Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

RPGs can become much more “radical” but hardcore players are “resistant to change”, says Obsidian

blueturtle13blueturtle13 Member LegendaryPosts: 10,394

Josh Sawyer, design director at Pillars of Eternity and Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian, would like to see the RPG genre evolve radically beyond its current state.

Stats and combat systems shouldn’t define the role-playing game, said Sawyer, although he admitted he has been complicit in creating games that stick to an accepted template.

“The hardcore RPG audience is very traditional,”

“Fans tend to skew towards the more hardcore cases and they tend to be fairly resistant to change. I don’t want to paint too broad of a stroke there but RPGs can be a lot more than we have done with them so far. There’s much more than we can do and its much more radical.

“I’m also contributing to the problem,” he added. “Pillars of Eternity 1 and 2 are very traditional role playing games. But the genre can go in a number of different directions it’s just a matter of framing the project size and things that meet up in the same place.”

Read more here:

https://www.vg247.com/2018/04/21/rpg-players-resistant-to-change-says-obsidian/

거북이는 목을 내밀 때 안 움직입니다












TorvalGorwepantarolaseritPsYcHoGBRDragnelusShinamiAmatheMrMelGibsonrojoArcueid
«1

Comments

  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 17,218
    Wow, great article. Thanks for posting it! I love how he nails the problem and owns his part in it. I would really like to see them break out. I get that it's hard because if the public doesn't buy in then the studio just lost out big time.

    One of my biggest criticisms of Pillars is how quickly it devolves into a min/max stat choice game and how quickly the RPG aspect can get tossed aside.
    laseritwaynejr2MrMelGibson
    silent protagonist, dirty mmo gamer, filthy casual
  • GorweGorwe Member RarePosts: 5,063
    It's always good to hear Josh speak. Well...you get it.
  • DraemosDraemos Member UncommonPosts: 1,516
    I don’t really get what argument he’s trying to make. Traditional stat progressions do not stand in the way of character choices impacting the story or world.   It isn’t an either/or game design choice, so why are you trying to pawn it off as one and shift blame to the gamers?
    PhrydeniterSandmanjwDeddmeatRhoklawjimmywolfScot
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 5,687
    edited April 21
    I enjoyed the insight, but I have to consider Draemos's position: what about my PoE character having HP or DPS precludes being able to create story-telling systems?

    PoE even has a story mode where you really don't even have to worry about combat stats, combat encounters are intentionally easy so one can focus solely on enjoying the story.  Of course, you can also adjust that to include your traditional stat metagame while maintaining the same story choices.

    I say: wow us.  Show us what you mean, don't just talk about it.  Because as good as it sounds, I'm having a tough time seeing what's stopping them at this point.  Kingdom Come marries stats and story-telling intimately.  It's one of the largest features that has driven it's popularity.

    Maybe I'm just not interpreting his words correctly.  But I feel like if Obsidian wanted to experiment, their playerbase would gush support for them over it.  They've bought themselves that cred with their past few releases.

    I know I'd check it out.
    Post edited by MadFrenchie on
    laseritGdemamiSBFordRhoklawMrMelGibson

    image
  • laseritlaserit Member EpicPosts: 5,517
    I think the biggest roadblock is always having to feed the insatiable need for continual and everlasting progression.

    "Be water my friend" - Bruce Lee

  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 11,263
    Make good changes that are more fun to play than what it replaces and you'll see that "hardcore traditionalist" roadblock melt away. OTOH, make changes just for the sake of being different without improving on what you changed and you'll get a lot of resistance... and then you can call the detractors hardcore traditionalists :)
    Asm0deusblueturtle13MadFrenchieGdemamiPhryConstantineMerusjimmywolfSBFordSandmanjwSovrathand 2 others.
    “Microtransactions? In a single player role-playing game? Are you nuts?” 
    ― CD PROJEKT RED
  • GorweGorwe Member RarePosts: 5,063
    I hope they don't tweak Pillars mechanics too much. Which it seems they will due to "muscled Wizards". Might IS NOT Strength, ffs! They should've simply renamed it to Power. Otherwise, Pillars had a beautiful mechanical system. Two things were missing though: Urgency and Ooomph. Urgency as in there are almost whole acts that feel...like a roadblock tbh(nothing really happens etc). Ooomph as in everything works and everything is viable, but you just don't feel it. Look to Tyranny and the bouncy Fireball on how to do it.
  • GdemamiGdemami Member EpicPosts: 11,004
    Shocking news....
    IselinScotMrMelGibson
  • ConstantineMerusConstantineMerus Member EpicPosts: 1,745
    Gdemami said:
    Shocking news....
    Shocking comment....
    GdemamiSBFordMadFrenchieTorvalRhoklawScotMrMelGibson
    Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?
  • PhryPhry Member EpicPosts: 9,597
    looked more like excuses than reasoning tbh. I think he drastically overlooks why games have evolved the way they have, perhaps that is one of those inconvenient truths, either way it is not that players are resistant to change, its that they are becoming more resistant to BS if anything, good games always do well, on the other hand it doesn't matter how much you pretty up a bad game because it won't sell, these days no amount hype will sell a game unless there is a significant amount of substance to back up that hype. ;)
    GdemamijimmywolfdeniterSBFordConstantineMerusMendelcraftseekerDeddmeatScot
  • cheyanecheyane Member EpicPosts: 5,453
    Phry said:
    looked more like excuses than reasoning tbh. I think he drastically overlooks why games have evolved the way they have, perhaps that is one of those inconvenient truths, either way it is not that players are resistant to change, its that they are becoming more resistant to BS if anything, good games always do well, on the other hand it doesn't matter how much you pretty up a bad game because it won't sell, these days no amount hype will sell a game unless there is a significant amount of substance to back up that hype. ;)
    Hallelujah to that I say. We should become more discerning in our choices indeed.
    craftseekerDeddmeat
    image
  • RhoklawRhoklaw Member EpicPosts: 5,686
    Innovation costs money, which a lot of game developers are reluctant to do. The reason RPG is stagnant is because developers don't want to risk their money. That is because they don't believe their "ideas / innovations" are newsworthy. I still think socialistic AI is where it's at because I know lots of people are tired of some of the ass clowns we get stuck playing with in online games. Skyrim does a pretty good job with it's open world as did The Witcher 3. So no, I don't see a lack of innovation. I just don't see a company with balls, unless it's a indie company that doesn't have to bow down to the suits.
    GdemamiDeddmeat

  • pantaropantaro Member UncommonPosts: 489
    edited April 22
    I enjoyed the insight, but I have to consider Draemos's position: what about my PoE character having HP or DPS precludes being able to create story-telling systems?

    PoE even has a story mode where you really don't even have to worry about combat stats, combat encounters are intentionally easy so one can focus solely on enjoying the story.  Of course, you can also adjust that to include your traditional stat metagame while maintaining the same story choices.

    I say: wow us.  Show us what you mean, don't just talk about it.  Because as good as it sounds, I'm having a tough time seeing what's stopping them at this point.  Kingdom Come marries stats and story-telling intimately.  It's one of the largest features that has driven it's popularity.

    Maybe I'm just not interpreting his words correctly.  But I feel like if Obsidian wanted to experiment, their playerbase would gush support for them over it.  They've bought themselves that cred with their past few releases.

    I know I'd check it out.
    I agree. most of the games on kickstarter or fig i have supported were mostly studios that have delivered before.
    Post edited by pantaro on
    MadFrenchie
  • DistopiaDistopia Member EpicPosts: 21,180
    I enjoyed the insight, but I have to consider Draemos's position: what about my PoE character having HP or DPS precludes being able to create story-telling systems?

    PoE even has a story mode where you really don't even have to worry about combat stats, combat encounters are intentionally easy so one can focus solely on enjoying the story.  Of course, you can also adjust that to include your traditional stat metagame while maintaining the same story choices.

    I say: wow us.  Show us what you mean, don't just talk about it.  Because as good as it sounds, I'm having a tough time seeing what's stopping them at this point.  Kingdom Come marries stats and story-telling intimately.  It's one of the largest features that has driven it's popularity.

    Maybe I'm just not interpreting his words correctly.  But I feel like if Obsidian wanted to experiment, their playerbase would gush support for them over it.  They've bought themselves that cred with their past few releases.

    I know I'd check it out.
    First I'd say the issue is the basic instinct to bemoan something ( essentially not get it) because on first glance the game isn't designed around a deep stats building system. We've seen it from the changes in mass effect 2, Oblivion onward into today.

     I think his overall point is that devs can only focus on so much and in turn offer a complete within budget game. All of those building systems take a huge chunk of that budget and development time. SO to focus more on worlds and intricate game-play advancements, would require ditching those traditional elements in order to offer broader options elsewhere. 

    Makes perfect sense to me, because you cannot deny that any RPG that has deviated from that traditional approach even slightly ( like the above cases) has received some serious backlash from purists.  

    It's the same issue many MMOs have faced, essentially on the same grounds. 
    TorvalMrMelGibson

    For every minute you are angry , you lose 60 seconds of happiness."-Emerson


  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 5,687
    Distopia said:
    I enjoyed the insight, but I have to consider Draemos's position: what about my PoE character having HP or DPS precludes being able to create story-telling systems?

    PoE even has a story mode where you really don't even have to worry about combat stats, combat encounters are intentionally easy so one can focus solely on enjoying the story.  Of course, you can also adjust that to include your traditional stat metagame while maintaining the same story choices.

    I say: wow us.  Show us what you mean, don't just talk about it.  Because as good as it sounds, I'm having a tough time seeing what's stopping them at this point.  Kingdom Come marries stats and story-telling intimately.  It's one of the largest features that has driven it's popularity.

    Maybe I'm just not interpreting his words correctly.  But I feel like if Obsidian wanted to experiment, their playerbase would gush support for them over it.  They've bought themselves that cred with their past few releases.

    I know I'd check it out.
    First I'd say the issue is the basic instinct to bemoan something ( essentially not get it) because on first glance the game isn't designed around a deep stats building system. We've seen it from the changes in mass effect 2, Oblivion onward into today.

     I think his overall point is that devs can only focus on so much and in turn offer a complete within budget game. All of those building systems take a huge chunk of that budget and development time. SO to focus more on worlds and intricate game-play advancements, would require ditching those traditional elements in order to offer broader options elsewhere. 

    Makes perfect sense to me, because you cannot deny that any RPG that has deviated from that traditional approach even slightly ( like the above cases) has received some serious backlash from purists.  

    It's the same issue many MMOs have faced, essentially on the same grounds. 
    I don't, but I also included an example of a largely unknown team doing something different and putting themselves on the map for it.

    Clothing affected the way people reacted, cleanliness too.  That's unique, and it's merely one of the chances they took.  It paid off.

    The idea that you will please everyone is foolish.  If you think you can change the industry with an idea you have, copping out by blaming the consumers seems strange.
    Gdemami

    image
  • ShaighShaigh Member RarePosts: 1,806
    I'm getting tired of the need to make RPG open world games, my favorite parts of witcher 3 had nothing to do with the game being an open world game, it was the narrative I loved about the game. Then again the only parts of fallout 4 I did enjoy was exploring the open world but that had to do with the narrative and story being the weak part of that particular game.

    I liked pillars of eternity 1 because it was the game that I wished dragon age inquisition had been and while it would probably benefit obsidian to make the game after poe2 different I hope its because they have a genuinely good idea for a game and not because they want to make a bethesda open world game like so many others started doing.
    The cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
  • MadFrenchieMadFrenchie Member LegendaryPosts: 5,687
    pantaro said:
    I enjoyed the insight, but I have to consider Draemos's position: what about my PoE character having HP or DPS precludes being able to create story-telling systems?

    PoE even has a story mode where you really don't even have to worry about combat stats, combat encounters are intentionally easy so one can focus solely on enjoying the story.  Of course, you can also adjust that to include your traditional stat metagame while maintaining the same story choices.

    I say: wow us.  Show us what you mean, don't just talk about it.  Because as good as it sounds, I'm having a tough time seeing what's stopping them at this point.  Kingdom Come marries stats and story-telling intimately.  It's one of the largest features that has driven it's popularity.

    Maybe I'm just not interpreting his words correctly.  But I feel like if Obsidian wanted to experiment, their playerbase would gush support for them over it.  They've bought themselves that cred with their past few releases.

    I know I'd check it out.
    I agree. most of the games on kickstarter or fig i have supported were mostly studios that have delivered before.
    Which, quite honestly, may be the absolute best use of crowdfunding video games possible.  Folks like Obsidian want to provide an experience that hearkens back or is unlike any other, this gives an avenue for fans to directly support the attempt.  The dev has credibility they can deliver a polished game, fans get to help them take chances on innovative ideas.
    blueturtle13GdemamiMrMelGibson

    image
  • Tz31mave7x1Tz31mave7x1 Member CommonPosts: 3
    I truly believe that the RPG genre will always remain a polarized niche as long as developers are hellbent on digitizing DnD style of game play.

    The truth is that it just doesn't translate well, and games where it does work, such as PoE, remain niche and no amount of critical acclaim will give that type of game play widespread appeal.

    There is no level of innovation that can be made without RPG fans screeching.
    TorvaljimmywolfMrMelGibson
  • GorweGorwe Member RarePosts: 5,063
    Shaigh said:
    I'm getting tired of the need to make RPG open world games, my favorite parts of witcher 3 had nothing to do with the game being an open world game, it was the narrative I loved about the game. Then again the only parts of fallout 4 I did enjoy was exploring the open world but that had to do with the narrative and story being the weak part of that particular game.

    I liked pillars of eternity 1 because it was the game that I wished dragon age inquisition had been and while it would probably benefit obsidian to make the game after poe2 different I hope its because they have a genuinely good idea for a game and not because they want to make a bethesda open world game like so many others started doing.
    Is Open World truly necessary? What does it bring that it has to be a part of almost every game?
  • cameltosiscameltosis Member EpicPosts: 2,122
    I would agree with the developer in question. 

    Ultimately, I think this boils down to your classic sandbox versus themepark discussion. 

    Telling a scripted story - which is what the traditionalists consider a pillar of an RPG - mandates restricting the player's actions so that it fits within the story. This is most easily achieved with a themepark design and standard vertical progression, resulting in a lot of very linear, very similar RPGs. 

    If you want to start offering more freedom within RPGs, it gets harder and harder to tell a good story because the player's actions often conflict with the story (it is for this precise reason that I hate stories in computer games). Balancing becomes a bigger issue. Lets say you face a boss half way through the game. In a typical RPG, you can pretty much guarantee a player's power because you've tightly controlled their progression so you can balance the fight for that power level. In a more open game, the player might be massively over- or under-powered due to earlier choices, resulting in a bad experience. 



    So, I believe that if developers really want to open up the potential of the RPG genre (which I hope they do), I think they need to reduce the reliance on story as the primary content, and this is where I believe the developer is referring to hardcore traditionalists. An RPG with minimal story?! Most people wouldn't understand. The traditionalists would argue it's not an RPG. 

    This is why even some of the more popular "sandboxes" like The Elder Scrolls and GTA are not actually sandboxes, they are still primarily themeparks with the majority of content coming from quests. You can still go off and treat the games like sandboxes, but the reality is the devs haven't provided you with enough tools to do much in the world. 


    I think this is also where Josh is referring to finding a proper scope to a project. When you start removing the traditional RPG aspects (linear story and progression), what do you have left? You have these interesting worlds that have been created, but pretty much nothing to do except kill stuff. It'd be pretty boring to just kill stuff without context. So, you need to start adding tools - proper crafting, political systems, housing, factions etc - and that is all risky and expensive. 



    I hope the genre gets there. I know personally that I hate story-driven RPGs and I want more open world / sandbox designs to be given a chance. 


    For example, I would love to be able to build a city in an RPG. I would start out just building my own house. Over time, I'd need to build facilities (like a well), attract new villagers, attract tradesmen, establish trading routes with associated agreements with other villages / towns. Eventually build a wall, and a keep, then larger walls etc. Defend my trade conveys from bandits, or train guards that defend them for me. 

    Or, an RPG that lets me establish my own bandit faction. Recruit some thugs, setup a base in the woods, establish stalking grounds, rules for engagement (don't attack if the wagon protected by 4+ guards for example), find fences for the stolen loot etc. This would then lead to the sort of emergent gameplay that keeps games interesting for a long time - having to re-establish bases when "the good guys" destroy mine, or breaking out bandits from the local jail, or bribing officials to remove a bounty. 



    Thats the sort of thing I want to see in my RPGs, but all I ever see is story and gear progression. 
    blueturtle13MrMelGibson
  • DeddmeatDeddmeat Member UncommonPosts: 376
    UO a stat based game, still mostly a sub game if you want house, decent banking etc .. AO another stat based game, driven into the ground by Funcom and has large amount of fans just hoping that a miracle will happen and they get an AO2 or Funcom actually do 'something' 

    So whilst he bemoans gamers wanting stat based games, 2 of the best games i've played are stat based, both still going though AO is arguably in survival mode lol
    Mendel

    image

  • ScorchienScorchien Member EpicPosts: 5,061
    edited July 22
        I dunno man , i hear Josh and think there is something  to what hes saying , but ive never looked at games like POE , NV, Witcher, Divinty for a Hardcore RPG experience , because he right there not . Hardcore experiences are available in games like ROK Star Trail for ex .. But hes also right in that it is a smaller audience ...



      Kenshi ...
     
      So the experiences are there , for the Hardcore , those other games are time fillers and fun to fool with , bit no Hardcore fan takes them seriously



    Post edited by Scorchien on
  • jimmywolfjimmywolf Member UncommonPosts: 182
    change just to say you made something new is not required to shift a entire genre to make it happen then blame fan base for not excepting your new idea.


    i got a great idea let make a first person shooter game  like CoD into a turn based rpg's but fans are " resistant to change " so my great ideas cannot be achieved.


    no you can  make a great game open world, sand box, shooter or whatever an fans will help it grow, if a genre is getting stale with copy paste it's not fans " resistant to change " it's you trying cash in on what players have already  been their done that.



    they want and are looking for a different take on the same thing they enjoyed, not a new  turn based FPS with epic 40 hr story MMO that f2p with optional cosmetic cash shop.


    Deddmeat



  • ScorchienScorchien Member EpicPosts: 5,061
    I would agree with the developer in question. 

    Ultimately, I think this boils down to your classic sandbox versus themepark discussion. 

    Telling a scripted story - which is what the traditionalists consider a pillar of an RPG - mandates restricting the player's actions so that it fits within the story. This is most easily achieved with a themepark design and standard vertical progression, resulting in a lot of very linear, very similar RPGs. 

    If you want to start offering more freedom within RPGs, it gets harder and harder to tell a good story because the player's actions often conflict with the story (it is for this precise reason that I hate stories in computer games). Balancing becomes a bigger issue. Lets say you face a boss half way through the game. In a typical RPG, you can pretty much guarantee a player's power because you've tightly controlled their progression so you can balance the fight for that power level. In a more open game, the player might be massively over- or under-powered due to earlier choices, resulting in a bad experience. 



    So, I believe that if developers really want to open up the potential of the RPG genre (which I hope they do), I think they need to reduce the reliance on story as the primary content, and this is where I believe the developer is referring to hardcore traditionalists. An RPG with minimal story?! Most people wouldn't understand. The traditionalists would argue it's not an RPG. 

    This is why even some of the more popular "sandboxes" like The Elder Scrolls and GTA are not actually sandboxes, they are still primarily themeparks with the majority of content coming from quests. You can still go off and treat the games like sandboxes, but the reality is the devs haven't provided you with enough tools to do much in the world. 


    I think this is also where Josh is referring to finding a proper scope to a project. When you start removing the traditional RPG aspects (linear story and progression), what do you have left? You have these interesting worlds that have been created, but pretty much nothing to do except kill stuff. It'd be pretty boring to just kill stuff without context. So, you need to start adding tools - proper crafting, political systems, housing, factions etc - and that is all risky and expensive. 



    I hope the genre gets there. I know personally that I hate story-driven RPGs and I want more open world / sandbox designs to be given a chance. 


    For example, I would love to be able to build a city in an RPG. I would start out just building my own house. Over time, I'd need to build facilities (like a well), attract new villagers, attract tradesmen, establish trading routes with associated agreements with other villages / towns. Eventually build a wall, and a keep, then larger walls etc. Defend my trade conveys from bandits, or train guards that defend them for me. 

    Or, an RPG that lets me establish my own bandit faction. Recruit some thugs, setup a base in the woods, establish stalking grounds, rules for engagement (don't attack if the wagon protected by 4+ guards for example), find fences for the stolen loot etc. This would then lead to the sort of emergent gameplay that keeps games interesting for a long time - having to re-establish bases when "the good guys" destroy mine, or breaking out bandits from the local jail, or bribing officials to remove a bounty. 



    Thats the sort of thing I want to see in my RPGs, but all I ever see is story and gear progression. 
    Try Kenshi.........https://store.steampowered.com/app/233860/Kenshi/

    MrMelGibson
  • MendelMendel Member RarePosts: 2,430
    How did I miss this topic?  Thanks to whoever necroed it.  I'll give you an awesome when I find your post.

    I've said it before.  RPGs are stuck in the 1970s.  If D&D didn't do it, developers haven't really tried to expand or redefine that formula.

    I get it.  Business are risk adverse, it's safer to develop a known formula than to try something different.  So we get clone games which do nothing for the genre except deepen our appreciation for the games that did take a risk.  Innovation isn't some kind of corporate poison.

    But, the D&D model is almost 50 years old.  I refuse to believe that D&D is some kind of pinnacle of gaming perfection.  Is that all we really want from our games, a combat system with magical overtones and an indifferent crafting system?  Because that's all we're getting.

    I'm totally disappointed that no game has tried to abstract a political system or make religion meaningful in-game or catering to the social side of game life.  Those are my three big 'concepts' that games have missed out on for almost 20 years now.

    The company that does step up and present some new idea, well thought-out and implemented well, stands to govern the next 50 years.  They don't want to.  They aren't risk takers.



    craftseeker

    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

Sign In or Register to comment.