Quantcast
Ascaron - Studio 2 Dissolved? - Page 2 - RPGWatch Forums
|
Your donations keep RPGWatch running!
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Ascaron - Studio 2 Dissolved?

Default Ascaron - Studio 2 Dissolved?

August 2nd, 2009, 10:03
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
No, you've switched to a different thing. Transformers may not be a sophisticated/intelligent/whatever-your-criteria action movie but Michael Bay and co certainly understand the summer blockbuster genre very well. You don't think their entire goal was to make a mainstream blockbuster that teens and their dates would go to over summer to make a shitload of money? I'm pretty sure they did that.
If this is what you're talking about, then let's say the Sacred developers understand the genre in terms of making a sale. I'll grant you that. There is no such thing as a summer blockbuster genre, so you're entirely wrong in terms of it having to do with understanding a specific genre. It's a period of time when movies get released, and though many movies are similar in nature during this time - the period of release is not their genre. Bay is a terrific business man in the Hollywood environment - and he's truly understood how to embrace the hollow nature of corporate movie making, and exploit young and moderately talented people in a way that truly represents the american dream.

I wouldn't equate that with the Sacred developers, but that's not really relevant.

Hellgate was a failure on every level - critically, commercially…I've yet to even see anyone else claim the design was good. Isn't it a bit arrogant to equate your taste with a developer understanding the genre?
I think the design was very good, and I'm not alone. However, those of us who did like it, are in the minority. I tend to believe the reason it failed has less to do with actual game design, and more to do with an abysmal launch, initial technical state, and horrible PR. Basically, in my opinion, the developers overreached and were terrible business men.

I don't think I've equated my taste with the developer understanding the genre, as that'd be a bit weird.

What I have is an opinion of what the genre should play like, and I disagree with the developers, obviously. I trust in my opinion enough to say that I don't believe they understand the genre, because their design is crap as I see it.

If that makes me arrogant, then so be it.

Seems to me you think of commercial success as some kind of indicator for quality game design. I'm sorry, but I don't agree. In my world, there is the business and there is the art. Though they're not entirely separate, it's pretty damn close. How good a game actually is, has little or nothing to do with sales in more cases than you'd think. How PRETTY and ACCESSIBLE it is, has more to do with sales, but even so - marketing and hype is factor numero uno.

But please understand that everything I've said is my opinion, and not a statement of fact. If you require me to say "in my opinion" everywhere - then I advise you to skip reading my posts entirely. I try my best to put it in, much more so than most people, but I can't manage it all the time.

DArtagnan

Guest

#21

Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 11:14
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
What I have is an opinion of what the genre should play like, and I disagree with the developers, obviously. I trust in my opinion enough to say that I don't believe they understand the genre, because their design is crap as I see it.

If that makes me arrogant, then so be it.

Seems to me you think of commercial success as some kind of indicator for quality game design. I'm sorry, but I don't agree. In my world, there is the business and there is the art. Though they're not entirely separate, it's pretty damn close. How good a game actually is, has little or nothing to do with sales in more cases than you'd think. How PRETTY and ACCESSIBLE it is, has more to do with sales, but even so - marketing and hype is factor numero uno.
No, I don't equate commercial success with quality but in the absence of an objective standard, it's at least one way of measuring some form of success. We're not talking about a grognard genre like wargaming or even TB CRPGs - hack'n'slashers are aimed at a broad market. Given that, given that many reviews criticise the graphics as behind the times (I can give you examples) and given that Deep Silver probably didn't spend anywhere near as much on marketing as EA did on Hellgate (an assumption, but a safe one in my opinion), its success is less likely to be driven by marketing and more because it's a pretty good game.

Ultimately, I also trust my own taste and Sacred 2 is one of the better hack'n'slashers ever released - despite some obvious flaws. That you list HG:L, even though it fails much of your own list (quests, main story and boring dungeons at the least) tells me I'm right.

Edit: Forgot to add that most of the games you listed were at least as pretty at their relative time of release and were definitely more accessible. It often takes a while for people to figure out how S2 works, because the system is unusual. So what was your point with that?
--
-= RPGWatch =-
Dhruin is offline

Dhruin

Dhruin's Avatar
SasqWatch
Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#22

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 11,968
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 11:42
Ultimately, I also trust my own taste and Sacred 2 is one of the better hack'n'slashers ever released - despite some obvious flaws. That you list HG:L, even though it fails much of your own list (quests, main story and boring dungeons at the least) tells me I'm right.
Hellgate fails at some of it, true. But it's got the single most entertaining combat system of this sub-genre, a good character system with cool classes, amazing loot system, and it actually innovated in a few key areas - which I've detailed a couple of times on various forums. Don't remember if I did it here as well, but otherwise probably at Octopus Overlords.

Edit: Forgot to add that most of the games you listed were at least as pretty at their relative time of release and were definitely more accessible. It often takes a while for people to figure out how S2 works, because the system is unusual. So what was your point with that?
I think you're a bit confused. I didn't say being pretty and accessible was a problem, or that it was indicative of a poor game. I said it has to do with sales, and if you want to make a sale - you can't have a game that the average gamer can't play or enjoy.

S2 has an unusual system, true, but unfortunately it doesn't quite work as well as it should and I believe Gorath pointed out why that may be. What it is, is DECEPTIVELY intricate but sadly it's needlessly complex and no matter how you tweak and fiddle with your character, you'll end up being dissatisfied with the combat because of the way combos work and animate. This is the feature creep Gorath pointed out, and to anyone with good gaming experience - it's pretty obvious that they put a ton of "depth" in the system - but they didn't quite make the features work in a meaningful way, especially when you take balance into consideration. A good character system makes you think hard about your choices, because the choices will have a visible and meaningful impact. That's certainly not what I experienced playing Sacred 2 for the dozen or so hours I lasted. There was nothing about it that I found particularly confusing, though I admit I was initially extremely enthusiastic - certainly when I played the demo. That's because I believed the myriad of stats would make a big difference, but they didn't - as it turned out.

Apparently, you don't agree - and that's fine.

I can't speak as to why it's a successful game, but it's certainly both pretty and accessible - because you don't need to mess around with the character system at all. Just assign points as you see fit, and you'll manage anyway. This is another sign of a poorly balanced and designed game, but we don't have to agree.

Oh, and I should add that I don't think it's a BAD game, or even a BAD hack and slasher. It's "decent", and I'd rate it around ~6.5/10 or something like that.

While I found the combat mostly boring and the animation flow somewhat quirky, it does enough to satisfy the drone like feel that can be so comfortable. It's also quite pretty and very big - and if you don't mind your choices not having that much of an effect, then the character system IS intriguing.

But as I said, I played the release version for only ~12-15 hours until I came to my conclusion. If all this changes later on, then I'm sorry for my mistake - and I guess you can tell me if the character system comes together later on.

I played the original Sacred for much longer, and unfortunately the character system never came together - and that's why I was so suprised that Sacred 2 kept the same flaws.

DArtagnan

Guest

#23

Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 11:47
Did you even make the first major boss fight in a dozen hours? Did you play Bronze or skip to Silver?

I agree some things are overly complex and feature creep is probably the case but if you're going to survive the latter bosses and (and then Gold and Niobium), my experience is you'll need to have a good idea what you're doing.
--
-= RPGWatch =-
Dhruin is offline

Dhruin

Dhruin's Avatar
SasqWatch
Moderator
RPGWatch Team

#24

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 11,968
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 11:52
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Did you even make the first major boss fight in a dozen hours? Did you play Bronze or skip to Silver?

I agree some things are overly complex and feature creep is probably the case but if you're going to survive the latter bosses and (and then Gold and Niobium), my experience is you'll need to have a good idea what you're doing.
To be quite honest, I don't remember if I got to a major boss fight.

A few of us bought it and played it for a long session in a summerhouse. We played the entire day, so 12-15 hours is a solid bet. We all came to the conclusion that it was rather dreary and completely lacked the flow and feel of something like Diablo or Hellgate. I think we played Bronze - but I can't be sure.

I have played around with it at later stages, but only to experiment with classes and not beyond 1-2 hours. It's simply incredibly boring to me, and I guess it's good if you really need to assign your points wisely to survive later on.

But I have to say my "gaming gut" tells me that ~50% of the features in the character system are completely superfluous because obviously they didn't have time to balance them, or make them meaningful. It's the sort of thing I'm very rarely wrong about - and I guess 28 years of intense gaming passion will throw me a bone now and again.

But I can't prove that I'm right, because I have no intention to play this game at length again. So if you claim that these things DO matter significantly - then I guess I must accept it.

It could be, though, that you've played and enjoyed it - and you've just assumed that all of these things matter. But, in fact, you could also be wrong and maybe I could be right? It's hard to say.

Is it really important, though?

We just have different opinions about the game - is all.

DArtagnan

Guest

#25

Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 15:33
Bronze is "never held a mouse in my life" mode, Silver is "why the heck is it this easy, I finished Diablo on Nightmare with my eyes closed"… all the way to Niobium which is the "holy shit!" difficulty level.

A good character system makes you think hard about your choices, because the choices will have a visible and meaningful impact.
As I've said, the system deceptively intricate - the game is just too easy to start with, so you get the impression that it doesn't matter what you invest in. Of course, there are some overpowered builds, but generally you'll have to be fairly careful about where you put your points in. One of the issues is that the advacancement method is completely different from Diablo and TQ (iirc), where you get just one skill point per level, so that one matters very much - rather, it's a bunch of gradual changes distributed over 200 levels (or somesuch).

On the other hand, yes, it's huge, empty and full of random quests, but then again Diablo wasn't the pinnacle of storytelling either. In my mind, Titan Quest is the evolution of the Diablo part of the genre, while Sacred is a completely different take on it (comparable with, say, Silverfall IMHO, and we all know how good that was).
VPeric is offline

VPeric

Sentinel

#26

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Serbia
Posts: 585
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 16:10
Originally Posted by VPeric View Post
Bronze is "never held a mouse in my life" mode, Silver is "why the heck is it this easy, I finished Diablo on Nightmare with my eyes closed"… all the way to Niobium which is the "holy shit!" difficulty level.
Ok, good to know. Unfortunately, I find the game so boring that I would never be willing to wait for that long to find challenge.

As I've said, the system deceptively intricate - the game is just too easy to start with, so you get the impression that it doesn't matter what you invest in. Of course, there are some overpowered builds, but generally you'll have to be fairly careful about where you put your points in. One of the issues is that the advacancement method is completely different from Diablo and TQ (iirc), where you get just one skill point per level, so that one matters very much - rather, it's a bunch of gradual changes distributed over 200 levels (or somesuch).
Well, if you say so - I guess it's true.

I think it's a very big mistake to make progression stretch over that big a number because you're directly working against the core of what these games are about - which is essentially at its most pure: the feeling of becoming ever stronger.

In fact, if you can't provide that feeling you've failed the genre entirely. But that's my own personal opinion, and nothing more.

The core problem with Sacred's character system (both of them) is the incredibly flawed combo system - because you want to give powers that players want to use and which feel good. You don't want them waiting on cooldowns and being frustrated with a lack of flow in combat. In Sacred and its sequel, you're constantly chasing a lower cooldown coupled with a feeling of power - and the balance is way off. What's more, the character control is unresponsive and simply doesn't have a good feel.

Again, this is all subjective and if people think it feels good - then great.

On the other hand, yes, it's huge, empty and full of random quests, but then again Diablo wasn't the pinnacle of storytelling either. In my mind, Titan Quest is the evolution of the Diablo part of the genre, while Sacred is a completely different take on it (comparable with, say, Silverfall IMHO, and we all know how good that was).
Diablo was not the pinnacle of storytelling - but it had a decent story and more atmosphere in its little finger than the entirety of Sacred and its sequel.

I personally consider Diablo 2 to be the king, still, and Hellgate and Titan Quest about equal in different ways - as second in line.

DArtagnan

Guest

#27

Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)

Default 

August 2nd, 2009, 21:11
This is indeed a real shame, I think. Another developer studio bites the dust. Fortunately, Koch Media/Deep Silver will pick up the pieces and continue the forums and all the other important stuff Good news.

I hope Ascaron will stay as a shell company, at least to get the revenues for the IPs so that the creditors can be hold at bay.

My thoughs go out to the devs. and their families, especially in this time of need and in times of economic troubles. I do hope they get through this allright, though.
--
Please support http://www.maternityworldwide.org/ - and save a mother giving birth to a child.
aries100 is offline

aries100

SasqWatch
RPGWatch Team

#28

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Denmark, Europe
Posts: 2,220
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)

Default 

August 3rd, 2009, 17:22
GameStar confirmed what I suspected. Koch Media took over the rights to the Sacred brand.
Gorath is offline

Gorath

Gorath's Avatar
Prime Evil
Moderator
RPGWatch Team
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#29

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,894
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)

Default 

August 3rd, 2009, 17:44
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Diablo was not the pinnacle of storytelling - but it had a decent story and more atmosphere in its little finger than the entirety of Sacred and its sequel.
I don't remember anything like that in D2.

The story was … well, kind of nice, but not interesting. To be honest, I found it extraordinarily flat. Just as an excuse for all of this combat. Rather like an afterthought to give all of this hacking / slashing some kind of background.

They even stole names from various parts of the world for that. Blizzard was imho *never* good for being creative in terms of storytelling !

- Galadriel - name of a male elderly wizard in Blackthorne.
- "Croutonischer Sicherheitsdienst" in the German-language version of The Lost Vikings. English would be "Croutonian Security Service". These are the *real* croutons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouton
- Radamant, kind of a mummy boss in D2. This is the REAL one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhadamanthus

Of course, Larian did a similar thing. But they didn't use such names for background stories. Tutamun was just a mummy that was named after a forum member.

Without reading the novels, the player does NOT get the slightest hint of an evolved backstory ! The only few remarks can be found in the sparse dialogs available there …

No, no, no, I cannot say that D2 had a "decent backstory" without lying. I just don't believe so.
--
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
Original Sin 1 & 2 Donor

#30

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Old Europe
Posts: 17,611
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)

Default 

August 3rd, 2009, 18:54
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I don't remember anything like that in D2.

The story was … well, kind of nice, but not interesting. To be honest, I found it extraordinarily flat. Just as an excuse for all of this combat. Rather like an afterthought to give all of this hacking / slashing some kind of background.

They even stole names from various parts of the world for that. Blizzard was imho *never* good for being creative in terms of storytelling !

- Galadriel - name of a male elderly wizard in Blackthorne.
- "Croutonischer Sicherheitsdienst" in the German-language version of The Lost Vikings. English would be "Croutonian Security Service". These are the *real* croutons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crouton
- Radamant, kind of a mummy boss in D2. This is the REAL one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhadamanthus

Of course, Larian did a similar thing. But they didn't use such names for background stories. Tutamun was just a mummy that was named after a forum member.

Without reading the novels, the player does NOT get the slightest hint of an evolved backstory ! The only few remarks can be found in the sparse dialogs available there …

No, no, no, I cannot say that D2 had a "decent backstory" without lying. I just don't believe so.
Very interesting, but I was talking about Diablo - not Diablo 2.

The manual contained some pretty cool backstory as well, and I think the whole corruption theme was pretty well done.

But, I guess we have different perceptions of what's decent. Then again, the atmosphere was what carried Diablo - not so much the story.

Still miles ahead of the pathetic stuff in Sacred and its sequel - but we're all priviliged with our own opinions.

DArtagnan

Guest

#31

Posts: n/a
Mentioned: Post(s)
RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Ascaron - Studio 2 Dissolved?
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 17:39.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.10
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2018 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright by RPGWatch