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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Shadowrun Returns - Review Roundup #4

Default Shadowrun Returns - Review Roundup #4

July 27th, 2013, 10:05
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
The team was 30 members
That only makes the end product even less impressive in my eyes.
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July 27th, 2013, 10:20
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
That only makes the end product even less impressive in my eyes.
For the campaign alone I would tend to agree. But they also made the editor, and what I hear from Devs on this topic is always that doing that is a significant effort thats not to be underestimated.
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July 27th, 2013, 10:39
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
For the campaign alone I would tend to agree. But they also made the editor, and what I hear from Devs on this topic is always that doing that is a significant effort thats not to be underestimated.
Well the campaign is what most people are going to be judging it by for now.

Perhaps it will end up having Neverwinter Nights type success with user-made content in the future, but I still think they could have put more effort into the campaign.

I look at games like Legend of Grimrock, which was made primarily by a four man team, and I have a hard time understanding how the manpower of 30 people was utilized for this game.
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July 27th, 2013, 10:45
I honestly think they spent most of the time with the editor over the campaign. It can do a lot of things that the vanilla campaign didn't use. Life on a Limb UGC instantly shows some of the differences right off the bat (3 faction gang war in a parking lot, can choose who to support or not to get involved, turns into a gang stronghold). Unsure how it ties in later, or if it does, haven't gotten that far. Enemies do respawn here after leaving. Many more lootable corpses and item drops.

I do think NWN is a good comparison for this game though. I expect UGC to carry it forward.
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July 27th, 2013, 12:24
I'm really surprised about the saving system. It used to be it was just a given that any kind of RPG or action/adventure game would let you save your game at will. But now it's like you cannot assume that anymore.

How do you make a game where you do complex, intricate things and not let you save your progress at will. I understand certain restrictions like not during combat or other scripted events … but really .. just one autosave at the start of a "level"? I mean, really, that is garbage.

At the very least, recent games without a save anywhere have autosaves when you "change" your character (action RPGs like diablo, torchlight work ok in this mode). This doesn't even have that. I mean really, what a crock.
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July 27th, 2013, 14:02
If you compare it to Expeditions Conquistador or Legends Of Eisenwald (Admittedly still beta) both of which got less than $100,000 on kickstarter, it is really very disappointing that this is all they were able to do with $2m (and 30 devs!) - i.e. 20x the funding of those projects. I'll certainly be very disappointed if Larian can't do a lot better with D:OS and Wasteland 2 already looks to be in a different ballpark to SR in every aspect.
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July 27th, 2013, 14:31
True, I had forgotten about Expeditions. Probably not quite the same size team but they did make a good game with a much smaller budget.
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July 27th, 2013, 17:27
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
The team was 30 members, unsure about division of full & parttime. Info I found listed avg income for software engineers & devs in Seattle as $84k and $68k though I doubt HBS was paying that, I figured somewhere in the $50-55k area (might be too conservative) which is pretty much the entire Kickstarter before expenses.
If the employee's average salary was 50k per year then they actually would have cost the employer more like 65k per person between payroll taxes and benefits, unless they provided no benefits. That would bring the costs of labor alone to almost 2.5 million. Hardware, content creation software (just unity pro 4 costs 1500 per user), rent, and other costs could have easily driven the overrun to 3 million.

I think people vastly underestimate how expensive it is to even create a relatively modest sized game if you actually have to pay your employees a salary. A lot of other indie developers work with smaller teams and often even a team of owners, some of whom may take a cut of profits after release instead of an actual steady salary. Even a studio of 10 salaried employees would run a first year cost of 750k to 1 million, assuming they worked out of an office and provided employees with hardware and legal copies of software at work.

Also bear in mind what quality of employee you might be able to find for some positions if you are paying such a comparatively low salary and potentially not providing benefits.

How are other games able to do it with much less kickstarter money? Well they've either already developed much of the game before receiving kickstarter funds, their teams are possibly donating their time and expecting to receive commissions instead of a salary (or are themselves owners), or they have substantial funding coming from outside kickstarter. Some of those games had been in some state of development for years before they went on kickstarter, and it would be very uninformative to attempt to compare them to one whose development began with its campaign and would rely almost entirely on that funding going forward. Also some notable kickstarter games have been based outside the US in a few countries where labor costs can be much lower.
Last edited by jhwisner; July 27th, 2013 at 17:39.
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July 27th, 2013, 17:34
I dont' understand the hate. Yes, the campaign was short, but I really enjoyed it non the less. I liked Ex:C well enough, but mostly as a time sink, I didn't actually have fun playing.

SRR has good dialogue, a solid enough class and battle system, and an editor that is really user friendly and with loads of possibilities. What do you you mean when you say the scores would be lower if it was compared to AAA games? I would beg to differ, I haven't played ANY triple A games that was as good as this one in years.
What games are you playing that makes this one poor in comparison, I just don't get it?

I say it's Kickstarter money well spent. (But I would like a normal save system though…)
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July 27th, 2013, 17:41
Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
I dont' understand the hate. Yes, the campaign was short, but I really enjoyed it non the less. I liked Ex:C well enough, but mostly as a time sink, I didn't actually have fun playing.

SRR has good dialogue, a solid enough class and battle system, and an editor that is really user friendly and with loads of possibilities. What do you you mean when you say the scores would be lower if it was compared to AAA games? I would beg to differ, I haven't played ANY triple A games that was as good as this one in years.
What games are you playing that makes this one poor in comparison, I just don't get it?

I say it's Kickstarter money well spent. (But I would like a normal save system though…)
I suppose the nearest comparison right now is with XCOM EU. Certainly that's a much more accomplished game, but with a much larger budget. I reckon SR is an OK bargain bin game, but I'm not going to be funding many more kickstarters if this is the best that can be done with a $2m budget. Maybe Kickstarter is better set up for those with the passion to suffer for their art - and they are the guys who really deserve the cash, I think.
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July 27th, 2013, 17:43
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
I suppose the nearest comparison right now is with XCOM EU. Certainly a much more accomplished game, but with a much larger budget. I reckon SR is an OK game, but I'm not going to be funding many more kickstarters if this is the best that can be done with a $2m budget.
Well there is a difference between an established studio with other revenue sources and one which is effectively funding a startup through kickstarter. inXile and Obsidian for example either have other sources of investment money (from their owners at least if nothing else) and experience working on games of the same scope and calliber as the ones they kickstarted. So you should at least get more bang for your buck from them.

I for one did enjoy SRR quite a bit and am having a lot of fun playing with the editor right now. I even think it will be possible to implement different save functionality in mods using script extension.
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July 27th, 2013, 17:48
Naysayers aside (and, like so many forums, it always feels like naysayers are out in force)…

I love SR:R. Even the single-player campaign.

Better than NWN.
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July 27th, 2013, 17:56
Yeah I'm having fun with it. I wish it was less linear, but I love the graphics (ace backgrounds) and its awesome to be playing a decent turn based combat rpg again… Despite its faults its money very well spent in my book.

Hell, I enjoyed the single player nwn campaign as well though! there, I said it…
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July 27th, 2013, 18:05
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
If you compare it to Expeditions Conquistador or Legends Of Eisenwald (Admittedly still beta) both of which got less than $100,000 on kickstarter, it is really very disappointing that this is all they were able to do with $2m (and 30 devs!) - i.e. 20x the funding of those projects. I'll certainly be very disappointed if Larian can't do a lot better with D:OS and Wasteland 2 already looks to be in a different ballpark to SR in every aspect.
I wonder if they paid a lot less for employees to do the work on those games since they were made in europe where I'm pretty sure they are paying less for the same amount of people.

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July 27th, 2013, 18:20
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
I wonder if they paid a lot less for employees to do the work on those games since they were made in europe where I'm pretty sure they are paying less for the same amount of people.
Certainly in Eastern Europe (e.g. Legends Of Eisenwald) they can make games much more economically, but I don't think salaries in Western Europe differ so much from those in the States. A lot of indie developers do live on the smell of gas in an empty tank though and are invested in the success of their games.
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July 27th, 2013, 18:28
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
The team was 30 members, unsure about division of full & parttime. Info I found listed avg income for software engineers & devs in Seattle as $84k and $68k though I doubt HBS was paying that, I figured somewhere in the $50-55k area (might be too conservative) which is pretty much the entire Kickstarter before expenses.
Yes, and that's not necessarily equivalent to 30 man years. People entering and leaving the project at different times, &c.
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July 27th, 2013, 18:37
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
I suppose the nearest comparison right now is with XCOM EU. Certainly that's a much more accomplished game, but with a much larger budget. I reckon SR is an OK bargain bin game, but I'm not going to be funding many more kickstarters if this is the best that can be done with a $2m budget. Maybe Kickstarter is better set up for those with the passion to suffer for their art - and they are the guys who really deserve the cash, I think.
Right, that's exactly the comparison I would make. XCOM has higher production values, sure. But other than that? XCOM took me about 20hrs to finish, this one took me 12. And the superior editor of SRR makes up for that shortcoming. XCOM's battle are cool, but only for a while. XCOM cost me three times as much and probably had what, 20x the budget or more? Yet to me it is the inferior game of the two, I enjoyed SRR far more. And the possibilities of SRR are huge when people start making mods, making me believe the hours spent on that game will rise with time. XCOM? Standing on the shelf collecting dust (actually the virtual shelf of uninstalled Steam games, but that didn't sound quite as good.).
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July 27th, 2013, 18:48
Originally Posted by greywolf00 View Post
Also heard, but haven't checked to verify, the Shadowrun license from Microsoft was $600,000.
I can't believe they paid $600k up front for the licence, particularly considering that the original Kickstarter goal was $400k. And what kind of game would we have got for that, if they can't even implement save games, inventory or a decent length non linear campaign with $2m?
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July 27th, 2013, 18:54
Originally Posted by elkston View Post
At the very least, recent games without a save anywhere have autosaves when you "change" your character (action RPGs like diablo, torchlight work ok in this mode). This doesn't even have that. I mean really, what a crock.
The rise of the auto-save I understand - especially if it's cycling through a few save slots to do it. Unfortunately, it's created a lot of gamers that simply won't save their games. They've never had to before and many of the games they still play don't require it so they never learn to do it. These people make it so you HAVE to have an auto-save of some sort.

What doesn't make sense to me is the dropping of save-anywhere. They've never really been on console systems even though the current generation dwarfs PCs from the early 90s that were perfectly capable of saving games anywhere. Saving right in the middle of a battle does sound difficult but outside of battle? Why not? Some people talk about "increasing the challenge" but it just seems to increase the tedium where I'm sitting (while also increasing the chances of staying up too late or not playing at all because I don't think I can get to the next save point).
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July 27th, 2013, 19:14
Originally Posted by tomasp3n View Post
Right, that's exactly the comparison I would make. XCOM has higher production values, sure. But other than that? XCOM took me about 20hrs to finish, this one took me 12. And the superior editor of SRR makes up for that shortcoming. XCOM's battle are cool, but only for a while. XCOM cost me three times as much and probably had what, 20x the budget or more? Yet to me it is the inferior game of the two, I enjoyed SRR far more. And the possibilities of SRR are huge when people start making mods, making me believe the hours spent on that game will rise with time. XCOM? Standing on the shelf collecting dust (actually the virtual shelf of uninstalled Steam games, but that didn't sound quite as good.).
I have to agree 100% with this statement. XCom EU is a very accurate comparison for the combat portions of SRR. Though it had issues with console a console interface. SRR has issues with tablet interface though this is probably due to HBS having been a tablet game designer (look at their previous games and their next kick starter project being a tablet table top combo).
Over all the campaign was great fun and there is one more campaign to come in Germany too so just considering the bang for your buck there I feel it was well worth it.
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