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#439996 03/03/11 03:51 PM
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Hello all,

I'm jet-lagged in San Francisco and that gives me the opportunity to give you another update . I'm here for the Game Developers Conference, though truth be said, I haven't seen anything from the show yet nor have I participated in a single seminar. Instead, I spent most of my time in hotel rooms showing off project D & E. I've got D running on an X360 dev-kit I brought (which due to the transformer I've had to bring is horribly heavy) and for E I've got a video on my brand new Ipad (which I curse about now having seen the IPad 2, I should've waited err.. anybody want to buy a brand new Ipad ?).

Over the last couple of days I've been showing both games to a variety of distributors/publishers, trying to make sure that when either one releases, it'll be available worldwide on day 1, and while they all understand the success of Divinity II, it's still stunning to see how few publishers understand RPG's and the RPG market in general. Don't read that as there's no interest in E & D, on the contrary, I can actually confirm that both games have secured funding so they'll be happening, but it just struck me as strange how many of the larger publishers approach the RPG genre as something alien.

I mentioned that both E & D got funding, so that puts me in the luxurious position that I don't have to beg around for money, which is a welcome change, and given that background, I decided to dedicate some meetings to trying to persuade some people at the very large publishing houses of a longtime dream of mine, the what I would call Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs. My modus operandi consists of showing them with how little resources we made the Divinities (contrasted with some of the other big RPGs budgets), telling them what we could do with the same kind of budget the other very big RPGs got, and then offering them to engage our services for making the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs. I explain what I'd put in this Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs, occasionally even talking in detail about (oh horror, oh shudder) gameplay mechanics, and then try to put up the visionary face that shows that this thing will be the real deal, the game that will be the GTA of RPG's, the thing that will propel the careers of all involved to summits the likes they never dreamt of, in short, the best thing to happen to gaming since (fill in at your own leisure)

I'm afraid that I have to report that it's not working out that well, and that our next two games won't be the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs, but I did want to mention that I tried wink The feedback I got was "we don't do RPGs", "we did an RPG once and all involved got fired", "it's a very hardcore thing, an RPG. We're not into hardcore that much anymore","we're just not active in that space" etc... Now in some cases you need to read that feedback as "well, we just don't have cash and we're looking for developers we don't have to pay" or "we've got cash and we'd like to keep it so the last thing we'll do is spend it on a RPG" to "it hasn't got the words social, free to play and micro-transactions in it, so it's bound to be a failure, what the hell is he thinking", but in other cases it's really a case of not getting it, which is a pity.

There's a strong tendency not to make RPGs among the publishers that haven't made X-loads of money with a RPG in the past, and a strong tendency to stick to the IP's they have among the publishers that did make money with RPGs, meaning that there's very little chance some independent developer will get the opportunity to make something big and new in the RPG space. Given that observation i.e. it's not going to come from publisher interest, I guess somehow we'll have to find a way to make the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs ourselves (after which I'm sure there'll be plenty of publisher interest wink )

That braindump aside, project D (the one I think I mentioned was quite atypical) is gathering much more interest than I expected, so I'm quite happy about that. And coming back to the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs, I silently hope that between D & E and continued sales of DKS, we might actually generate enough revenue to fund the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs ourselves. That'd be cool. (On a sidenote, what would also help is if people would stop releasing all those mindless hack & slash things - I think we've seen enough of them by now and they are market destroying)

Anyways, I wanted to write more but I need to rush or I'll be late for my first meeting of the day which I'll probably consecrate to the Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs. And should I ever manage to get it sold, you'll be the first to know wink

Cheers from San Francisco

Lar_q #440039 04/03/11 09:04 AM
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The feedback I got was "we don't do RPGs", "we did an RPG once and all involved got fired", "it's a very hardcore thing, an RPG. We're not into hardcore that much anymore","we're just not active in that space" etc...

This is so sad :< Casual console market kills old-good PC genres :<

Kein #440042 04/03/11 09:38 AM
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Does DragonAge II count as a hack an slash? laugh (played 10 mins of demo and deleted, good job EA)


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D00M #440044 04/03/11 09:51 AM
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I'm amazed that you've hit that attitude - I'm not sure I agree with Kein that console markets are killing RPGs. After all, XBox has Fable, the Playstation has Final Fantasy and Nintendo has Zelda to name just a few.

Although I do miss serious flight simulators (which the console market definitely seems to have killed).

If anyone can make a VBRPGTWDAORPG, I think you guys can. I'm actually looking forward to your next release (what ever shape it may take) more than I am to Elder Scrolls 5.

Trippy #440051 04/03/11 12:19 PM
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Got to dwarf them all!

JihadJoe #440052 04/03/11 12:23 PM
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NEED TO DWARF THEM ALL!!

Lar_q #440053 04/03/11 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Lar_q
I've got a video on my brand new Ipad (which I curse about now having seen the IPad 2, I should've waited err.. anybody want to buy a brand new Ipad ?).


I'll take it. Half-price. Final offer.

Axel #440054 04/03/11 12:48 PM
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Why would anyone in his sane mind buy iPad? There is a lot of much better things :P

You're all victims of cheap mass PR!

Axel #440056 04/03/11 12:58 PM
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I thought you had to be a beatnik to own Apple. Or a hipster. Or a yuppie. Or an artist. Which one are you, Axel?


Tweeting @forktong
ForkTong #440057 04/03/11 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ForkTong
I thought you had to be a beatnik to own Apple. Or a hipster. Or a yuppie. Or an artist. Which one are you, Axel?


What would an artist do with *THAT* ?



Hot the Dimsums please...
ForkTong #440058 04/03/11 01:09 PM
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None of the above! No Apple for me then.
I actually agree with Kein (eek), I don't understand the appeal of iPads (or any Apple products, for that matter).
Still, half-price...

DimSum #440059 04/03/11 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DimSum
What would an artist do with *THAT* ?


I wanted to write something else, but it was politically incorrect.

On topic. I hate it when businesses start revolving around buzzwords.


Tweeting @forktong
ForkTong #440065 04/03/11 02:59 PM
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In my philosophy (and yeah, I xcall myself the only IT-Philosopher far and wide ! grin ),
a game ceases to be a game, if the things that make a game a game are removed - and replced by something else.

This "something else" can be various things. "Mass appeal" is just one example.

In my philosophy, if a game is developed the way that it is meant to create good sales - or, to be more specific, more profits - then the "game" thin in a game is removed and replaced by ... well, so that this game ceases to xist anymor, and becomes instead a "tool to generate profits".

A tool. Not a game.

The "fun factor" can still be there, but imho the fun factor is an integral part of what makes a game a game.

But ... still a "fun factor" or *ny* factor that makes a game a game can be exploited.
Exploited to gain more mass-appeal, for example.

And - from the point on ... well, the act of exploiting something in itself renders the thing that is exploited (in)to a tool that can be exploited, so to say.

It's a bit difficult to explain what I mean. If I exploit something, the act of an exploitation implies that the exploited something is not seen as the thing it is in itself, but rather as something that can be used, and that means, to be exploited.

Hence my thought/philosophy that if a game - or any thing - is being used as a a convenient tool, then it most certainly loses something of what it was meant to be.

Therefore I see some danger in how's the industry going on today. It treats games as tool for income, and humans as objects (I once had made up a philosophy of what i called "Objectiovism", wherein all things - and especially humans - can be degraded into objects that can be used (as tools), and thus this "Objectivism2 is in regards to humans nothing but de-humanization).

It's imho a difference if we say

"Games by Gamers for Gamers"
or
"Games by Businessmen for Gamers"
or, even worse
"Games by Economists for Gamers"
and the worst of it all, imho:
"Games by Hedge Fonds for Gamers"
and
"Games by Lawyers for Gamers"

See the differences ?

Uh, English as the second language ... How am I supposed to explain what i mean if I can only find words like "thing" ?




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Lar_q #440070 04/03/11 04:06 PM
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Great update. You need to go see the show some. Promote DKS and D & E, if there's enough done to promote yet? I myself buy more RPG's than anything, and I find it a shame that such a wonderful genre is hurting. And I'm sorry, but Zelda has never been an RPG, as beloved as the series is to me. Fable used to hold certain good RPG qualities, but as much as I enjoyed 3 I'm afraid that now the saga is turning slowly into a Microsoft cashcrop.

Anyway, I have very high hopes for D & E. And I have most certainly been trying to help you guys promote. I've always had my studios I stuck by through the years, and you guys somehow kicked and fought your way in there. Please, years from now when everyone begins to see the sun again, and you guys do start making decent money and can fund things, don't sell out and take the RPG out of your RPG's. Or atleast do your absolute best to avoid it. And don't make your games easier. I laughed at most of my deaths in D2:ED. Hard. Guess that's all of my rambling/demands for the moment. Have to go to my World Civ II class. College. Mmm.

Lar_q #440083 04/03/11 08:22 PM
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Great update, thanks.

Originally Posted by Lar_q

"it's a very hardcore thing, an RPG. We're not into hardcore that much anymore"

Oh hello, EA wink

Originally Posted by Lar_q

Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs

Would this be an Ultima like game? think

Last edited by virumor; 04/03/11 08:26 PM.
virumor #440086 04/03/11 09:36 PM
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Well, moddability raises sales, ya know!


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Altel-Fisch!
Phnx #440091 04/03/11 10:51 PM
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You guys should offer us to buy the game before it is finished, like Notch did with Minecraft or guys doing Interstellar Marines are doing it. I for one really liked Divinity 2 and want to support you, so I would buy the RPG that will dwarf them all from you now, even when it is who knows how many years from being finished. I don't think I would be alone. That way you could finance the game yourselves, making it as uncompromised as possible.

It is a shame big publishers suck, but luckily they will not be as necessary anymore in the future.

Paulcz #440092 04/03/11 11:17 PM
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@Paulcz, same here, I'd put money down for a pre-order or pre-sale.

horsey



*** Stay put while I go search for a butterfly net. ***
Lar_q #440093 04/03/11 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Lar_q
new Ipad (which I curse about now having seen the IPad 2, I should've waited err.. anybody want to buy a brand new Ipad ?).


Or a non-Apple tablet would likely be even better.

Good to hear Divinty II has/is selling well since I last checked.

Regarding publishers, you may want to check with publishers that do 4X Turn Based Strategy games if you have not already. Those tend to be targeted at hard core gamers as much if not more so that RPGs (it depends on the game). Those that publish games in other hardcore genre that do not usually have 'broad appeal' would also be worth talking to.

Gwenio #440101 05/03/11 02:15 AM
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If I ever win the lottery (and I try all the time), I will call you to tell you that I will personally fund the 'Very Big RPG That Will Dwarf All Other RPGs.'


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