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
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
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
Cheers from San Francisco