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Default Fallout 3 - PC Zone UK Article @ NMA

March 28th, 2007, 22:50
Kharn wrote:
Thank the Lord we're all so much better than those guys, what?
Not if they all come over here to rant and rave.

For those who laud the irreverent humor in FO2 and appreciate those moments in the game that make you blow beverages out your nostrils, you would think a sense of humor would be obligatory. There's no need to take offense at every remark.

That is, if you did take offense, and it isn't me that has no sense of humor.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 28th, 2007, 23:52
Everytime there's a newsblurb about FO3 the comments start to pile up at RPGWatch, this game will be your bread and butter Corwin

And Kharn was using a benign form of irony, with humour, I think, relax magerette
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March 29th, 2007, 01:03
I figured that this was already a parody of itself. But hey…y'know, extra irony can't hurt.
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March 29th, 2007, 01:59
Originally Posted by Kharn View Post
I figured that this was already a parody of itself. But hey…y'know, extra irony can't hurt.
Where FO and Bethsoft are joined, irony is inescapable. Glad to hear it was a failure of my innocuous sarcasm radar.

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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March 29th, 2007, 03:14
In most successful RPG franchises, the same type of gameplay has been kept from one iteration to the next. Where it hasn't, there have been problems. (U8 sticks in my mind as a game which disappointed me for several reasons as they diverged too much from what made U7 great). To me, logically, FO 3 should follow on from FO2 in gameplay style/type, or IT SHOULDN'T BE CALLED FO3!! I realise not everyone agrees with me, but there's their problem!! I don't blame Beth for wanting to make Oblivion with guns; it's probably a sensible economic strategy. However, I don't have to like it!! If they surprise me, great but I'm not holding my breath. However, remember to keep it all in perspective; it's only a game!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 29th, 2007, 04:15
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
A turn-based RPG would please the hardcore fans, yes, but it would not sell enough to be profitable.
The statement "a turn-based RPG couldn't turn a profit today" is an unprovable negative. Not worth arguing. The most you can reasonably say is, "Turn-based games usually sell worse than otherwise comparable real-time games. On average, turn-based game flow hurts sales." I've never seen data to support or contradict this idea, so I'm not about to endorse it myself, but publishers certainly act as though it's true.

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March 29th, 2007, 11:29
Hmm, proof you say? Very well. As far as I know, Fallout 1 sold 144.000 copies within the first two years after its release, and Fallout 2 123.000 copies. Now, considering Fallout being "the mother of all turnbased RPGs", I'd say these numbers are the ones to present to an investor if you want to make Fallout 3 identical.

Let's compare that to Bethesdas latest game. The Big O has, in fact, sold over 3 million copies within its first year, and will most likely pass 5 million before the first two years have past.

Do the math, if you are an investor and you are going to invest several million dollars into a huge game production, do you want a game that sells 5.000.000 copies within two years, or 267.000?

I may be a hardcore RPG fan, but even I'm not willing to throw money down the drain. Oblivion sells, Fallout doesn't. It never did. It's a myth that Fallout sold a whole lot - Baldur's Gate was the selling series that kept things going, not Fallout.

Turn-based RPGs have never sold well, and always been directed at the hardcore fans. 250.000 copies won't do anymore - you could get away with that 10 years ago when games cost so little to develop compared to today, but now it's not nearly enough.

Here are some numbers from 2000:
The entire Fallout series, turn-based, total sales: 267.000 copies sold
Baldur's Gate 1 without any add-ons or sequals, real-time, total sales: 500.000
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=95704

According to BioWare, the total sales of the Baldur's Gate series is now nearing 5 million copies sold. This includes BG1, BG2 and BG2: Throne of Bhaal.
http://www.bioware.com/bioware_info/about/

Worth knowing about the gaming industry:
Developers do not choose their own games, investors do. Developers do not make any money themselves, they rely on investors to fund them, and unless they can convince the investors that this project is a solid hit when it's released, they get no money. This is a basic description of how the gaming industry works. Of course there's more to it than this, but the essence of it is: Publishers and investors decide which games will be made, and developers are unfortunately forced to do as they are told.
Last edited by Maylander; March 29th, 2007 at 11:43.
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March 29th, 2007, 11:39
Originally Posted by Corwin View Post
In most successful RPG franchises, the same type of gameplay has been kept from one iteration to the next. Where it hasn't, there have been problems. (U8 sticks in my mind as a game which disappointed me for several reasons as they diverged too much from what made U7 great). To me, logically, FO 3 should follow on from FO2 in gameplay style/type, or IT SHOULDN'T BE CALLED FO3!! I realise not everyone agrees with me, but there's their problem!! I don't blame Beth for wanting to make Oblivion with guns; it's probably a sensible economic strategy. However, I don't have to like it!! If they surprise me, great but I'm not holding my breath. However, remember to keep it all in perspective; it's only a game!!
Devil's Advocate: Not RPG, but e.g. the King's Quest series changed style and gameplay greatly with each iteration, with some success. Also both Ultima and Ultima underworld were great.
And would it really make anybody happier if they just called it "Fallout 3D", "Fallout - East Coast", or " Super Fallout Land" instead of "Fallout 3"?
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March 29th, 2007, 11:52
Those numbers are meaningless without the associated development costs. Baldurs gate was based on an existing franchise (with a huge fan-base), whereas Fallout was a completely new piece of IP, using the Forgotten Realms and AD&D license isn't exactly free.

Interplay was dislisted from the stock exchange a year after ToB came out so perhaps if you used Diablo (8 million units sold) it would be a better example (although many would argue Diablo is not an RPG).

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March 29th, 2007, 12:58
To me it seems that Bethesda have made up their mind anyway - and nothing will change that. Let's just see an wait. Personally I don't see much sense in acquiring an established game license if you do not want to touch on the fan-potential. So if they make Fallout 3 another Oblivion I'll just not buy it.
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March 29th, 2007, 13:20
Interplay didn't go down the drain because of anything Black Isle did - in fact, Black Isle kept Interplay up for quite some time. It was other divisions that failed, not Black Isle. Black Isle was a victim in Interplays mess.

Also, the drawback of using someones license isn't really the cost of the license itself, but the fact that after you're done working on the product you don't own it, meaning you can't control anything about the future of the game or any of its content. Also, during the making of a licensed product you have much more input and rules you have to take into consideration, so it's quite a difficult task to manage license owners, investors, fans, etc.
Last edited by Maylander; March 29th, 2007 at 13:26.
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March 29th, 2007, 13:59
Here's an interesting number:

I once read that the Danish Hit(man) company, IO Interactive, did use about 15-20 million USD to develop the latest Hitman game, Hitman: Blood Money. And this was simply because of the graphics engine they used and the licenses they needed to buy in order to make the game.

This made it very clear to me that today developing games costs more than they did 10 or even 5 years ago. This also made it painfully clear to me that today developers (and publishers) need to sell more copies of games than ever before.
A game that totally over say 18 months sold about maybe 250,000-400,000 copies just wouldn't cut it in today's highly competitive market. The game wouldn't even make its development cost, I think…

On another note, yes Oblivion shipped maybe 3 million copies in the first year (since march 2006), but how many of these copies were actually sold, or how many of these copies have since been returned or sold on e-bay, for instance ? (I've read and heard several people saying that Oblivion made them excited at first, but then, for some reason, they stopped playing…)

On yet another note, I think that a well-turned, well-written game with turn-based game could sell fairly well - if the devs. and publishers were to realize that the game might only sell about 500,000-600,000 copies (or probably about 1,000,000).
This means catering to a select eletist group of people that will buy such a game and maybe will be willing to pay 100 USD for such a game rather than the normal
50 US Dollars.
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March 29th, 2007, 14:09
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
(snip)
Your entire basis of comparison is false.

Sales of Oblivion and Fallout can not be directly compared. Oblivion was based on an existing license and had intense media coverage. Fallout was a new IP with little PR. More importantly; they are from different era's of gaming industry. Fallout was a good seller for its days, Interplay considered it a minor hit, as evinced by the quick release of Fallout 2.

Sales of Baldur's Gate and Fallout can also not be directly compared, again, both in nothing being an original IP and lack of PR/media coverage.

Look, if the difference was so easy as that you could explain it away in one forum post, the discussion would be over. However, facts are:
"The gaming industry" assumes that realtime outsells turnbased. No matter the truth, this is the assumption.

This assumption has never been really been proven. It is true that turn-based doesn't outsell real-time, it is one factor in sales that you have to consider amongst all others. To pretend it is a definite kill-all, to pretend that somehow a well-licensed, well-presented, slick game would fail just because it has turn-based combat is a foolish, unproven assumption.

Also, this mechanical "developing games costs more" has to stop. The market is bigger too, and the costs don't have to be as exorbitant as, say, the costs of Oblivion if the industry obsessed less about the way it looks, not to mention that producing Fallout 3 on the Oblivion engine is already a lot cheaper than producing Oblivion. If you actually think it's smart to play along in the high-risk game of high investment high returns you have roughly the same business smarts as Herve Caen and, with Mr Caen, most of the gaming industry.
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March 29th, 2007, 14:39
Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
On another note, yes Oblivion shipped maybe 3 million copies in the first year (since march 2006), but how many of these copies were actually sold, or how many of these copies have since been returned or sold on e-bay, for instance ? (I've read and heard several people saying that Oblivion made them excited at first, but then, for some reason, they stopped playing…)
That happens to every game. You don't think people dumped copies of Fallout and Fallout 2 soon after they were out? Heck, the Fallout 2 bulletin boards were filled with people who were completely pissed off about the almost unplayable state of Fallout 2 when it came out and I am sure that many of them, just like today's gamers, abandoned the game before it was patched into playableness (think Gothic 3). IIRC there were a lot of places back then, at least a lot more than today, where you could actually return games and get your money back. A lot of people forget that it had a really rocky start which may account for its low sales compared to Fallout 1.

Originally Posted by aries100 View Post
On yet another note, I think that a well-turned, well-written game with turn-based game could sell fairly well - if the devs. and publishers were to realize that the game might only sell about 500,000-600,000 copies (or probably about 1,000,000).
This means catering to a select eletist group of people that will buy such a game and maybe will be willing to pay 100 USD for such a game rather than the normal
50 US Dollars.
I agree that a good turn based game *could* sell well. However, somone with money has to agree too and I just don't see that happening. Money always flows to where there has been recent success (thus all the "me too" games). In rare cases something new comes along and then money flows that way too.

A while back I read some articles about the computer gaming industry as a whole. Something like only 10% of the games under production ever see the light of day and look at how many of those are crap and fail. It's no wonder that investors are skittish.
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March 29th, 2007, 14:52
Indeed BillSeurer, it takes a lot to convince investors these days because of all the failed projects. They want to be sure they'll make money or they're not willing to invest at all.

This is part of the reason why I don't think there will ever be a big production turn-based RPG again - there is not a single one, ever, that shows high enough sales to convince any major investors.

Also, Fallout was a hit? No it was not, very far from it in fact, during the time of Fallouts release we had games like Diablo and Baldur's Gate that completely crushed it on all charts. As far as I know, Fallout has never hit any charts at all, not even right after its release.

Imagine you are going to convince an investor to fund a turn-based RPG, which game would you bring up as an example to prove that this really would pay off? As far as I know, no turn-based RPG has ever had a high profit. Not a single one. Maybe some ancient Commodore 64 game back in the days when a game was developed by a five-man team consisting of programmers, with no graphical artists, audio specialists and so on.

When it comes to economics, it's not really about proving that something isn't profitable, it's about proving that it is profitable. Noone likes to take big risks when huge sums of money are involved.

Edit:
Don't get me wrong, I do not consider turn-based RPGs dead, I just don't think it's likely that any big developer is going to make one. Lots of indie developers make such games, and they will continue to do so.
Last edited by Maylander; March 29th, 2007 at 15:03.
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March 29th, 2007, 15:22
Is there any doubt left that Fallout 3 will essentially be Oblivion with guns? Bethesda has already said in the past that it won't be an isometric RPG because that's not what they do well, and that interview is obviously referring to the Codex/NMA folks that aren't going to like the game.

If the game has good shooting mechancics, then it might not be that bad. I thought that Oblivion could have been the excellent RPG that it was hyped to be if it had less size and that terrible monster/loot scaling.

The profitability of PC RPG's can't be that bad. Black Isle and Ion Storm managed to stay afloat only when they made PC games. They went out of business when they started making dumbed down shit for consoles because it was supposedly going to make them tons of money.

Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Imagine you are going to convince an investor to fund a turn-based RPG, which game would you bring up as an example to prove that this really would pay off? As far as I know, no turn-based RPG has ever had a high profit. Not a single one..
Um, Final Fantasy?
Last edited by doctor_kaz; March 29th, 2007 at 15:31.
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March 29th, 2007, 15:34
Again, Black Isle didn't go bankrupt, they got dragged down by Interplay. RPGs are still (very) profitable, but Baldur's Gate was the big moneymaker for Black Isle, not Fallout.

Also, the latest FF games are real-time.
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March 29th, 2007, 15:37
How did Black Isle make money off of Baldurs Gate when they didn't even make it or the engine?

Interplay — Black Isle — same thing. They managed to stay in business making PC RPG's and didn't go bankrupt until Fallout: BOS came along. I know that 2 Milllion+ sellers for the PC aren't very common, but the PC can't be that bad.

Ditto for Ion Storm. "Hey guys, let's dumb down Deus Ex 2 for the X-Box! Who cares if the fans of the original game think it sucks! Console games always sell better no matter what and we're going to make billions and billions and billions of money easily!!!!"

(1 year later…)

"Whoops! Um, guess we were wrong. Anyone know where I can find a job?"
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March 29th, 2007, 15:49
Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
Also, Fallout was a hit? No it was not, very far from it in fact, during the time of Fallouts release we had games like Diablo and Baldur's Gate that completely crushed it on all charts. As far as I know, Fallout has never hit any charts at all, not even right after its release.
*sighs*. Fallout was the number 2 seller on release: http://groups.google.com/group/comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.rpg/browse_thread/thread/a076dc74e3c2ef26/a83c910a7d71f45b?lnk=gst&q=fallout+author%3Aanarch y%40netcom.com&rnum=181#a83c910a7d71f45b

Originally Posted by Maylander View Post
When it comes to economics, it's not really about proving that something isn't profitable, it's about proving that it is profitable. Noone likes to take big risks when huge sums of money are involved.
I know how investors think, thank you. Do differentiate between their skewered version of reality and actual reality, tho'.

And don't try to shift the burden of evidence. You claimed that turn-based games wouldn't sell in today's market. You have yet to back up this claim. If you can't prove it, just admit so, don't try to shift the burden of evidence. I agree with you that big turn-based titles are unlikely. However, if you're going to try to argue that the unlikeliness of these titles is actually caused by a *real* lower demand for turn-based games rather than the delusional thinking of investors, I'll disagree.

doctor_kaz: what you are saying is true. It is ridiculous to think it is impossible to survive in the gaming market by catering to specific niches, including existing fanbases. It is not that difficult to produce games that you know have an existing market and toning down the costs until you can produce it in such a way to make it profiteable.

Unlike what investors think, that isn't the high-risk game, that's the low-risk end of the market. The high-risk is selling games to casual gamers via hype, a method that can crumble if you take a wrong turn, as it did with BIS and Ion Storm and as it could well do for Bethesda.
Last edited by Brother None; March 29th, 2007 at 15:57.
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March 29th, 2007, 17:01
Why are we even discussing the possibility of a turn based Fallout 3?

I mean, Bethesda acquired the license, and they have never, I repeat, NEVER made anything even remotely resembling a turn based game. What they have made, however, is a highly successful real time engine that had the collective gaming press oohing and aahing across the globe …

If any of you actually think that Fallout 3 is going to be turn based, then I've got an Eiffel tower for sale

I wholeheartedly agree with Corwin that if you're going to make a game called whatnot X or Y or Z, then you can't just change the basic formula of the game. Look at the so called "C&C Generals". What the heck did that game have to do with the C&C franchise? Pure brand name capitalizing, nothing more.

Apart from that then I have to say that the perspective on the gaming world that Maylander is putting forth in this debate is like a mirror image of my own.

One of the major consumer illusions is the whole "I'll vote with my wallet" philosophy. It doesn't work unless the vast majority of consumers can agree on something and that usually takes such a damn hefty incentive to provoke that it very seldom happens (e.g. the brief boycott of French wine after the nuclear test blasts on the bikini islands some years back or the Muslim boycott of danish goods after the cartoon mismatch). Can any of you honestly say that before the mobile phone you thought to yourselves: "Dang, what I really need right now is a phone I can put in my pocket"? No? Well, that is a prime example of the "big players" creating a need where there wasn't one no matter what the average guy on the street has to say about it. It's the same with publishers today. If they don't see the need for TB games, then there is no need and vice versa. As someone else in the thread said (too lazy to look up who ) The whole "me too" trend in publishing is overwhelming. Piranha Bytes finished the English version of the Night of the Raven expansion for Gothic 2 a few months after the German version was released yet it took Jowood more than 2 years to get off their lazy butts and release it. The publishers rule supreme and their word is law, no matter how uninspired, narrow minded or downright stupid it is …

Errmm, where was I. Oops, that was a sort of writing while thinking happening here. Sorry about the messy jumble of thoughts

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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