Editor's Note: DIY

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OakTable:

Russ Pitts:

OakTable:

Fun fact: BETHESDA handles the QA for New Vegas.

EDIT: Straight from Project Lead J.E. Sawyer's Formspring account.
Link

So if you are looking for someone to cry at, turn to Bethesda.

It's always some excuse. "The publisher did it. The engine was buggy when we got it. My dog died." Wah, wah, wah. Whatever. When your name is on it, you take ownership of the good and the bad, or you shut up, take your ball and go home.

Obsidian's name isn't even on the front cover. And you seem to be turning a blind eye to Bethesda's shitty bug testers because, "OMG Obsidian games are buggy and bugs hurt my feelings because I have to spend 10 seconds reloading the game".

EDIT: And really, this IS a case of the publisher fucking everything up, seeing as the publisher actually did the QA work on it, rather than the whole, "Oh it would've been better if they had like 3 extra months to finish it" thing most people say.

Chill out, man. It's just an editorial ;)

-R

I don't agree with the majority of your article.

Obsidian tries hard to separate themselves from the competition. The point is that they TRY. They aren't lazy, as this article might as well say that it thinks they are. I believe that they may try a bit TOO hard at times. But I would prefer that, than a company just making games for the status quo.

Obsidian is not a perfect developer. They should bug test a bit more, and I agree that I wasn't a huge fan of the ending of Old Republic II, but come on. Compared to most developers out there, Obsidian is one of the good guys. Back off a bit.

Lucas Arts was definitely to blame for KotoR 2 and Atari deserves most of the blame for NWN 2. Although Obsidian earned back a lot of respect for Mask of the Betrayer.

However, Obsidian deserves much more of the blame for Alpha Protocol. I'm sure Sega messed up too but Obsidian should have learned their lesson from working with Lucas Arts and Atari.

The bugs in New Vegas were inexcusable. I'm sure that there were people who didn't experience any bugs but then there are also lifelong smokers who didn't get cancer. The fact is that most people who played New Vegas experienced bugs.

As someone who has been outside of Obsidian forever, I can't say I've went through the same suffering. However, as a friend of mine who is fighting with New Vegas can tell me, you've described it pretty well.

To me, the outsider, I could have replaced Obsidian with a girls name although some of it would raise eyebrows if your girlfriend had issues that needed to be patched up all the time.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm really just that lucky that games don't crash for me. I've played Fallout: New Vegas for about 90 hours and I've encountered 3 crashes ( + few that were caused by my HDD). I don't remember KoTor 2 being all that buggy, nor NWN 2. I encountered like 5 different bugs while I played through Alpha Protocol twice and none of those bugs really bothered me that much.

And maybe I'm just damn unlucky when it comes to BioWare and Bethesda games. I got stuck so bad in Mass Effect 2 after 5 minutes of playing I had to start from the beginning. I managed to walk on platforms (multiple times, few times got stuck and had to reload)I wasn't supposed to. Dragon Age 2 crashed at least few times for me during my one play through, I had quests that were impossible to finish. Yet, I never see anyone writing an editorial about the bugs in BioWare's games. Why is that?

Bethesda, let's see...My cousin had to restart his Morrowind game after about 100 hours spent on his char, because some relevant charachter to the plot had vanished completely. Oblivion crashed multiple times for me as did Fallout 3. Not to mention all the other bugs I encountered while playing those games. Yet, I hardly ever see anyone writing an editorial about the bugs in Bethesda's games. Why is that?

And most of all, why would the bug infested engine (GameBryo) suddenly turn into a perfect thing of beauty in the hands of a team that has never worked on it when the developers that have worked on it for years can't fix it. Not to mention it's Bethesda that handles the Q&A for the game.

It's so damn cool and easy to throw **** at the indie developer and chicken out of throwing that same **** towards the gaming houses owned by big publishers.

This is why I usually wait for the GOTY edition to come out. By then, most bugs have been squashed, plus you get all that shiny DLC, like the Fallout 3 GOTY, Oblivion GOTY, and The Witcher Enhanced Edition. Then there's all the amazing mods that have been released and refined you can pick and choose from, like the unofficial pathes, texture packs, and custom campaigns.

krellen:

Soylent Dave:
KoTOR 2 didn't have a finished ending - not for the main character, not for the story and not for (most of) your companions; they clearly cobbled something together when they ran out of time.

At least in this one case, we actually know for a fact that their publisher did cut off about a year of development time, so this is one case where you actually should cut them some slack.

[snip]

Maybe I didn't run into so many game-stopping bugs with New Vegas because I waited a month to buy it, or because I got it on PC instead of XBox, or because I'm magic and technology just works for me, but anyway, I never ran into any game-stopping bugs that prevented me from completing New Vegas five separate times (enough to accrue every achievement available). But there's still an ending there.

I did cut them some slack for KoTOR 2; but then they asked me to cut them some more slack. And when I thought about it, I realised that I'd probably cut them way too much slack already, and resented them even more.

The bugs I'm running into now - after the patches - aren't game-stopping; they're annoying. I'm being punished for exploring, basically - if you visit locations in the 'wrong' order, it can break certain (side)quests. That's annoying. It's also annoying that I could avoid the problem on a separate playthrough just by doing things as linearly as possible - I like exploring the wasteland.

It's good to know there's an actual ending anyway - at some point I'll go back, persevere and complete the game. And I'll probably enjoy it - but not as much as I would have if Obsidian had done their job properly.

So, just like KoTOR 2, then.

Russ Pitts:
It's always some excuse. "The publisher did it. The engine was buggy when we got it. My dog died." Wah, wah, wah. Whatever. When your name is on it, you take ownership of the good and the bad, or you shut up, take your ball and go home.

This is the point I'm at as well, Russ.

When every failure in a long list of failures is somebody else's mistake, then we can't keep pretending that Obsidian would be brilliant if it just wasn't for those meddling kids. Er, publishers.

(I'm not under the illusion that Obsidian are creating games in a vacuum, or that publishers' decisions have no effect on their game development - but Obsidian seem to be, because every time it happens they get taken completely by surprise and it ruins their game...)

Regardless of their games shitty QA and terrible bugginess but I still buy them because I still feel like there are very few developers who actually do stories as well as they do.

It's still not easy to look past the bugs though, but you know what? I'd rather play a game that's buggy and actually engaging than play a game that's bug free and average.

I think they need to stop working on developers preexisting IPs and instead work on more of their own (I have not played Alpha Protocol yet, I'm not really interested in it).

I always find it adorable when people rag on the bugs in New Vegas, yet they turn a blind eye to the fact that Fallout 3 was at least twice as buggy at first release.

Russ Pitts:

OakTable:

Russ Pitts:

It's always some excuse. "The publisher did it. The engine was buggy when we got it. My dog died." Wah, wah, wah. Whatever. When your name is on it, you take ownership of the good and the bad, or you shut up, take your ball and go home.

Obsidian's name isn't even on the front cover. And you seem to be turning a blind eye to Bethesda's shitty bug testers because, "OMG Obsidian games are buggy and bugs hurt my feelings because I have to spend 10 seconds reloading the game".

EDIT: And really, this IS a case of the publisher fucking everything up, seeing as the publisher actually did the QA work on it, rather than the whole, "Oh it would've been better if they had like 3 extra months to finish it" thing most people say.

Chill out, man. It's just an editorial ;)

-R

That really doesn't hold water when you were personally offended enough to tell an entire development studio to fuck off because of a few bugs.

Monicro:
That really doesn't hold water when you were personally offended enough to tell an entire development studio to fuck off because of a few bugs.

The editorial speaks for itself. That comment was directed at the gentleman suggesting I "chill out" because it was "just a game."

There's two things I'd like to address in this post. One, the article itself. Two, some of the comments by people here which I'll lump together as "Obsidian bashers", who typically direct their bile towards Obsidian either for the perceived bugginess of their games, or for "desecrating" their beloved BioWare/Bethesda titles.

I cannot agree with the sentiment Mr. Pitts puts forward. First off, yes, Obsidian games have bugs. Some of them are pretty big, and occasionally game-breaking. It shouldn't happen. Second, yes, Obsidian have a reputation they have developed over the years of releasing buggy or incomplete software, and it isn't entirely untrue, although in most cases it has been the result of them being fucked over by their publishers - LucasArts and Atari specifically.

But what I do not understand at all is why Obsidian are somehow the ones to blame here when their contemporaries release even buggier products on a near-constant basis. The games industry is no stranger to buggy software that is released incomplete, and for just about all time, RPGs, being far larger and more complex games to make than your average shooter or action title, have struggled with bugs - even the classic Black Isle and BioWare games were full of them, despite what some have said (Fallout 2 was almost unplayable when it first released). If you want to direct your ire at Western RPG developers, let's look to the two patron saints and media darlings...

Bethesda? Fallout 3 was a fucking nightmare when it came out, especially on the PlayStation 3, with constant lock-ups, save corruption problems, unfinishable quests, disappearing world geometry, and all sorts of other issues you would expect from an amateur studio. When it came time to support the game, they did so... with even buggier, more game-breaking DLCs, and patches which introduced more bugs than they fixed, and were never officially acknowledged by Bethesda despite them being well documented.

BioWare? I admit their games tend to at least run smoothly and are largely free from error, but there isn't a BioWare game that doesn't have a quest that can't break fairly easily, and they almost never fix any of these scripting problems. There are hundreds still remaining in Dragon Age, Knights of the Old Republic, etc. that prevent parts of the game content from being seen. Furthermore, Dragon Age on PC has major issues with DLC authentication, it has spells which have a 50% chance of causing crashes to desktop, it has persistent memory leaks, etc.

Please, credit where credit is due. If you want to lambaste buggy games, go right ahead. The bugs we see in Obsidian games are often inexcusable, but this is no different from other RPG developers, who are rarely if ever called out on it. Does Themis Media have a fat advertising contract (and by that, I mean "free review copies", since The Escapist is nothing but another mouthpiece) with EA that prevent them from the same sorts of slander? I bet it's easier to criticise people when they don't hold you by the balls, huh?

As for those talking about how New Vegas "ruined" Fallout and how The Sith Lords "ruined" Knights of the Old Republic...

First off, Fallout 3 ruined Fallout. The cornerstone of the first two Fallout games was a well-thought-out, believable post-nuclear world. They had their faults, but their character systems and world are some of the best in CRPG history. Fallout 3 took all of that and turned it into a cartoon theme park, with no class, subtlety or substance. It featured an idiot plot full of retarded characters, with more holes in it than just about any other game universally praised for its narrative I have ever seen. On top of wrecking the things Fallout was known for, it also grossly simplified many of the game mechanics and turned it into a shallow and superficial first-person shooter/hiking simulator; Bethesda's lack of ability and desire to cater to a mass market sucked most of the depth and challenge from the game.

New Vegas was built on the ruins of Fallout 3, and considering what Obsidian had to work with, I think they did a pretty good job. While bringing back quality gameplay was largely out of the question given the new expectations of the fanbase, they did the best they could to inject the game with a healthy, plausible world full of people and factions with believable motivations. Gameplay-wise, they did a good job in adding some new systems, like crafting and survival, that were completely absent from Fallout 3. Game balance was also improved, but of course, being a mass market game it's still nowhere near as challenging as the first two Fallouts. If you thought Fallout 3 was "mad cool" because it had "a fuckin' nuke catapult, yo" then I can understand why the prospect of a story, world, and characters that actually make sense might turn you off. I'd also probably say you have no business playing a Fallout game.

As for Knights of the Old Republic II... I just don't get it. KotOR was a fucking abortion of a game, a broken RPG with piss-easy combat, an idiot-proof character system, lack of game balance and obviously over/underpowered classes, abilities and weapons, and most importantly, it had a terrible, railroaded story full of horrible, amateurish dialogue, completely uninspired and cliched quest design, a lack of choice and consequence, and wasn't so much creative, original or interesting as it was just an exploitation of the things that people remember from the original Star Wars films. You remember the Millennium Falcon? Well guess what, bitches, we've got the same fucking thing in our game, but it's called the Ebon Hawk instead! Oh look, it's Yoda's twin! Darth Vader? He was pretty cool, so check out Darth Malak, who is almost the same fucking character! Yeah, fucking Star Wars, brah.

The Sith Lords, despite its rushed ending, did just about everything right. While it kept the easy combat (adding some ancillary gameplay systems on on top for added depth, but those didn't help much), it didn't resort to diddling fan service, and instead decided to inject the Star Wars mythology with more depth, ambiguity and philosophy than just about the entire Expanded Universe combined couldn't do. It featured real choice and consequence allowing for the player to shape his or her followers in far more significant ways, it featured a sliding scale of moral choice rather than obvious good or evil (and even had "good" choices backfire on many occasions), and it featured a story that was important to the Star Wars canon without resorting to "epic, bro" pandering. Most importantly, it dispensed with the completely unfounded melodrama and contrived, boring characters in the first game by giving the player a heap of unlikely allies that actually had logical reasons for accompanying the Disciple, even though they may have hated him/her. Again, not a perfect game, but it was an improvement over everything in the original game, save for the ending, which, a few dropped plot threads aside, wasn't even that bad. At least it wasn't a fucking carbon copy of the movies!

Anyway, long post. I don't post here often, but when I see more than the usual amount of idiocy, I generally have to come out of hiding to at least try to stem the tide. Russ, nice try being witty and dramatic, but your article points the finger in the wrong places and comes off as unnecessarily petty. Readers who bash Obsidian, enjoy the autofellatio simulators and Awesome Buttons BioWare and Bethesda are happy to sell you. I'm sure the illusion of quality and inflated sense of superiority that comes with playing games barely more narratively advanced than Twilight more than makes up for the lack of actual quality.

Pretty much what the guy above said. Dunno why you're acting like you're "edgy" and "witty", Mr. Pitts, by picking on a company that has a reputation for having bugs when other companies that are larger do the exact same shit or worse. It's kind of like beating a dead horse.

Ok, how can an open letter written by an obscure gaming partner, in a very rude and personalized way directed to a gaming company as a person, with insults like fuck you in the end is going to be taken seriously? I was expecting anything from the Escapist but this level of un-professionalism and sheer stupidity, never. This is a shameful article by a very bitter human being who obviously knows nothing about constructive criticism and prefers to rant meaninglessly from his computer chair attempting to demagogue his equally ignorant readers.

Russ Pitts:
The editorial speaks for itself.

And it speaks rather poorly of its author, to be honest.

Maybe I'm not familiar enough with the rest of your work to "get" this, Mr. Pitts, but this certainly doesn't make me think much of you at all.

krellen:

Russ Pitts:
The editorial speaks for itself.

And it speaks rather poorly of its author, to be honest.

Maybe I'm not familiar enough with the rest of your work to "get" this, Mr. Pitts, but this certainly doesn't make me think much of you at all.

Forgive me if I fail to be crushed by this. But thanks for sharing.

Plinglebob:

I think Obsidian's biggest (for lack of a better word) problem is that they try to do too much. All of their sequals are bigger and more adventurous then their predecessors and so they end up as buggy messes (though I've never had a problem). I would much rather have a company like Obsidian trying to push the boundries, but failing, then someone like Bioware who play it so safe its boring.

Exactly. The same people who hold Obsidian over the coals are the same ones who will bemoan the death of innovative storytelling in gaming. Spoiled, that's all it is.

Russ Pitts:

OakTable:

Russ Pitts:

It's always some excuse. "The publisher did it. The engine was buggy when we got it. My dog died." Wah, wah, wah. Whatever. When your name is on it, you take ownership of the good and the bad, or you shut up, take your ball and go home.

Obsidian's name isn't even on the front cover. And you seem to be turning a blind eye to Bethesda's shitty bug testers because, "OMG Obsidian games are buggy and bugs hurt my feelings because I have to spend 10 seconds reloading the game".

EDIT: And really, this IS a case of the publisher fucking everything up, seeing as the publisher actually did the QA work on it, rather than the whole, "Oh it would've been better if they had like 3 extra months to finish it" thing most people say.

Chill out, man. It's just an editorial ;)

-R

It's easy to tell somebody to chill out after you're proven wrong isn't it?

Russ Pitts:
Forgive me if I fail to be crushed by this. But thanks for sharing.

That's a pretty dismissive and sarcastic tone to take with potential customers. Does the rest of your editorial team feel the same?

Logged in to this site to reply to this. Feel special.

I think my favorite part of this trainwreck of an 'editorial' is that it will succumb to 'Daily Show' syndrome. Wherein the butt of the joke (in this case, Mr. Pitts) makes a damning comment, only to have the opposite opinion shown later down the road.

Obsidian isn't going anywhere, and they make video games. These games get advertised. This is a gaming website. These games will be advertised here. These opinions will be rent asunder.

I shall laugh.

I love the internet and the self-parody that is 'Gaming Journalism'. <3

krellen:

Russ Pitts:
Forgive me if I fail to be crushed by this. But thanks for sharing.

That's a pretty dismissive and sarcastic tone to take with potential customers. Does the rest of your editorial team feel the same?

There is some truth to the suggestion that everyone who passes through this site is entitled to feel as if those of us who create it and maintain it are indebted to them in some way, large or small. I'm not ignorant of this. I feel a great sense of pride and humility at being blessed with the attention and trust of so many readers and viewers who have many, many options for how and where to consume their videogaming news and commentary and yet choose to visit The Escapist. I've written and spoken at length about my gratitude and respect for those who call this their internet "home," and those feelings are genuine.

And yet I'm not a whore. My opinion is my own, and that (as well as those of the rest of our excellent team) is part of what you get when you pay for (literally or figuratively) The Escapist. Take it or leave it, Bub.

I don't believe in the ridiculous notion of a transcendent journalistic morality that suggests one should be able to divorce oneself from one's self as soon as one's name appears on a byline. I honestly can't speak to what the rest of the team here would think about someone like yourself who would publicly proclaim to not "think much of [me] at all," but for my part I don't feel obliged to think much of you either. As far as I'm concerned, that pretty much squares us. ;)

-R

That was a far more diplomatic way of going about it, Mr. Pitts, which was all I was looking for. I don't expect the promise of a paltry $20 to make you like me (that would be ludicrous); I simply expect someone representing themselves and the Escapist as a whole to conduct themselves with a bit more grace than your last comments showed.

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