Experienced Points

Experienced Points
Obsidian Mailbag

Shamus Young | 29 Oct 2010 21:00
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This isn't fair to Obsidian, they inherited a buggy engine from Fallout 3!

It's true. Fallout 3 was a mess. I spent fourteen hours on a video series, nitpicking that game from start to finish. I also made fun of it in my comic. Believe me, I know all about the problems with Fallout 3. I don't know why that game got a pass from so many people, but it didn't get a pass from me.

But that doesn't mean we should ignore the problems with New Vegas. As long as consumers are paying for the game, they have a right to expect that the game (remember that you can't return games) actually work properly.

You're wrong! New Vegas is actually an awesome game!

I didn't say anything about how fun the game is. I agree that it is far superior to Fallout 3. But wouldn't it be more fun if it was more stable? Wouldn't that be better for all of us, including Obsidian?

It's not Obsidian's fault! You should blame the publisher!

Then why is BioWare able to release stable games, even when dealing with those same publishers that allegedly ruined Obsidian's work? Why do other developers working with (say) Atari not have the same problems that Obsidian did?

When a project is begun the developer agrees to a given timetable and budget. "We'll make X game in Y months using Z dollars." A contract outlines these obligations, and they sign it. Every one of their games has come from a different publisher, for a different franchise, using different tools. The only common element in all of the buggy Obsidian games is Obsidian Entertainment itself. They have failed to deliver a stable game four out of four times now (discounting the expansion packs, which were reportedly good) and so I think it's time the blame fell on the people doing the over-promising and under-delivering.

You're picking on Obsidian! I love their games and you're just a big mean hater-face.

I'm writing about the game and the company because I care about them. If Epic had released Gears of War games that destroyed save files, crashed, glitched out, and suffered from wonky mechanics then I'd probably leave it to experienced fans to write about it, because it's not my thing. But I'm an RPG fan, so I'm writing about Obsidian.

There aren't that many hard-core western RPG developers left. Shouldn't we be demanding better? First person shooter fans can pick and choose among many games and developers, but fans of freeform exploration, branching plots, and complex leveling mechanics don't have that many options. I don't want to see Obsidian go under. I want to see Obsidian deliver a top-notch game that's not infested with bugs and glitches. This is simply not going to happen as long as gamers continue to accept sub-standard quality and make excuses for them.

Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Spoiler Warning. Beat that, fanboy.

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