Why is there no challenger for Skyrim?
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October 25th, 2012, 12:12
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