• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.
  • Hey Guest. Check out the NeoGAF 2.2 Update Thread for details on our new Giphy integration and other new features.

PC Gamer: The Uncertain Future of Games Like Deus Ex and Dishonored

Status
Not open for further replies.

Jaraghan

Member
Jul 6, 2014
622
1
0
Loved Mankind Divided. Was on the fence about Prey, but bought it anyways. Ending up loving it. Finished Dishonored 1 last weekend and loved it.

This genre will always get my full support. The freedom in these games is so appealing to me.
 

Sentenza

Member
Dec 3, 2011
14,706
1,939
970
It was following in the steps of System Shock which had a very similar structure. .
No, it wasn't (and it didn't).
Prey resembles SS far more closely than any Bioshock ever did.

Loved Mankind Divided. Was on the fence about Prey, but bought it anyways. Ending up loving it.
Loved Human Revolution, but for some reason I ended up loving Prey far more than Mankind Divided (which I bought at a bargain bin price two weeks ago and dropped after few hours).
There's something off with this sequel compared to the previous one, even if I can't exactly point my finger at it (and no, it's not just the allegedly unfulfilling plot, since I didn't even see enough of it to judge).
 

TC McQueen

Member
Nov 9, 2013
5,369
2
380
DXMD probably suffered a lot from taking way too long to get made, which made expectations balloon after how good DXHR was. The pre-order stuff didn't help, but the lackluster opinions on the story probably cooled a lot of people off on the game.
I think they just need to try a different angle. Instead of relying on hub worlds these action RPGs (I refuse to call them immersive sims) should sell themselves as open world action games like the latest Far Cries, the Arkham games or even Bethesda titles like Skyrim and Fallout 4. I think they'll be much more popular this way.
Mass Effect: Andromeda tried that and it blew up in their faces. RPG-ish games don't do well if they're made huge and bloated with busy work, especially if project management is not on point from the beginning and can't ensure everything is locked down early enough to ensure the writing's there to make a quest feel worthwhile.
 

Bronetta

Ask me about the moon landing or the temperature at which jet fuel burns. You may be surprised at what you learn.
Feb 24, 2013
10,296
4
685
Toronto
Dishonored 2 was in my top 10 of last year, just impeccable level design and I love the sense of freedom and how densely everything is packed for the player's exploration.

I also have Prey and Deus Ex MD sitting at the top of my backlog, they'll probably be the next titles I play.

Even though I play on PS4, immersive sims are one of my favorite genre. Would hate to see the genre go away. Arkane's one of my favorite studio around.
 

Sad Affleck

Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,914
0
345
Mass Effect: Andromeda tried that and it blew up in their faces. RPG-ish games don't do well if they're made huge and bloated with busy work, especially if project management is not on point from the beginning and can't ensure everything is locked down early enough to ensure the writing's there to make a quest feel worthwhile.

I don't see any similarities between Andromeda and Deus Ex or Dishonored.
 

CertifiedFP

Member
Mar 25, 2013
5,385
2
470
I think they just need to try a different angle. Instead of relying on hub worlds these action RPGs (I refuse to call them immersive sims) should sell themselves as open world action games like the latest Far Cries, the Arkham games or even Bethesda titles like Skyrim and Fallout 4. I think they'll be much more popular this way.

If Deus Ex, Prey, and Dishonored are "Action RPGs", then JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is a Light Novel.
 

Sun Bather

Member
Dec 13, 2013
1,713
0
0
Deus ex I wish I could have gotten a refund for. It just feels like a less impressive sequel, that did absolutely nothing for me. Had a very hard time just getting through the painfully bad tutorial.

I got a refund for Dishonored because of the terrible system performance, fuck that. Could be a good game, but I wasn't going to bother.
 

FallenGrace

Member
Aug 19, 2014
1,245
0
0
Enjoyed deus ex.
Loved dishonored.
Haven't gotten to prey yet.

Sad these games aren't doing well.
Same on all fronts. Did buy Prey and have Dishonored Death if the Outsider pre-ordered. Supported all these games day one.

It's one of my favourite game types I can just dive in and explore, often finding things I missed in previous runs. I don't want them to go :(
 
Feb 24, 2008
9,648
1
920
I think they just need to try a different angle. Instead of relying on hub worlds these action RPGs (I refuse to call them immersive sims) should sell themselves as open world action games like the latest Far Cries, the Arkham games or even Bethesda titles like Skyrim and Fallout 4. I think they'll be much more popular this way.

Then they would be totally different games, of another genre.

They are game which core is the carefully designed maps. Here a secondary entrance that is opened with a hacking ability in this other computer, here a tunnel in the roof part that you get by exploring, here a series of boxes you can pile on to climb to this specific place, that way there is a pair of gas canister I can use to lay a trap to this miniboss in the atrium, here a zone with radiation I can avoid using this maintenance tunnel or by deactivating first this machine using X resource... how would you do the same with huge, open maps?
 

Mechazawa

Member
May 31, 2011
8,137
1
545
Honestly, I think it's clear at this point that people just don't care about these kinds of games.

Human Revolution and Dishonored seemed to almost entirely coast off the fact that those games had novel and new settings and weren't shit, but beyond that? People don't really seem care all that much about the games themselves. Especially considering what a giant leap in quality the level design and mechanics of Mankind Divided were over HR, yet I saw so many complaints about how "same-y" it was.
 

Window

Member
Jun 28, 2011
3,460
0
0
Dishonored doesn't have a "good" ending. It has a high chaos or low chaos ending, and consequences for your actions. Leave death and chaos in your wake and you're only going to make things worst; it makes thematic sense for the story and atmosphere

The good ending in this case is the one which most people would desire and that's the low chaos ending. When a player's desired narrative can only be achieved with a play style which is not to their liking, they prioritize the narrative over their preferred play style. This may seem silly but I find myself doing this quite often with these games and it seems like many others do the same. I guess you could say that trade off is a design choice and is justified since the 'good' ending after all is supposed to be difficult to achieve but really given the save systems these games have, it's more about repetition than mastery of the game. I think a Souls-esque save system along with maintaining an ambiguous link between play style and narrative outcomes would go a long way towards encouraging more experimentation and diverse play styles.
 

saturnine

Member
Sep 23, 2013
1,042
0
0
Dishonored doesn't have a "good" ending. It has a high chaos or low chaos ending, and consequences for your actions. Leave death and chaos in your wake and you're only going to make things worst; it makes thematic sense for the story and atmosphere

While it's true that the game doesn't have a "good" ending on paper, it does judge you on a moral scale. The last mission literally starts with Samuel admonishing you if you got too kill-happy. Azzanadra is right in saying that the game guilt-trip you in trying to play non-lethally, despite the majority of the player mechanics incentivizing you to kill. It leads to a morality system where being good is harder than being evil and creates the notion that goodness is only worth so much as the amount of efforts you're willing to put into achieving it.

The game is basically saying "being good is not dependent on your inner moral compass but on how long you're willing to play along before you crack". That's awfully cynical and I'm not sure that's what the writers were trying to convey.
 

Sad Affleck

Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,914
0
345
Then they would be totally different games, of another genre.

They are game which core is the carefully designed maps. Here a secondary entrance that is opened with a hacking ability in this other computer, here a tunnel in the roof part that you get by exploring, here a series of boxes you can pile on to climb to this specific place, there there is a pair of gas canister I can use to lay a trap to this miniboss in the atrium, here a zone with radiation I can avoid using this maintenance tunnel or by deactivating first this machine using X resource... how would you do the same with huge, open maps?

One idea is by assembling the open world from building blocks made of various carefully designed mission hubs. Another idea is the Arkham system of an overworld that contains mission 'dungeons.' I'm sure other ways are possible too.
 

Window

Member
Jun 28, 2011
3,460
0
0
One idea is by assembling the open world from building blocks made of various carefully designed mission hubs. Another idea is the Arkham system of an overworld that contains mission 'dungeons.' I'm sure other ways are possible too.
Deus Ex already does this.
 

_Aaron_

Member
Mar 20, 2016
429
1
0
I wonder if Prey would have done better if it wasn't called Prey.

If Bethesda had presented it as a new IP, there might have been more hype around it.

Instead they introduced it as the "reimagining" of an existing IP even though it is completely unrelated.

It's not as if Prey was a super well known popular name either, and those that heard of it were probably annoyed about Prey 2 being cancelled.
 

YaBish

Member
Aug 13, 2015
1,164
0
0
Literally just made a thread on this topic last week.
Where's my check PC Gamer? :3

Anyways, the general consensus when I brought it up is that this genre goes in waves anyways, so it'll most likely come back around.
 

jettpack

Member
Oct 30, 2012
424
0
0
Absolutely loved all 3 of those games and it pains me that all failed to sell much. Hopefully all those games get sequels but I think the only one that really has a chance of getting one is Dishonored
God, not following up dishonored and Deus ex would be a crime.ans Prey was Such a gift... I love it so much. I don't know if it needs a sequel but I would love more new IP (I know prey isn't technically but if you know what I mean) immersive sims from Arkane. Insane level of talent on that team
 

kswiston

Member
Mar 25, 2005
35,137
1
0
Canada
I think that some of the issue is that people don't really want sequels that (at least appear to) offer more of the same thing they got in the first game. Part of the appeal of Dishonored was the new world to explore. Human Revolution was coming out so long after the previous Deus Ex game, that it was also fresh to a lot of gamers.
 

Lord of Ostia

Member
Jun 7, 2015
4,453
3
0
While it's a shame, I'm not really that surprised all of these games underperformed. I think Prey fell victim to all the controversy surrounding the IP, the rather bland visual design of its enemies, and very little in the way of marketing (the marketing it did have did not do a good job of selling the game either). That said, it's a fantastic game, one of my favorites from year, and by far the best of the three titles discussed in this article.

Dishonored 2, on the other hand, was a disappointment to me. While the level design was great, this game really did not feel like an evolution of the concept or a meaningful sequel in my opinion. The story is bad, and as a fan of the original that was the one area I was hoping they would improve most. The setup and narrative of the game feels so ridiculous, hamfisted, and just retreads the same beats and environments of the first game, with less originality. The worldbuilding really faltered compare to the original, as well. They chose a new setting for the sequel...and then made it almost exactly like Dunwall, just in a more mediterannean location. The society faces the exact same problems as Dunwall's, the important characters are basically just alternate versions of the characters from Dishonored 1, and it didn't really expand the lore in a way that felt meaningful. The narrative and world building matters in games like this, and I think that is especially how you grab a broader audience, and thats the biggest area in which Dishonored 2 failed. Games like Bioshock and even the original Dishonored were bold and different, they commanded your attention. Dishonored 2 was just more of the same, to a detrimental degree.

Didn't play Mankind Divided, so I can't comment on that much, but I think the long time since the reboot's release, coupled with the extremely negative 'Augment your pre-order' coverage really hurt that game. It seemed like after the preorder campaign got such bad press, Square Enix kind of left it to die.
 
While it's true that the game doesn't have a "good" ending on paper, it does judge you on a moral scale. The last mission literally starts with Samuel admonishing you if you got too kill-happy. Azzanadra is right in saying that the game guilt-trip you in trying to play non-lethally, despite the majority of the player mechanics incentivizing you to kill. It leads to a morality system where being good is harder than being evil and creates the notion that goodness is only worth so much as the amount of efforts you're willing to put into achieving it.

The game is basically saying "being good is not dependent on your inner moral compass but on how long you're willing to play along before you crack". That's awfully cynical and I'm not sure that's what the writers were trying to convey.
Considering a lot of the "good/non-lethal" options for your victims are fates worse than death, I think that is absolutely what they were going for
 

grandwizard

Member
Sep 15, 2013
3,649
0
0
Prey selling the least but being the best of all 3 is a god damn tragedy. They finally made a real System Shock 3 and people are passing it by. Amazing PC version too.

DH2 was a great game with some of the best level design in the industry, but I did see a lack of hype for it which puzzled me because the first one sold a lot and is generally accepted as a good and solid game. The PC version being a shit show really dampered a lot of launch excitement too.

Out of all these I think Mankind Divided dropped the ball the hardest. HR generated so much positivity for the brand and excitement for a sequel and they just took FOREVER to put out another game, and completely killed off the style that HR brought to the series. Then they released a game that feels unfinished and clunky in comparison, even if it does have good qualities. I know many people that would have guaranteed purchased a Human Rev sequel in the years leading up to Mankind Divided and then just lost all interest in it based on previews and release footage.

I still think ditching futuristic cyberpunk cities for Prague and it's cobblestone streets was a huge mistake. At first glance the game doesn't look or feel like Deus Ex at all.
 

BaraSailey

Member
Jun 21, 2014
1,499
0
0
I liked all of these games, so it bums me out they didn't sell well. I was really looking forward to more Deus Ex too. Mankind Divided had a lot of potential and great level design. I also really love cyberpunk settings and there aren't many games set in that type of world. I do hope one day we get a sequel for MD, as well as a sequel for Dishonored 2.
 

paragonpro

Banned
Nov 6, 2014
5,400
0
0
I just recently started to enjoy the genre, loved the two deus ex games and prey. Would be a shame to see them die off
 
Jun 13, 2014
7,301
3
460
The game market has moved on. The game market is not a single monolithic entity, and the segment publishers are most interested in are those that will pay $60 for a game on release month. That is a VERY different market from the casual gamer who may buy 1-2 of those MSRP games a year, but will more often than not buy a game when it goes on deep discount sales. That person can be counted on to buy Overwatch, GTA 5, Destiny 2, Call of Duty, Madden, etc but NOT smaller games like Deus Ex, Dishonored, Hitman, Prey, etc for full MSRP.

Combine that with the fact that more people now play "games as a service" and play them for a LONG ASS time. Why would I want to play a new game when 100% of my gaming time is used up with PUBG, an MMO, Destiny 1/2, COD, Battlefield, Uncharted 4 MP, Forza Horizon 3, etc? Your game has to be something that I NEED TO PLAY RIGHT NOW (that feeling) in order to get me to shell over $60, and stuff like the smaller SP games I listed above isn't gonna make the cut for a lot of people.

I think the single player game market has to split into two tiers now: the AAA budget game that makes a nearly flawless game for a LOT of money and expects to sell 5m+ copies, OR the game that has a very modest $20m or less budget and expects to sell 1m or fewer copies. The middle ground of a 3-5m copies sold in the first 30 days is shrinking and a lot of multiplayer games are going to take it over.
 

Deeke[VRZ]

Member
May 25, 2013
271
0
380
Does Bethesda even reveal game sale figured? PC figures alone are a very bad way to gauge the popularity of games considering consoles outweigh PC in terms of install base.

The real death knell of this genre has to do with popularity of action based games and shooters, which dominate streams and esports and thusly become juggernauts with lives of their own.

The transition of TES from Oblivion to Skyrim shows a mainstream focus on accessiblility, ditto for Fallout 4. EA is all-on on the action genre and it definitely makes me worry about the new Dragon Age game.

By no means are these games supposed to steal the spotlight. Publishers don't massively advertise because they know which games they've targeted for that exposure and have limited budges. Square Enix cares much more about Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest than they do about Deus Ex...and soon they'll have those Marvel games.

Bethesda also cares most about the core games developed by BGS, not its third arm developed games.
 

Sad Affleck

Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,914
0
345
I don't understand the difference between the Arkham games overworld and Deus Ex's hubs.

Well, in the original Deus Ex when I finished the intro mission and wanted to leave the Statue of Liberty map I approached a helicopter which led to a loading screen after which I was teleported to the next map, the UNATCO headquarters. There was no other way to exit that map, it was walled off. I couldn't get in a car and drive to another hub in real time or be transported by the helicopter in real time.
 

Freddo

Member
Jun 9, 2014
654
0
390
Småland, Sweden
Ugh, what depressing reading, this is my favourite gaming genre. Loved the recent Dishonored 2 and Prey too. But I haven't played Mankind Divided yet, the only Deus Ex I didn't buy at launch (or yet) because of the microtransactions and pre-order nonsense they did.
 

LastGamer84

Member
Jul 30, 2013
1,154
1
0
Deus Ex: MD underperformed because Squenix wanted to chop off content and push the resolution to the next game. What we got was fine it just wasn't enough to finish the story of the damn game.

Seriously, fuck Squenix if they kill this franchise. Them pushing microtransactions in the SP was also a dumbass move.
 

jett

D-Member
Jun 6, 2004
98,875
10
1,765
All three of those games looked like stuff I had already played. That's why I didn't get them anyway. I did play the DH2 demo out of curiosity.
 

Window

Member
Jun 28, 2011
3,460
0
0
Well, in the original Deus Ex when I finished the intro mission and wanted to leave the Statue of Liberty map I approached a helicopter which led to a loading screen after which I was teleported to the next map, the UNATCO headquarters. There was no other way to exit that map, it was walled off. I couldn't get in a car and drive to another hub in real time or be transported by the helicopter in real time.

Well that's the tutorial/intro level. After that, the game consists of multiple hub words with level/dungeons accessible from different points. It's true that moving between hub worlds does not involve traversal by the player but that seems a tad superfluous. However Mankind Divided only has a single hub world with all levels accessed from there. It's essentially an overworld (well except moving between the two parts of the city via a train/loading screen).
 
D

Deleted member 325805

Unconfirmed Member
Maybe don't release the games in a fucked state and they'll sell better? I really wanted to play Dishonoured 2 but it still runs like shit unless you have a machine that can simply brute force it.
 

Neith

Banned
Apr 25, 2017
1,546
0
0
I don't know man, but these games already had a couple games. I really don't need to be playing Dishonored 8 in 20 years. No thanks. Move on.
 

kamspy

Member
Dec 16, 2008
11,579
0
0
Cincinnati, OH
From my pov AA games have had this stigma for a long time. Last gen we had stuff like Singularity and Alpha Protocol. This gen we have stuff like Prey and Dishonored.

Maybe I'm trying to be optimistic because the games like that usually end up being my favorites, but I think there will always be publishers willing to gamble on new IP like that. There will still be breakout games in the SP genre that everyone will chase.
 

iiicon

Member
Nov 7, 2012
701
0
340
Vancouver
I don't see the need for doom and gloom. In the span of just over a year, we've had Deus Ex, Prey, Dishonored 2, and an upcoming standalone Dishonored 2 expansion. As a lover of vent-crawlers, this is an embarrassment of riches. What other time has been so active for the genre? I think these games have proven a market exists for immersive sims, even if the market is out of step with expected financial returns from traditional AAA publishers. The genre may go on to live at the scale of System Shock 3 or crowdfunded games like Consortium. I think that's okay.

There are developers out there with talent and passion for making dense immersive sims. There are fans out there willing to pay for immersive sims. Something will happen, just maybe not on the scale of a title five years in development at one of the largest publishers in the world.
 

Sad Affleck

Member
Apr 5, 2016
2,914
0
345
Well that's the tutorial/intro level. After that, the game consists of multiple hub words with level/dungeons accessible from different points. It's true that moving between hub worlds does not involve traversal by the player but that seems a tad superfluous. However Mankind Divided only has a single hub world with all levels accessed from there. It's essentially an overworld (well except moving between the two parts of the city via a train/loading screen).

Oh I see, interesting.
 

burgerdog

Member
Apr 24, 2007
9,697
0
0
CA
Dishonored they said was still going. It's Prey that got the axe.

That's a damn shame. Dishonored 2 is a fantastic game as well and I'm glad that's going to keep going but Prey is just incredible so it's sad to see it fail. What exactly happened? It's a game that's 10x better than Bioshock and it sold 10x less.
 

Mr. Mister

Member
Nov 25, 2006
875
0
0
This isn't a marketing or consumers being mad about microtransactions issue - this a just a genre massively shrinking.

I expect the genre to live on in a super niche way with much lower production values / budgets. Not necessarily a bad thing.
 

TheRed

Member
Aug 7, 2014
2,866
0
0
Florida
I loved Mankind Divided, the gameplay was hugely improved over HR. Dishonored 2 was fantastic too outside of the crappy story.

Prey I was really liking but had to stop because the messed up audio mixing was too distracting to me that it hurt my enjoyment. I hope to go back and finish Prey soonish.

I really hope these games don't go away, they can keep getting so much better as tech keeps improving.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.