LOTR "Final Fantasy" style RPG

I saw this in EGM… Comments? The producer used to work for Square USA, I guess he was part of the Parasite Eve team… The only downside I saw was that with the story being “weaving in and out of being right beside or behind” the fellowship characters, it seems like it would be a little too much of more of the same. The characters are supposedly all player creatable, but how can you pull that off and still hold a decent amount of continuity with the main LOTR story?

:roll: :roll: :roll:

Can publishers please get off this “EVERYTHING IS BETTER IF IT’S BASED ON A MOVIE!” kick they’re on? Why not create a brand new “Final Fantasy-style” RPG instead?!


Because the movies and the games based upon them have been insanely popular. The last LotR console game sold over 5 million units world wide and made the “idiots” at EA a ton of money.

Since the last two LOTR games on console weren’t that shabby according to game review mags, and I liked the movies… I don’t really think it’s a horrible thing, but I was just thinking that creating a new plot or doing something different other than the main quests would be more interesting… ah, well, we’ll see how it turns out regardless

I was excited about this game until I saw the interview talking about all this Final Fantasy-style crap. Now I’m just really fucking concerned.

So is this exciting to game developers? Is that what they want to do? They want to be cookie cutter programmers and artists that make all their games based on someone else’s property AND other companies’ prior game designs? Sounds like a very creative endeavor! Game making couldn’t possibly be any more fun than making games based on movies that fit in established genres, could it?

Maybe not. But when they pick up their paycheck and can make a trip to the grocery store to feed their kids, they learn to deal with it. ;)

So what happens when EA realizes they can send all this cookie cutter game making work over to India or China and then you guys all lose your jobs?

If you let them turn games into something that doesn’t require intelligence and creativity to create, if you let the suits give you the ideas, you’ve taken a bold step toward making yourself an overpriced factory worker.

I don’t know Mr. Springsteen. We can all name licensed games that haven’t sold at all. For every bad Matrix success there are countless Star Trek and other franchise failures. Good if not great game design is still absolutely necessary. On top of that, and this is aimed at Jim Preston too, the most successful and best selling games and game companies are those that have made their own game worlds and their own characters.

EverQuest is more successful than Star Wars Galaxies, innit?


Well, speaking as a game developer, I can say “yes.” Maybe not everyone wants to work on a movie license, but I think Peter Jackson did a good job with an enormous task and I’d personally like to work on a game that was a part of that title. I would be working on a high-profile, AAA product that I knew would get a lot of support from marketing, and I would probably be working with some of our best coders and artists. While The Return of the King wasn’t a great game, I thought it was a fun brawler that I would have liked to have worked on.

You’re not a developer, are you?

Never mind. You’re not a developer.

Agree completely, Bub. The Sims has been a big help to us in that regard, and the success of NFS: Underground has also been great, but we’re awfully dependent on licenses for profitability. Sometimes this works (LotR, Potter) and sometimes it doesn’t (get ready for Catwoman), but I know that each studio has the green light to come up with original IPs and pitch it to EARS. But it’s got to be a great idea with great people to make it to fruition.

Boss- Howsabout you keep your next brain-meltingly idiotic thought to yourself?

The suits are enslaved by the (perceived) market. That’s where their orders come from. If the suits thought intelligence and creativity is what it takes, that’s what they would give money to.

You could either blame the suits for wrongful enslavement, or blame their master for poor leadership. Pretending that the suits themselves have a leadership role, however, is irrational.

Perceived Market: GIVE ME WARCRAFT IV!!

Suits: Oh Master, Yes Master, Yes’M!

Suits to Geeks: We want Warcraft IV!

{Geeks Produce Warcraft IV}

{Suits Offer Warcraft IV to Market}

Market: We are Pleased. We will shower you with beneficence!

{Market gives Suits Money}

Suits: Oh Thank you Master, Thank you!

Howsabout you add something to the conversation instead of just popping in to be a dick?

I don’t agree with Preston and I think he’s setting himself up to be run right out of Dodge. Electronic Arts has to be noticing how those Eastern European gamemakers are creating technically sophisticated PC games that can easily trump things done in the US. It’s only a matter of time before they’re producing the next FIFA Soccer or gasp Madden 2006!

When a company relies so heavily on everyone else’s properties or name to be successful, they are only as good as what those other people can create. When they own it all themselves, they at least only have themselves to blame when it tanks.

I don’t see how the licensed property is limited solely by what those who created the property have done. More and more, game developers are given considerable leeway in the creation of licensed games. In fact, a huge number of licensed games have turned out to be quite good in recent years. A movie license is no longer the kiss of death it once was. Your argument is particularly irrelevant in light of the license being discussed, as Tolkien’s LotR is arguably responsible for nearly half of the bloody content present in the industry overall. Just about everything with an Orc owes a debt to the LotR property.

I don’t see much of a flood of licensed titles clogging the shelves. There are a whole lot of game-originated IPs out there. Hell, EA took the Bond license and made a game that stands up admirably against several of the actual Bond films. The main problem is actually sequelitis, not license hemorrhaging. Seeing a game based on a Harry Potter movie is not nearly as disturbing as seeing Resident Evil 5,000,000 whose newest feature is the ability to dodge to the side or something.

I don’t want to start a flame war, but I have to be honest, your comments here are desperately naïve. Just looking at the basic points of your argument, namely that creative stagnation will lead to critical undermining by more energetic and imaginitive competition, is a sort of truism in the business text books that is not so easily applied to reality. Some other factors to consider are the ability to get your exciting new product to market and then tell all the consumers what you’ve got. If you can’t do that well, your imaginitive start-up is not going to succeed either.

I find it somewhat ironic that we’re having this particular kind of argument, because on the other boards, specifically The Chaos Engine, the general feeling is that EA is so successful precisely because of the mediocrity of its games. It makes “grade-B games with triple-A polish” is often the sentiment, and the sneering is often reserved for the unwashed masses who mindlessly buy Bond, Potter or their 8th copy of Madden.

So I’m just not convinced by these arguments that EA doing yet another licensed game is a bad thing, especially in light of the $3 billion it made last year.

The money and the licenses will dry up. They always do. Then what will you have left? You’ll have a company built on someone else’s ideas and all of a sudden you’re scrambling to find a way to make a buck.

If they don’t dry up, the next obvious step is to find people that can make the game cheaper because that’s the only way EA will be able to continue their company growth once the limit of the video game market is reached. When sales top out, you need to cut costs to make yourself continue to look good to the market.

The sneering at the Chaos Engine is right on but the future of EA is what is not. The mediocrity and the masses are a fickle lot. Eventually they WILL become your enemy. Take a look at Nintendo or SEGA for proof of that. The more successful you are, the more likely the groundswell of casual game player interest will eventually wane.

Licensed games make this industry subservient to the other entertainment industries and the more you buy into that, the more you set yourself up for obsolescence. Just ask Acclaim…

Boss- What are you adding to this? Some ridiculous “I hate popular things” 13 year old hipsterism mixed with the usual Usenet idiot hatred of suits? Oh, and you’re bitching at a respected developer with your 123 posts under the descriptive name of “Boss”. Let’s just say you lose the video game industry credibility war here.

It’s not like EA doesn’t make original products, but you want them to turn down money to… Well, it’s unclear. You’re really sure that the money and licenses will dry up, but that seems unlikely. The rest of the entertainment world will continue to produce, right?

Basically, you have no point. Eastern Europeans have been making some pretty good PC games, so EA shouldn’t make a LoTR-themed Final Fantasy? Wait, lemme try again. Sega failed in the console hardware market, so EA shouldn’t make a LoTR-themed Final Fantasy?

Man, did you just compare Acclaim to EA? :lol:

EA’s games are consistently high-quality work. Both their licensed and original IPs are always above average, and most of them are quite good. I don’t consider their sports titles to be traditional licenses, as you don’t actually need the NBA license to make a good basketball game. Plus, at this point, it’s the sports organizations who’d be crazy not to get in on the game scene, not the other way around. Also factor in the Street series from EA BIG, fantastic arcade-style sports games that essentially stepped up and beat Midway at their own game (Blitz, NBA Jam). These licenses are never going to dry up. Ever. The only one that even has a stumbling block in the immediate future is Madden, and do you really think the eventual death of John Madden is going to slow that franchise down? Forget about it.

What else…consistent performance in quality and sales from Medal of Honor. Battlefield went from a minor title in the back of Camp EA’s display room to a multi-title phenomenon that has spawned a huge player community and mod scene. The Sims, of course, arguably one of the most unique games around. Need For Speed, which just had a major success with a totally new direction in Underground. SSX3, part of the continuing brilliance of the EA BIG label.

The licensed titles are not on a separate plane from these, however, so singling them out because they’re licensed is a moot point. EA’s LotR games, Harry Potter titles (you can’t tell me Quidditch wasn’t a brilliant move), and Bond games are all good to great, and continue to improve with each release.

Never mind that the LotR games on the schedule right now are totally new directions for the license (RTS, RPG), and one of them is a totally new direction for EA. How many current gen EA RPGs are there in your collection? Oh, that’s right, none. How about that Marvel vs. EA fighter coming up? How many EA fighters in the ol’ library? Again, none. EA is not stagnating and churning out cookie-cutter licensed games, they’re taking interesting properties and trying new things with them on a regular basis.

I’m going to go with the “you don’t have a point, Mr. Springsteen” theory here. Aside from the fact that EA has a grand total of four major licenses (if you count Marvel), they’re continuing to innovate with those licenses. They continue to produce quality work with their original IPs. Where’s the problem here? Show me where EA’s creative well is drying up, so that I can panic along with you.

I want to believe.

So is this exciting to game developers? Is that what they want to do? They want to be cookie cutter programmers and artists that make all their games based on someone else’s property AND other companies’ prior game designs? Sounds like a very creative endeavor! Game making couldn’t possibly be any more fun than making games based on movies that fit in established genres, could it?[/quote]

I find this highly amusing. We are not only to believe that RPG developers who DON’T want to work on Tolkien IP exist, but that those would contitute a majority in this industry! I can say with one huindred percent confidence that every single RPG designer in the world started as a kid reading LOTR. If you wanted to rail against licensed crap you probably shouldn’t have started with what I’m sure has been considered by many their dream project. Now if you want to talk about some poor bastard toiling away on a Skittles game, maybe we can have a serious discussion.

“I thought Skittles were only a legend!”