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Divinity 2 creators on how western gaming press ignores mid-budget titles

Aaron

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Apr 12, 2006
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Drinky Crow said:
well, relatively well-balanced. put it this way: despite abusing lightning spells and blood magic and healing in dragon age, i still died more than i did in dks. i had to work a little to abuse it. in dks, all i needed to do was put points in regen. i could walk through poison and fire and GAIN hp. FANTASIC WORK, LARIAN
Yes, if only the developer put in difficulties so you could adjust the challenge... wait, they did. I didn't encounter all the bugs you mentioned, but then I'm playing the updated version, so I'm sure much of that got fixed. The game is pretty brutal on hard. I have points in regen and healing, and I'm still overwhelmed sometimes. Normal is a cakewalk. It should be marked as easy.

I think I only died a few times in Dragon Age, but then I played pretty carefully.
 

Drinky Crow

Banned
Jun 7, 2004
11,716
5
0
dude, i played --and completed -- the updated version on normal. (check bydoempire on steam.) no game should be THAT busted on normal. that's pure crap.

and hell, i played the original for about five hours back in january before its complete and total broke-assedness drove me mad enough to not only uninstall it, but mail it to a friend as a cruel joke!
 

Haunted

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Nov 16, 2006
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The overarching issue of course being that RPGs with a mid-level advertising budget and lack of publisher money polish apparently do not warrant being covered by enthusiast sites.

Fucking disgraceful, NA sites. Disgraceful.


I mean, fuck, if rough gems like Divinity or Risen would've gotten half the previews/reviews that piece of shit FFXIV got... :/



edit: while we're on the actual content topic, what is up with the atrocious human (NPC) modelling in these RPGs. I do wish the Fallout, Two Worlds II and Risen devs would've looked at some actual human beings before modelling their pitiful NPC abominations. Feels like the 1990s at times.
 

Ceebs

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Aug 11, 2006
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Haunted said:
edit: while we're on the actual content topic, what is up with the atrocious human (NPC) modelling in these RPGs. I do wish the Fallout, Two Worlds II and Risen devs would've looked at some actual human beings before modelling their pitiful NPC abominations. Feels like the 1990s at times.
There is a joke in here somewhere about Europe.
 

Aaron

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Apr 12, 2006
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Drinky Crow said:
dude, i played --and completed -- the updated version on normal. (check bydoempire on steam.) no game should be THAT busted on normal. that's pure crap.

and hell, i played the original for about five hours back in january before its complete and total broke-assedness drove me mad enough to not only uninstall it, but mail it to a friend as a cruel joke!
I remember playing a demo of the original and finding it pretty busted, but I haven't had any of the bugs you had in the latest version, while half your complaints stem from playing it on pussy normal difficulty. You can sleep walk your way through most fights on normal. I realized that near the start, and bumped it up to hard. I'm about two thirds through the game, and it's been a nice challenge since.
 

Combichristoffersen

Combovers don't work when there is no hair
Jun 26, 2009
23,334
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wmat said:
Any other games in the same genre that are that awesome? Nope. At least not in my collection.

But if it's about the level of dedication to the fiction, The Witcher comes fairly close! So check that out.
I'll look into The Witcher (in fact I've been planning to try it out since it was first released, I've just never gotten around to do it :lol )

HK-47 said:
Most people compare Bloodlines to Deus Ex so you can try that.
I've played Deus Ex. I didn't like it.
 

Nairume

Banned
Jan 19, 2010
7,346
0
0
Ceebs said:
What really separates them is that they are not designed with consoles in mind. Just read any interview about a PC game that is getting coverage in mainstream gaming press. I bet you would be hard pressed to find one that does not contain the question "Is this coming to consoles as well?"
Late, but Risen feels like it *should* have worked on consoles, but the porting job kind of killed it.
 

Ceebs

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Nairume said:
Late, but Risen feels like it *should* have worked on consoles, but the porting job kind of killed it.
That seemed more like a case of porting a game that used tech the consoles could just not handle.
 

Mooreberg

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Sites and magazines all want exclusives on the games that don't actually need the coverage. Would Black Ops sell any less if it didn't have that GamePro cover? Anyone who plays it knows where to look online for info and doesn't need the same information regurgitated three weeks later in print. It creates a cycle where games that could benefit from the coverage rarely get it. Maybe magazine subscriptions drying up has led to a reliance on eye grabbing cover stories for news stand sales. There used to be a time when a 3D platform without "Mario" in the title would get a cover story from somebody other than Dave Halverson, but that era is pretty much over. Media outlets wants hits and ad revenue, and publishers want glowing endorsements before the product is even out.
 

markot

Banned
Aug 21, 2008
18,838
0
0
Coverage = Money.

Its ridiculous, but unless you can pay for advertising, theyre not gonna cover your games unless you are lucky. Its crazy. The 'gaming press' is a joke, its just an extension of the PR departments with the occasional review thrown in.
 

Binabik15

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May 18, 2008
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As a German, do I get privileges or something in threads like these? After all we´re a huge part of why games like this still exist *smug* People kissing my feet would be enough, I think.

Nah, for realz now, it´s only thanks to GAF that I got Risen and even KNOW about Divinity 2 and Two Worlds 2, I don´t check gaming mags or sites anymore. And I´m not even done with Dragon Age and Risen AND I haven´t even bought The Witcher yet, so I can´t justify buying Divinity 2 and TW2 yet. I´ll wait for them to "bomb" at UK sites and laugh and cry all the way to the bank.

Then again, Risen is the same at thehut as it was when I bought it last year. Or even more, I´m not sure whether I paid 18 or 25 of their moon money.
 

jakershaker

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Jun 7, 2004
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Is it ok to think that Risen, Fallout 3, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Divinity 2, Drakensang, Witcher etc etc all are good to great games? :D
 

Easy_D

never left the stone age
Jan 5, 2008
23,623
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DennisK4 said:
Three mid-budget games that

A) Never got the attention they deserved from the press

B) Are fantastic RPGs

are

1) Risen

2) Divinity 2

3) Two Worlds 2
Coincidentally I was interested in all 3, ended up buying DKS though.
 

jakershaker

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Jun 7, 2004
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Fredescu said:
Only if you rank them.
Just as soon as I rank all the FF's and make a topic about it :D

I can however express my surprise that people think that Risen isn't polished. It's one of the best and most cohesive worlds in recent memory, everything blended perfectly from gameplay to environments.

But perhaps I'm blessed, never saw any lack of polish in Dragon Age or New Vegas either. Some people must be looking for bugs or have zero tolerance for oddities.

And as people said earlier in the thread, games don't get coverage based on their quality. Games get coverage if their publishers spend money on them. Sometimes a game comes around that gets it for free due to some smart guerilla marketing but not very often.
 

Dennis

Banned
Jul 7, 2009
46,556
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jakershaker said:
Just as soon as I rank all the FF's and make a topic about it :D

I can however express my surprise that people think that Risen isn't polished. It's one of the best and most cohesive worlds in recent memory, everything blended perfectly from gameplay to environments.

But perhaps I'm blessed, never saw any lack of polish in Dragon Age or New Vegas either. Some people must be looking for bugs or have zero tolerance for oddities.

And as people said earlier in the thread, games don't get coverage based on their quality. Games get coverage if their publishers spend money on them. Sometimes a game comes around that gets it for free due to some smart guerilla marketing but not very often.
But publishers spending money can't be the whole answer.

There are lots of small japanese games, XBLA games and small-budget american games that can't possibly have a lot of marketing spend. Yet they still manage to get noticed on american sites and by magazines.

It seems that european games in general just get mostly ignored while there are a lot of fetishism for japanese games in the american press.
 

Kelegacy

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DennisK4 said:
Three mid-budget games that

A) Never got the attention they deserved from the press

B) Are fantastic RPGs

are

1) Risen

2) Divinity 2

3) Two Worlds 2
I agree. Meanwhile, Dragon Age 2 and the Mass Effect games get OODLES of coverage. Risen wasn't the best port graphically, no, but the gameplay was intact completely. It's just that they aren't mainstream enough and not covered enough in the press or even marketed much.

As much as review sites and magazines say they aren't "bribed" in any way, they sure don't prove it very much. I understand the big games on the horizon are going to get the big press, but who dictates what a big game is before it's released? Is it the fancy trips to EA or Activision press parties or is it that the people chosen to promote their games to the press aren't doing their jobs? The 10-page previews of certain games vs. the 3 sentence blurbs jammed onto a page along with other similar games don't help either.

From this article, it sounds like Larian tried to promote but got nowhere. Hell, I didn't even know Divinity 2 was coming to the 360 until about a month before launch, and I have multiple gaming mag subscriptions.

I don't think it's a bribery thing at all, at least not in the traditional sense. I sincerely think that the reviewers and previewers don't realize that they've fallen for it most of the time, though if they looked at the top-heavy coverage in their magazines it might be more apparent.

Still...I'm reluctant to put all the blame on them. If we heard more cases of developers/publishers going to the press and turning up empty, it would shine more of a light on the issue. It could very well be that most of these smaller developers/publishers don't work enough with the press as they should, though I can also understand why they wouldn't waste their time if there is already a precedent for the press to shun them.
 

Binabik15

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jakershaker said:
Just as soon as I rank all the FF's and make a topic about it :D

I can however express my surprise that people think that Risen isn't polished. It's one of the best and most cohesive worlds in recent memory, everything blended perfectly from gameplay to environments.

But perhaps I'm blessed, never saw any lack of polish in Dragon Age or New Vegas either. Some people must be looking for bugs or have zero tolerance for oddities.

And as people said earlier in the thread, games don't get coverage based on their quality. Games get coverage if their publishers spend money on them. Sometimes a game comes around that gets it for free due to some smart guerilla marketing but not very often.

Maybe "lacking good animation" and "lacking polish" are getting mixed up? I like Risen very much, but did anyone ever jump while walking down a decline and NOT think "wtf"?! The float jump and other animations and human faces really hurt the excellent atmosphere the great lighting and vistas create. It looks great-as long as it doesn´t move.

Games like Fallout3/NV, Oblivion and even DA have their fare share of wonky animations and ugly faces as well, sadly.
 

Dennis

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Jul 7, 2009
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Binabik15 said:
Games like Fallout3/NV, Oblivion and even DA have their fare share of wonky animations and ugly faces as well, sadly.
And yet somehow that doesn't seem to effect reviews or the attention they get.

But for european RPGS, apparently this is enough to dismiss games entirely or call them amateur.

Yeah I mad. I don't feel any of these games mentioned have gotten a fair shake.
 

jakershaker

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DennisK4 said:
But publishers spending money can't be the whole answer.

There are lots of small japanese games, XBLA games and small-budget american games that can't possibly have a lot of marketing spend. Yet they still manage to get noticed on american sites and by magazines.

It seems that european games in general just get mostly ignored while there are a lot of fetishism for japanese games in the american press.
Well that's often niche reporting which is less then what most of these euro rpgs deserves. They at least deserve the same coverage that shovel and mid tier games from big publishers get. I wouldn't expect Mass Effect 2 coverage if the publisher isn't spending the same marketing budget as EA. The magazines don't care about which games they get more incentive to cover, they care about ads and exclusives.

But I worked a couple of years with this shit so I'm kind of cynic about it all.

From my experience:

Money >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Hype from publisher >>>>> Hype from magazine>>>>Hype from people>>>>>>>>>Actual quality
 

krzy123

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Mass Effect is one of the most overrated games I've played. Way too much filler cut and paste content from what many consider to be a 90+ rated game. It's actually straight up embarrassing on any level. :lol

If a mid-level game cut and paste side quests like mass effect it would not receive higher anything higher than a 70.
 

wotter

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That's odd, we wanted to give more exposure to the people at Larian Studios, but they flat out refused because we are, according to them, too small as a gaming site (though we are the biggest in Belgium, same country as them).
 

Ashkeloth

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The reason as to why these games get no attention is simple.

The western gaming media, outside of a few specialist sources, does not seem to give a shit about PC gaming.

These sorts of games do not tend to have good console ports, if they even get ported at all.

Thus, western gaming media does not give a fuck about these games.

Is it good that western gaming media ignores these titles? Hell no
Is it expected considering the sort of people who work in gaming media? Hell yes.

It's a shame, really. If the gaming media paid more attention to these sorts of games, instead of the next copy + paste job from Bethesda or the next game that plays itself from Molyneux and co., they'd get the money in sales to actually hire better voice actors and fix the wonkiness, and we'd probably have a ton of awesome RPGs similar to Baldurs Gate 2 in writing, complexity and world scale.

This post brought to you by a "console kiddie" who has never bought any of these games mentioned
 

Dennis

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Jul 7, 2009
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wotter said:
That's odd, we wanted to give more exposure to the people at Larian Studios, but they flat out refused because we are, according to them, too small as a gaming site (though we are the biggest in Belgium, same country as them).
That certainly seems like a mistake they can't afford to make.
 

brain_stew

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Drinky Crow said:
see, now you're just playing the classic gaf art direction canard. and as folks have pointed out, fallout nv has been taking some serious review score dings for its bugs.
Its not even about art direction (though that's definitely not an area where Bethesda flourish, Bioware nail it.....sometimes), the game engines powering all of the Bethesda and Bioware published RPGs are simply antiquated at this point, especially on the Bethesda side.
 

brain_stew

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DennisK4 said:
But publishers spending money can't be the whole answer.

There are lots of small japanese games, XBLA games and small-budget american games that can't possibly have a lot of marketing spend. Yet they still manage to get noticed on american sites and by magazines.

It seems that european games in general just get mostly ignored while there are a lot of fetishism for japanese games in the american press.
All XBLA games need to be backed up by a major publisher or MS themselves these days. Its no longer an indie service and that's why they can get no end of coverage.
 

DaBuddaDa

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The funniest thing is, the one mid-budget CRPG this season that's gotten the most attention from major websites is the shittiest one of them all, Gothic 4! Gothic fucking 4!
 

fizzelopeguss

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Nov 1, 2007
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Divinity 2 at release was insanely janky, i couldn't be bothered finishing the game.

The engine was completely broken, running across the game world actually felt like jittery, low framerate paralax scrolling you'd get in old genesis games. A total headache inducing eyeball fuck.

Larians response was "we know it's there, our developers and QA guys simply got used to it over the years".

I think they "fixed" it in the expansion by simply capping the game at 30 fps.

With that said being treated like total shit by the gaming "press" has got to be soul destroying.
 

Kelegacy

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May 9, 2006
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DaBuddaDa said:
The funniest thing is, the one mid-budget CRPG this season that's gotten the most attention from major websites is the shittiest one of them all, Gothic 4! Gothic fucking 4!
I rented it from Gamefly and beat it with all quests completed, side and story...and I did not like it all told. It was okay until Tooshoo, then after that it went haywire.

Biggest gripe is it's not Gothic 4. It's the special ed version at best, but mostly it's just an insult to the Gothic series and Pirahna Bytes work.

It's akin to calling Soldier of Fortune Payback "Halo 4".
 

Macstorm

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They made their mistake aiming for the bigger sites. Go grassroots. Work your way up the ladder and get the small-mid sized sites, blogs, and message boards interested, and then maybe the big sites will care. Not likely though.
 

subversus

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wotter said:
That's odd, we wanted to give more exposure to the people at Larian Studios, but they flat out refused because we are, according to them, too small as a gaming site (though we are the biggest in Belgium, same country as them).
wow, thanks for update, I'll update the first post then.
 

djtiesto

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Jul 26, 2004
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DennisK4 said:
It seems that european games in general just get mostly ignored while there are a lot of fetishism for japanese games in the american press.
:lol :lol :lol

I don't know what American press you're talking about... but this is definitely not true. With the exception of the newly-revived (and possibly dead again, I haven't seen it on shelves in a while) Gamefan, most gaming mags don't give much of a focus on Japan at all. Apart from your stupid "Japan is dying!!!!111!!1!" "editorials" occasionally. Handhelds and handheld gaming get very little focus too. Ys 7 is one of the best and most polished games I've played all year, yet I saw hardly any coverage in the mainstream mags. OK, EGM had a small blurb on it where the reviewer complained it was too grindy. But that was it.

Though I agree, I don't really see much press at all on these Euro PC RPGs, if it's not for Drinky I would have never heard about many of them. Though I wonder, how did the Witcher become so breakout successful?
 

Lasthope106

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hamchan said:
I know Giant Bomb likes to do Quick Looks of relatively obscure games.
From listening to the Bombcast, it is my impression that there are a few guys in that building that are hardcore pc gamers. Of all the "mainstream" sites I would have never expected as much coverage as Giantbomb did for games like SC2, Civ V, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - COP - hell, they even talked about Minecraft.
 

Salaadin

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djtiesto said:
:lol :lol :lol

I don't know what American press you're talking about... but this is definitely not true. With the exception of the newly-revived (and possibly dead again, I haven't seen it on shelves in a while) Gamefan, most gaming mags don't give much of a focus on Japan at all. Apart from your stupid "Japan is dying!!!!111!!1!" "editorials" occasionally. Handhelds and handheld gaming get very little focus too. Ys 7 is one of the best and most polished games I've played all year, yet I saw hardly any coverage in the mainstream mags. OK, EGM had a small blurb on it where the reviewer complained it was too grindy. But that was it.

Though I agree, I don't really see much press at all on these Euro PC RPGs, if it's not for Drinky I would have never heard about any of them.
The Ys series is one of the best and the complete lack of any press on it is insane. I only know of the series because of my brother who plays a lot of things that I never heard of. It was nice to see that it has a decent gaf following.

For a lot of the lesser known stuff, I think gaf is pretty much where I get my "press". Theres plenty of games that I never heard of or wanted to know more about but I couldnt find anything substantial until I google "game name + neogaf" and end up back here. Its a shame because there are a lot of gems out there that very few know about.

I wouldnt even know what Divinity 2 or Risen were if it wasnt for neogaf.
 

wolfmat

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Lasthope106 said:
From listening to the Bombcast, it is my impression that there are a few guys in that building that are hardcore pc gamers. Of all the "mainstream" sites I would have never expected as much coverage as Giantbomb did for games like SC2, Civ V, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - COP - hell, they even talked about Minecraft.
Guess what, it's probably the engineers :)
 

Mihku

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wotter said:
That's odd, we wanted to give more exposure to the people at Larian Studios, but they flat out refused because we are, according to them, too small as a gaming site (though we are the biggest in Belgium, same country as them).
But giving a game more exposure costs money if I'm not mistaken. Stuff like dedicated gameweeks (background, banners, contest, some news each day, ...) aren't for free. The Belgian market is very small, more exposure besides a review wouldn't make a dent in sales imo. And a game like Divinity 2 has a very limited marketing budget anyway.

Also don't forget they rely on the publisher for the marketing of a game. And I've heard they had a lot of trouble with them in the past. Bigger publishers immediatly want the rights on the IP and a voice in the creative design. Larian doens't want this (hey, good for them) but even with smaller publishers there are a lot of pittfalls to be avoided.
 

MC Safety

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Ceebs said:
If you schedule a meeting it's only common professional courtesy to listen to what the guys says. If you do not plan on covering it or plan on dumping it onto an intern save both parties some time and expense.

I know if I was flying halfway around the world to show my game off during scheduled meetings and the publication treats me like a waste of time I would be angry too.
I understand that, fully. But stuff happens, people get sick, deadlines are missed, etc.

And say the guy shows up, and his game is crap? Or we just don't have space to cover the material? It happens, but because the guy shows up and because he made the effort, there's an expectation of coverage. And it's wholly unrealistic.

I also understand game companies are proud of their efforts, and want to present the material in the best light. But an extended meeting isn't always the best way to do it.
 

Host Samurai

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If I had the time and people behind me I would totally create a site specifically for niche and middle/lower budget games. Always hyping games like Demons Souls, Catherine, Bayonetta, VanQuish and loads of other digital releases and past generation titles on the PSN that everyone missed the first time around. I think that there is a market for games that are "under the radar" and in time I think it would be a wise investment.
 

subversus

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Oct 26, 2009
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MC Safety said:
I understand that, fully. But stuff happens, people get sick, deadlines are missed, etc.

And say the guy shows up, and his game is crap? Or we just don't have space to cover the material? It happens, but because the guy shows up and because he made the effort, there's an expectation of coverage. And it's wholly unrealistic.

I also understand game companies are proud of their efforts, and want to present the material in the best light. But an extended meeting isn't always the best way to do it.

Actually yes, it's better to send a preview copy + video to get people interested. Sooner or later somebody will check it out if it doesn't look like a turd.
 

Kelegacy

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Honestly, the games mags and sites give the most coverage to I wind up being the most disappointed with. Maybe it's the hype or the tendency for editors to be WAY too lenient with previews (which is why I don't read them anymore since they can't be trusted and have more positive comments than negative by a fair margin), but these huge games are usually safe so they can pad the shareholders' pockets and continue to jade the rest of us.

For example, War for Cybertron got tons of hype but I wound up being "meh" with it. Most Activision games are like this for me, however. Just "okay" and too short and safe. However, something like Metro 2033 that came out of nowhere for me, I loved it. It was different and brilliant.

But it's like that for movies most of the time as well. The really daring ones get no press and make hardly any money. The average, creatively bankrupt titles with huge budgets do much better but I think are a quarter of the fun.
 

EviLore

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Drinky Crow said:
yeeeeah. dragon age was turgid, shallow crap, but it was well-balanced and it didn't even have a tenth of these bugs and design flaws. that's what you get when you have proper qa and feedback-driven design. and don't make me defend dragon age, senor. it's not worth it for anyone.
Dragon Age is not a paragon of art direction or balance or writing or QA or anything else compared to Risen. It's an ugly game with ugly npcs and ugly environments and 2004-era technology, wildly imbalanced gameplay devoid of challenge on any difficulty level despite the entire game being populated by about two different enemies repeated 10,000 times and scaled to the player level, painfully homogeneous npc faction populations lockstep with tolkien-era fantasy stereotypes and yet with each of the hundreds of NPCs having about 30 minutes of unbearable droning life story accounts, and game-breaking bugs like dexterity not actually working until a later patch.

If Risen is the direct-to-dvd movie to Dragon Age's summer blockbuster, then it's only because of their respective marketing budgets. The comparison is laughable otherwise.
 

Vinci

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Lasthope106 said:
From listening to the Bombcast, it is my impression that there are a few guys in that building that are hardcore pc gamers. Of all the "mainstream" sites I would have never expected as much coverage as Giantbomb did for games like SC2, Civ V, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - COP - hell, they even talked about Minecraft.
Hell, I think everyone has talked about Minecraft at this point. You realize it'll probably outsell many of the games we're talking about in here, right?
 

Zefah

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fizzelopeguss said:
Divinity 2 at release was insanely janky, i couldn't be bothered finishing the game.

The engine was completely broken, running across the game world actually felt like jittery, low framerate paralax scrolling you'd get in old genesis games. A total headache inducing eyeball fuck.

Larians response was "we know it's there, our developers and QA guys simply got used to it over the years".

I think they "fixed" it in the expansion by simply capping the game at 30 fps.

With that said being treated like total shit by the gaming "press" has got to be soul destroying.
Yeah the initial release looked really bad. I can't imagine how janky it must have been for the original German release.

Even with this recent re-release bundle, the game feels really choppy locked at 30fps. Thankfully with a recent patch you can go into the config.xml file (lol) and unlock the frame cap. It's really smooth now and I'm quite enjoying the game. It's quite a bit of fun now that there aren't any technical issues in the way. It's too bad it took this long to get here, though.