The serious business of making games

I agree that a Diablo 2 remake would be, at best, creating a ton of regret purchases chasing nostalgia about a game that has long been surpassed, but I don’t think it’s because “isometric action RPGs” are dead. They still sell pretty reliably. (RTS on the other hand…)

I don’t know why Activision would invest in a game that doesn’t generate continuous revenue. They have to walk the line of fan backlash vs getting a return on their development money.

How can they remake D2 but also include loot boxes, skins, or a monthly fee? This is the serious business of making games, after all.

I mean, the cow level is the OG Zombies mode if you think about it.

The trend seems to be toward outfits and other cosmetic changes only for the loot boxes or whatever method they want to use for charging for it.

It’s a trend that keeps everyone happy. Gamers who just want to play the game don’t care about cosmetics. The people who want to spend more can buy cosmetics to differentiate themselves and support the developer. And the publisher is happy because they get a constant revenue stream.

Seasonal battle passes. It’s the new hotness for all multiplayer games.

Yeah but anything remotely pay-to-win is going to get massive backlash from Diablo fans. So it has to be new skins or sparkles or pets. COD has a somewhat pay-to-win battle pass with the blueprints. It walks the line of cosmetics and shortcuts grinds for weapons. But, giving people loot in a Battle Pass defeats the entire purpose of playing Diablo, which is to kill the same monster over and over to get the same item you already have but with a slightly better stat roll.

I think! Maybe gamers would eat it up.

Because Blizzard initially implemented artificially low drop rates of quality items in Diablo 3 due to the existence of the Auction House early in the game’s run, I wouldn’t put it past them to do exactly the same thing here for non-battlepass owners. Artificially lower drop rates for sought-after gear until you purchase and level up your battle pass to activate super Magic Find percentages or whatever.

Big expose at Gamesindustry.biz about the toxic environment at Scavengers Studio. The studio isn’t super well-known, but they’re not small for an indie shop (30-40 people) and they had a lauded announce at the Game Awards for their upcoming game Season (which admittedly looks like it could be pretty good).

But the most newsworthy thing about it is probably that the source of most of the problems–the studio’s creative director and co-founder–is a former Ubisoft design director. A lot of threads in this ongoing set of stories of toxic behavior, favoritism, and “boys club” attitudes are either part of Ubisoft or connect back to them, particularly their Montreal hub.

I really got a kick out of this studio. They release a game every two weeks.

https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-01-25-the-sokpop-collective-an-alternative-vision-of-game-development

Still, a single person turning out a small game every 2 months is not easy. Mad props to these four fellas.

I’d have to think you’d basically start with something like a couple day game jam and then finish it out from there. It is an impressive thing to manage and probably a smart business strategy since not every release has to be a hit and the bar is pretty low for any release to break even. The Patreon subscription model seems great for this too although it makes sense that the model wasn’t very successful until they put their games on Steam as that’s the only real way to find a bigger audience who would want to subscribe.

I have happily been paying these guys $3 a month for their games for at least the last year. All of them are worth a few minutes, and although they’re all janky, short, unpolished, or all three, a handful are really worth extended play. Thanks for linking the article!

Thanks for that link. It was a great listen, and a good story of game archaeology. Entombed is a game I hadn’t thought of in decades, but it really brings back a lot of fond memories. It came out in 1982, when I was 22, and it was the first co-op game I ever played.

And the co-op game was brilliant. You were both in the maze at the same time, and had to help each other past obstacles in order to get further in the maze. It’s been many many years, so details are hazy, but a buddy and I would spend every weekend for a while trying to excel in that game. It was so damn fun.

Of course there was also a single-player component, which I tried to get into a few times when I was by myself, and it was okay, but co-op is where that game really shined. Many many hours we spent with that game. I’m sure I still have the cartridge around here somewhere. Good times.

That is the greatest Wikipedia article ever written.

Proof that alcohol and programming are inextricably linked.

Oups,nvm

Another Tencent investment…

I expected a different reaction from Dontnod regarding a Tencent investment due to their political leanings, but I guess business is business.

"Our talent is the lifeblood of Activision Blizzard.

This is the group that broke their financial records and then pursued a bunch of layoffs anyway. Heh. Sure.

Yeah that’s a pretty bizarre tie-up given Dontnod’s background and oeuvre. On the one hand it could be seen as wider public acceptance of indies and LGBTQ+ themes in gaming. OTOH money is money and they could exert unwanted influence on the developers, which would be not great.