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Matts Booty on Fable: "Giving Fable to the racing team [Playground] could be a little bit of a headscratcher, but they have proven that they get it"

Lol, you’ve taken that completely out of context.

He said the Playground guys didn’t have experience with making an RPG, but they’ve hired a lot of talent with experience and from what he’s seen, he’s very positive about what the outcome will be. Here’s a direct quote from that link:
Ah, I see. I didn’t hear about them hiring a lot of new talent to assist with the game. We’ll see what happens now.
 

yurinka

Member
Obsidian is making Avowed, an open world game + Outer Worlds 2 + Grounded + Pentiment simultaneously with 200 employees. Sucker Punch had 160 employees as at 2020 when they made Ghost of Tsushima. Are Avowed and GoT not open world games?
Guerilla Games had less than 250 employees when it made Horizon Zero Dawn, an open world game, less than 4 years after releasing Killzone Shadowfall.
Good thing they've hired a ton of folks with a lot of experience in making massive, highly successful open world games, eh? You mention narrative, for example. Their current narrative lead was lead on Control, worked on the upcoming Avatar game, as well as Dishonored: Death of the Outsider, Guild Wars, Guild Wars 2 and Assassin's Creed Syndicate.

There's also a ton of open world skills they'll easily transfer from Forza Horizon. Water rendering, lighting, vegetation, physics...heck, they built a powerful procedural generation toolkit for vegetation in Forza Horizon 5...that's easily transferrable to Fable. Not to mention skills with terrain design.

It's not 'just a big map'. That's nonsense.
Absolutely false. Fable is being made using ForzaTech, an engine Playground games is extremely familiar and proficient with after using it to make 5 Forza Horizon games.

Pentiment is a small game made by a small team, Gronded is already done and we have no idea when are they going to release Avowed and Outer Worlds 2, but won't be soon.

Sucker Punch already had made several open world action games before GoT, they weren't a racing game studio. And GoT like Horizon were previous gen games, proper next gen only AAA games will take way more people. Plus these games had a ton of outsourcing and work done in other places of Sony as usual in AAA games.

Horizon took 6 years and a half of development, and it was a previous gen game. The AC Valhalla game credits feature 5911 people, 5716 if we don't count the 'thanks' part.

The Fable dev said in the Vandal interview "It's incredibly complicated to make open world action RPGs, they need a lot of time, a lot of people and at PlayGround they have the mentality of making more with less: if Assassin's Creed is made by 5000 people they want to do it with 150 or 200 and if they (Ubisoft) do it in 7 years, they (Playground) want to Fable in 5. It's good to be ambitious but you also have to be realistic, and I saw that it kept delaying and delaying and me, personally I don't know if I have the creative capacity to keep working on the same project during more than X years" (he left the studio during the pandemic after 3 years working in Fable).

The Fable dev also said: "PlayGround wanted to expand with something different and thought are great at making open world racing games but missed people with the knowledge to make open world gameplay: how do you control a character and the different actions that are very different to the ones you have in a racing game. Technology wise you have to develop an animation system, an scripting system (for NPC and behaviors and a ton of other things), in terms of quests you also have very different requirements moving in a car at 300 km/h than walking through the countryside".

As game designer he joined PlayGround "to be in charge of the combat, define technical requirements to met and concept of what the new Fable should include. During 3 years he was at PlayGround creating mainly technical systems, writing documentation, doing competitive research (study the features of the best action RPGs released back then to spot what made them appealing) and analyzing the classic Fable games to get and keep the essence of the series. Plus to set the bases to build the game. During that time they made prototypes to test their tools and systems. "

They created a new studio with mostly new people that obviously had experience in this type of games, to build the engine with a ton of things that their racing game engine didn't have. But yes, they can reuse things from Forza Horizon and their engine like environment, menus etc.

They initially expected a relatively short development time for the genre. Nobody's saying the expected to make it at the same 2 year cadence the FH games release at. I suspect their usual efficiency, their studio culture (they're often cited as one of the best places to work in the UK) and their familiarity with the engine was behind this initial optimistic assumption, but the dev specifically mentions that everything seems to be going very well and the talent was in place.
As highlighted by their designer they underestimated the amount of work than a big open world action RPG needs specially when compared to an open world racing game. See above.

Most times you see extended dev times, it's either for games with extreme levels of detail from Rockstar (i.e the GTA games) or cases where development runs into significant issues. Media Molecule for example had to completely reboot Dreams during development, and we all know about Halo Infinite's travails.

Many well run AAA games get made in 3 - 4 years. Even in this gen.
No, the average AAA games this gen took from 4 to 6 years and even beyond that, specially open world action RPGs:

HZD (new IP, their first open world action rpg) 6 years and a half
HFW (sequel) 4 years
Ghost of Tsushima 6 years
Days Gone 6 years aprox
Elden Ring 5 years
Final Fantasy XV 10 years aprox
Final Fantasy VIIR 4 years and a half
Final Fantaxy XVI over 7 years if released in 2023
Cyberpunk 2077 8 years since Pondsmith started consult them, 4+ since they were in preproduction with around 50 people. According to Jason Shredder development started in 2016, meaning 4 years of development (plus more after it to fix it and complete it)
The Witcher 3 started in Summer 2011 and released mid 2015, 4 years
Watchdogs "over 5 years" (in fact it's over seven, it started as a new IP to reuse stuff from a failed and canned Driver sequel that took them around a couple years more on top of that)
AC Valhalla around 3 years, with the AC Origins core team after they released it and over a dozen studios more
AC Odyssey around 3 years
AC Origins around 4 years, started after they released ACIV
Fallout 4: 7 years
Elder Scrolls Online: 7 years
RDR2: Over 8 years

And these are all previous gen tech games. We still have to see the first next gen only open world action RPG fully developed with next gen tech in mind.

Only Ubisoft is capable to make open world action RPGs in under 4 years and this is them, being the company who released more open world games and putting a gazillion workers and teams from many studios to make each one of them and with all their engines, tools, experience and knowledge about this type of games.

What magic superpowers do PlayGround has to supposedly develop open world action RPGs faster and with less resources than Square Enix, Rockstar, Bethesda, Ubisoft, From Software, Sucker Punch, Guerrilla or CD Project?

I'll tell you: none unless they make a substantially shorter, smaller, more linear game with way less content and features. Which seems won't be the case. And even if it would be the case, a good 5 years will be needed considered they are understaffed.

Again, it's more realistic to expect 6, 7 or even 8 years of development considering it's the first game of the studio, the first open world action rpg (and non-driving game) for PlayGround and their engine, their first game in this IP and that they are understaffed for a project of this size even if going a bit above of their 200 people goal for this studio and also outsource a ton of work.

P.S.: Dreams is a super ambitious technical and design marvel, but the time and people needed to do a game like that are a joke compared to a AAA open world action RPG.
 
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Playground makes good games. No reason for me to think this will be a shoot & miss type scenario. Not a big Fable fan but I'm excited to see what they've come up with.
 

Eddie-Griffin

Gold Member
Pentiment is a small game made by a small team, Gronded is already done and we have no idea when are they going to release Avowed and Outer Worlds 2, but won't be soon.

Sucker Punch already had made several open world action games before GoT, they weren't a racing game studio. And GoT like Horizon were previous gen games, proper next gen only AAA games will take way more people. Plus these games had a ton of outsourcing and work done in other places of Sony as usual in AAA games.

Horizon took 6 years and a half of development, and it was a previous gen game. The AC Valhalla game credits feature 5911 people, 5716 if we don't count the 'thanks' part.

The Fable dev said in the Vandal interview "It's incredibly complicated to make open world action RPGs, they need a lot of time, a lot of people and at PlayGround they have the mentality of making more with less: if Assassin's Creed is made by 5000 people they want to do it with 150 or 200 and if they (Ubisoft) do it in 7 years, they (Playground) want to Fable in 5. It's good to be ambitious but you also have to be realistic, and I saw that it kept delaying and delaying and me, personally I don't know if I have the creative capacity to keep working on the same project during more than X years" (he left the studio during the pandemic after 3 years working in Fable).

The Fable dev also said: "PlayGround wanted to expand with something different and thought are great at making open world racing games but missed people with the knowledge to make open world gameplay: how do you control a character and the different actions that are very different to the ones you have in a racing game. Technology wise you have to develop an animation system, an scripting system (for NPC and behaviors and a ton of other things), in terms of quests you also have very different requirements moving in a car at 300 km/h than walking through the countryside".

As game designer he joined PlayGround "to be in charge of the combat, define technical requirements to met and concept of what the new Fable should include. During 3 years he was at PlayGround creating mainly technical systems, writing documentation, doing competitive research (study the features of the best action RPGs released back then to spot what made them appealing) and analyzing the classic Fable games to get and keep the essence of the series. Plus to set the bases to build the game. During that time they made prototypes to test their tools and systems. "

They created a new studio with mostly new people that obviously had experience in this type of games, to build the engine with a ton of things that their racing game engine didn't have. But yes, they can reuse things from Forza Horizon and their engine like environment, menus etc.


As highlighted by their designer they underestimated the amount of work than a big open world action RPG needs specially when compared to an open world racing game. See above.


No, the average AAA games this gen took from 4 to 6 years and even beyond that, specially open world action RPGs:

HZD (new IP, their first open world action rpg) 6 years and a half
HFW (sequel) 4 years
Ghost of Tsushima 6 years
Days Gone 6 years aprox
Elden Ring 5 years
Final Fantasy XV 10 years aprox
Final Fantasy VIIR 4 years and a half
Final Fantaxy XVI over 7 years if released in 2023
Cyberpunk 2077 8 years since Pondsmith started consult them, 4+ since they were in preproduction with around 50 people. According to Jason Shredder development started in 2016, meaning 4 years of development (plus more after it to fix it and complete it)
The Witcher 3 started in Summer 2011 and released mid 2015, 4 years
Watchdogs "over 5 years" (in fact it's over seven, it started as a new IP to reuse stuff from a failed and canned Driver sequel that took them around a couple years more on top of that)
AC Valhalla around 3 years, with the AC Origins core team after they released it and over a dozen studios more
AC Odyssey around 3 years
AC Origins around 4 years, started after they released ACIV
Fallout 4: 7 years
Elder Scrolls Online: 7 years
RDR2: Over 8 years

And these are all previous gen tech games. We still have to see the first next gen only open world action RPG fully developed with next gen tech in mind.

Only Ubisoft is capable to make open world action RPGs in under 4 years and this is them, being the company who released more open world games and putting a gazillion workers and teams from many studios to make each one of them and with all their engines, tools, experience and knowledge about this type of games.

What magic superpowers do PlayGround has to supposedly develop open world action RPGs faster and with less resources than Square Enix, Rockstar, Bethesda, Ubisoft, From Software, Sucker Punch, Guerrilla or CD Project?

I'll tell you: none unless they make a substantially shorter, smaller, more linear game with way less content and features. Which seems won't be the case. And even if it would be the case, a good 5 years will be needed considered they are understaffed.

Again, it's more realistic to expect 6, 7 or even 8 years of development considering it's the first game of the studio, the first open world action rpg (and non-driving game) for PlayGround and their engine, their first game in this IP and that they are understaffed for a project of this size even if going a bit above of their 200 people goal for this studio and also outsource a ton of work.

P.S.: Dreams is a super ambitious technical and design marvel, but the time and people needed to do a game like that are a joke compared to a AAA open world action RPG.

Several of these numbers are misleading, FFXV is the most obvious, it didn't take them 10 years to make the game, they had an abandoned game that was picked back up later and then rebranded as FFXV. It's not even the same game, just has some of the same characters.
 

Kamina

Golden Boy
On the plus side, if they decide to put in wagon driving into the game the wagon will probably drive and feel very authentic.
 

yurinka

Member
Several of these numbers are misleading, FFXV is the most obvious, it didn't take them 10 years to make the game, they had an abandoned game that was picked back up later and then rebranded as FFXV. It's not even the same game, just has some of the same characters.
They are not misleading: they are numbers mentioned by the ones who made them.

This is a common thing, not an exception. During development games change a lot and evolve a lot from the original ideas, and in many cases even to the point they get rebooted or started from scratch. Even multiple times for a single game.

My point was to show that open world action rpgs take a lot of time to be developed and there is an exception where they achieve it in 3 years: Ubisoft in very established IPs, who made a ton of them and have way more people than the other teams working at the same time in these games and already have the engines, tools, knowledge and staff experienced on them (plus they have multiple tracks working on multiple games of the same IP at the same time) to release them faster.
 
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