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  1. #1
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    Oct 2001
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    Default Article on Bioware and open world games

    Dear BioWare: We need to have a talk.

    You've been doing a really good job of listening to people, as the latest Andromeda patch proves. But instead of minor complaints like "dear god, that face is hideous" or "this character is written poorly," this one's philosophical: BioWare, it's time for you to stop with the open-world experiment.


    http://www.polygon.com/2017/4/18/153...-world-bioware
    -Agent of Satan, but my duties are largely ceremonial.

    -"Personally, I play a warlock to set people on fire as they run in fear while I steal their souls. As an added perk, I play an undead warlock so I can eat their brains afterwards. I suppose a better question is, why do people play anything else?" (Unknown WoW forum poster)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Article on Bioware and open world games

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Mars View Post
    Dear BioWare: We need to have a talk.

    You've been doing a really good job of listening to people, as the latest Andromeda patch proves. But instead of minor complaints like "dear god, that face is hideous" or "this character is written poorly," this one's philosophical: BioWare, it's time for you to stop with the open-world experiment.


    http://www.polygon.com/2017/4/18/153...-world-bioware
    Polygon is such a bullshit peddler I hate to give them clicks. I think the author is missing the biggest point.

    Bioware has suffered the success curse. It hits most every game studio that reaches a certain critical mass of success. When this happens a studio stops being cutting edge innovators and become a "safe" revenue source for their publishers/investors. The really creative people leave to work on other stuff where they are given more freedom. More junior people come in and act as cogs in the machine. The game is designed by committee instead of by a small group of creatives overseen by a visionary dictator like "director". Developers and designers are in a highly structured environment with a large segmentation in responsibilities. They no longer have the ability to make great games, because committees don't take risks and don't tend to innovate in any meaningful way. For lack of a better term, they've become corporatized. This works great for ensuring the correct amount of soda is shipped to Bumblefuck Wyoming. It doesn't work great for making a piece of interactive art and storytelling.

    They can't fix this by abandoning open world. In fact, they can't fix this at all. Bioware as it once existed is dead. It's now just another EA trademark. I no longer blame EA for the deaths of these studios. It's the logical and rational result of diffusion of responsibility from a few people to a large group of people. The only way a studio can avoid the curse is to have a private owner instead of being publicly traded, and to limit their bureaucracy and segmentation of responsibilities as little as is necessary to get the job done on a vague timeline. As a publisher Square Enix has somewhat alleviated this curse in recent years by definitely putting a single person in charge of any given project and otherwise leaving them alone unless things go far sideways. This allows those studio(s) to innovate and make decisions rapidly, less like a corporation and more like a studio ran by a dictator.

    Studios run by dictators can still make bad games. However, committees simply can't make great games.
    "The argument that “people now have more freedom than ever” is based on the fact that we are allowed to do almost anything we please as long as it has no practical consequences."

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