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Default Interplay - D&D Rights Sold to Atari

August 11th, 2008, 02:58
The trademark info from the USPTO.gov search engine, TESS (sorry, can't direct link as it's a database search engine), which I looked up when checking System Shock's info a week or so ago:

Baldur's Gate Dark Alliance is (currently) an Interplay mark, registered Dec 24 2007 (!), with the old registration having lapsed in 2002. I'd presume this would be transferred to Atari soon.

Icewind Dale is published for opposition as of June 2008, by Atari. Presumably there won't be any opposition.

Baldur's Gate has two current registrations both for Bioware and both very recent (one of them was approved in May this year), as well as a dead WOTC one from 2004-5 and a dead IPLY one for BG2: TOB. This may make a BG game problematic, due to EA's ownership of Bioware and being a competing publisher to Atari.

It's all a bit odd because the manuals list all the TMs as being WOTC/Hasbro marks, which is what the standard licensing agreement would normally be. But then the standard agreement wouldn't have two companies (IPLY/Atari) both having licences at the same time so there was clearly something weird going on, perhaps like the old Pool of Radiance situation where they got sequel rights.
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August 11th, 2008, 20:31
Originally Posted by purpleblob View Post
Lets face it. 99% of Atari products suck..
I strongly disagree with that statement - I've bought and enjoyed more Atari games than from any other publisher recently. I'm not a fanboi- I've had my own share of disagreements with Atari, but games like NWN 1&2 + expansions, Test Drive Unlimited and The Witcher are top drawer and the critics agree.

Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
I'm not sure what you'd have to be one for nostalgia to think that. Personally, I dislike any industry that relies on endless sequel-churning and prefer developers to make fresh, original new properties rather than just producing sequels, but if they want to do a sequel then yes, they'd better do it right.
Why not just not buy a game if you don't like it, rather than wish it was never made and stop someone else from enjoying it? The Witcher is new IP for a video game. NWN was a new series. Test Drive Unlimited was a completely new take on a series.
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August 11th, 2008, 20:37
Kal, NWN was originally an AOL game. I remake of sort was made for it with Bio's NWN called NWN:Resurrected.

The game was initially marketed as a "build your own D&D game" construction set, meant for multiple players and one DM, so I think its safe to say that Bio was in part cashing in on the name.

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August 11th, 2008, 20:51
I would love to see another Baldur's Gate game, but agree it should not have anything to do with the Bhaalspawn. I just think it is a great setting. While I love IWD, I like big cities teeming with people. I'd love to see a game that encompassed all the areas of the 2 1/2 BG games (and hopefully some new ones), but with a new story line, preferably not one where the main character has some special destiny like NWN2 or BG. As much as I didn't care for the OC of NWN, I did like the fact that you were just one person who happened to answer the call.

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August 11th, 2008, 21:43
Thanks for the info, Zygo.

Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
Why not just not buy a game if you don't like it, rather than wish it was never made and stop someone else from enjoying it? The Witcher is new IP for a video game. NWN was a new series. Test Drive Unlimited was a completely new take on a series.
That doesn't really address my sentiment much. Also, NWN was not a new series, and the Witcher is not an original property.

As I said, I dislike the thought of an industry that just churns out sequels or properties adapt from other media, the state the film industry is in now. Simply not buying it isn't much of a solution when almost all AAA-products are sequels.

I'm not sure what is confusing about my sentiment: I prefer original products, but if sequels have to be done for whatever reason it is better if they're faithful and well-made sequels. "A bad sequel is better than nothing" is only a valid viewpoint if you feel sequels are necessary anyway, and I fail to see how sequels are necessary.
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August 11th, 2008, 21:50
Are you saying you wish Fallout 2 had never been made?

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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August 11th, 2008, 22:29
Considering Fallout 2 improves on the original in application of choice 'n consequence and varied quest-paths: no. It wasn't a necessary sequel, tho', and if I were to value Fallout's setting above Fallout's gameplay elements I'd call it a mistake.

But that's the point, innit? Baldur's Gate II improved on I, Fallout 2 improved on 1 (in areas), Gothic II improved on I. If you're - however - not going to improve, why bother to make a sequel anyway? Producing cheap copies and slapping labels on them is stupid, as is calling a game that has little in common with its predecessor a sequel.

I'm reminded of MCA's answer to the question "What advice would you have for someone making another Fallout game?":
Don't do one. Do something better and raise the bar even higher.
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August 11th, 2008, 23:08
But that's the point, innit? Baldur's Gate II improved on I, Fallout 2 improved on 1 (in areas), Gothic II improved on I. If you're - however - not going to improve, why bother to make a sequel anyway? Producing cheap copies and slapping labels on them is stupid, as is calling a game that has little in common with its predecessor a sequel.
It depends on what you mean by improve. Most mods for NWN and NWN2 don't 'improve' the game (well maybe NWN since the OC was so bad), but they are fun because they have different stories.

If someone came out with an entirely new story, new places, etc. using the BG2 engine with no changes since ToB, I'd be happy as well (assuming the story was good). I don't need an 'improved' story, just a new one.

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August 11th, 2008, 23:46
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
It depends on what you mean by improve. Most mods for NWN and NWN2 don't 'improve' the game (well maybe NWN since the OC was so bad), but they are fun because they have different stories.
I think D&D-properties are kind of peripheral to the argument I'm making anyway, since they're more about just telling stories in that setting and with those rules over and over again. So the fact that sequels do little else isn't all that surprising.

Besides, expansion packs and total conversion mods are a completely different matter, they're not independent product, they basically have the stated purpose of "being the same content, just more of it".

Agh, D&D, personally I'd be fine if they just left that license alone, but who knows, maybe they'll produce a great game out of it. I recall the sigh of relief when BioWare noted they'd do a non-D&D fantasy RPG, but then it turns out there wasn't much originality to be seen.

PS: wow, you'd seriously be happy with a new game on that engine? I might be if they sell it for 5 bucks or something, but the technological leaps have been such that I'd definitely expect improvements on BG's original mechanics.
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August 12th, 2008, 00:37
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
I strongly disagree with that statement - I've bought and enjoyed more Atari games than from any other publisher recently. I'm not a fanboi- I've had my own share of disagreements with Atari, but games like NWN 1&2 + expansions, Test Drive Unlimited and The Witcher are top drawer and the critics agree.
Well, I strongly disagree with you. In my opinion NWN series sucked. Only good thing about it was that it allows ppl to create mod. Some mods were fantastic I admit, but there's only like million mods out there.

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August 12th, 2008, 02:12
Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
I strongly disagree with that statement - I've bought and enjoyed more Atari games than from any other publisher recently. I'm not a fanboi- I've had my own share of disagreements with Atari, but games like NWN 1&2 + expansions, Test Drive Unlimited and The Witcher are top drawer and the critics agree.
The Witcher is not much of an Atari game - all development was not only done, but also funded by CD Projekt and CDP has the rights to the franchise (licensed from Andrzej Sapkowski), Atari only licensed the rights to publish it in the US, Western Europe etc.
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August 12th, 2008, 14:17
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
I think D&D-properties are kind of peripheral to the argument I'm making anyway, since they're more about just telling stories in that setting and with those rules over and over again. So the fact that sequels do little else isn't all that surprising.
A non-D&D example was Ultima VII and Ultima VII part II. Basically the same game but different settings. I never felt like I didn't get my $50 worth out of each one despite the engine recycling.


PS: wow, you'd seriously be happy with a new game on that engine? I might be if they sell it for 5 bucks or something, but the technological leaps have been such that I'd definitely expect improvements on BG's original mechanics.
Absolutely. And I'd pay $50 for it. As much as I loved NWN2 OC, I don't really need a 3-D game to keep me interested. I just finished BG2 last week. First time I've played it in about 7 years, and I enjoyed it as much as I did back then (well, maybe not quite as much, but that's due primarily to knowing what the story was already!). It would be nice if they incorporated some of the community fixes, though.

I just don't get the need for continued 'improvement' in RPG engines. Not saying that it shouldn't be done, but for me the graphics, interface, combat, etc. are all minor points to what really drives the enjoyment for me, the story. I can get just as immersed in a game like U5:Lazarus, with what are now archaic 3-d meshes as I can with a game that has photo-realistic graphics like BioShock.

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August 12th, 2008, 16:15
Speaking of game engines, I personally prefer older graphics for RPGs since they leave more to the imagination of the player and I find that may give more the atmosphere of the game. I am not against more technically advanced graphics, especially 3D, but in RPGs, especially party based ones like NWN2 for example, it takes out more than it gives.

Least we should forget that an older graphics would significantly broaden the audience, due to the low sistem requirements.
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August 12th, 2008, 17:16
Totally agree Arma. I think the problem is that it costs so much to make those beautiful 3-D graphics that it doesn't leave much in the budget for the important things, but it is possible.

Take a game like U5:Lazarus or the U6 Project. The modders making those have spent a vast majority of their time (obviously not money since they are mods!) on making the stories robust. Sure they spent a lot of time on the world building and meshes and such (tons of time from what I understand), but it seems they are really story focused, which I don't get from most RPG's I pick up these days.

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August 12th, 2008, 19:57
Originally Posted by Lucky Day View Post
Kal, NWN was originally an AOL game. I remake of sort was made for it with Bio's NWN called NWN:Resurrected.

The game was initially marketed as a "build your own D&D game" construction set, meant for multiple players and one DM, so I think its safe to say that Bio was in part cashing in on the name.
Very good point, I'd forgotten about that. Put in the category of new take on a series then.

Originally Posted by Ausir View Post
The Witcher is not much of an Atari game - all development was not only done, but also funded by CD Projekt and CDP has the rights to the franchise (licensed from Andrzej Sapkowski), Atari only licensed the rights to publish it in the US, Western Europe etc.
All 'Atari games' are like that - they are a publisher not a developer.
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August 13th, 2008, 00:41
I agree with Arma as well. Especially party based games like NWN2… I prefer BG2 graphic with isometric view rather than current NWN2 graphic with camera issues.

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August 13th, 2008, 11:39
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
I just don't get the need for continued 'improvement' in RPG engines.
Not am I, but I do understand that the cost of said graphic improvements are reflected in the price. If BioWare puts 10 people on making a BG III on the infinity engine, I expect that to be reflected in the price. If a game that takes 100 people to make costs 50 bucks, a game that takes 10 should cost 5.

(this logic applies less to indie games, which have a different cost-return calculation to make)

I'd be fine with such a game, but insulted if it claims full price. I also think certain improvements in interface and user-friendliness hurt IE's usage now, just like the Fallout engine wouldn't make for valid releases these days.
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August 13th, 2008, 13:31
The equation isn't as easy as that (i.e your ratio example implies that the game would sell the same amount of copies regardless of whether it had new or old technology), but I understand your point.

Edit:
I should add that BioWare doesn't have the option to make indie games. They have a certain amount of developers, writers and so on, and they all need projects (unless they intend to fire half the company). The developer/designer:writer ratio is very different now than it was 10 years ago, so there's no way they could simply reshape their company to smaller teams without serious consequences. Just look at the credits list of a game today compared to a game 10 years ago, and you'll understand how different it all is - same amount of writers to write a story and the dialogue, but a whole lot more of everything else.

You just can't put a development team of 20 people (+all the misc people involved in making big games) to make BG3 with IE - it wouldn't even come close to paying off.
Last edited by Maylander; August 13th, 2008 at 13:40.
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August 13th, 2008, 13:32
All 'Atari games' are like that - they are a publisher not a developer.
Yes, but in most cases they fund the development and own the IP. It's not the case with The Witcher. Atari didn't become involved until the game was mostly finished and they have no rights to the Witcher IP.
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August 13th, 2008, 14:18
Originally Posted by Brother None View Post
Not am I, but I do understand that the cost of said graphic improvements are reflected in the price. If BioWare puts 10 people on making a BG III on the infinity engine, I expect that to be reflected in the price. If a game that takes 100 people to make costs 50 bucks, a game that takes 10 should cost 5.

(this logic applies less to indie games, which have a different cost-return calculation to make)

I'd be fine with such a game, but insulted if it claims full price. I also think certain improvements in interface and user-friendliness hurt IE's usage now, just like the Fallout engine wouldn't make for valid releases these days.
I understand what you are saying, but at the same time, even with only 10 people making the game (which I think it would take a lot more), they wouldn't make much profit off of a $5 game, hence why they don't do it.

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