publishers are creating. I'm really looking foreward to Frayed Knights, Eschalon 2, U6 project (technically not an indie), AOD and Grimiore (if it is ever released that is.)

I've said this a million times but I think the future for our genre lies in Europe. CDprojektRed looks like they're really serious about supporting their product and whether you love em or hate em PB is still doing Gothic like games as well as Jowood. So European publishers/devs and indies. Our genre doesn't look like it's in bad shape to me.

Edit: I've got a question that has been bugging me for awhile maybe someone who's smarter than me can answer it. Why don't these pubs/devs create CRPG's that are less expensive to make?

Instead of investing millions and millions of dollars on a game that doesn't have such mass appeal like a narrative RPG SP game, the devs and publishers only spent 1 or 2 million to create it. That way realistically they could make a profit. It won't be a blockbuster like GTA4, but if it geared toward our little niche and sold world wide then it will make a profit or is it just the blockbuster hits that the publishers are interested in?
I may be not smarter than you but I'll give it a shot
It's simply competition and profit. If you invest lower the chance of profit is high but profit itself is low. However, the more you put in production the higher the stake is but at the same time the higher the profit will be if it hits.
Moreover, Publishers try to compete with each other. Let's say Gothic 1 and 2 are not highly invested in projects(just guessing here), what made PB and Jowood invest a lot more in Gothic 3? The "success" Oblivion made was definately a major reason. Every publisher wants to be the Elite and make more profit.

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May 25th, 2008, 10:38
I wanted to reply and say that surely people were misreading his comments.. but he sounds pretty clear!

I don't see that we're going to be making huge-budget, single-player games in the future. Now, that doesn't mean that we won't have ambition to do really incredible games that have high quality, high execution, and high innovation, but they won't be one-player, narrative-driven, start-middle-end games.


But don't forget he's only talking about games they make - so I presume Eden will be concentrating on games like Test Drive and other multiplayer/micro-content exploitable games. I don't see why that'll stop them from distributing games like The Witcher and stuff from Obsidian etc.
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May 25th, 2008, 14:35
Originally Posted by skavenhorde View Post
Edit: I've got a question that has been bugging me for awhile maybe someone who's smarter than me can answer it. Why don't these pubs/devs create CRPG's that are less expensive to make?
Yes, that's a thing that always puzzles me as well.

I think it's kind of a wheel in motion: One bringts out an even better AAA game - so the measure has been place much highter.

This is like what we call in German "Wettrüsten" : Everyone tries to be on top of the other one with even better things, further on, further on.

I think that's an vicious circle. At one point, EVERYTHING will break up / down from this, because no-one is able anymore to make *such* increadibly high-end games that at the same time deliver atz least *some* profits - simply because the costs have risen too high.

Except of course the Mega-companies like EA, who will dominate this high-end market, then (the Rolls Royce of games).

I believe that the increase of so-called "casual games" is the first step away from this vicious circle, but the "big ones" aren't aware of this - or in other words: aren't aware that this concept of smaller, less cost-intewnsive "casual games" could be applied to AAA games as well.

I wonder when the first one will make BBB titles - and voice this out clearly !

(And besides, no-one makes AA or even A titles - only AAA. So, where's AAAA ?)

Edit: Someone ( I think it was the German Werner 'Tiki' Küttenmacher - once wrote: "… And the people will always buy newer, better hardware - until they won't do it anymore."

I think that's it: People will most probably become fed up with it at one point in the future.

“ 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)
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May 25th, 2008, 14:54
yep it is going already for a while and it will continue: more attention for mmo. I tried several but they are allmost all the same: grind and level. No story, or as good as none. Never liked it.
Sp games are still the best

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May 25th, 2008, 15:02
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
Alrik, playing online is fun in certain situations. Our Team Corwin NWN sessions are a hoot, but that's due to the people playing, not the game itself. Similarly, I play GW online with Cm, but then it's basically just the 2 of us working co-operatively on quests and GW has no monthly fees. As for playing with tons of strangers; NO WAY!!
Yeah I like GW too! Its mostly because you can recruit/equip NPCs to replace them. Also many of the missions have extra NPCs to company you. And since the game is totally instanced you never see other players on the missions if you so choose to. Not to forget the story/missions which are quite good too. The whole game is not really that far from singleplayer game if you think about it.

I do like multiplayer too but I dont like players who break the immersion. The first time I entered the village I was shocked to see a finnish pornstar running around alongside with the american president.
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May 25th, 2008, 15:05
gw? Guild Wars? is it only one time fee or is it paying monthly or so?(like WOW)

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