yeah fucking right
So did Ngruk follow us over?
No more unicorns.
Anyone know if they actually sold the intellectual property (or whatever you'd call the mmo they were working on) to anyone yet (you'd think the value just goes down as time passes)?
I 'll I ever wanted post implosion was for Curt to tell everyone if his position on health-care had changed.
Write a tell-all book about this whole fiasco and make bank $$$, Curt. That's something I'll preorder!
From what I know, the IP and soft assets are still in Negotiated Sale with about four or five potential buyers including EA, Beth, Nexon, and some private investors.
KoA makes EW's worst video game list:
Built on a mountain of bargain-Tolkien clichés, Amalur was a passion project for World Series pitcher Curt Schilling — and the game's failure was so all-encompassing that it sank his videogame company. —Darren Franich
As much as I have disliked Schilling over the years, KoA wasn't made by his video game company. It was a project that was mostly complete by the time it was brought in house from THQ. 38 had very little to do with this besides (from my understanding) use existing art assets and switch IP and some story processes to reflect that. The majority of the story was even written around the older game before BHG was purchased. I have still only played the demo, but I have heard that while some of the game can be mundane, some of it was also very well done.
With that said, from what I have played (Demo, admittedly) and from what I have read everyone saying about it over the year, it doesn't deserve that ranking. Saying it was a passion project for Schilling is off too, as stated, the game was fairly complete when it was Ascendant.
It did sell a lot of copies too. Didn't it top 1 million sold?
Didn't care for KoA. It felt like a single player MMO. I want MMOs to be more epic and story driven like good single player games, not to be doing a bunch of bitchy fetch/collect quests in my single player games.
When you make a game on the budget of something like the Witcher 2, which cost around $8m, then selling 1m copies is a goldmine. When you spend money like a drunk sailor hoping that some sort of magic will turn your unprofitable first console game into some sort of hype machine for your company/MMO, you done goofed. Modern Warfare, Halo, Diablo, etc all cost $100m+ but also sold 10m+ copies, KOA was developed like it was a huge franchise but sold like a new game.
Last edited by spronk; 12-14-2012 at 08:53 PM.
Schilling drama aside, I too am one of those people who doesn't get all the KoA hate. Filled with cliche? Sure, but at the end of the day the game was still damn fun to play for the most part. I was one of the people looking forward to where the IP was going both in single player and in MMO form.
I don't know how you could stomach playing KoA after having beaten Dark Souls.
LOL LOOK GUYS IT'S AN AVATAR I USED LIKE 10 YEARS AGO HOW AWESOME IS THAT WE SHOULD BRING BACK THE BLACK GUY NEXT LOLOLOLOLOL
The game did well. It sold something like 1.3 across the board, and EA specifically credited it as the main reason they were profitable in that quarter. The reason why it helped tank 38 Studios is because of the shitty publishing deal Curt & Co. signed with EA. I would have to look up the article again for 100% accuracy but IIRC the deal was basically EA gave BHG around $15-20m to finish KoA. Then, 38 Studios and BHG didn't see a single cut of any profits unless and until the game sold beyond 3 million copies.
It also turns out that 38 Studios was specifically banking on KoA to sell at least that much in order to keep the Providence studio and Copernicus afloat seeing as they knew well in advance the $75 wouldn't be enough to finish the MMO. Mix in a bunch of other shady shit and incompetence and there ya go.
EA still wants Amalur. It made them a boat-load of money for a new IP. I don't think they are interested in the MMO assets but they're part of the deal. A huge waste.
The only interesting thing left is who is going to jail and who is going to pick up the assets.
Also, this thread needs some pics
WHY DIDN'T RI SUPPORT 38 STUDIOS !!1!!1
THIS GAME WUZ GOIN TA BE BEST EVAR >:U
COME AT ME BROS
I discredited that author as soon as I looked at some of the other games that he said were the "BEST" of his list. Kingdoms of Amalur wasnt Elder Scrolls levels of good, but it wasnt the Vanguard of Single Player games either. I enjoyed playing KoA, regardless of its relatively minor faults.
The auctions for all the office equipment just blows my mind. I never would have guessed that that much shit would come from that company. Before all the doom and gloom set into peoples minds, Im sure it felt like the greatest place in the world to work. Things could have been handled differently, but it really does bum me out that 38 Studios failed. What blows even more is how the demise of the company was handled.
In 2004, Curt Schilling ignored his doctor's advice and hobbled to the pitcher's mound with a wounded right ankle to win Game Two of the World Series, clenching the second of four straight victories against the St. Louis Cardinals and proving that the Curse of the Bambino had run its course.
The blood-stained sock worn by Schilling on that day is now stuff of Boston legend and had become quite an icon during the series. It seemed to be a piece of memorabilia that Schilling wouldn't dare part with, but his recent business dealings have forced his hand. And foot.
If you find yourself in need of a used bloody sock to frame in your sports den, you can start the bidding on February 4th. Schilling hopes to raise at least $100,000 through the auction
Ya, -THE- bloody sock was the one from the ALCS vs. the Yankees, but it was supposedly thrown away. While the World Series win capped the season, that ALCS game was far more epic and what stands out in in the minds of fans the most.
I am announcing my auctioning of my skid marked jimmies from a july 2000 nagafen raid, let the bidding commence at $50 USD.
He's going to get way more than $100K
I'm still 100% on he should write a book when he gets the chance.
We all know that the industry is risky though, and I don't know that I'd ever invest in something like that. And we'd heard some of the issues/failings before 38 went splat, but I'd wager we haven't heard the half of it.
Quite a few of the Big Huge Games team (I believe it was they who made KOA) signed up shortly after the implosion with Epic Games to make Infinity Blade: Dungeons.
How's it going? Well... We’re closing Impossible Studios./IBD looked almost ready to go months ago, it was even touted as a launch title for the iphone 5 and suddenly the studio is dead? Game Dev is hard apparently!We’re closing Impossible Studios.
When former members of Big Huge Games approached Epic last year, we saw the opportunity to help a great group of people while putting them to work on a project that needed a team. It was a bold initiative and the Impossible folks made a gallant effort, but ultimately it wasn’t working out for Epic.
In addition to providing Impossible Studios employees with 3 months of severance pay, we’ll be giving the team the opportunity to form a new company with the Impossible Studios name and the awesome Impossibear logo.
This means that Infinity Blade: Dungeons is now on hold as we figure out the future of the project.
Lot of weird shit going down at Epic. Most of the big public faces have left. Wonder if there is some sort of internal craziness going down. Mike Capps, Rod Fergusson, Cliffy B, Quinn del Hoyo & I think maybe a few more have all bailed w/ in the past 6 months to a year. Not exactly 100% related to Epic dropping Impossible Studios, but may be of some relation financially, philosophically, whatever.....
Last edited by Tauntworth; 02-08-2013 at 10:53 PM.
I just read an article about UE3 and campaigning for console hardware to power it not long ago. It's weird to hear that Epic is having issues.
What existed when 38 acquired BHG was very mature tech built specifically for a single-player RPG. Ascendant had some cool assets built for it, but it was far from a complete game. There was framework for an IP, but it wasn't very well fleshed out.
At 38, we had a complementary situation in that we had a huge IP with a lot of depth, but all our MMO tech was still in progress. We'd built Amalur's history initially as backstory for the MMO, but quickly realized we were making something that could genuinely support multiple products and media. There was a notion that someday we'd make single-player games set within the world, but didn't think it would actually happen until after the MMO shipped. The timing of BHG's availability dramatically affected that timeline.
The same week the BHG acquisition was being finalized, we sent some MMO assets down to the Baltimore folks and they had them working within their engine within a day. I still have the videos they made. It was a huge shot in the arm for the 38 team, although we also felt the trepidation that it wasn't going to be the MMO that revealed Amalur to the public. As with any situation where two companies join together, it took some time to build up trust in each other.
After the deal was done, we spent the next several weeks working hand-in-hand with the BHG narrative guys on how the RPG would fit into our universe. We handed them our timeline and extensive lore documentation, and kind of pointed them to a couple areas we thought were well-suited to tell a single-player storyline. They delved into the Age of Arcana, which was exactly the spot we thought would work best. We at 38 had already written the overview of the Crystal War, including the Tuatha and the part they played, and we had dragons and their life cycles as one of the big plot lines of the IP. The BHG guys ran with that, and came up with the addition of Tirnoch as the driving motivator behind the Tuatha's actions. This was perfect, as it fit into the bigger picture and actually set up a ton of hooks that would pay off in the MMO. Thus began a very fertile time of cross-pollination, during which the 38 and BHG narrative teams would regularly have summits together and riff on each other's ideas. Instead of them just following along with our IP, their ideas were pulled into it, making the RPG and MMO all the richer for it. My job was to be the conduit between teams, making sure that the consistency and continuity of the overall IP was maintained, and looking for opportunities to tie the products together as tightly and organically as possible.
As the story for the RPG was being developed, so were the art assets that went into the game. While there were some bits reused and reworked from the Ascendant days, the vast majority was created after the 38 acquisition. Certainly to imply that the RPG was mostly done before 38 came into the picture is completely inaccurate.
If Reckoning ended up feeling to some like a single-player MMO, it wasn't because 38 wanted BHG to make it that way. In some cases, I think it's players with the knowledge that an MMO was in the works projecting those feelings onto the game, but in other cases (question marks above heads, etc.) that was a result of the way the tech and tools were built. The feel of the gameplay--especially the action combat core experience, as well as the dialogue and quest design--was what carried over from Ascendant, not the art assets or game lore.
Once they had the stakes in the ground, BHG proceeded to make the game they wanted to make. The Providence team didn't micromanage them, but we kept in regular contact, attending milestones, visiting back and forth, etc. So it's not accurate to say that "KoA wasn't made by his video game company" by any stretch--a bunch of us, including Curt, spent many, many hours in Baltimore helping the BHG folks in whatever way we could. And as production on the MMO ramped up, we were regularly taking their concepts and reworking them to fit within the needs of Copernicus. Both teams loved that synergy.
The fact is that Reckoning was, by nature of the EA deal, under an insanely tight budget and production schedule, and all aspects about it didn't come out the way any of us really wanted. I can say with absolute confidence that the Reckoning sequel, which was in pre-production when the doors shut, was off to a really strong start and addressed the weaknesses of the first game in a very compelling way. I'm as heartbroken that the next RPG wasn't made as I am that the MMO wasn't finished, and I'm extremely sad that Impossible Studios was cut loose by Epic because they had some really great folks there who I'd happily work with again someday.
Steve Danuser, a.k.a. Moorgard
Sony Online Entertainment
Sup Moorgard, thanks for following us over to Rerolled.
Back with SOE? Sup with that?
so far he is doing a good job with vanguard that is whats up
I have a new posting style as you all may know, so I will keep this as civil as possible.
Yeah but this always the case. Before you had even launched a trailer or an announcement of the game, 38 had already started to tri-fecta a product release schedule of comic books, card games, the MMORPG, the action RPG, figurines, action figures - not only that, but had a method of distribution laid out, and this was before you even knew if anything would ever take off or not. Not only was this cart before the horse, it was damn near fire before the caveman.At 38, we had a complementary situation in that we had a huge IP with a lot of depth, but all our MMO tech was still in progress. We'd built Amalur's history initially as backstory for the MMO, but quickly realized we were making something that could genuinely support multiple products and media.
Obviously.There was a notion that someday we'd make single-player games set within the world, but didn't think it would actually happen until after the MMO shipped. The timing of BHG's availability dramatically affected that timeline.
I would say there was more trepedation in "Why is our company spending money on a sunk asset when we need to be concentrating on our MMORPG. With that said, why are we alsomore concerned about the revenue from figurings and Comic books when we don't even know if the game will take off yet?The same week the BHG acquisition was being finalized, we sent some MMO assets down to the Baltimore folks and they had them working within their engine within a day. I still have the videos they made. It was a huge shot in the arm for the 38 team, although we also felt the trepidation that it wasn't going to be the MMO that revealed Amalur to the public. As with any situation where two companies join together, it took some time to build up trust in each other.
Because Rolston wanted to salvage his vision. Although I am sure it was an easy compromise.Instead of them just following along with our IP, their ideas were pulled into it, making the RPG and MMO all the richer for it. My job was to be the conduit between teams, making sure that the consistency and continuity of the overall IP was maintained, and looking for opportunities to tie the products together as tightly and organically as possible.
Last edited by Utnayan; 02-12-2013 at 08:47 PM.
That post is entirely too civil to be Utnayan. GTFO IMPOSTOR
So the guy that actually worked on the projects is telling you WTF happened, but yet you still have your own take of the story? From your insiders? GTFO, UT?
So long as he doesn't get frothy I'm interested, but I am more likely to take Moreguard's word for it if they're both just telling stories.
I can punch a whole in ut theroy..there was fire long before caveman. So im inclined to go with moor.
Ut is a fucking blowhard thats got some weird fetish with developers.
Ut hasnt been wrong yet ...
Its funny how this dude actually has fanboys.
Too much damn cocksucking up in here.
I do not think Rolston would agree. Also, you painting the work accomplished on a project that was announced in 2007 (Blue Doc'd since Oblivion was launched) and worked on for 2 years, seeing the same assets in the trailers as we see in the game, from fully fleshed out towns, music, scripts, down to the entire combat system and it's mechanics - down to a tech demo, I would say is a punch in the gut to anyone that worked on this before, or after, acquisition. Given how it all played out at the end, I doubt anyone is grateful for being allowed to work on the project after THQ dumped them. These poor guys have had a string of bad luck. First 38 studios, and now Epic.As the story for the RPG was being developed, so were the art assets that went into the game. While there were some bits reused and reworked from the Ascendant days, the vast majority was created after the 38 acquisition. Certainly to imply that the RPG was mostly done before 38 came into the picture is completely inaccurate.
Wait, this doesn't make any sense. Ascendant always was, and always would have been, a third person action RPG. We all knew that right? Especially since the assets seen in the original screenshots were the same screenshots in the game shots that were PR'd. Ironically enough, this all vanished until 38 went defunct. Luckily it is all accessible again, including old ascendant game trailers and ad shots.If Reckoning ended up feeling to some like a single-player MMO, it wasn't because 38 wanted BHG to make it that way.
How does the dialogue carry over but the game lore is yours? Are you talking about delivery itself of the dialogue? In which I would heavily disagree with the 1st. All 38 did was take out the names and inject names/lore of what was being designed from the highest perch of RA Salvatore's name drops. The entire premise of Ascendant was turned into Reckoning. Right down to the very premise of ascendant to begin with. For example:The feel of the gameplay--especially the action combat core experience, as well as the dialogue and quest design--was what carried over from Ascendant, not the art assets or game lore.
First, to be quite frank with you, the reason for the game being called Ascendant was just that. Having died and revived to be the hero."Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning follows the story of a mortal known as the "Fateless One", who having died before the game's outset, is revived in the experimental Well of Souls by the gnomish scientist Fomorous Hugues. The first and only success of the experiment, the Fateless One must escape the facility when it comes under attack by the Tuatha Deohn, a subsect of the immortal Winter Fae, who are currently waging a "Crystal War" on all the mortal races in the name of their new god "Tirnoch".
With that said, I bolded the parts where 38 Studios just changed around some names, adjusted the world to reflect the 50,000 foot over view of a story overlay, and here is your new game.
I am sure they are great people. I know Rolston is for sure. But to say anything but the tail was wagging the dog in this venture is anything but being entirely honest. If anything, it protected 38 studios from the work that had not been done and, if only for a brief time, kept away the wondering eye of Rhode Island from wondering where their money had went. That did have to be reported on.
Last edited by Utnayan; 02-12-2013 at 08:39 PM.
Interesting stuff anyway you slice it and it's good for the boards. Thanks for all the Info guys!
I'm not going to argue about the subtleties of what happened with someone who wasn't there. I can understand the forming of different points of view, though. No doubt my perspective is slightly different from that of others who were there. History is written by the victor, but in this case there were no victors. So you can either believe what I say or not, it's up to you.
I certainly didn't boil BHG's work on Ascendant down to a tech demo. They had some really compelling stuff there, and they had built up a strong RPG team. But I also got to know those guys really well, and they're the ones who first told me that they hadn't really gone deep on the storyline yet. To assume that they had a ton of depth based on a few leaked videos and some general write-ups is a pretty big leap. I can tell you that the narrative guys were quite pleased with what they found when delving into our IP documentation.
And again as far as what the Amalur IP had or didn't have, I was there. I led the narrative team that wrote most of it. You can be dismissive of it if you want, but again you're basing that all on assumption. Buy me a drink sometime and I'll be glad to spend a couple hours giving you the story overview.
Ken is an awesome guy. I was very lucky to work alongside him, and we still keep in touch. Ultimately any job, no matter how it ends, becomes about the lessons you learn and the friendships you make. I was fortunate enough to come away with a lot on both counts.
Steve Danuser, a.k.a. Moorgard
Sony Online Entertainment
Drinks sound pretty good. Have Smedley buy.
He rocks. And it's too bad what happened to that studio. I do not agree with what happened with KoA and the Ascendant acquisition and how it was led to make believe 38S did more than they really ever did on that game (Similar to how RA Salvatore was nothing more than a name drop) but I am sure you were able to learn a lot from him.Ken is an awesome guy. I was very lucky to work alongside him, and we still keep in touch. Ultimately any job, no matter how it ends, becomes about the lessons you learn and the friendships you make. I was fortunate enough to come away with a lot on both counts.
Hopefully the last two shenigans don't drive him from the industry in disgust. He is one of the few relic designers that manages to move his cheese.
The important thing to take away from all of this is that Moorgard was a pretty decent monk back on Xev!
You also don't know what Bob did or did not contribute. I do. Referring to him as a name drop shows disconnection from the facts.
These are interesting asides to you, anecdotes to share on a message board. But these were years of my life, people I spent countless hours with, a world and games that grew out of the hearts of those of us who were there. These things can't be easily distilled down to clever soundbites and snarky quips.
It all looked like a clown show from the outside; I get that, and nothing I write here will really change that, or lessen the derision and dismissal that will forever be the public legacy of 38 Studios. But those who were a part of it know the truth of how special it was and could have been. And ultimately that's probably why I wanted to speak up now. I've moved on in my career, but I care enough about the people involved and the good work that we did to say my two bits.
That drink sounds better and better...
Steve Danuser, a.k.a. Moorgard
Sony Online Entertainment
I have little inside information about the downfall of 38, other than the foreknowledge to avoid that place like the plague.
Reading between the lines, what Moorgard posted sounds to me like the truth, but an extremely sanitized version of it. I am not saying it isn't what happened, just that things rarely (never?) work out that cleanly.
1) What did you think of trying to distribute and deliver a multi-prong approach product and services set to an IP no one knew about? Nor if it would ever be successful anyway. My take: Instead of shooting for the stars and aiming for the moon, you folks managed to blow up the moon with debris and crash land in a desert. Jennifer McLean (As I had stated before in my wilder more cussing days - which are long passed now) was terrible for this position but gained favor with Curt Schilling because she was the only one that wanted to fund his projects when she was with Comcast. Brett Close saw the writing on the wall and left immediately when he saw it was going to fail - which was back in what? 2008? None of the pieces were in place. Rather than design a game, delusions of granduer kicked in while upper level management had dreams of selling Turnoch figures, card games, a comic book spin off, comic book tie ins with the game, Etc. This is all well and good if you have a popular game first. Maybe 38 Studios should haver concentrated on that. At any rate, most are going to be interested in the entire story of what went down, there is much more to the story than you will post here (And I can understand why) but I think you should know most readers here are smarter than that.
I would say the same to you. Your anecdote being the Frogluk quest in EQ2. But, pot/kettle and all that. You did apologize however, and that is more than what anyone else did after 5 years of incomplete expansions, corrupt GM's led by George Scotto, and, in all actuality, stalling the genre at 430k by creating accessibility barriers of their own accord until two guys from tinsil town came into the mix and blew the doors off that stagnation.These are interesting asides to you, anecdotes to share on a message board.
I totally understand that much. I agree with you that there were good people there. Good people that lost their homes as 38 studios lied to them. As I (and to be fair, anyone with a pulse saw this coming) as Rhode Island was going to get foot with the bill of 38's failure. A state already in dire straits as it were. I know you are a good enough guy to feel the same in that regard and to not defend the people that had no care but for themselves while the workers you came to care about were expecting parents only to realize their health care just ran out as she was in pre-natal.It all looked like a clown show from the outside; I get that, and nothing I write here will really change that, or lessen the derision and dismissal that will forever be the public legacy of 38 Studios. But those who were a part of it know the truth of how special it was and could have been. And ultimately that's probably why I wanted to speak up now. I've moved on in my career, but I care enough about the people involved and the good work that we did to say my two bits.
With that said, thanks for sticking around. It's a healthy debate.
I feel bad that Moorgard is even here responding to Ut's drivel tbh. I mean it's been what four posts, and he is already on the pre-natal uninsured mother shit.
slurp slurp slurp
Airing this business out and discecting it will go a long way towards stopping this sort of short sighted failboat from happening again, as I see it. The MMO industry as a whole is completely tanked after this, unless you count those shitty gridfests the asians push out or the ever shrinking WoW playerbase. No one is going to want to take a chance on a new full MMO IP with any ambition thanks to the excesses that happened here and all the fallout from it. Doing a thorough post mortem might give someone a descent clue on how to avoid repeating the same mistakes. Like him or not, Ut is performing a valuable public service in this instance.
668 The Neighbor of the Beast.
Originally Posted by Erronious
As far as health insurance which happens to be the industry I make a living in.
2 ways that happens both are dick moves.
One the company is fully insured collects premuims from there workers and covers any outstanding amount ie company pays 50% employee pays 50%. Monthy premuim payment is mailed to the insurance industry standard is around 60 days of no premuim payment claims are suspended 90 days group is canceled involuntary.
Two a company is self insured which means they pay all claims and small admin fee to the insurance company. Company collects premuims from there employees based on yearly expected claim amounts as well a chip in the remaining amount needed. Insurance company process claims sends bill to company along with adim fees company pays back insurance company. Same rules apply as above.
Now if the company wasnt collecting premuims from the employees might lessen the amount of shaft given if they were collecting them and not paying full shaft given.
Either way employees are on the hook for full amount of the claim ehich the provider well try and collect.
Now lets talk about giving the shaft to 14 year olds
As far as the criticism of building an IP before the game, keep in mind that while we brought up ideas like books/comics/toys/other games, the team was still 100% focused on the MMO until the notion of buying BHG was brought into the picture. Yes, we crafted the lore and cosmology such that it had the potential to support other products, but we weren't spending active cycles developing those things. At least, until after the BHG acquisition and we started ramping up a few things as the MMO was getting closer to launch. In other words, prior to buying BHG, the plan was to launch the MMO, with a prequel novel, some toys, and maybe a graphic novel at around the same time so they could benefit from the presence of each other (in other words, not much different than how most game IPs are launched these days).
Others have made the case that we shouldn't have acquired BHG, because doing so took our company's focus away from the MMO. There is some truth to the argument about focus; personally, I went from being creative director on the MMO and spending all my time thinking about how to make the world come alive in that product to being creative director over the IP as its own entity, working across teams to ensure they tied together as pillars of a shared universe. That's a lot harder work than it sounds, especially when geography separates your studios. Hell, it's hard enough to keep one team on the same page unless you're sharing one contiguous open space (which, not coincidentally, we had in our Maynard office but did not have in Providence).
The counter to that is, as Curt has stated before, the acquisition of BHG changed the conversation with publishers and investors, instantly making 38 more compelling as a company. I can tell you, having been a part of pitch meetings with everyone from famous athletes to major CEOs to Hollywood producers to game companies, it certainly did have value. Did that value outweigh the challenges it brought? Would 38 Studios have succeeded or even survived without the acquisition? I don't know. I won't argue with whatever conclusions you want to draw.
Anyway, I don't have a lot else to say about it. Well, I do, but this isn't really the forum to do so. When I was out of work, a good friend of mine in the industry suggested I write a book about the whole thing, and I could do it as a Kickstarter to raise money that could be distributed to the 38 Studios employees who were screwed over by the company's collapse. It was a compelling idea as a way to get myself and the other folks some much-needed funds, but ultimately I decided not to do it because I couldn't tell the whole truth without hurting people I care about. My view would certainly be different than Curt's or anyone else's--truth is a matter of perspective, after all. But I could certainly write it; I was there when the company was a half-dozen guys sitting around one table, I was there when we carved away at the myriad of ideas to form the core of what Copernicus would be, I was there when we worked directly with Bob to flesh out the framework of that IP, I was there in countless interviews and meetings and story presentations and investor pitches and executive bitch sessions and visits to publishers and plane rides to China and all the highs and lows in between. It was a hell of a ride, and apart from the ending, a very positive experience.
It's also been suggested that someone put together an honest 38 post-mortem for its value as a cautionary tale. Well, I say we've done that, though not in any formal way. Certainly those of us who have spread throughout the industry have learned lessons that we're sharing with our new colleagues, so those truths are helping the industry get better. They just don't happen to be collected into a single place that could also serve to delight those looking for juicy gossip.
Hell, before I go on at length about 38, I should explain the floglok thing that keeps getting dragged around from message board to message board. But even with that, what's the benefit at this point? People (the few who care, I mean) have made up their minds about what happened, and aren't likely to believe me anyway. It's ancient history, as 38 will be one day.
Steve Danuser, a.k.a. Moorgard
Sony Online Entertainment
The way McFarlane described it, Project Copernicus was very nearly a finished thing. "It's only ten yards away from the goal line," he explained. "If I had the extra cash I'd do it myself, because it's that cool."
(Project Copernicus talk begins at about the 5:20 mark.)
Really nice to see people like Moorgard posting here. I'd love to see more developers posting again and hopefully they don't get run off like on FOH as over the years things slowly degenerated into who can be the bigger ass hole.
Thank you, I for one appreciate the insider view point.
Last edited by Kedwyn; 02-13-2013 at 10:40 PM.
Someone I trust interviewed at 38 several months after half of Sigil was parking lotted. I was living very close at the time and I asked him how it went. He told me to stay far away, as you guys were making all of the mistakes we made on Vanguard, except much worse, and with a few more of your own on top of it. The difference being that the only thing your visionary was high on was his own ego. Curt just rubs me the wrong way.
From our conversation I surmised that basically the core team at 38 ended up doing no meaningful work in pre-production. When that happens, and you start rolling into actual production, all your giant staff has to do is churn out busywork. That catastrophic mistake has been made by, just about, every company that worked on an MMORPG to date. So you guys are not unique at all in this except for your media exposure and the rather large amount of money wasted.
The dirty little secret about lore is that most of it is utterly useless for actually MAKING a game. I am not saying there shouldn't be ANY lore, but it doesn't need to be detailed, just general outlines to inform game design decisions. And, frankly, docubating is a really easy job not worthy of all that much respect. It is something you do along side the real pre-production work like building tech, creating tools, designing systems, and so on. The only lore that matters is the content that ends up in the game, the stuff the grunts put in the database and the players experience, the rest is ego porn.
Given infinite time and money I don't doubt that 38 would have put out a solidly mediocre product, at many times the cost of other solidly mediocre products.
Confirmed utnayan alt?
How come what people say against 38 Studios usually sounds more plausible than what people say for it? Am I the only one thinking that?
Moorgard would come away far more authentic if he just said "You know, we did some things right, we did some things wrong, but I really don't feel comfortable talking about private stuff in a public forum. You guys like the direction VG is going now?" Instead of "We rocked, the world conspired against us, I can't tell you the details, but trust me, we had an awesome game that RI shit on."
i find it ironic that the game was codenamed after one of the greatest minds that ever lived. seriously, after almost 7 years the game still wasn't even close to being completed. what the fuck were you guys doing? the only company that i've seen take longer to complete a project and spend as much money is PennDOT.
With that said, everyone here I am sure appreciates what you can say about it, and it does take some guts to post here anyway. So giving you credit where credit is due.
It's pretty simple, and you did get thrown under the bus. You were a community manager being told what to say, or not given the correct information. This was par for the course for SOE at the time, and ranged back into the earliest of the Fiery Avenger quest debacle. If I had to guess you didn't take any pleasure in it once you found out, which would be the polar opposite of "Ester the Tester", who would cherish making shit up and twisting the truth. One of her favorite lines, "Working as intended" when it all actuality, really was a warped sense of truth. Warders dropping cloth caps, working as intended. Which it was. Mobs without loot tables defaulted to this drop, as most now know. Large naked humans, the default (even though size needless to say would remain in tact) when the art asset design for that particular NPC wasn't finished. Correct in her again saying it was working as intended because the system displayed naked humans upon incomplete art. Yet this was another lie when McQuaid said they were busy revamping the current model of Kerafyrm. The sleeping portion was a Trakanon placeholder, but the art for the live version once the 4 warders were defeated was never complete. The plane of Mischief debacle, but worse, all the artificial bugs placed in the game to make sure people didn't get to unfinished expansion content. From my view is what all these time sinks were not placed into the game to give a player a sense of advancement and earning, but rather an easy way to make sure one part of a key quest drop to key into a zone that wasn't complete would never drop (Maiden's Eye key piece for Vex Thal in the SoL expansion for example, and countless other barriers(The Plane of Water graphical hitch created was creative)) Made the way the game was run from the middle, very shitty. The creme of the top didn't know (Smedley) and the folks like McQuaid, Butler, Waters, Fisher... they all knew a lot of what they were telling people were in the game was bullshit. When all that transferred into EQ2 as well, you can't fault a CM for that. You wanted to keep your job and advance, but I know you know it was wrong to do to a loyal customer base who just wanted to have fun and play through what they were paying for.I should explain the floglok thing that keeps getting dragged around from message board to message board. But even with that, what's the benefit at this point? People (the few who care, I mean) have made up their minds about what happened, and aren't likely to believe me anyway. It's ancient history, as 38 will be one day.
You talk about learning from mistakes, but the people that created those decisions have not learned from those mistakes. They continue making them. Worse, they just don't care. From Vogel, Butler, McQuaid (Hopefully he is just back designing and has no say in business decisions) and now Firor and with Jacob's even trying to make a comeback, these folks don't learn their lessons. Which, unfortunately, we continue to see today - but has turned the genre really into what it is. A series of PR hyped failures to cover up for production issues that have never been tackled accordingly because these same people lead the charge in the unethical. You would hope that one day this would change right? But it doesn't, and all it takes is looking at final product. Vogel with SWG's NGE, completely mismanaging SWTOR, and now, somehow, hired to lead another studio after sinking over a $300 million dollar blank check from EA. Hickman and one of the most bastardizations of a free to play system in SWTOR that has ever been seen, because he is a yes man and lacks the balls to ever do anything that makes sense. We all saw what happened to Vanguard. Although, publically here on the forums, when I was duking it out with McQuaid in 2005, he pulled gigantic liesout of his ass which then he admitted he lied about, along with showing humility in his drug issues. But this shit happens all the time, you know it. I know it. And it won't change because the same people are never held accountable and keep getting the slate passed because they "Shipped" (Insert title here) regardless of how it was received. Firor right now and his PR meddling Paul are sitting around pulling the same PR dodge game that most of the genre has always done. (Learning this from James Ohlen) Needless to say, another game that was stop started 3 times and has really only been in development for 15 months at this point, TES Online. Really shitty design decisions aside (Single server, all instanced over a 2k cap, access to content blocked by faction, outright lying/misleading about their engine - Hero Engine, heavily modified with padded parts from various other tools, etc.) it's another "Let's deflect all these questions because it will put us in a negative light, when all people want these days given what this entire genre has been through, is transparancy. Trade secrets account for 10% of holding information back. Promised exclusives to PR content providers, 15%. It may shock most that 75% of the time information is held back because they just don't know what the fuck they are doing, or what will ever make it into the game. I guess you could say that's a good thing so they do not overpromise and under deliver, but Jesus... The mistakes have been made right? Have they learned yet? No. Why? Because they aren't held accountable to need to change and learn.
It's really too bad and sucks for fans of the genre. To be fair, we both know this ineptitude and unethical behavior is industry wide at this point. Hell, look at Randy Pitchford's latest scam with Aliens Colonial Marines.
If you can do anything for the fans, me included obviously, is start bucking that good ol boy system and get real with the player base. Right about now, because of these relics that continue to hold down the genre, there isn't a publisher within the galaxy that would take a look at a new risk MMORPG which could break it back open again and create another subset market. Whic is why I will always point to what happens when you have new blood in the game that * Love * the games and the genre and can think outside of the box. The last time it happened was Afraisiabi and Kaplan who proved to the entire industry the market was most definitely not capped at 500k. Now all these publishers call it an ananoly because they can't copy the success. Why? Because they aren't busy trying to change the way the games are played, they are too busy hiring relics from yesteryear who mismanage titles into oblivion who are stuck in the past and cannot move their cheese, while at the same time telling them they need to be like WoW.
What a mess these guys created.
Last edited by Utnayan; 02-14-2013 at 05:10 AM.
I would be far more interested learning who was the moron in charge of promoting the game, and where did you find them? I mean seriously to not show anything after four+ years of development screams incompetence.
As far as lore goes, if done right it's a great tool for the game. In the age of GPS maps etc, lore has taken a back seat. Hints for quests, mob weakness and a host of other things use to be a way you could figure out something. Think there is still a place for lore in game.
Realistically, you are looking at one designer work part time for a month or two to lay all of that out.
Does that networth include the inflated price he paid for the McGuire homerun ball? ;P
Can we let this thread die like it should have months ago
It's pretty much the most interesting thread we have in this section...
Thats the thing about dumpster fires they take a long time to burn out
I am curious if everyone from pro athletes to Hollywood producers to venture capitalists were passing up on the opportunity to invest, something must have been standing out as wrong/bad. Was it because Curt refused to give up controlling interest of the company(which I understand) or was it something else?
Maybe Curt didn't want change, or maybe he was willing but the added cost of major shake-ups in management was too much for any potential VC. Coming in and doing a Romney style take over and turn around costs alot more than just throwing money into a business that is cash strapped but otherwise OK. I would bet that towards the end Curt was willing to let them blow up his exec team, and it's just that no one was willing to do that.
The reoccurring theme we hear is this company was Curt's baby. This was his passion. He did not want to give up big stakes or control of the company. I think he actually made a mistake by not running the company himself and in hiring the CEO and execs they had. I'm curious if the CEO, the girl from Comcast, actually had ever played an MMO, and what she contributed.
Tha game probably wasn't too appealing to any VC group looking at 1,3, and 5 year ROI. No VC group gives a hoot if they have Rolston or Salvatore or Mcfarlane on their project. The numbers would not add up. I'd be really curious to hear a non-spin Curt post mortem and to see if he could do it over, if he'd run the shop himself, be more of a miser, and hire a single good manager with a solo simple first product planned for marketplace.
I disagree with many of Ut's points, but I do believe .38S has really hurt future small companies trying to get funding for games. It's also probably set the MMO genre back quite a bit. I'd love to have Gates/Buffet levels of money and be able to make an MMO, but it seems these games are not very good investments. How many MMOs has MS eaten tens of millions of dinero to not release, let alone their Turbine stuff?
Was the actual game ever sold or does the state still own it?
No information has been released on the IP auction.
Most indie games, while I like some of them, are mostly platformers with a couple stand outs like Amnesia.
I haven't seen a solid AAA title that came from smaller dev houses not be backed by a major publisher in the last 25 years. The last one that still exists today would be The Elder Scrolls: Arena back when Bethesda Softworks was it's own publisher. Or Warcraft by Blizzard in 1994.
Last edited by Utnayan; 02-14-2013 at 07:10 PM.
Mistake one was not hiring any of those relic titians of the mmo space to get the game to ship. It would been ass but would have shipped.
No bucking the trend hire relic titian is priority number 1. This is what happens when hire nobody's that never shipped an MMO just cause you touch greatness doesnt make you great. I am Sure the great dick vogel would brought this to market.
Laugh now cry later
Last edited by K13R; 02-14-2013 at 07:17 PM.
I would think a very small team could flesh out the in game lore very quickly, assuming the over arching story is in place by day 1 of production. As I'm not in the industry I have no clue how these games are built from the ground up. I would assume the story is laid out way beforehand, or is it like the musician who lays the music down before the lyric.
Isnt lore more an rp thing..most players I know could give 2 shits about lore. Is it important to know why your collecting 10 bear asses on quest other then it gives xp. Me in swtor "yeah shut ass give the quest" spacebar hit repeatly
It definitely attracts the RP player. I would agree with you on overdoing it with why I'm collecting 10 bear asses. There should be NPC's in the game though that hint at rarer quests, and such to create an atmosphere of actual exploration, and depth to the game. The hand holding on every quest needs to stop.
Also, don't get me started on SWTOR. That's the poster child of how not to do things.
Rumor has it Gearbox bout the IP
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