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Default Bioshock - A Defense @ Eurogamer

December 7th, 2007, 16:31
Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
When will people stop lambasting sites for overhyping a game? So they like it, so they like it a lot, and maybe you felt it was good not great or even poor. Well deal with it, sites overhype games it's what they do. Who cares. Read it or don't read it and take it all with many grains of salt.
Why shouldn't we lambaste gaming review sites for not doing their jobs like they are supposed to do? Their primary job is to inform us about what games we should be playing. They should also be able to accurately put into perspective whether a game is truly legendary or groundbreaking for its time. The gaming media as a whole consistently fails to do this and Bioshock is a striking example of this. To say that a game is "the best game ever made" is to say that ten years from now, people will still look back upon it as one of the best ever and as some kind of turning point in gaming history. Does anyone here think that ten years from now Bioshock will be ranked up with Mario 64, Halo, and Civilization as one of the all time greats? I don't.

One of the many wierd thoughts this article raised in my head was how very difficult it is to make a successor to a game with a passionate fanbase. Is it always going to be judged against nostalgic memories of an experience more than an actual game for those people no matter how the sequel turns out? Would an updated carbon-copy be better received?(I'm speaking in general, not about any specific game.)
Why do people always say this? The gaming industry constantly makes sequels and spiritual sequels to great games with rabid fan bases, and they do it with resounding success. They make more great games and satisfy those fan bases by adding some new elements here and there, removing stuff that didn't work, and emphasizing what did work. That's what Bungie does with each Halo game and, not surprisingly, that's why it gets bigger each time. It's not exactly rocket science. But with PC role playing games they simply strip out 50% of the gameplay regardless of whether or not it worked. Any fanbase would react negatively to this type of change, regardless of the genre or platform. PC gamers are thought of as elitist snobs but I guarantee you if Bungie made a Halo sequel with the same philsophy that is used to make PC RPG sequels nowdays then there would be riots in the streets.
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December 7th, 2007, 16:36
I still plan on playing Bioshock - but in the interim far more interesting things have surfaced (Witcher etc). Played SS2 and loved it - some years after it came out. The Biochock demo (which is all I have played) bored the crap out of me - oooo! Plasmids! Now I have a "flamethrower" *pow* *kzaappp!* No doubt the demo was not an accurate reflection of the full game, but it did not inspire me to purchase the game. Franky I don't see what all the fuss was about in the first place. I no longer give much credence to reviews (which is why I get really hacked off that so many companies don't bother with demos - or release cruddy ones after the fact!)
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December 7th, 2007, 17:14
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
Why do people always say this? The gaming industry constantly makes sequels and spiritual sequels to great games with rabid fan bases, and they do it with resounding success. They make more great games and satisfy those fan bases by adding some new elements here and there, removing stuff that didn't work, and emphasizing what did work. That's what Bungie does with each Halo game and, not surprisingly, that's why it gets bigger each time. It's not exactly rocket science. But with PC role playing games they simply strip out 50% of the gameplay regardless of whether or not it worked. Any fanbase would react negatively to this type of change, regardless of the genre or platform. PC gamers are thought of as elitist snobs but I guarantee you if Bungie made a Halo sequel with the same philsophy that is used to make PC RPG sequels nowdays then there would be riots in the streets.
Thanks for bringing in the examples from other genres, which I don't play much. In your opinion, are the successful sequels you mention not updated carbon copies, then( adding a few new elements, removing stuff that didn't work and doing again what did work)? And I'd argue also that a few PC rpgs have decent sequels that were well-received by fans( BG2, M&M series) because they pretty much did the same thing.

My point being that a passionate fanbase really demands the same experience from the game they got initally—and I'm not implying that's wrong, but it does impose some restrictions on the developer—and thus if a sequel falls too far from the original premise and execution, it no longer has the qualities the fans are expecting, causing bitterness and rejection.

My question then becomes can a sequel or spiritual successor really break new ground without losing the original fanbase?

Where there's smoke, there's mirrors.
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December 7th, 2007, 17:51
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
My point being that a passionate fanbase really demands the same experience from the game they got initally—and I'm not implying that's wrong, but it does impose some restrictions on the developer—and thus if a sequel falls too far from the original premise and execution, it no longer has the qualities the fans are expecting, causing bitterness and rejection.

My question then becomes can a sequel or spiritual successor really break new ground without losing the original fanbase?

Ultima 7, Finally went from TB to Real time and it didn't bring me along with the ride. I hated it (I know I may recieve flak for this because a lot of people think that U7 was the end all of Ultimas) But to me the recipe from U3 - u6 was perfect. Keep the basic but improve on how the game is played. U3 - 5 had basically the same combat, same weapons sorta, and same baddies. Six a new kind of interface which was still turnbased if you wanted it to be. I liked this one almost as much as U5 maybe a bit more than U5 since the plot of the story was dealing with racial issues. When U7 came, I played and then left. I couldn't stand not being able to cast my spells in a TB environment.

Someone mentioned either in this thread or in another I just read about both vampire games bloodlines and redemption. Redemtion was an over the shoulder realtime game, bloodlines was FPS. Both were great even though I was skeptical at first of Bloodlines, I learned to love it and play it through 3 times to get all three endings.
Spoiler – Spoiler


Then there is X-COM UFO Defense and terror from the deep. Those two were basically the same game just in different environments. The last one though X-COM Apolcalypse was definatly a different game. gone was the world and now all you had was a big city with mega corps. Gone was TB and in its place was something else, not sure what to call it but it wasn't exactly TB. Anyways I had a blast with all three, didn't matter they changed it a bit. I was really happy they got rid of those stinking aliens hiding in some dark corner for hours until you just happen upon them.

On the flip side of this debate there is KOTOR and KOTOR2. The only problem I had with KOTOR2 was that it wasn't finished. I loved everything else about it even though it was pretty much the same game just continuing the adventure. I wish they would do more of those. (Without the releasing the game too early thing )

Of course there are the Neverwinter nights games, Baldurs gates and Icewind dale. I play all of those to the end even though it was basically the same game engine. Then came Planescape Torment , THE BEST GAME EVER…. However it didn't do that well in sales, from what I hear. I thought there were more of us D&D nerds out there who would of snatched this sucker up to make it a huge hit but I guess I was wrong. Anyways even though it used the same engine, it was nothing like its predicessors.

The realms of arkania series at the end tried to break new ground, even though it was still basically the same combat system, they made the game seem new enough and interesting enough without breaking it too much.

Eye of Beholder 1 2 3. All same style, all great games, except 3.

Lands of lore 1 2 3. Different ways to play the game with each new one. Lands one was quite different from lands 2 and 3 unfortuantly I never got to play.

Now here is the grand daddy IMO of them all. Betrayal at Krondor to Return to Krondor (let's not mention that other game Sierra tried to pawn off on us shall we ) Those game will always go down in my list as the best games I've ever played and it's not just the fact that I love any of Fiests work. Even his more unknown works like Farie Tale, but these games had everything I wanted in a RPG not just stats and loot but a real plot with a real history to the game. The first BAK was quite different from their eventual sequel RTK. I could of played either type of game, they were just that good, though RTK was far too short or I just stayed up too late playing it

So there are times when a change in the gamestyle helps or hinders a game. If I had my choice I would tell the devs to make a great game and if it well recieved, then continue the story with the same engine (quicker production time) and then with the third installment go out on a limb and try to improve the game with a better engine.

Oh I almost forgot the GOLD boxes. They made tons of those and tried to venture out of the goldbox with some action games like that Dragonlance game (can't rememeber the name of it ) or Hillsfar, which imo were not as good as the good old Goldie.

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December 7th, 2007, 18:32
Both were great even though I was skeptical at first of Bloodlines, I learned to love it and play it through 3 times to get all three endings.
Heh, I believe you missed one.

Spoiler – Bloodlines ending
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December 7th, 2007, 18:49
and i believe you missed one as well as there are five, though i've not done them all myself.
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December 7th, 2007, 19:39
Ah, yes.
Spoiler
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December 7th, 2007, 21:00
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz View Post
The backlash is there because gaming journalism universally spoojed all over the game and treated it like it was a religious experience.
Reminds me of a certain "quarrel" over there at Gamespot …

Plus, there was the Hype.

Never underestimate the power opf The Hype.

Edit: Didn't like Return To Krondor too much - I mean, it was a fine gamre, yes, but nothing exceptions to me.

The only exceptional thing within it was that I actually found a scroll with a recipe for Chai (tea) in it.

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)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; December 7th, 2007 at 21:07.
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December 8th, 2007, 00:14
skavenhorde wrote:
So there are times when a change in the gamestyle helps or hinders a game. If I had my choice I would tell the devs to make a great game and if it well recieved, then continue the story with the same engine (quicker production time) and then with the third installment go out on a limb and try to improve the game with a better engine.
You've kind of hit on my personal theory of how to make a successful game: make it a great game first and know who you're making it for, rather than take a survey of ten thousand people playing all kinds of games and try to hit 99.625 % of all respondents tastes and desires.

Your examples—thanks for so many over such a broad range—seem to indicate that it's the actual quality of the sequel as much as anything else that makes the fanbase accept it. It can be a carbon copy, and if it's a good one, that will fly, or it can be innovative, but then it has to also be good enough that the fanbase can accept and enjoy the innovations, that is, actually do something better than in the original game. Makes sense.

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December 8th, 2007, 00:52
Originally Posted by doctor_kaz
Does anyone here think that ten years from now Bioshock will be ranked up with Mario 64, Halo, and Civilization as one of the all time greats? I don't.
Ouch, you seem to be putting halo up on a high and undeserved pedestal. It certainly maybe a good or even great console game, however it was average at best as a PC game and there is absolutely no question BioShock is a better game in every way. Unless I am missing something here?

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December 8th, 2007, 05:04
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
Ouch, you seem to be putting halo up on a high and undeserved pedestal. It certainly maybe a good or even great console game, however it was average at best as a PC game and there is absolutely no question BioShock is a better game in every way. Unless I am missing something here?
That would definitely boil down to personal preference and opinion. Halo was a great shooter as well as a fun multiplayer experience, while Bioshock was a great shooter hybrid, but lacked multiplayer altogether.


He also mentions Mario 64 as being one of the all time greats, and personally I would be even more skeptical of that one, but again it just boils down to personal preference.
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December 8th, 2007, 07:18
Originally Posted by JDR13
That would definitely boil down to personal preference and opinion.
Only if your giving your opinion, however it's possible to look at halo as a PC game to rationally/objectively compare it to great PC shooters where it doesn't come close at any level to being great. Well that might be too harsh, better to say it doesn't come close on most levels. It's possible to sight something like Responsiveness of the driving as good, mostly due to the fact that it seems necessary to make it responsive as possible for use with a controller, where as PC games will take away responsiveness and mobility to help balance game play as in UT10k.

If your opinion is halo is great, fine but like you said thats your opinion, if it satisfies you personally on some level, cool.

I have no problem with Mario64, never played it but I recall it being said that it did many innovative things but I am only going by memory and never played.

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December 8th, 2007, 11:27
Originally Posted by Acleacius View Post
however it's possible to look at halo as a PC game to rationally/objectively compare it to great PC shooters where it doesn't come close at any level to being great.

I don't think doctor_kaz was comparing it to great PC shooters..

The problem is that people are comparing Halo to games in general. I also think it's safe to say that those comparisons are generally against console games, not PC games. Have you ever wondered why Halo 3 was the largest and most successful launch in entertainment history?

Bioshock was a fun time, but I don't think it was anywhere close to being an all time great. That being said, I don't think Halo was either.
Last edited by JDR13; December 8th, 2007 at 15:47.
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December 8th, 2007, 15:10
I'm still waiting for Mario for the PC.

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December 8th, 2007, 20:22
Originally Posted by magerette View Post
You've kind of hit on my personal theory of how to make a successful game: make it a great game first and know who you're making it for, rather than take a survey of ten thousand people playing all kinds of games and try to hit 99.625 % of all respondents tastes and desires.

Your examples—thanks for so many over such a broad range—seem to indicate that it's the actual quality of the sequel as much as anything else that makes the fanbase accept it. It can be a carbon copy, and if it's a good one, that will fly, or it can be innovative, but then it has to also be good enough that the fanbase can accept and enjoy the innovations, that is, actually do something better than in the original game. Makes sense.
To make a sequel right away just makes sense to me. Coming from a gamers view point if I play a great game (Like you said a game targeted at my genre not the mass market ex: The Witcher) then I don't mind in the least buying it's sequel even if it doesn't offer tons of new and exciting things.

The developer now doesn't have to concentrate so much on the engine and working out bugs. They can now concentrate on the meat and potatoes of the game, just making it even more fun to play. Also by this time bug squashing should be a bit easier since they've been playin around with this engine for awhile now (should be easier ) Then after two hopefully successful releases, you don't have to reinvent the wheel so to speak but the devs can try out a new engine to keep it modern or an engine that would let them do somethings they may of thought of for the first two but couldn't do due to limitations with the engine. One thing they shouldn't do is break the game. Change it so much that it is barely recognizable by the fan base. The biggest example of this would be Fallout BOS. There are others like Xcom: Interception but I think Fallout BOS outdid themselves when showing the world how not to expand on an IP.

Thanks for the praise by the way, I was just listing off games that had sequels off the top of my head. That's why my post is a bit unfinished and not too orderly. I didn't mention the fallouts or dominions or any adventure games. Old adventure games were great at keeping the same feel and being just as addictive while upgrading their engines. Kings Quests, Space Quest and of course Quest for Glory did this very well. With both the Space Quest and Quest for Glory series ending in a bang with an amazing update to the gameplay while keeping the same general feel of the game. Kings Quest didn't do this and went for the FPS crowd. I still don't know what they were thinking when they made that.

So I think your theory has a good basis in reality because it is good for the devs to be able to first concentrate on making their game and hopefully getting the bugs out. By the time they release it then if it is recieved well (doesn't have to be a blockbuster hit) then they can concentrate on just making it more fun to play, perhaps new skills, new monsters, add a romance or two in there and bam ship it within a year (hopefully). So the devs are happy, the gamers who enjoyed it are happy because they get to continue playing a great game with some new bells and whistle. Now this frees them up to really get into a new one

I think great minds think alike then, well your great mind not so much mine It is a wish of mine that devs and producers would stop and think how easy this would be to do. If they need examples, the above mentioned ones are there for them to look over plus many many many others from all genres Civilization, Dawn of War (3rd one would be Mark of Chaos) Doom 1,2 and then the total remake of 3, etc…

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December 8th, 2007, 20:44
Originally Posted by JDR13
I don't think doctor_kaz was comparing it to great PC shooters..
Anything is possible, yet halo is being compared to BioShock, both are multisystem FPS releases. Given the context it's reasonable to conclude he is comparing them. I haven't noticed any specific critiera, so it also is reasonable to conclude we could compare graphics, gameplay or heck he could have meant multiplayer as why he didn't like BioShock.Either way as I said when comparing to a PC game, which BioShock qualifies for halo is much lower quality and certainly not an all time 10 greatest.

It's not a big deal, just pointing out the obvious.

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