|
Your continuous donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Planescape: Torment - Retrospective @ Play.tm

Default Planescape: Torment - Retrospective @ Play.tm

January 18th, 2009, 18:11
Originally Posted by DogInARocket View Post
On the other hand, a game like FO3 worries me because some would say its massive sales validate the argument that it was done properly; "it was evidently what the market desired". I was hoping for a game that was much more like the first two.
You can very much say the same for everything Blizzard does.

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)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#21

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 16,002

Default 

January 18th, 2009, 18:57
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
You can very much say the same for everything Blizzard does.
Very true, but there are some notable differences.

Firstly, Blizzard haven't - as of yet - degraded an established license they didn't originally own. That said, it's pretty obvious what franchises Starcraft and Warcraft were based on, and I believe they DID try to purchase one of them at one point.

Secondly, Blizzard (at least pre-WoW) don't really compromise their game designs - because their artistic vision actually corresponds to mainstream targeting. They're passionate about pleasing the casual audience and have always been that way. I suppose it sounds odd to some, but there actually is a difference between adapting your design to fit a larger audience - and having a larger audience in mind at the very spark of the first ideas.

Last, but not least, Blizzard are simply masters of their craft. I don't know of anyone who understands the mass market better than they, and you can't point a finger at anything in a technical sense. They have some of the very finest craftsmen in the business.

Bethesda have too many second-rate people working for them, and it's not hard to spot if you look at stuff like animation or writing.

That's how I see it, anyway.

I'm no big fan of Blizzard designs - but I gotta respect their ability to flawlessy accomplish what they set out to do. To put it another way, they're not pretentious developers - they're just not very ambitious in a creative sense and they're fine with that.
DArtagnan is online now

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#22

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 14,814

Default 

January 18th, 2009, 20:25
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That said, it's pretty obvious what franchises Starcraft and Warcraft were based on, and I believe they DID try to purchase one of them at one point.
Yep, Warhammer, when they built Warcraft I. But they didn't get the licence at that point.

They're passionate about pleasing the casual audience and have always been that way.
I think "casual" is not the term that should be used in that case. "Casual" is the family guy who wants half an hour of stressless entertainment after work, without studying a manual and sticking to lenghty storyline or gameplay. The one who would also play the windows games instead.

Imho the term "casual" doesn't fit to the games that Blizzard created in the past. It is clearly mainstream, but for core gamers. Easy to access but hard to master. Starcraft wasn't an easy thing for newbies. Also Warcraft III. And all games have good storylines, even WoW (if one is willing to read the descriptions).

A-Van-Te-Nor: A big car full of black hot beverage
Avantenor is offline

Avantenor

Avantenor's Avatar
Sentinel

#23

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 595

Default 

January 18th, 2009, 20:51
Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
And all games have good storylines, even WoW (if one is willing to read the descriptions).
While playing up to lvl36 I read everything in wow including every quest description and I wouldnt call it much of a story. The mainstory was thin if not nonexisting and the quests almost boring to read. Most players dont even read them - they are that bad. If you want good stories LoTR and guildwars are the way to go - they both have actual mainstories even.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou
"Those who dont read history are destined to repeat it." Edmund Burke
zakhal is offline

zakhal

zakhal's Avatar
VideoGamingWaste

#24

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Europa Universalis
Posts: 3,008

Default 

January 18th, 2009, 20:55
Originally Posted by Avantenor View Post
Yep, Warhammer, when they built Warcraft I. But they didn't get the licence at that point.


I think "casual" is not the term that should be used in that case. "Casual" is the family guy who wants half an hour of stressless entertainment after work, without studying a manual and sticking to lenghty storyline or gameplay. The one who would also play the windows games instead.

Imho the term "casual" doesn't fit to the games that Blizzard created in the past. It is clearly mainstream, but for core gamers. Easy to access but hard to master. Starcraft wasn't an easy thing for newbies. Also Warcraft III. And all games have good storylines, even WoW (if one is willing to read the descriptions).
You can limit or stretch the concept to whatever degree you wish, but since most people commonly operate with the two "opposites": casual and hardcore, sometimes you have to choose which one fits the best.

When I say casual, I don't exclude people who're actually passionate about gaming - no, I'm simply talking about the people who, for one reason or another, can't or won't invest heavily in gaming. This can include former hardcore gamers who're now unable to dedicate themselves to the extent they could in the past, maybe because of family or work obligations.

I don't really have the perfect word for the kind of people I'm talking about, but I'm open to suggestions. But to my mind, Blizzard games definitely do NOT scratch my particular itch, and to me it's because their games are too conservative and derivative. I respect their craft, but I don't think highly of their creative ambition. Sadly, not a lot of developers are into actually evolving the industry - and I long for the time when evolution was a natural part of making games. Where are you Looking Glass, SimTex, Gollop Bros? - come back!
DArtagnan is online now

DArtagnan

DArtagnan's Avatar
Waste of potential

#25

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark
Posts: 14,814

Default 

January 18th, 2009, 23:34
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Very true, but there are some notable differences.

Firstly, Blizzard haven't - as of yet - degraded an established license they didn't originally own. That said, it's pretty obvious what franchises Starcraft and Warcraft were based on, and I believe they DID try to purchase one of them at one point.
…..
Exactly.

I used Fallout 3 as the example because it's a modern game that significantly strayed from roots that are very similar to PS:T in order to appeal to more people. So if I were to hypothetically ask a developer to make a game like PS:T now, I'm afraid I'd be told, "people don't want THAT anymore, they want THIS. Our sales prove us to be correct, so expect more of THIS in the future as opposed to THAT."
DogInARocket is offline

DogInARocket

Watcher

#26

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 64

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 05:14
Originally Posted by DogInARocket View Post
So if I were to hypothetically ask a developer to make a game like PS:T now, I'm afraid I'd be told, "people don't want THAT anymore, they want THIS. Our sales prove us to be correct, so expect more of THIS in the future as opposed to THAT."
Hasn't it always been like that though? It's probably just the natural order of things, like entropy. Let's say it takes a new, preferably independent and self-funded developer with an original thought, creativity and optimism to make a really special game. Over time, more people get involved, like publishers, who muddy the waters; over time, a once solid and well defined vision fades to something more digestible for more consumers.

I imagine that people never wanted something like PS:T in the first place, because mainstream games before already showed what people wanted, which was very different and tried out. PS:T was just a fluke, which could have been even better from what I've heard. What's depressing about it is that flukes are so rare.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Arhu is offline

Arhu

Arhu's Avatar
Feline Wizard
RPGWatch Team

#27

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,357

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 08:43
Well, I am encouraged by seeing a number of recent indie projects apparently succeed. Both Eschalon and Depths of Peril were apparently successful enough to allow their developers to continue. Spiederweb is still going strong. MotB and Witcher showed that in-depth RPG design can still be successful even for mainstream releases. There seems to be every indication that AoD and Eschalon book II are bound for success. Call me a hopeless optimist, but as the base of gamers in the world broades, so does the niche for unusual games, and if there is such a niche, it will eventually be filled. Therefore I think we WILL eventually see other games like (or better) than Ps:T, Fallout or other classics. And new classics with a completely different approach as well. But one simply can't expect a classic any other year - doesn't happen with movies and books either.
GhanBuriGhan is online now

GhanBuriGhan

GhanBuriGhan's Avatar
Wose extraordinaire

#28

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,486

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 13:42
I'm surprised by some of the comments on the original site for the article:

I hate this game so much i once went to its Wikipedia page and everything that said "RPG, Role playing game, etc" i renamed to "Point and Click adventure game" because it has puzzles and text… and the combat sucks ass, come on, you can go threw the whole game with only going through one fight, ONE
Since when has it been a bad thing for an RPG to give people a path through the game that doesn't involve endless violence?

Anyway, I'm feeling quite hopeful. The Witcher has shown that major studios are still capable of occasionally producing a real gem (at least if they take their approach of building what they want to build without focus groups). MoTB has shown that once an established engine has been made and the investment recouped from a bland vanilla mass market release then the numbers for making a deep, story driven, niche market game are suddenly viable. Spiderweb have been showing for years that indies can compete on story, gameplay & depth and that looks set to be surpassed by AoD and SoW in the coming years.

The only real disappointment is Atari's handling of Mysteries of Westgate, I think that's set back the hopes for a technically fairly amateur modding community to get the high profile support and involvement needed to tease out quality writers and designers who could really add value in a major studio but lack the employment background and technical qualifications to have a natural route into the gaming industry.
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#29

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 14:21
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Hasn't it always been like that though? It's probably just the natural order of things, like entropy. Let's say it takes a new, preferably independent and self-funded developer with an original thought, creativity and optimism to make a really special game. Over time, more people get involved, like publishers, who muddy the waters; over time, a once solid and well defined vision fades to something more digestible for more consumers.
Same goes for the music bussiness.

On closer thinking, I'd say this applies to ALL kinds of art "combined" with business …

In the end, it's like greed trying to find itself a way of exploiting people and their works. Because "greed is eternal", people will always want something more.

Since I found this Star Trek (?) saying "Greed Is Eternal", I'm heavily thinking on its complications on the world. Not only business, where it's more than apparent (banking crisis).

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)
Alrik Fassbauer is offline

Alrik Fassbauer

Alrik Fassbauer's Avatar
TL;DR

#30

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 16,002

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 14:27
… Anyhow, always glad to see PS:T getting some attention. It will probably always be remembered as one of the greatest cult classics of the RPG genre.
Maylander is offline

Maylander

SasqWatch

#31

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Bergen
Posts: 5,568
Send a message via MSN to Maylander

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 15:38
I don't think it's possible to have another PS:T, for several reasons.
- Production costs: Making a game today costs a lot more than at the time of PS:T. If they lost or didn't make money off it then, today would be just an economic disaster.
- Production specifications: I'm sure making PS:T took a long time to develop because of all its intrincacies. Well, that would be dwarfed by how long it would take today. To what they did, you now have to add: 3D modeling, 3d exploration, voice overs, more complex special effects, etc. What they did with 30 people now would take 100. To recover that you would have to be sure that you have a huge …
- Audience: For the game to even break even, considering the costs, it would have to sell like 5 times more than what the original sold… and I would be surprised if it even matched the original's number. Let's face it, gamers today want more flash than content, and PS:T was all about content. It would also be a poor candidate to go cross platform because their audience is even worse in that aspect.
wolfing is offline

wolfing

wolfing's Avatar
Wonders what SasqWatch is

#32

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Tardis
Posts: 3,292

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 16:08
Originally Posted by wolfing View Post
I don't think it's possible to have another PS:T, for several reasons.
- Production costs: Making a game today costs a lot more than at the time of PS:T. If they lost or didn't make money off it then, today would be just an economic disaster.
- Production specifications: I'm sure making PS:T took a long time to develop because of all its intrincacies. Well, that would be dwarfed by how long it would take today. To what they did, you now have to add: 3D modeling, 3d exploration, voice overs, more complex special effects, etc. What they did with 30 people now would take 100. To recover that you would have to be sure that you have a huge …
- Audience: For the game to even break even, considering the costs, it would have to sell like 5 times more than what the original sold… and I would be surprised if it even matched the original's number. Let's face it, gamers today want more flash than content, and PS:T was all about content. It would also be a poor candidate to go cross platform because their audience is even worse in that aspect.
I don't know if I agree.

Production costs can be pretty low these days, modding opportunities and commercially available engines have come on so much that a large part of the production costs can be cut.

Planescape never went crazy on special effects or technology for its time either. It got good artists to create consistent art resources, good composers and good writers. It wasn't a technical masterpiece or anything that pushed the boundaries, and nor would a modern day version need to be.

Audiences as well are bigger than back then. Most people who were younger gamers then are still gamers and new people have joined them. The internet also changes promotion completely, word of mouth on games is more powerful than ever, online gaming orientated communities are bigger than ever. There's a bigger and better connected audience than ever before, and as far as i can tell it's worked well. Look at the Witcher, unknown IP (to the english speaking world), unknown studio and before it hit the scene the promotional impact was no bigger than for many other games that have flopped, but because it was a high quality product it sold and kept on selling. Same for Kings BOunty.

I also don't think gamers today want more flash than content. I think that's a marketing fallacy and a large part of the poor sales of many AAA releases. Flash only sells over content when market information is poor and nobody can tell the difference between good content and poor content so they go on pretty pictures. Market information is better than ever, even with the shitty back scratching nature of most mainstream reviews.

Personally I reckon a game of planescape's quality can easily be produced, and don't think the Witcher or MoTB were actually far off it. Indeed take off my rose tinted die hard affection for Ps:T and they were right up there (better gameplay compensating for a plot and writing that weren't quite as stand out amazing).
Benedict is offline

Benedict

SasqWatch

#33

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: London
Posts: 2,348

Default 

January 19th, 2009, 18:35
Originally Posted by Karmakaze View Post
It also spoiled me; I've been waiting for years for something to come close this.. How long must we wait?
After Fallouts and PS:T next game that did something similiar was Geneforge
Zard0z is offline

Zard0z

Traveler

#34

Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 2

Default 

January 20th, 2009, 02:40
Originally Posted by Arhu View Post
Hasn't it always been like that though? It's probably just the natural order of things, like entropy. Let's say it takes a new, preferably independent and self-funded developer with an original thought, creativity and optimism to make a really special game. Over time, more people get involved, like publishers, who muddy the waters; over time, a once solid and well defined vision fades to something more digestible for more consumers.
I'm sure it has always been like this, hence the saying "A camel is a horse designed by committee." Fallout 3 is a camel. Planescape: Torment is a horse.
DogInARocket is offline

DogInARocket

Watcher

#35

Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 64

Default 

January 23rd, 2009, 08:45
Originally Posted by Nikus View Post
I agree, PS:T is in a way like David Lynch's work: it's so clearly not for mass consumption that noone major wants to finance it these days. Oh the eternal issue of art vs. art as business.
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I will spare you my opinion of Lynch's work

But your point is solid, all the same.
My opinion of Lynch is evident in my avatar and sig

"Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air."
Karmakaze is offline

Karmakaze

Karmakaze's Avatar
Watcher

#36

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under the sycamore trees..
Posts: 34

Default 

January 23rd, 2009, 12:58
Originally Posted by Karmakaze View Post
My opinion of Lynch is evident in my avatar and sig
Now I'm going to have Angelo Badalementi music in my head all day …

— Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#37

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,475

Default 

January 28th, 2009, 14:34
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Now I'm going to have Angelo Badalementi music in my head all day …
Is that a bad thing?

"Where we're from, the birds sing a pretty song and there's always music in the air."
Karmakaze is offline

Karmakaze

Karmakaze's Avatar
Watcher

#38

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under the sycamore trees..
Posts: 34

Default 

January 28th, 2009, 15:33
Originally Posted by Karmakaze View Post
Is that a bad thing?
Not at all … that particular sequence is one of my favorites in all of television …

— Mike
txa1265 is offline

txa1265

txa1265's Avatar
SasqWatch

#39

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Corning, NY USA
Posts: 11,475
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Planescape: Torment - Retrospective @ Play.tm
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 11:08.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright by RPGWatch