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Default Why is there no challenger for Skyrim?

October 24th, 2012, 21:35
Hello. I have been thinking about this recently so I thought I'd post and see what you guys thought.

Can someone tell me why there is no competition to Skyrim, or Elder Scrolls games in particular? Why are Elder Scrolls games (and recent Fallout games) the only first-person open-world RPGs on the market?

Shouldn't there be competition? You would think with how many copies Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim have sold, that there would be other companies out there trying to make first-person open-world RPGs. You would think they would have saw around Morrowind's time, or even Oblivion's time, that these types of games attract a large amount of people.

Yet here we are near the end of 2012, and no one else is making first-person role-playing games. It's baffling to me. If it wasn't for Bethesda this style of game wouldn't even be on the market right now.

I personally think there is a huge door just waiting to be walked through. Someone needs to develop some decent lore, flesh out an open-world and make a game to challenge the Skyrims of the world. I think another first-person open-world RPG series would be great. It would give us some diversity. Yet no one is making them.

I also think the market is very fertile for a more "nerd oriented" first-person open-world RPG, such as Morrowind. You know, tons of armor slots, tons of spells, tons of guilds and different ways to play the game, etc. Something still accessible but just nerdier in every way than Skyrim. I think there is a market for that, I really do. Maybe that just comes from wishful thinking that someday we will see a spiritual successor to Morrowind.

Ken Rolston agrees with me. He said there is a demand for a game like Morrowind to be made, yet be made more accessible. There really is. But Bethesda is probably not going to make that game at this point. It would be up to someone else to do it. Hell, maybe I'll do it. Yeah, I think I'll start laying down some ideas for a nerdy first-person open-world RPG. No one else is doing it, so why not?

Thoughts?
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October 24th, 2012, 21:53
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Ken Rolston agrees with me. He said there is a demand for a game like Morrowind to be made, yet be made more accessible.
Isn't that pretty much what Oblivion and Skyrim are?
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October 24th, 2012, 21:53
Two Worlds 1 and 2 are both open world games with slightly more linearity than Bethesda. Outside of them and perhaps Gothic 3, there really aren't many games like these.

Ken Rolsten's last game caused hundreds of layoffs and a bankruptcy. Can we trust what he says anymore?
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October 24th, 2012, 22:18
Also Borderlands? But no one is as good at it as Bethesda, but I don't see why. There's a LOT of room for improvement.
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October 24th, 2012, 22:32
I think only Bethesda can do something like that from a technology and cost point of view and make a profit on it.

Technology-wise nothing is harder than huge open worlds, especially on consoles.
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October 24th, 2012, 22:36
Perhaps. I also think most publishers are afraid of the investment, and taking any chances on a big upfront cost. Funny that they are willing to take a big risk on expensive (and shitty) MMOs.
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October 24th, 2012, 22:55
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Hello. I have been thinking about this recently so I thought I'd post and see what you guys thought.

Can someone tell me why there is no competition to Skyrim, or Elder Scrolls games in particular? Why are Elder Scrolls games (and recent Fallout games) the only first-person open-world RPGs on the market?

Shouldn't there be competition? You would think with how many copies Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim have sold, that there would be other companies out there trying to make first-person open-world RPGs. You would think they would have saw around Morrowind's time, or even Oblivion's time, that these types of games attract a large amount of people.

Yet here we are near the end of 2012, and no one else is making first-person role-playing games. It's baffling to me. If it wasn't for Bethesda this style of game wouldn't even be on the market right now.
The reason is that these games are extremely challenging to make, especially to make them run on consoles with all that persistent data.

An experienced team that has already developed several of these games still takes four years to make each sequel.

The reason Obsidian was able to develop Fallout New Vegas in two years was because Bethesda had previously dedicated so many years toward developing and refining the FO3 engine.

With Skyrim's success, perhaps we will start to see more of these big open world RPGs from other developers, but to do it right takes several years, and most large publishers are simply not willing to commit to that, not to mention the challenges of making them run on consoles with 256MB memory. Should be a bit easier with the next gen consoles, however.

Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Ken Rolston agrees with me. He said there is a demand for a game like Morrowind to be made, yet be made more accessible.
In my view, BGS achieved that with Skyrim. It is like Morrowind in many ways, but more accessible.
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October 25th, 2012, 00:57
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Two Worlds 1 and 2 are both open world games with slightly more linearity than Bethesda. Outside of them and perhaps Gothic 3, there really aren't many games like these.
Don't forget KOA.
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October 25th, 2012, 01:34
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
Isn't that pretty much what Oblivion and Skyrim are?
Not really. Oblivion and Skyrim went a different route from Morrowind. I think there is room for a Morrowind spiritual successor. Something that doesn't strip away aspects of Morrowind, but adds even more.

Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Ken Rolsten's last game caused hundreds of layoffs and a bankruptcy. Can we trust what he says anymore?
What are you talking about? His last game was great IMO. It's not his fault 38 Studios went bankrupt. Far from it.

Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
The reason is that these games are extremely challenging to make, especially to make them run on consoles with all that persistent data.

An experienced team that has already developed several of these games still takes four years to make each sequel.

The reason Obsidian was able to develop Fallout New Vegas in two years was because Bethesda had previously dedicated so many years toward developing and refining the FO3 engine.

With Skyrim's success, perhaps we will start to see more of these big open world RPGs from other developers, but to do it right takes several years, and most large publishers are simply not willing to commit to that, not to mention the challenges of making them run on consoles with 256MB memory. Should be a bit easier with the next gen consoles, however.

In my view, BGS achieved that with Skyrim. It is like Morrowind in many ways, but more accessible.
The games may be extremely challenging to make, but it's still odd to me that not one other company has even attempted one. I agree it's a daunting task, but as you see from Skyrim, you can reap huge rewards for it.

I wouldn't expect the first game from a new company to sell as much as Skyrim, but if it's a good game that shows a lot of good qualities, it will sell, and it will more importantly build a base for future games, much like Daggerfall, or Morrowind did for Bethesda. But in order for that to happen, some company has to take a chance and actually give it a shot.

As for what they achieved with Skyrim, Skyrim is a great game. One of the best ever really. But it's still not a spiritual successor to Morrowind. Skyrim has much less guilds, less armor slots, no spellmaking, the world is not static, lack of hand-placed loot, lack of dice-roll skills, etc.

My idea would be to take the ideas in Morrowind and expand them even further. More legendary items, more hand-placed loot, more dice-roll skills, a somewhat static world, more guilds, more everything.

It would probably be a nightmare of a game to make, but I think it could be done.

You did bring up a good point though. I'm very excited to see what happens with the new generation of consoles. I'm hoping more first-person open-world RPGs can be made with the new technology. I wouldn't mind playing games that are trying to compete with Elder Scrolls.
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October 25th, 2012, 01:40
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
It's not his fault 38 Studios went bankrupt.
WTF are you smoking. He was the CEO and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the company he owned. This is the kind of shitty attitude that's responsible for the fucked up economy and country.
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October 25th, 2012, 02:15
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
WTF are you smoking. He was the CEO and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the company he owned. This is the kind of shitty attitude that's responsible for the fucked up economy and country.
Ken Rolston was the CEO? That's news to me.
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October 25th, 2012, 02:21
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
WTF are you smoking. He was the CEO and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the company he owned. This is the kind of shitty attitude that's responsible for the fucked up economy and country.
The CEO is not necessarily the owner or even an owner of a corporation. Furthermore, I don't think Rolston was the CEO anyway, I think he was just a lead designer. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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October 25th, 2012, 02:22
:facepalm:
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October 25th, 2012, 06:51
Originally Posted by Fluent View Post
Not really. Oblivion and Skyrim went a different route from Morrowind. I think there is room for a Morrowind spiritual successor. Something that doesn't strip away aspects of Morrowind, but adds even more.
What do you mean by different route? There were changes yes, but those games are still obviously closer to Morrowind than anything from another series. A "spiritual successor" is normally reserved for something that never had an actual sequel.
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October 25th, 2012, 08:14
I was going to write some kneejerk reaction about how I personally wouldn't want there to be more games mimicking TES's vapid content… but then I got to thinking that perhaps some competition is just what the doctor ordered to steer Bethesda away from bland quest design, cumbersome combat, and god-awful UIs.

Closest competitor, as has been mentioned, is likely the Two Worlds franchise.
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October 25th, 2012, 09:13
I think part of the problem in regards to a lack of competition is the uniqueness of the Elder Scrolls experience itself - i.e., a first-person exploration-driven experience set in a massive open-world, single-player RPG. Any attempt to compete with this would be subjected to immediate dismissal by many as an "Elder Scrolls clone" or knock-off. (I suppose this might partially explain why other open-world games are exclusively third-person). I certainly think there's more than enough room for a competitor, but that's how people are sometimes. Developers might simply be worried that after spending so much time creating a competing game to rival Bethesda's offerings, it would be unfairly dismissed without being given a fair chance to separate itself from the Elder Scrolls.

The other reason has already been stated - and that is the unwillingness of publishers to fund and properly support such an ambitious single-player game (After all, in spite of the success of a game like Skyrim, single-player gaming is "dead" - right EA?). This is frustrating, as publishers throw unholy pile after pile of money at failed, creatively uninspired mmo attempts, but that is the result of greed - sure, a great single-player game can make a very tidy profit, but chasing the dragon that is WoW's success is more alluring to non-enthusiast/non-gamer business types - regardless of the consistent failure of anyone trying to knock WoW off its throne.

For me, I would love to see an "Elder Scrolls competitor" because even though I deeply enjoy the experience offered by Bethesda, there are also some weaker areas that they frustratingly never address. This could be out of complacency (they are very good at making the stronger aspects of ES games, and so the "if it's not broken, why fix it?" mentality inevitably occurs) and the fact that their games are made the way that they want to make them (the latter is something I admire to a certain extent for staying true to their own ideals rather than bowing to what other people think is best for them.) Bethesda is very good at creating a specific type of exploration-driven experience, and I don't expect them to drastically change their approach. They seem to be comfortable with the refinement of a successful existing formula instead of going for innovation or ambitious attempts at something revolutionary. After all, their approach has worked very well throughout the entire series (and for Fallout 3) so far.

For me, I would love to see an Elder Scrolls game (or first-person open-world RPG equivalent/competitor) that maintains the excellent exploration and strong atmosphere that has always been the hallmark of Bethesda's games while adding truly memorable companions/characters/dialogues, more of a focus on a good, well-developed main story-line that isn't "save the world from the big scary evil thing," a more dynamic world that changes over time both independently from the player's influence and directly because of the player's influence, and meaningful choices and consequences based on factors such as factions.

The story, characters, and dialogues would be easy - Bethesda simply needs to finally hire some decent writers and truly focus more time and effort on these areas. The dynamic, evolving world and meaningful choices and consequences would be a tall order for an open-world RPG, however, even for a talented, well-funded and experienced developer like Bethesda. It's certainly possible though - it would just require a lot of ambition and strong dedication, along with some careful design work that wouldn't overwhelm the programmers (open-world games have enough trouble as it is with bugs ).
Last edited by Nerevarine; October 25th, 2012 at 10:19.
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October 25th, 2012, 10:02
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
WTF are you smoking. He was the CEO and is ultimately responsible for everything that happens in the company he owned. This is the kind of shitty attitude that's responsible for the fucked up economy and country.
Geez Thrasher, eat some of your own comment and at least provide some evidence when you try to correct someone. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/38_Studios

http://www.mobygames.com/game/window…koning/credits

For what it's worth, it was Jennifer Maclean.

As crpgnut hinted at, I remember when Two Worlds was released it was billed in parts of the gaming media as the "Oblivion beater". Truth be told, they were still very different experiences and for me not really comparable.

I think finding a publisher to compete with the financial and technological might of Bethesda is alot to ask for, but absolutely agree with the OP that it's something the market could certainly use, if only to lift the potential of first person role-playing games even further.

Oh and nice post there Nev, good to see you around again.

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October 25th, 2012, 10:32
Right or wrong, Thrasher is correct in the end.

It's all CEOs call. In every case, it's CEO who will decide if the company will take risk of making something or not making something. There are many CEOs out there that don't care, don't have guts or whatever needed to make an epic game. 99% of them are blessing only "grab the money and run" projects. And if the project is mindless shooter and endless mobrespawning grinder, the percent raises to 99.99. Most CEOs think that players are just dumb cows to milk. Nothing more.
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October 25th, 2012, 11:12
As has been pointed out, Two Worlds 1+2 were both "challengers" - though I consider them quite inferior.

Arguably, games like Divine Divinity (both) and the Gothics/Risens are also in the same space - and let's not forget the wonderful ArcaniA

So, while there are no other games with exactly the same formula - there are several open world RPGs with a lot of freedom out there. Yes, TES is first-person - but it's also third-person. I don't think the perspective is the key, as such.

As other people have mentioned, it's excessively hard to create games like this. So many things have to work together - and with a large level of freedom comes a (very) large amount of things that can go wrong. Just look at what happens with the PS3 version of Skyrim.

Bethesda has the experience and the budget to make this happen with high production values and marketing. So, they're in a rare place - because the genre in itself isn't typically a "10 million copies sold" genre. It takes huge clout with the audience and industry to pull off those numbers - and smaller companies would be taking big risks, because the resources required to pull off huge open world CRPGs are not insignificant.

Recently, we saw what happens when an unknown entity like KoA tries to take on TES and compete at a similar level. They openly tried to do that, and they were smacked down hard.

Naturally, it didn't help that the game was quite hollow and designed by people without the talent for that kind of design. The balance was bad and the concept of a fast-paced arcade game married to a deep CRPG world was very hard to accept for the audience. I actually predicted that they were shooting themselves in the foot - but that's just blowing my own horn
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October 25th, 2012, 11:21
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Right or wrong, Thrasher is correct in the end.
Good god man, don't be an apologist for someone that tries to correct another but factually gets it wrong.

And I don't buy your generalisation about CEO's for a second. It's absurdly simplistic and doesn't take into account the discussions that actually go on during board meetings and the influences and roles that other members can actually have in the decision making process.

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