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So, I've been perusing many of the gripe and praise posts, doing comparisons, playing, thinking and talking with others. As tactical shooters go, the PC version of GRAW2 is not bad. I'm still preferring GRAW, mind you, and I'm not going to go into the lengthy reasons why. But I thought I would address my own humble opinion on why it is that we seem to be 'lacking' in such venues as R6 and GR in recent years, and that - plainly put - is the advent of the console, specifically the Xbox.

Don't get me wrong, I love my 360. But I love it for specific types of games, and tactical shooters are not one of them. I'm an old Fox, I've been playing games for a very long time and watched development of them. Shooters, well - Doom and Quake bred a certain kind of shooter player, and Halo and the like only compounded them. You know, the run and gun, spray and pray, bunny-hopping sorts of l33t gunners. And if that's your slice of pie, more power to you, it's not mine. I like to need to think about tactics, and overall strategy. I like to work with teammates to accomplish an objective. Makes the experience so much richer for me and a game that much more satisfying. I know there are many of you here that get my drift.

So, where am I going with this? Well, see, I've been noticing that most of the tactical shooters have been released first for console and then ported for PC. I know that much at least because I've worked on game testing myself (in a professional capacity) and seen it done. If you look into code here and there you can see the remnants of Xbox controls and the like. GRAW2 is the first game I remember where it was actually called out that the difference between the console version and the PC version was (blah). And that led to my other observations, in comparing the two games and watching others play them. Likewise, the PC and 360 versions of Vegas. Sadly, it appears that by developing for the quick sale on consoles first and THEN porting to PC, many of the tactical shooters get 'dumbed-down' for the least common denominator - the aforementioned spray and pray'ers. And please, if you feel I am mistaken, let me know. But I feel that the time spent in between a console release and a PC port is only really fixing the code, not putting the 'intelligence' back into a given tactical sim. I don't mean to rag on console players, mind you, I just tend to know that your average low to mid-teen player of a given tactical sim doesn't care a bit about team playing, coop, tactical maneuvering or whatnot, they just want to blow s*** up and frag the hell out of anything that moves to prove their cojones are in working order. Indeed, you could see this sort of mentality even in MP games of Rogue Spear, and it really bugged the hell out of me. Definitely not my style of game, but again, if it's yours, more power to you.

This is mostly just a topic for intelligent discussion in game development and such, not a flamefest. I'm interested in your thoughts and debate and welcome your comments.

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maybe i am not getting it right, as it seems the point you try to make is on the edge moving in and out of draw distance...

lacking venues...

probably because most are hooked on the feel of the engine R6 and GR had/has, change the engine and away goes the feeling, and has to be found again.

change of developing teams and strategies.

change of the times and consumers, publisher priorities.

nostalgia, hard time adjusting to new things.

on the one hand you focus on the MP players out there and on the other the game or lack of difference between PC and Xbox@@@

i have only confused thoughts now...:S

but on the other side, GRAW and GRAW2 can not be run and gunned, so it is not the game but the players.

in graw2 Frags and GL are pretty limited on MP so i don't see where the game invites the Sp@mmers, must be the players them self

graw and graw2 are not realy alike in developing so the time between releases have to do with other things rather than porting.

only thing i noticed the same were some narcom and story bits

for me personally i think the team play in graw2 is more needed than in graw , that could be totally subjective and personal but thought i could mention it.

as for development, i think there are two kinds of developing,

one is a dev team that creates and sells its creation to a publisher.

the other is a dev team that is employed/contracted by a publisher and are given concept scripts(storyline, gameplay etc.) and guidelines(target audience age rating etc.) .

oh well for not understanding you completely i got too much written down :D

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Hi,

Keyfox,

Your observations, I'm sure, are 100% and the underlying factor is 'profit'!!! Responding to the market that produces the largest turnover. This 'syndrome' emerges in every product that doesn't require strict adherence to specification for reasons of safety or reliability (aircraft components for example)

Understandable though! Would you invest research and development into something that appealed to a relatively small market? Maybe you would, if you could price the end product to recoup developments costs and still make a healthy product! What price would that make GRAW2?

If we want a bespoke computer game, considerably different in structure to the current 'popular' format, we should expect to pay a premium for it, assuming a publisher is willing to put the money up front.

It seems to me that UBI/Grin have done pretty well in the circumstances, to have produced GRAW and GRAW2 with the level of 'customer specification' they contain and to continue to shape them to customer demands with patches/updates.

I think we should enjoy this while we can as I don't see this 'specialisation' continuing long into the future of PC gaming.

Edited by tecmic
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Your observations, I'm sure, are 100% and the underlying factor is 'profit'!!! Responding to the market that produces the largest turnover. This 'syndrome' emerges in every product that doesn't require strict adherence to specification for reasons of safety or reliability (aircraft components for example)

If we want a bespoke computer game, considerably different in structure to the current 'popular' format, we should expect to pay a premium for it, assuming a publisher is willing to put the money up front.

It seems to me that UBI/Grin have done pretty well in the circumstances, to have produced GRAW and GRAW2 with the level of 'customer specification' they contain and to continue to shape them to customer demands with patches/updates.

I think we should enjoy this while we can as I don't see this 'specialisation' continuing long into the future of PC gaming.

See, again, I KNOW what the driving factor is. These companies are in it to make a profit, pure and simple. And yes, from marketing views, you gear towards the biggest audience and make sales. Believe me, I know it. I'm more concerned as an end user - I'm willing to pay for quality. But that's just it - I want my quality entertainment to BE quality. I'm not saying that GRAW2 isn't - it's a fine product. But I'm a believer in the philosophy that one builds and crafts a superior product first and tailors it to that niche market to suit their needs, and lets the success speak for itself and draw the customers to it. So-called 'sleeper hits' are in just this sort of category, and that is generally WHY they are sleeper hits. They aren't mass-marketed to the same extent, and the quality surprises folks - whoo, this is fun, I didn't expect that, hey everybody, play this, it's fantastic!

That's simplistic, but you see what I mean. And generally, I'll agree, I find many UBI games enjoyable and will continue to endorse them (and GRIN) with my business. I'm just really saying...I wish that folks would invest the time and effort to really know the difference between the two styles and IF a title is to be released for both, to consider that the two sorts of gamers might have different needs and cater to them from the start of development, rather than as a sort of add-in. And GRAW2 did that to an extent and I like that a lot.

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Part of the problem is that the publishers want a fast turnover to garner more profit from a franchise. They see that by aiming games at flavor-of-the-month gamers and as you pointed out, usually port the games from one platform to the other and do so rather unsuccessfully for the most part and believe we PC gamers will like it. With the GR series, Ubi has at least aknowledged that we PC gamers want more than most (not all) console gamers want. I know that there are many console gamers that want the exact same game we PC gamers get, but they haven't figured that out yet and I doubt they will.

GRIN has tried to give us what we wanted even if only half successfully. Will GR return to it's roots? I doubt it, take a look at the R6 series. You have also mentioned some things I have in the past, especially about a quality game.

While large publishers like Ubi may not give us a game we old school gamers want, there is some hope in the shape of a former RSE employee who formed his own studio and has some really interesting ideas. Check out my interview with this CEO (see the Recon page for the interview section). This will lead you to the proper place.

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I agree completely. Given that consoles and PC are two different beasts entireley as a platform, where in a PC you can range from thousands to millions of combinations of hardware and software and a console pretty much stays the same, as a publisher, which would you make games for? These companies are judged partly on how many service complaints they get about their product. Wether its from the consumer or the retailer returning bad copies of games or games that dont sell, these are all taken into account. When it comes to a console game, these comapines know that once its on the disc they have their money and the people that play those console game will be happy until either their console dies or the game gets traded in at Gamestop. They dont need to worry about patches and what not. I cant remember a single time I ever thought about a patch for a console game, it never occurd to me to be possible. however, this has changed somewhat with the advent of XBOX Live where you can DL more content and patches. Not a huge solution but at the same time they arent right at their PC posting on every forum they find, like a certain PC Vegas fan most of you may know.

As a person who doesnt believe in complaining about something without at least mentioning some possible solutions to the problem, I think its very important to discuss the roles of publishers and developers, their interaction with each other and the relationship with the consumer population.

The ties between these two companies are too tight these days and its all about money and control. Control over a games content, marketing and even the rights to the content. When you make a game, you then have to turn around and sell it to the publisher, for them to mass produce and market it. This is the way it is. When a publisher takes on the role of developer as well, even when they out source the hard work to a private developer such as GRIN, I believe, the game cannot be made to it's fullest potential, the game is rushed, and the public suffers because of it all due to the simple fact that the publisher wants to make money, the faster, the better.

Solution, publishers are to stop being game nazis and let the developers do their thing to make the best product available to the public. Once the Devs are finished, hand the product over to the publisher to market the game on behalf of the developer not trying to take credit for something they had nothing to do with code wise.

I have a retail version of ArmA sitting on my desk and I just realised that the Atari logo is larger than the BI logo but they are both on the front of the box. Atari is simply the US publisher of the game, they had nothing to do with it other than that. So I looked at the Ubisoft titles I own, and Grin's logo isnt even on the front of the box art of GRAW or GRAW 2. Grin has a about a 1 centimeter logo on the back of the box and even then less than an inch away, theres a Ubisoft logo 5 times the size with a web address. I dont care who burns the disc and prints the box, its who writes the game that matters most. Why, as a publisher, would you not even recognize the people who are making you money???

Take a look at books now. Often times the author's name is the largest print on the cover and the binding. And more often than not, the publishers name isnt even on the cover. Their logo is on the binding and on the copyright page. At least book publishers give credit where credit is due.

The whole developer/publisher system leaves way more to be desired.

SN6+Medic+

Edited by SierraNovember6
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While large publishers like Ubi may not give us a game we old school gamers want, there is some hope in the shape of a former RSE employee who formed his own studio and has some really interesting ideas. Check out my interview with this CEO (see the Recon page for the interview section). This will lead you to the proper place.

Ah yes, I hadn't read your interview, but I have been following Blackfoot Studios with considerable interest. And, well, is GR going to follow the way of R6? Most likely, the two are very similar these days, where when GR came out, it was to address specific style of play and be open, etc. I loved it. I loved Rogue Spear, and to an extent, R63. I'm waiting to see what happens with Ground Branch and the forums are full of interesting ideas and hopes.

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As a person who doesnt believe in complaining about something without at least mentioning some possible solutions to the problem, I think its very important to discuss the roles of publishers and developers, their interaction with each other and the relationship with the consumer population.

The ties between these two companies are too tight these days and its all about money and control. Control over a games content, marketing and even the rights to the content. When you make a game, you then have to turn around and sell it to the publisher, for them to mass produce and market it. This is the way it is. When a publisher takes on the role of developer as well, even when they out source the hard work to a private developer such as GRIN, I believe, the game cannot be made to it's fullest potential, the game is rushed, and the public suffers because of it all due to the simple fact that the publisher wants to make money, the faster, the better.

Solution, publishers are to stop being game nazis and let the developers do their thing to make the best product available to the public. Once the Devs are finished, hand the product over to the publisher to market the game on behalf of the developer not trying to take credit for something they had nothing to do with code wise.

I have a retail version of ArmA sitting on my desk and I just realised that the Atari logo is larger than the BI logo but they are both on the front of the box. Atari is simply the US publisher of the game, they had nothing to do with it other than that. So I looked at the Ubisoft titles I own, and Grin's logo isnt even on the front of the box art of GRAW or GRAW 2. Grin has a about a 1 centimeter logo on the back of the box and even then less than an inch away, theres a Ubisoft logo 5 times the size with a web address. I dont care who burns the disc and prints the box, its who writes the game that matters most. Why, as a publisher, would you not even recognize the people who are making you money???

Take a look at books now. Often times the author's name is the largest print on the cover and the binding. And more often than not, the publishers name isnt even on the cover. Their logo is on the binding and on the copyright page. At least book publishers give credit where credit is due.

The whole developer/publisher system leaves way more to be desired.

SN6+Medic+

Again, I'll certainly agree with you on the points of the dev-publisher quandries. I still think if a given title is going to be intended for both PC and console release, two different versions should be developed from the outset and the rights sold for content to the publisher seperately so that each version has a decent enough budget to afford development. As it stands now, the reason we hear so much complaint from PC gamers over a given game's release date getting pushed back over and over while the console version has been out more or less on time is mostly due to porting issues and remapping code and the like. For as much as a 360 is essentially a souped-up graphics game PC in a nifty package, it IS a different animal, and porting to the PC is a lot like reverse engineering.

And yes, again, having seen first-hand what control a publisher has over developers, it's ludicrous. But they who hold the purse strings control all, and we've seen that time and again. I concur with your assessment wholeheartedly, but it's not a solution so much as wishful thinking. A solution would be a way to GET the publishers off developers' backs and let them do their thing, then market and distribute. How do we - the fan base and consumers - put valid pressure on publishers to do so? The publishers could care less - if the product is popular and sells well, that's all they care about, and then they go and brag about how well their title is doing to all and sundry. Likewise, if they get complaints, it's not their problem, go yammer at the developers - and that really bothers me, personally, when dealing with tech support issues. If you're going to sell the bloody thing, take more responsibility for problems your consumers might have with your product. Your author/publisher analogy is spot on - if I go to listen to the author's lecture, or get a book signed or something, am I getting the publishing house rep's signature or listening to the rep go on at length about what went into crafting this story I just read and enjoyed? No.

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This same conflict between developers and publishers has been ongoing in the entertainment industry in general, particularly with music.

In the past few years many artists (:developers) have sought ways to produce, market, and sell their music independent of a relationship with a record company (:publisher). This push seems to be fueled by the opportunities the internet provides for distribution of media.

I can see the same thing happening with the game industry. I don't know much about how the industry works, but I urge good game developers like RSE, irrational, looking glass (RIP), blackfoot studios to explore ways to free themselves from the publishing world and distribute their product themselves.

I have no idea how feasible this is or to what extent this could be achieved, but I just want to see these people that make such great games for us all to play to get the credit they deserve. Including GRIN :)

The middle man should be a thing of the past with the widespread use of the internet for media production and distribution. I want the artists to get rich off good games, not the suits in the 90th floor offices!

Edited by Burawura
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I'm glad this topic came up, makes me feel less isolated now. To me this 'downgrading' of games feels like a snowball rolling down a hill with no way of stopping it until it reaches the bottom. And most folks I speak to can't seem to see it!

With re to funding for development why don't some of the pc component companies get more involved. Motherboards/gfx cards/sound cards/power supplies/cpu's/ - all of these areas surely have a large customer base in pc gamers?

Self Publishing for developers - I had really big hopes for STEAM and saw it as the answer to distribution at least.

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I was always lead to believe that it was gaming on PC that stimulated development of PC components, specifically cpu and graphics card technologies. This is maybe just history now and those advancements probably assisted the diversification into consoles and the like. But it aint gonna stop there!

Personally, I believe all the variations now available will evolve into a composite device, embedded in the fabric of our home maybe and of which, gaming will be just one of many facilities !

In GRAW 10 we'll be creeping around a shanty town somewhere, in our living rooms. A totally realistic holographic projection will take the place of flat image screens and strap-on sensors will tell scanners/software what we're doing. You want immersion? this will probably cause a few heart attacks!!

The PC is evolving, it won't stay on the desk in front of you for ever and keyboards just aint fast enough. :hmm:

Mike.

Edited by tecmic
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Remember that Blackfoot Studios is not under any publishers thumb. They are producing their game their way and will find a way to get it published, even if they have to do it themselves via digital distribution (might make for a cheaper game and will be burnable to disk).

One thing to remember, the PC as a platform will not die. As long as people want to play games, no matter what platform, there will be a PC game of some sort somewhere along the line and will be the only way to create console games.

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My 2 cents.

I'm a fan of GRAW2. I've been waiting for a worthwhile successor to GR1 (which was such a classic) and I feel like this game is... close.

There's a bunch of minor gripes I have - biggest being, why does every gun take three shots to kill a man? I don't feel like there is any variance and worse, there's no wounding - players have "health" (*cough* bullshiot) and I miss the old gimp and limp.

But the tactical nature of the game makes up for its faults. GRAW2 is a game that rewards stealth, teamwork, and a planned attacks - and that's during multiplayer. Silenced weapons are worthwhile, brush cover obscures you, crouched movement is quiet and well concealed, and smoke grenades work. And while it can be annoying that Grin made the decision to disallow shooting while running, it flat-out removed the run and gun from the game.

I want to say I really appreciate this about the game. NO run and gun.

I mean, this makes the GRAW2 a game of hard choices, rather than twitches, and is the key factor is elevating the importance of stealth, teamwork, and planning.

As an heir to GR, GRAW2 delivers most of the goods. Now if only I could gimp some of you bums or shoot an arm up, or...

Edited by Asheran
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tecmic and WK have excellent points.

The main point being that PC gaming, in general, is constantly and consistantly evolving. Now heres the rub.... evolving in what direction? We all know that PC gaming is being pulled many directions. Each party involved has their own ideas about what PC gaming should and should not be. These parties include developers, publishers, hardware developers, and most importantly, consumers. Consumers are the most important because with out US, the ones who buy the hardware and games, the entire PC gaming and hardware industry would be all for naught.

Having these four groups on the same page, communicating and exchanging ideas and technology will not only provide better games, technology, and overall entertainment through many facets, but, I forsee it taking PCs and PC gaming to a whole new level all together.

Can this ever happen?

SN6+Medic+

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"evolving in what direction"?

What is it that we, the customer, wants from computer gaming? Get that right and you're made!

Trouble is and this forum demonstrates it, there are many 'wants' from a wide variety of customers but I would suggest there's one overriding desire!

Realism What are we doing when we play a computer game? Ok, we're entertaining ourselves but more to the point, we are satisfying a desire to experience something we cannot do in reality. As an example, I spend a lot of time on an aviation sim. I can't afford the real thing but computer software technology has made computer simulators very realistic, in fact they are now used to train real world pilots.

GRAW? It's the most realistic military sim I've seen or bought and if presented on the right equipment, highly immersive and convincing. As many have pointed out here, there are still a number of factors which sabotage the realism but to accurately mimic human activity on a domestic computer is still a little way off. In GRAW, this shows up in the behaviour of the AI and the close-up quality of the characters faces etc. etc. but imagine how good it might be in another 10 years!

Realism certainly sells other genre and I believe it's a major factor in military games. Why all the hype about Crysis for example? Compared with GRAW2 it lacks much but boy, does it look good!

IMHO it's realism, not just the graphics but the games overall behaviour.

Mike.

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Again, to be perfectly honest, I still prefer GRAW over GRAW2, with an AI mod and the sepia settings reduced.:) But then, I don't play MP as much as I used to - certainly would if I could find a server with mature gamers that enjoy a good sim - that's another topic for discussion. Back to the topic at hand and I'll address some points in multiple posts.

Blackfoot - Love it, all for it and I'll do whatever it takes to help out there (when and if I can, time allowing). I'm a Law Enforcement student (second time around, going back to college with the kiddies), and frankly, that takes up a lot of my time.:) I think Blackfoot has things on the ball and I'm eager to follow Ground Branch's development and production.

PC gaming evolution - First, PC gaming is never going to die...until PC's do. I'm personally of the opinion that it will be only a matter of time before such things become more standardized and incorporated directly into the 'modern home'..but perhaps that's the utopian sci-fi nut in me.:) And well...generally speaking, there is a plateau that's steadily rising at which one can comfortably run the majority of games. That plateau is a combination of OS, video card, processor speed and amount of RAM. There are other factors that jump in now and again (internet connection speed, for example), but those are really the ones that control what games we purchase and enjoy - who wants to buy a game that they can't run? Sure, preference and genre are a big part of the market and control which games we wish to purchase, but wishing to purchase a game is not the same as being able to - if you understand my meaning. This is, naturally, a big portion of why the industry is how it is. Planned obsolecence and new technology.

When I get a sim, I get it for immersion factor. Indeed, I play games for two reasons: to do things I can't do in ordinary life (whether because of finances, career choices, age, injuries, law, etc), and to enjoy myself. The latter is the bigger part, naturally, but the former dictates what sorts of games I'm interested in getting. Military sims - I'm not in the military, and I've always been curious about what it would be like to be a soldier (and no, I can't enlist, and you don't need to know why, but it's medical). So, I do a lot of flight sims, naval sims, and the like. But other games intrigue my sense of 'what-if'. I's sure you know the type..like say, the Hitman series. The Thief series. Etc.

The fact is, wishful thinking aside, this is what our beloved industry has come to and we have to find ways to work the system to get what we as consumers desire. It is to that end that I am happy I have a place such as this to speak to like-minded individuals and brainstorm. Thank you, for your indulgence.:)

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Hopefully this thread will be read by "the powers that be" from the major players in the PC gaming/hardware business.

Even more important, would be the unification of all PC gamers from all genres PC titles.

Our PC community has to let those who make the games and the hardware know that consoles aren't the only game in town, and that without the PC, no modern console would exist.

+Medic+

(Edit: Just a side note, I truly believe that this is one of the best threads to happen on the forums in a long time. However moot or or unchanging of the system this thread is, it is still good to discuss things that truly matter. Thanks. I will post a link to this thread on my site as well, as I see this being some what News worthy.)

Edited by SierraNovember6
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Here is another thought. Why not employee two studios, or better yet a large enough studio that can devote two teams to a project. One team works on the multiplayer aspect and the other on the single player story and coop side. The SP and coop are more likely to be compatible with each other and the mulitplayer side with TvT style is already a beast of it's own.

Atleast Ubisoft realized the need to create GRAW 2 for each platform. If they could only take it one step further and let GRIN design a game with separate MP and COOP design teams, each with their own lead designer and a single project coordinator to oversee them, meshing ideas and keeping both teams on the same page. The only time the two game modes would meet would be in the map and weapons folders and the Multiplayer server list/setup screen.

Each game is a different entity to itself, combining them and trying to make one game of two, muddies the water and features that would take the game to a whole new level are completely left out.

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My guess is that a publisher would not appreciate or be interested in that level of sophistication and duplication.

To draw a parallel.... a car manufacturer doesn't build seperate assembly lines to cater for the different versions of each model. The basic model design is made adaptable by varying the component parts used during assembly.

Another option, maybe!

How about building the software with the 'options' in it? At load time you select the style and mode of game you want to play, in the settings. I make no comment on the cost this might involve.

I also know little about game software architecture so forgive me if this suggestion is 'off the wall'!!

Mike. :huh:

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Here is another thought. Why not employee two studios, or better yet a large enough studio that can devote two teams to a project.

The high cost of employing that many people on one project.

Games may appear to make a ton of money. But development costs 3/4 of a ton of money.

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Here is another thought. Why not employee two studios, or better yet a large enough studio that can devote two teams to a project.

The high cost of employing that many people on one project.

Games may appear to make a ton of money. But development costs 3/4 of a ton of money.

Hear hear. This is really it in a nutshell, lads. Profit margin. Games DO cost a heck of a lot to make. From that standpoint alone it is _understandable_ why companies turn towards what's going to make them the most cash fast - namely console games. Have you ever noticed that a 360 game comes out at around 60 bucks (US) and then stays that way, even a year or two later? Whereas, depending on the title, a PC title comes out at about 50, then there are usually sales and after 4-6 months, a good 60-75% of titles drop to about 30, if not 20, brand new and off the shelf? Major reason one why I possess less 360 games than PC games - available expendable cash. Honestly, I will fork over 60 bucks for a game if the quality is good and the draw irresistable, but really folks - that's a healthy chunk o' change.

Games make a decent amount, I can tell you. But there is a LOT that goes into making them. Although, having been game QA at one company which will remain nameless, I know that most of the money for a given project goes to the dev engineers, who in some companies command ridiculous amounts of money for their salaries alone. This is not to diss any hard-working, productive dev engineers out there, boys and girls, but really, I have seen the seedier side too and it has rankled. For example, engineers who contribute very little to the actual code of a given project, get their full usual job perks AND their name goes on a given best-selling title. That's frustrating. And another story, I digress. A smaller studio, self-funded (like say, Id, way back when - and likely Blackfoot, now?) with a bunch of enthusiastic developers is much more likely to make a hit. Their motivations? 1) We get to put this together how WE want to, do it the way we envision it, with no one breathing down our necks but our own conscience and 2) direct shares in the profits, rather than a guarenteed lump salary - if it doesn't sell well, you don't see a lot of return, so do it solid and right and be responsive to your consumers' needs! My own observations, folks from Blackfoot can tell me different, of course.

Edited by KeyFox
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Again, that last post keys in very big on the direct relationship with the Publisher owning the rights to the name of the game and contracting a developer to build a specific product for them. it truly is sad the the motivation of companies and the short cuts they take to keep everything cheap. Why should the publishers be making hand over fist from a piece of software they didnt even develop. They merely own the name and market the game. If I had any choice in the matter, I would never deal with the publisher, only the developer.

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