Obsidian gets no royalties from Bethesda after missing the target Metacritic score by 1 point

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http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

secretsantaone:
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

image

See those two guys? One of them is Chris Avellone. He used to work for Interplay, and has acted as writer/creative lead for games including Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and KOTOR II, not to mention Mask Of The Betrayer.

The guy on the right is Tim Cain. He's pretty much responsible for creating Fallout. He also co-founded Troika studios, and was the lead designer on Arcanum.

Both those guys are working at Obsidian, along with other veterans of Black Isle and Interplay. These guys are absolute legends, and some of the best designers the industry has ever produced. Say what you will about Obsidian's reputation for bugs, the studio is still the best collection of veteran writers and designers in the entire industry. They're the only mainstream studio able to create stories and characters that even come close to the best of what other mediums are offering (and no, the first person to mention Bioware gets a kick in the teeth). If Obsidian shuts down, all that serves to prove is that gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games, and would rather focus more on ham-handed soap opera and cinematic prettiness.

Obsidian are old-school to the core. The industry would be a far, far worse place without them around.

It sucks, but sometimes thems the breaks. It's not like if Obsidian shuts down (which I doubt anyway) that all those talented people will just disappear, or start making games like Peggle. More likely, they'd band together and form a new studio as happened last time, when Black Isle and Troika bit the dust and became Obsidian.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

secretsantaone:
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

image

See those two guys? One of them is Chris Avellone. He used to work for Interplay, and has acted as writer/creative lead for games including Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and KOTOR II, not to mention Mask Of The Betrayer.

The guy on the right is Tim Cain. He's pretty much responsible for creating Fallout. He also co-founded Troika studios, and was the lead designer on Arcanum.

Both those guys are working at Obsidian, along with other veterans of Black Isle and Interplay. These guys are absolute legends, and some of the best designers the industry has ever produced. Say what you will about Obsidian's reputation for bugs, the studio is still the best collection of veteran writers and designers in the entire industry. They're the only mainstream studio able to create stories and characters that even come close to the best of what other mediums are offering (and no, the first person to mention Bioware gets a kick in the teeth). If Obsidian shuts down, all that serves to prove is that gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games, and would rather focus more on ham-handed soap opera and cinematic prettiness.

Obsidian are old-school to the core. The industry would be a far, far worse place without them around.

I would just like to say KOTOR 1 was ten times better in story and characters than Obsidian's KOTOR 2. I forget like 3/4 of that game yet remember almost everything from KOTOR 1. And I played both of them alot. But I am grateful they made fallout. I just think Bethesda did good to make it like Oblivion a little more.

Well those are breaks of the deals you sign. Maybe now the next fallout game might actually have some story in it rather than a hundred fetch/kill quests and zero character definition.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

secretsantaone:
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

image

See those two guys? One of them is Chris Avellone. He used to work for Interplay, and has acted as writer/creative lead for games including Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and KOTOR II, not to mention Mask Of The Betrayer.

The guy on the right is Tim Cain. He's pretty much responsible for creating Fallout. He also co-founded Troika studios, and was the lead designer on Arcanum.

Both those guys are working at Obsidian, along with other veterans of Black Isle and Interplay. These guys are absolute legends, and some of the best designers the industry has ever produced. Say what you will about Obsidian's reputation for bugs, the studio is still the best collection of veteran writers and designers in the entire industry. They're the only mainstream studio able to create stories and characters that even come close to the best of what other mediums are offering (and no, the first person to mention Bioware gets a kick in the teeth). If Obsidian shuts down, all that serves to prove is that gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games, and would rather focus more on ham-handed soap opera and cinematic prettiness.

Obsidian are old-school to the core. The industry would be a far, far worse place without them around.

I agree with everything you said, and think Tim Cain is awesome and severely underrated. I just disagree with the characters parts. Obsidian has good stories, moderate characters, and >>GREAT<< mechanics for choice. (Probably the best) Obsidian excels at offering great ways for the player to influence the game. You know that "expressionism" Extra Credits has been talking about in the recent JRPG/WRPG episodes? Obsidian are the kings of in-game expressionism. To hell with what color you want your hair to be, you make choices in the stories and see your game alter around it. Their mechanics used to offer this are often fresh or simply remastered version of old school stuff. (Like factions in FO:NV) When these guys are given the creative reigns of the free choice game, they shine.

The industry will indeed be a far, far worse place without them around. Companies that offer free reign in your games are lynched because of some bugs but games that give you polarized "choice" (Good/Evil, Para/Ren, or Storkcloak/Legion) are held up as untouchable. Hooray, for people who need to see things in only black and white. For the rest of us, this is a shame.

Dejawesp:
Well those are breaks of the deals you sign. Maybe now the next fallout game might actually have some story in it rather than a hundred fetch/kill quests and zero character definition.

Did you play New Vegas? That has some of the best character development out there. Benny is a likeable villian, Caesar is actually quite interesting, and you can feel the torments of your companions- Veronica especially. It also has quite a good story, a nobody that gets involved in a massive political intrigue is a better story than the classic "Hero's Journey" that happens in most sci-fi/fantasy.

Unless you were talking about Fallout 3, in which, yeah, I found that game boring.

That's a dick move. New Vegas was better than Fallout 3.

Can we donate somewhere or something? I would hate to see them go out like this.

Fallout 3 has great definition of the protagonist, you have a backstory and then find out more as you play. In New Vegas they just give you a gun and kick you out in the world with "go kill some people"

Benny? Benny is okay but you only have one conversation with him in the entire game, one and a half if you met him in Caesar's camp.

Cass and Veronica where likeable characters but the protagonist is completely blank through the entire game. You have no background or personality, no history. Just a gun and a shooting gallery sandbox.

Adam Jensen:
That's a dick move. New Vegas was better than Fallout 3.

The critics and audiences disagree.

All new vegas really had to its advantage was more quest hubs and a ton more quests.

Elfgore:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
[quote="secretsantaone" post="9.354397.14073884"]http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

SNIP

I would just like to say KOTOR 1 was ten times better in story and characters than Obsidian's KOTOR 2. I forget like 3/4 of that game yet remember almost everything from KOTOR 1. And I played both of them alot. But I am grateful they made fallout. I just think Bethesda did good to make it like Oblivion a little more.

HA!

No, seriously, thanks for the laugh. I know this will come across as majorly dickish and elitist, but fuck it, this thread is all about wanking off Obsidian anyway.

KOTOR II's characters and story utterly shit all over the first game. There isn't a single character in KOTOR I who comes anywhere near close to the levels of depth and subtext present in Kreia. Hell, there aren't many characters in all gaming who can match Kreia when it comes to subtlety and sheer moral ambiguity. Likewise, where Darth Sion in KOTOR II is a genuinely conflicted villain full of mixed thoughts and self-loathing, all the villains in KOTOR I are bad guys from a Saturday morning cartoon. Where Atris is an example of a truly conflicted Jedi master brought low by her own emotions, the Jedi masters of the first game are personality-devoid expies of characters from the films.

The killer point between the two games? You know how every fan of the Old Republic setting is now in love with Revan, and you can't move for 'Revan pwnz Vader' motivational posters? yeah, that's because of KOTOR II. In the first game, Revan is just a stereotypical Sith Lord who is only powerful because no-one will shut up about his amazing power. KOTOR II filled in his backstory, gave gamers information on who he was and why he did what he did, and made the character ten times more awesome as a result.

Sorry, but if you can't remember details of KOTOR II's story, that only suggests that you weren't paying attention, not that the story was in any way crap. KOTOR I was just a retread of tropes used in the original films. KOTOR II was a deconstruction of everything that held the SW universe together.

Dejawesp:
Fallout 3 has great definition of the protagonist, you have a backstory and then find out more as you play. In New Vegas they just give you a gun and kick you out in the world with "go kill some people"

Benny? Benny is okay but you only have one conversation with him in the entire game, one and a half if you met him in Caesar's camp.

Cass and Veronica where likeable characters but the protagonist is completely blank through the entire game. You have no background or personality, no history. Just a gun and a shooting gallery sandbox.

Erm... ever play the original Fallout games? As in, the ones that came before the third one. The first game, you literally create a character, and are shoved out of the Vault on your own after a twenty second instructional video. The second game is only slightly better: an old woman tells you your tribe is dying, then you're dropped by yourself at the entrance of an old temple. At least New Vegas gave you a gun...

The Fallout games have always been examples of old-school roleplaying games: your character is meant to be a blank slate, because he or she is meant to represent you. The character is your avatar into the world. Give a character too much backstory, and suddenly he's no longer you, he's someone else entirely. And for a series like Fallout, built around the idea of role-playing, that sort of thing is anathema.

You wouldn't complain to a Dungeons And Dragons gamesmaster that the paladin you've just created doesn't have any backstory, would you?

All new vegas really had to its advantage was more quest hubs and a ton more quests.

And a story and characters that weren't complete arse.

Dejawesp:
Well those are breaks of the deals you sign. Maybe now the next fallout game might actually have some story in it rather than a hundred fetch/kill quests and zero character definition.

fallout New Vegas did have a story it was fallout 3 that didn't have a story. No character development? The companions alone have more development than all of fo3 combined.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
KOTOR I was just a retread of tropes used in the original films.

Yeah, it was absolutely nothing but a love-letter to the series. Not saying it was bad, but it cannot compare to Kotor II's story and characters. I agree with every single thing you said, which I why I feel bad every time Obsidian Entertainment somehow gets damaged.

They're probably the best writers in the industry and nobody gives a shit. Sad, really.

Dejawesp:
Fallout 3 has great definition of the protagonist, you have a backstory and then find out more as you play. In New Vegas they just give you a gun and kick you out in the world with "go kill some people"

Benny? Benny is okay but you only have one conversation with him in the entire game, one and a half if you met him in Caesar's camp.

Cass and Veronica where likeable characters but the protagonist is completely blank through the entire game. You have no background or personality, no history. Just a gun and a shooting gallery sandbox.

Adam Jensen:
That's a dick move. New Vegas was better than Fallout 3.

The critics and audiences disagree.

All new vegas really had to its advantage was more quest hubs and a ton more quests.

Fallout New Vegas was an rpg YOU were the courier or bob who was a bos member from Louisiana was the courier. If you want a character that characterized by the game play jrpgs. Plus fallout new vegas is more like fallout, civilization rebuilding. fo3 is omg the just ended how do we survive. There is just no way that is 200 years after, more like 2 years. Fallout new vegas gives you choice. Fallout 3 never does that it is here are some super mutants now shoot em', now here is the enclave now shoot em'. Fallout bew vegas lets you shape the wasteland how ever you please.

Dejawesp:
Fallout 3 has great definition of the protagonist, you have a backstory and then find out more as you play. In New Vegas they just give you a gun and kick you out in the world with "go kill some people"

Benny? Benny is okay but you only have one conversation with him in the entire game, one and a half if you met him in Caesar's camp.

Cass and Veronica where likeable characters but the protagonist is completely blank through the entire game. You have no background or personality, no history. Just a gun and a shooting gallery sandbox.

Adam Jensen:
That's a dick move. New Vegas was better than Fallout 3.

The critics and audiences disagree.

All new vegas really had to its advantage was more quest hubs and a ton more quests.

Fallout New Vegas was an rpg YOU were the courier or bob who was a bos member from Louisiana was the courier. If you want a character that characterized by the game play jrpgs. Plus fallout new vegas is more like fallout, civilization rebuilding. fo3 is omg the just ended how do we survive. There is just no way that is 200 years after, more like 2 years. Fallout new vegas gives you choice. Fallout 3 never does that it is here are some super mutants now shoot em', now here is the enclave now shoot em'. Fallout bew vegas lets you shape the wasteland how ever you please.

welp, if you make a buggy game, people will lower that score, yes its good, but by good it had so bugs that would put make austailians piss them selves.

As part of the "audiences," I found New Vegas to basically be Fallout 3: Good Edition.

Jegsimmons:
welp, if you make a buggy game, people will lower that score, yes its good, but by good it had so bugs that would put make austailians piss them selves.

Much like every game with Bethesda QA. If only it had a Bethesda marketing budget, too...

gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games

They're not. All the modern 'RPG' fans care about is cinematic cutscenes/gay elf/alien sex (Bioware) and lifeless sandboxes to 'roleplay'(LARP) in (Bethesda).

People are retarded and have shitty taste. News at 11.

Kahunaburger:
As part of the "audiences," I found New Vegas to basically be Fallout 3: Good Edition.

I didn't even think there was a debate that New Vagas was better for a long time. I guess you had a back story in FO3 but no depth. I don't know I could make up my own story in NV It wasn't like riding a train.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

secretsantaone:
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

image

See those two guys? One of them is Chris Avellone. He used to work for Interplay, and has acted as writer/creative lead for games including Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and KOTOR II, not to mention Mask Of The Betrayer.

The guy on the right is Tim Cain. He's pretty much responsible for creating Fallout. He also co-founded Troika studios, and was the lead designer on Arcanum.

Both those guys are working at Obsidian, along with other veterans of Black Isle and Interplay. These guys are absolute legends, and some of the best designers the industry has ever produced. Say what you will about Obsidian's reputation for bugs, the studio is still the best collection of veteran writers and designers in the entire industry. They're the only mainstream studio able to create stories and characters that even come close to the best of what other mediums are offering (and no, the first person to mention Bioware gets a kick in the teeth). If Obsidian shuts down, all that serves to prove is that gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games, and would rather focus more on ham-handed soap opera and cinematic prettiness.

Obsidian are old-school to the core. The industry would be a far, far worse place without them around.

You can have as many great individuals as you like at a studio, but if it doesn't work then it doesn't work - and Obsidian has never worked. Now admittedly, they do have some excuses, but when these issues recur game after game, it gets harder and harder to ignore the common denominator.

ION Storm had some of the industry's best individuals, and whilst they created one of the biggest contenders for the best game ever made, it's not unfair to say that they were less than the sum of their parts.

That's how things work out sometimes. They don't get a pass as a studio because individually they've worked on great things, nor do they get a pass because something they did over a decade ago is considered great.

Still, Bethesda's decision to not pay up is ridiculous, as is the decision to base bonuses on a bloody Metacritic score.

This is why we can't have nice things!

Woodsey:
Still, Bethesda's decision to not pay up is ridiculous, as is the decision to base bonuses on a bloody Metacritic score.

Obsidian agreed to be paid the bonus based on meta score. It would have been ridiculous for Bethesda to pay for a criteria not met.

Its a bonus after all. To go the extra mile. Its like if I offer a cab driver a bonus if he can get me to the airport 10 min ahead of time and he shows up 2 min ahead of time and then all of a sudden I'm the dick for not giving him the bonus.

Dejawesp:
Fallout 3 has great definition of the protagonist, you have a backstory and then find out more as you play. In New Vegas they just give you a gun and kick you out in the world with "go kill some people"

Benny? Benny is okay but you only have one conversation with him in the entire game, one and a half if you met him in Caesar's camp.

Cass and Veronica where likeable characters but the protagonist is completely blank through the entire game. You have no background or personality, no history. Just a gun and a shooting gallery sandbox.

Adam Jensen:
That's a dick move. New Vegas was better than Fallout 3.

The critics and audiences disagree.

All new vegas really had to its advantage was more quest hubs and a ton more quests.

You DO know its an RPG which means you can be whatever the fuck you want right?

Saying RPGs have blank protagonists is like saying Minecraft sucks because you have no creativity.

I swear people forget what true RPGs are like now, they expect the developer to take all the thinking out of it. Shameful.

Everything about this is pathetic. Every single thing. On both sides of it. Pathetic.

Woodsey:

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

secretsantaone:
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/15/obsidian-missed-fallout-new-vegas-metacritic-bonus-by-one-point/

Between this, the recent layoffs and the cancelled 'Vermont' project, it looks like Obsidian are going to go the way of the Westwood.

image

See those two guys? One of them is Chris Avellone. He used to work for Interplay, and has acted as writer/creative lead for games including Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and KOTOR II, not to mention Mask Of The Betrayer.

The guy on the right is Tim Cain. He's pretty much responsible for creating Fallout. He also co-founded Troika studios, and was the lead designer on Arcanum.

Both those guys are working at Obsidian, along with other veterans of Black Isle and Interplay. These guys are absolute legends, and some of the best designers the industry has ever produced. Say what you will about Obsidian's reputation for bugs, the studio is still the best collection of veteran writers and designers in the entire industry. They're the only mainstream studio able to create stories and characters that even come close to the best of what other mediums are offering (and no, the first person to mention Bioware gets a kick in the teeth). If Obsidian shuts down, all that serves to prove is that gamers aren't interested in genuinely intelligent writing and freedom of choice in their games, and would rather focus more on ham-handed soap opera and cinematic prettiness.

Obsidian are old-school to the core. The industry would be a far, far worse place without them around.

You can have as many great individuals as you like at a studio, but if it doesn't work then it doesn't work - and Obsidian has never worked. Now admittedly, they do have some excuses, but when these issues recur game after game, it gets harder and harder to ignore the common denominator.

Developers keep giving them shitty engines to work with?

Obsidian developed their own engine for Dungeon Siege 3, and by all accounts its as bug-free a game as any you'll find this generation outside of Valve.

ION Storm had some of the industry's best individuals, and whilst they created one of the biggest contenders for the best game ever made, it's not unfair to say that they were less than the sum of their parts.

That's how things work out sometimes. They don't get a pass as a studio because individually they've worked on great things, nor do they get a pass because something they did over a decade ago is considered great.

Mask Of The Betrayer? Came out in 2007. Often hailed as the best computer role-playing experience since Planescape: Torment.

Alpha Protocol? Oh, sure, yes, it had its problems. But its still one of the best and only examples of a western role-playing game where your choices have real, tangible, big effects on the progression of the game's story. Bioware could have learned a hundred different things to try in Mass Effect just from looking at how Alpha Protocol integrated player choices.

And, for all that it is the game being discussed right now, New Vegas. Bugs aside, it's a textbook example of making a huge RPG that responds to player choices and allows for genuine roleplaying in a morally grey setting.

Obsidian have had their downpoints, but they've also done enough right to be worth respect.

Still, Bethesda's decision to not pay up is ridiculous, as is the decision to base bonuses on a bloody Metacritic score.

Well, at least we're in agreement on that.

I've loved every obsidian game I've ever played (NWN2, especially MotB, KOTOR2, FO:NV are the only ones I remember though); I'd really be quite sad to see them go if they ever did.

Hey, does anyone know what Obsidian is working on nowadays?

I've never played the game, and I feel bad for the guys. But really...

...anyone who agrees to a metric like that is just bad at business, period. It's so easily manipulated I'm surprised either side agreed to it considering they're both supposed to be serious companies. If we're talking about a substantial bonus, as opposed to a token amount, then they're both even more stupid.

Godsdamn it. Why are game companies such dicks lately? It's like 2000 hit and people were like "Let's try being dicks!"

I know we all want to hate on Metacritic, but lets face it obsidian shouldn't of signed a contract with something like that in it. It's bullshit.

Obsidian are great, and I've never actually found any of their games to have game breaking bugs.

Even if there are bugs, it's because they're being fucked around by the publisher.

Dejawesp:

Woodsey:
Still, Bethesda's decision to not pay up is ridiculous, as is the decision to base bonuses on a bloody Metacritic score.

Obsidian agreed to be paid the bonus based on meta score. It would have been ridiculous for Bethesda to pay for a criteria not met.

Its a bonus after all. To go the extra mile. Its like if I offer a cab driver a bonus if he can get me to the airport 10 min ahead of time and he shows up 2 min ahead of time and then all of a sudden I'm the dick for not giving him the bonus.

Splitting hairs, but it's more like the deal was for 10 minutes ahead of time, and you got there 9 minutes ahead of time. So yeah, you are kinda a dick. Assuming, of course, that this is 10 minutes ahead of the time that it would normally take to get to the airport, rather than 10 minutes before you HAVE to be there for check ins. IF the second, it would be more understandable for no bonus, but int he first instance he busted his ass to get you there much quicker than normal, and didn't quite make the mark, and for that no cookie!

Somewhere along theline I lost any point this had in relevance to the OT...

And of course Captcha mocks with with 'no-brainer'

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:
Sorry, but if you can't remember details of KOTOR II's story, that only suggests that you weren't paying attention, not that the story was in any way crap. KOTOR I was just a retread of tropes used in the original films. KOTOR II was a deconstruction of everything that held the SW universe together.

Or you played the game around release, when it was so gods bedamned buggy that some cutscenes simply would not play at all, or play the wrong scene, or any of a dozen other things could go wrong, resulting in you having no fraking clue what was going on.

Honestly, I really want to post why I think Obsidian needs to stay, but j-e-f-f-e-r-s is doing that far better than I ever could.

If Obsidian goes under, gaming will be worse for it. They're the only ones who seem to actually try creating interesting, deep stories and characters with interesting motivations. KOTOR 2 gave Star Wars a new amount of depth it sorely needed. The Neverwinter Nights 2 expansions were far better than the main games. Alpha Protocol made damn-near every choice have some sort of consequence. New Vegas did away with the "good/bad" karma stuff and instead used the main factions to show what your choices do.

Are the results perfect? Hell no. But at least they fucking try to do interesting and new things story-wise. Try to make us look at old properties a different way. Try to have actual moral dilemmas and ambiguity instead of plain "good" and "bad".

It would be a worse world with them gone.

Saladfork:
I've loved every obsidian game I've ever played (NWN2, especially MotB, KOTOR2, FO:NV are the only ones I remember though); I'd really be quite sad to see them go if they ever did.

Hey, does anyone know what Obsidian is working on nowadays?

The South Park RPG and a game adaptation of the Wheel in Time books. Though the latter is still in the very early stages.

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