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The problem with developers today is that they're stupid.

#1Q_SenseiPosted 5/4/2013 5:54:07 AM(edited)
So in my sick state yesterday I watched a lot of Jimquisition. Don't really recommend him per se, but he occasionally makes some really good points.


I especially like his rant about Developer expectations for sales figures.


A few weeks ago this article was posted on this forum:

http://www.siliconera.com/2013/04/18/capcom-re-evaluating-games-in-development-cancelling-certain-titles/


Which was basically Capcom stating that they were doing horribly. But look at the actual sales figures.

Resident Evil 6 4.9 million (down from 5 mil., originally 7 mil.)

DmC Devil May Cry 1.2 million (down from 1.5 mil., originally 2 mil.)


For a AAA game DMC seems a little low, but look at Resident Evil 6. And that was disappointing?

Anyway the point that Jim made was while the developers claim that they are losing money with these sales figures (EA has similar complaints with similar sales figures) Dark Souls sold about 2 million copies by the time he made his video, and From Software was celebrating their success.

The difference between From Software and Capcom or EA is that From Software made their game with an actual budget, with a target (albeit niche) audience in mind, and did not spend more money than they needed to to make a game for that audience. Interestingly enough, Dark Souls is regarded as a good game in spite of this and the two Titles Capcom mention up there at least were either critically destroyed, or the fans completely rejected it.


Apparently RE6 had a development team of nearly 300 people, which is completely insane when you think about how Resident Evil used to be kind of a niche game back in the day itself.

Jim focused on the fact that these companies were completely stupid in a business sense, that you can't make completely unrealistic sales goals for your game and then simply wish and believe that you can somehow achieve them. He cited Dead Space 3 where EA stated that if the game didn't sell 5 million copies then the series was basically dead.

I think the problem is the same as I've complained about over and over again here though, and it's that it seems like developers have stopped making games that they themselves would like and started making games that marketing teams and focus groups say people would like. Where is all that budget going for games like RE6? Most likely voice actors and graphical detail. But have you seen Dark Souls? That game is no slouch for appearances. Could you imagine what a game might be like if that kind of budget went into... THE GAME... and not making the game be as close to an interactive movie as they can? Heck, if Dark Souls was happy with one-million sales, and EA expected 5 times that amount, imagine Dark Souls as a game that is five times bigger than it is now. Maybe we could have a Dark Souls MMORPG.
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#2Q_Sensei(Topic Creator)Posted 5/4/2013 6:02:18 AM(edited)
Anyway, in speaking of Resident Evil 6, Jim makes another good point in a different video about Horror Games. He talks about how worse graphics would make horror games scarier. I disagree on the "worse graphics" part - at least on a technical level - but I definitely agree with the concept that photo-realistic graphics are indeed less unnerving than say the frame rate dropping leg monsters in Silent Hill 2 as they skitter off into the fog - which also only exists because of the limitations on Draw Distances.

Things are scarier the more alien they are to us, and as it turns out, if your game is uglier due to poor graphics it might actually work in the games favor as far as being psychologically frightening to us - because we're less able to predict what things are capable of because the world is unfamiliar.

And the point I'm trying to make here is that maybe Resident Evil 6 would have been better with less budget. Of course I think they stopped trying to be Survival Horror after RE4. In RE4 however they didn't have a cast of 55 voice actors and in addition to that 22 actors who were there just to have their face motion captured.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2193031/fullcredits

Remember Resident Evil 4? You were like Alone the whole game? Cutscenes were (relatively) rare?

Oh and remember how RE4 is better than the good parts of RE5 and RE6 combined?

That game had 13 voice actors. Dark souls had 16 Voice Actors.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397042/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2015348/


I'm not saying ALL the money went to the VAs, but it's certainly evidence that these stupid developers have their priorities so far off its ridiculous.
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#3king_maddenPosted 5/4/2013 6:12:20 AM
i dont see whats wrong with expecting these kinds of sales. i mean think about it, if you make a game that you feel is good, is it really that absurd to expect 5 to 10 million people to buy it, especially since there are over 100 million consoles out there.
#4The_PlagueLordPosted 5/4/2013 6:14:32 AM
Great topic which highlights the problem in this industry. Money mis-management.

Companies need to stop trying to make AAA games with huge budgets and real actors for mocap and real actors for VA which will cost a lot. Stop trying to make games so EPIC all the time.....

A lot of oldies but goodies, you know like the SNES/Genesis era are still good to this day. Why not make games like those and upgrade the graphics a little. And what is wrong with having no VA?? I miss games where i would just read the text of the story, i actually really do..... These games could be made for a little budget, sold for 40$ instead of 60$ and still sell good. The Soul series popularity proves that gamers can embrace games that are not AAA big budget titles but instead are just well crafted games with well crafted gameplay.
#5SoaringDivePosted 5/4/2013 6:15:24 AM
Can we please stop lumping developers and publishers into the same boat? If we're going to talk about "stupidity" in the industry, it's best not to lump artists, programmers, designers, etc, with publishers.
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#6Q_Sensei(Topic Creator)Posted 5/4/2013 6:17:34 AM
king_madden posted...
i dont see whats wrong with expecting these kinds of sales. i mean think about it, if you make a game that you feel is good, is it really that absurd to expect 5 to 10 million people to buy it, especially since there are over 100 million consoles out there.


Again, "Wishing" does not equal reality.

The key word is "Expectation". In a business world we use the word "Forecasting" or "Projection" and as it turns out, 5 million has proven to be too ambitious a number.

Most importantly it's pretty clear that some of these titles are spending their money in all the wrong places.



That and just because you feel a game is good doesn't mean that 5 million people are going to agree with you.

Actually, Jim brought this up (and I have to give him credit), but if critical acclaim was the only factor that sold games then Psychonauts might have been the biggest title of the PS2 generation.
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#7Q_Sensei(Topic Creator)Posted 5/4/2013 6:21:25 AM
SoaringDive posted...
Can we please stop lumping developers and publishers into the same boat? If we're going to talk about "stupidity" in the industry, it's best not to lump artists, programmers, designers, etc, with publishers.


That's fair I suppose.

I can't really say more to dispute it without coming off as pretentious, so I'll go ahead and empathize with your point with the small request that when you hear me say "Developers" in a negative context like this post, just assume I'm referring to the people who actually have power and are responsible for the issues I'm ranting about.
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#8digitalwill2000Posted 5/4/2013 6:21:39 AM
gamers are pretty damn dumb too. They believe that just because developers are dvelopers that they know what they are doing and that their word is gospel
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#9regsantotomasPosted 5/4/2013 6:43:36 AM
Some companies make bad investments or have unrealistic sales forecasts \\with their games. This isn't isolated to big budget titles. There have been failures at every level. You can't simply choose the failures at the top and then cherry pick the success stories in the middle or at the bottom.
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#10TJ_UNLIMITEDPosted 5/4/2013 6:52:42 AM
I normally don't read walls of text but that was a great read TC and I like how you presented it so maturely. I completely agree with you. They focus too much on making the games look/sound pretty and not enough on making them fun. The games cost more to make and are more likely to be rejected by consumers.

As much as people bash Nintendo for being too casual or kiddy or whatever, this topic is a prime example of why their first party games are more fun. No photorealistic graphics, very little voice acting, yet fun enough to play over and over again even after you finished it for the first time. How often can you say that about the offline portions of PS3/360 first party games?
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