Bioware Is Above Strategy Games

Posted by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

I was browsing another forum some months back when EA announced Bioware (not really Bioware just the name whored around due to Bioware having no self-respect these days) had a new command and conquer game in works during the awful spike awards.

The initial response of the users was along the lines of "this is a waste of Biowares time". Like, somehow Bioware was above this genre. The thing I found odd about this, Bioware can't make balanced games. For a strategy game, this is of the upmost importance. So, it doesn't exactly seem that the talent is so far above the genre that it's inconsequential. Which I mentioned. When simply asking people why they had this response, they replied "because I don't like strategy games". "Bioware should stick to what they are good at".

Firstly, this argument that if you make a specific genre of game, in the case of Bioware, RPG's, strikes me as preposterous. Bliizzard make RPGs, very succeful and praised ones such as Diablo and World Of Warcraft. They also make Starcraft, probably the most popular strategy game in existence. Why should a developer, yet unproven in that specific feild "stick to what they are good at"?

Given how formulaic Bioware has become, how focused action games have become with strategy games becoming increasingly rationed, why exactly would this be a bad thing?

The only hypothetical I could come to, is that they were console gamers. With no interest in playing pc games, or specifically, control schemes better suited for the pc. Which seems fair, I suppose.

Or perhaps it's something even fundamentally worse than this, the thinking that strategy games are incaptitible of delivering story telling comparable to that of RPGs.

Well, son, I would point you to Homeworld or Warcraft III. While many people praise Metal Gear Solid for being cinematically groundbreaking, Homeworld was far more ground breaking, moving away from a top down view, using full three-dimensional gameplay and delivering an epic story telling of races fighting against extinction with a cinematic zest that is sorely lacking from mostly, derivative strategy games from today. Homeworld, made you care about the units you were controlling, an emotional attachment to them, through the story telling was developed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChRWSpodc3A

Likewise, when it comes to battles, while games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield or Mass Effect use scripted events to give the illusion of scale, in alot of strategy games such as Sins Of The Solar Empire, or practically any Total War game, when thousands of units are battling on screen at once, it's happening real time with the ability to interact.

I can't really pin my finger on a single reason, it seems to be multiple reasons for this anti strategy game attitude, it seems to be a genre dismissed by mainstream gamers, specifically console gamers along with the mainstream press, that is supposedly suppost to be unbais but really, if it's not Blizzard, it doesn't exist. It is rather annoying and somewat depressing.

#1 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

I was browsing another forum some months back when EA announced Bioware (not really Bioware just the name whored around due to Bioware having no self-respect these days) had a new command and conquer game in works during the awful spike awards.

The initial response of the users was along the lines of "this is a waste of Biowares time". Like, somehow Bioware was above this genre. The thing I found odd about this, Bioware can't make balanced games. For a strategy game, this is of the upmost importance. So, it doesn't exactly seem that the talent is so far above the genre that it's inconsequential. Which I mentioned. When simply asking people why they had this response, they replied "because I don't like strategy games". "Bioware should stick to what they are good at".

Firstly, this argument that if you make a specific genre of game, in the case of Bioware, RPG's, strikes me as preposterous. Bliizzard make RPGs, very succeful and praised ones such as Diablo and World Of Warcraft. They also make Starcraft, probably the most popular strategy game in existence. Why should a developer, yet unproven in that specific feild "stick to what they are good at"?

Given how formulaic Bioware has become, how focused action games have become with strategy games becoming increasingly rationed, why exactly would this be a bad thing?

The only hypothetical I could come to, is that they were console gamers. With no interest in playing pc games, or specifically, control schemes better suited for the pc. Which seems fair, I suppose.

Or perhaps it's something even fundamentally worse than this, the thinking that strategy games are incaptitible of delivering story telling comparable to that of RPGs.

Well, son, I would point you to Homeworld or Warcraft III. While many people praise Metal Gear Solid for being cinematically groundbreaking, Homeworld was far more ground breaking, moving away from a top down view, using full three-dimensional gameplay and delivering an epic story telling of races fighting against extinction with a cinematic zest that is sorely lacking from mostly, derivative strategy games from today. Homeworld, made you care about the units you were controlling, an emotional attachment to them, through the story telling was developed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChRWSpodc3A

Likewise, when it comes to battles, while games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield or Mass Effect use scripted events to give the illusion of scale, in alot of strategy games such as Sins Of The Solar Empire, or practically any Total War game, when thousands of units are battling on screen at once, it's happening real time with the ability to interact.

I can't really pin my finger on a single reason, it seems to be multiple reasons for this anti strategy game attitude, it seems to be a genre dismissed by mainstream gamers, specifically console gamers along with the mainstream press, that is supposedly suppost to be unbais but really, if it's not Blizzard, it doesn't exist. It is rather annoying and somewat depressing.

#2 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4793 posts) -

tl;dr People are idiots.

You are right, of course. I know a ton of people who just don't "get" (their own words) RTS games and pretty much disregard them as games of a high quality. Shit, I was one of them until I got well into the obsessive timesink that is Starcraft. This was a good read and thanks for the Homeworld recommendation; I'll be sure to check it out if it's as good as Warcraft 3.

#3 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@whyareyoucrouchingspock said:

I was browsing another forum some months back when EA announced Bioware (not really Bioware just the name whored around due to Bioware having no self-respect these days) had a new command and conquer game in works during the awful spike awards.

The initial response of the users was along the lines of "this is a waste of Biowares time". Like, somehow Bioware was above this genre. The thing I found odd about this, Bioware can't make balanced games. For a strategy game, this is of the upmost importance. So, it doesn't exactly seem that the talent is so far above the genre that it's inconsequential. Which I mentioned. When simply asking people why they had this response, they replied "because I don't like strategy games". "Bioware should stick to what they are good at".

Firstly, this argument that if you make a specific genre of game, in the case of Bioware, RPG's, strikes me as preposterous. Bliizzard make RPGs, very succeful and praised ones such as Diablo and World Of Warcraft. They also make Starcraft, probably the most popular strategy game in existence. Why should a developer, yet unproven in that specific feild "stick to what they are good at"?

Given how formulaic Bioware has become, how focused action games have become with strategy games becoming increasingly rationed, why exactly would this be a bad thing?

The only hypothetical I could come to, is that they were console gamers. With no interest in playing pc games, or specifically, control schemes better suited for the pc. Which seems fair, I suppose.

Or perhaps it's something even fundamentally worse than this, the thinking that strategy games are incaptitible of delivering story telling comparable to that of RPGs.

Well, son, I would point you to Homeworld or Warcraft III. While many people praise Metal Gear Solid for being cinematically groundbreaking, Homeworld was far more ground breaking, moving away from a top down view, using full three-dimensional gameplay and delivering an epic story telling of races fighting against extinction with a cinematic zest that is sorely lacking from mostly, derivative strategy games from today. Homeworld, made you care about the units you were controlling, an emotional attachment to them, through the story telling was developed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChRWSpodc3A

Likewise, when it comes to battles, while games like Call Of Duty and Battlefield or Mass Effect use scripted events to give the illusion of scale, in alot of strategy games such as Sins Of The Solar Empire, or practically any Total War game, when thousands of units are battling on screen at once, it's happening real time with the ability to interact.

I can't really pin my finger on a single reason, it seems to be multiple reasons for this anti strategy game attitude, it seems to be a genre dismissed by mainstream gamers, specifically console gamers along with the mainstream press, that is supposedly suppost to be unbais but really, if it's not Blizzard, it doesn't exist. It is rather annoying and somewat depressing.

I'm not sure what you're saying makes sense.

It's a complete waste of BIoware's time insomuch as the time they spend working on a game BIoware fans don't like is time they're not spending working on a game Bioware fans DO like.

It's rather like me being frustrated that Aaron Sorkin spent years writing plays instead of getting back to film and TV where I am in love with his stuff. I will never see his plays. I'll watch every teleplay or movie script he does.

#4 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@GunslingerPanda said:

tl;dr People are idiots.

You are right, of course. I know a ton of people who just don't "get" (their own words) RTS games and pretty much disregard them as games of a high quality. Shit, I was one of them until I got well into the obsessive timesink that is Starcraft. This was a good read and thanks for the Homeworld recommendation; I'll be sure to check it out if it's as good as Warcraft 3.

Well, I mean, I hate RTS games out of hand, and I'm not an idiot.

I dislike that they took over the Turn Based Strategy market on an insnae notion that they were the "evolved" form of strategy.

I hate that the gameplay is largely reciting build scripts that you memorized off the internet from people better than you.

I hate that it rewards players who play quickly and call it strategy.

I understand that ohter gamers might like these qualities, but these and a laundry list more of qualities are enough to make me hate the genre.

#5 Posted by JoeyRavn (4977 posts) -

@JazGalaxy: I think GunslingerPanda was saying that people who complain about "Bioware" working on an RTS are idiots, not those who like RTSes.

#6 Edited by whyareyoucrouchingspock (975 posts) -

@JazGalaxy said:

It's a complete waste of BIoware's time insomuch as the time they spend working on a game BIoware fans don't like is time they're not spending working on a game Bioware fans DO like.

I wonder if Blizzard fans liked MMO's before Warcraft become one?

I have no doubt they bitched and complained about the concept of it becoming one, with some of them probably still doing it. I'm pretty sure though, the 12 million people who have been playing it (many of them never have played an MMO let alone Warcraft) haven't.

How about Valve making a puzzle game instead of another tradtional shooter? Are people whining about Portal? No one asked for it. Most people hate puzzle games.

#7 Edited by Humanity (9378 posts) -

Not sure why people would complain that they are working on a RTS, but I see how that choice is odd. Thats like Bethesda working on a fighting game. Maybe it would turn out good but in this day and age when game costs range in the 20-40 millions and you need to push at least 1.5 million units to start earning serious profit - why would you risk it? Why would Bioware take a financial risk on a genre they know little about, that at this point in time has a very niche target audience with specific expectations. In that sense I can see why people would complain and say "why waste their time?" because it seems like in the end neither party will be happy with the end result. Bioware isn't above making RTS', rather the making of such games is at this point above Bioware.

Also you can't generalize and blame the "console gamers" for all PC shortcomings. Many people that use consoles also have gaming ready PC's. I am by all right a console gamer at this point becaue I don't use my PC to play anything. I was a hardcore computer gamer since the first Doom game and played classics like the recently rebooted Syndicate, Rise of the Triad, Day of the Tentacle, Quarantine, Carmageddon, Crusader etc etc. At one point being a pc gamer became too ardous for me to put up with. When the starforce copy protection just came out it was literally destroying peoples windows configurations requiring a full reinstall of the system. You think Origin is bad or spies on you, Starforce would slow your entire pc to a crawl rendering it impossible to use. Constant bugs and system incompatibilities and scrounging message boards for hours trying to find one other person that gets a weird sound stuttering issue. Having to upgrade your hardware continuously in order to keep up with the latest and greatest. Those were all very real PC issues and some of them still exist to this day that don't exist on consoles. If I pop in Mass Effect 3 and it doesn't work correctly, then it's also not working correctly for millions of people and they will get on that quick. You take a hit in the graphics department and use a controller but you get used to it. It's not my fault that the pc gaming scene is the way it is because I chose the easier way to enjoy videogames. So I'm sorry developers are making increasingly console friendly titles and steering away from oldschool complex gaming with expanding quick item slots and tons of tweaking involved - but I'm not sorry since thats just the industry shifting.

#8 Edited by AndrewB (7636 posts) -

I agree. Throwing Bioware out of their element (and perhaps out of their funk, if you subscribe to the idea that they aren't making good games anymore, which I'll get back to you on after I've finished Mass Effect 3 for my own opinion) and into the strategy game realm could be awesome. Combining their strength of character writing with a strategy game has the potential for something fresh and exciting.

I've never heard people talk about strategy games being "above" Bioware, but I don't really patrol many gaming forums outside of here and the occasional trip to NeoGAF. Anyone saying that is either the youngest crowd of gamers or a console gamer who has never seen a good strategy game. Or someone who just doesn't like the genre, but why would you want to deprive everyone else of a good time?

Besides that, I feel like Bioware could pull it off. I know the company has become something completely different since the days of the Baldur's Gate series, but they've gone from making hardcore D&D-based computer RPGS to RPGs entirely their own, to tactical shooters like the Mass Effect series (that's not counting the few odd titles like Shattered Steel). They can easily have the versatility they need for a different genre. And if the talent doesn't already exist in the company, they're always hiring.

#9 Posted by Giefcookie (605 posts) -

It's weird saying something is "wasting Biowares time" as if Bioware is just 1 massive team that can work on a single game/project at a time. Also, teams/companies leaving their comfort zone is good for the industry.

While I'm enjoying ME3, I'm kinda hoping that team goes on to make something completely different. I'd be totally cool with lets say, a turn based strategy game from that team. Presuming that a single genre/type of game is the only thing a company or a team is good at sounds dumb and super harmful in the long run. That is the mentality that leads to a Modern Warfare 7.

#10 Posted by Brodehouse (9967 posts) -

If you've paid any attention to the internet, studios are only allowed to make one genre of game for their entire life.
 
@Giefcookie:@AndrewB
That team is going to go on to make other action/rpg games.  Straight up.  Maybe some will splinter off and make something in another genre, but you can't have a studio the size of BioWare Edmonton, a budget the size of Mass Effect, and make Parcheesi Simulator 2013.  Action games are the most popular genre on earth, and action/rpgs aren't far behind.

Online
#11 Posted by Humanity (9378 posts) -

I would also like to add that Homeworld hardly had revolutionary story telling on par with Metal Gear Solid that was like an interactive movie almost. Homeworld was pretty good and a very unique take on the genre but storytelling? Slightly above average for their time.

#12 Posted by Little_Socrates (5677 posts) -

Essentially, I'm saddened by the announcement because it's another awesome game I won't really be able to play. I am ABSOLUTE RUBBISH at strategy games, and even worse at those in real-time. I've also never even enjoyed Command & Conquer and think it's aesthetically a very weird fit for the BioWare name. Of course, it basically has nothing to do with BioWare, so I'm not worried.

#13 Posted by Giefcookie (605 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

If you've paid any attention to the internet, studios are only allowed to make one genre of game for their entire life.

@Giefcookie:@AndrewB: That team is going to go on to make other action/rpg games. Straight up. Maybe some will splinter off and make something in another genre, but you can't have a studio the size of BioWare Edmonton, a budget the size of Mass Effect, and make Parcheesi Simulator 2013. Action games are the most popular genre on earth, and action/rpgs aren't far behind.

I feel like dialog wheels are the only thing keeping the Parcheesi Simulator series from dominating the market though.

#14 Posted by AndrewB (7636 posts) -

@Giefcookie said:

@Brodehouse said:

If you've paid any attention to the internet, studios are only allowed to make one genre of game for their entire life.

@Giefcookie:@AndrewB: That team is going to go on to make other action/rpg games. Straight up. Maybe some will splinter off and make something in another genre, but you can't have a studio the size of BioWare Edmonton, a budget the size of Mass Effect, and make Parcheesi Simulator 2013. Action games are the most popular genre on earth, and action/rpgs aren't far behind.

I feel like dialog wheels are the only thing keeping the Parcheesi Simulator series from dominating the market though.

It was actually the romance options.

#15 Posted by JazGalaxy (1576 posts) -

@whyareyoucrouchingspock said:

@JazGalaxy said:

It's a complete waste of BIoware's time insomuch as the time they spend working on a game BIoware fans don't like is time they're not spending working on a game Bioware fans DO like.

I wonder if Blizzard fans liked MMO's before Warcraft become one?

I have no doubt they bitched and complained about the concept of it becoming one, with some of them probably still doing it. I'm pretty sure though, the 12 million people who have been playing it (many of them never have played an MMO let alone Warcraft) haven't.

How about Valve making a puzzle game instead of another tradtional shooter? Are people whining about Portal? No one asked for it. Most people hate puzzle games.

If my roomate is any indication (a "plays for at least 4-5 hours a day Star Craft player) then, yes, Warcraft/Starcraft fans were SUPER pissed that Blizzard wasted so much time created WOW instead of following up Starcraft and Warcraft with new RTS games.

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