RPGCodex’s Year in Review

I swear, these people have hard ons for hating bioware.

It just wouldn’t be right to have one of these articles without bringing up BioWare, who are probably the biggest RPG developer out there and also probably partially to blame for the dismal state of the genre. It was their Baldur’s Gate series that set the trend all the way back in 1998 for flashy RPGs with linear plots, cliche stories, terrible combat–and blockbuster sales.

But apparently BioWare has gotten tired of catering to the difficult PC market, what with demands for interesting plots, NPCs that aren’t a pain in the ass and hey, maybe something without elves in it for a change? No, it’s much easier to pander to console kiddies whose idea of RPG gameplay is collecting multicoloured ocarinas or watching twenty hours of FMV cutscenes. BioWare’s forthcoming projects are mostly to be released on the Xbox 360 and include a whole trilogy of sci-fi “RPGs” called Mass Effect (colloquially known as “gravity” to those of us with a clue), which might be interesting if they weren’t more FPS than RPG, according to press releases.

Bile must on sale at the Cosco. I could go through the rest of it, but why? They sound like flight simmers. Why doesn’t anyone make games like we want? Why do the good game developers close?

You can’t even spell Domed!!, so how am I suppose to believe anything else you say?

I haven’t read the article, just the two paragraphs there.
If Bioware is the evil of RPGs for the PC, what is the problem of them leaving the PC market (if they are planning to do so)?
I never liked Bioware’s RPGs, but to blame them for any demise of the genre on the PC is, stupid IMO. Plus, there have been several good RPGs after 1998 from other companies.

Editorial by Spazmo

I’ll say.

Of course they can blame Bioware! Their games make up half the fucking genre nowadays :P

Actually, they seem to hate everyone now. That entire list was written with fresh bile, extracted directly from a Feargus’ corpse.

You have a curious definition of “nowadays” that I am not used to.

That excerpt is particularly funny, because It was bioware and blackisle who singlehandedly revitalized a nearly dead genre.

Has RPG.Com liked a crpg made in the past 20 years?

This was their top ten list as voted by forum members.

  1. Fallout
  2. Planescape: Torment
  3. Fallout 2
  4. Arcanum
  5. Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn
  6. Deus Ex
  7. Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines
  8. Ultima 7: The Black Gate // Baldur’s Gate
  9. System Shock 2 // Gothic 2
  10. Elder Scrolls 2: Daggerfall

I’m sure their members like RPGs, I’m just not sure about the people who run the place.

The problem with the essay, as well as the guy’s entire site, is that his definition of RPG is so narrow that only the first Fallout fits inside it. To him, RPGs died a long time ago. What’s most interesting to me is the part of the essay where he tells the developer of Geneforge to ‘get a new engine’. It makes no sense, given that Spazmo will never let Jeff Vogel, Geneforge’s developer, actually try anything new with that engine. If that’s his fan base, why should he even bother?

If it isn’t Fallout, Spazmo’s going to hate it and the details of his critiques make that very clear. He doesn’t like that Neverwinter Nights players can make thier own adventures, even though those prove to be better written than the original. So what you’re looking at here is an evolutionary dead end.

I love Civ2, I don’t like 3 or 4, so I don’t play them, and I still play Civ2 once a month or so instead. He needs to reinstall Fallout and play that instead of writing on the internet. I love RPGs, but it takes experimentation to advance, today’s weird new features become tomorrow’s fondly remembered quirks. This guy’s problem isn’t that new RPGs aren’t being made, it’s that his definition is too narrow to include more than one title.

The guy hates on tons of games that aren’t even released yet. Yeah, I’ve seen jaded before but, whoa. PC RPG developers shouldn’t even bother making any RPG’s apparently, because this guy would hate it before you even started thinking of a concept.

Sounds like the bile you see from the really hardcore flight sim guys. Nothing any developer could do in the 90s could please them, and look at where the genre is now.

You can check the staff lists in the thread, mostly mainstream games from the early to mid ninties. Realms of Arkania series, TES II, a number of the Ultima games, Fallout, Arcanum. No one is really making those sorts of titles anymore and so I suppose thats the genesis of the frothing.

Ha ha, Arcanum. I think the CGW review (titled “Arg-canum”) summed it up best:

Deus Ex? Vampire?

System Shock 2 instead of 1? I think the first was one of the finest RPG ever created. With the second as a blurred, distant mock.

And where are the two Ultima Underword?

There are so many other classics that would deserve the list. Where’s Wasteland? Where’s Bard’s Tale? Where’s Might&Magic? Where’s Wizardry? (I was going to add even Fate Gates of Dawn but it isn’t for PC)

I’m currently in love with Dungeon Siege (and ran to order the second) because I find it superior to NWN from every point of view: design, gameplay, graphic, interface, controls and moddability. So I don’t think that the PC RPGs are doomed.

But it’s true that they lost a lot with the time. The exploration, the research, the slow discovery of the world, the stories, the characters. In a Ultima game the gameplay was the very last element. All the game was focused in your exploration and dialogues with the NPCs to slowly explore and experience a world.

Now we lost the “world” and just have stories solely focused on the character and his path to uberness. I blame the mmorpgs.

System Shock 2 a “blurred distant mock”? Are you mad?

Are you just noticing?

I guess I haven’t been around long enough to decide if they were isolated incidents of madness or not.