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Embracer Group is going to take over Western business of Square Enix


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12 hours ago, chakkman said:

I don't think that they will do another Thief game. I'd even question if they do another Deus Ex game. 

It's sad, but, those franchise are simply very unpopular.

I rather see the future of similar games in the Indie realm.

It's unfortunate that "very unpopular" seems to be anything other than Elder Scrolls/Elden Ring/Call of Duty sales figures. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration but it does seem like it for certain publishers. I mean, Human Revolution sold well enough for a sequel, but Square Enix seems to ask for too much from its western developers. Supposedly none of the Tomb Raider games sold enough units to their satisfaction despite it being quite popular. It was at least popular enough to be able to finish the trilogy (and bumping up the budget on each subsequent game), so I'm a little bitter the newer Deus Ex series couldn't finish theirs. Maybe publishers just need to manage their expectations. I'd rather a lower budget if the game could still be made.

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A word of warning, Agent Denton. This was a simulated experience; real LAMs will not be so forgiving.

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24 minutes ago, Xolvix said:

It's unfortunate that "very unpopular" seems to be anything other than Elder Scrolls/Elden Ring/Call of Duty sales figures. Maybe a bit of an exaggeration but it does seem like it for certain publishers. I mean, Human Revolution sold well enough for a sequel, but Square Enix seems to ask for too much from its western developers. Supposedly none of the Tomb Raider games sold enough units to their satisfaction despite it being quite popular. It was at least popular enough to be able to finish the trilogy (and bumping up the budget on each subsequent game), so I'm a little bitter the newer Deus Ex series couldn't finish theirs. Maybe publishers just need to manage their expectations. I'd rather a lower budget if the game could still be made.

Greed is behind loot crate gambling and other horrible inventions. It knows no limits. it will only get worse if it's not stopped.

"I really perceive that vanity about which most men merely prate — the vanity of the human or temporal life. I live continually in a reverie of the future. I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active — not more happy — nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago. The result will never vary — and to suppose that it will, is to suppose that the foregone man has lived in vain — that the foregone time is but the rudiment of the future — that the myriads who have perished have not been upon equal footing with ourselves — nor are we with our posterity. I cannot agree to lose sight of man the individual, in man the mass."...

- 2 July 1844 letter to James Russell Lowell from Edgar Allan Poe.

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4 hours ago, Xolvix said:

Maybe publishers just need to manage their expectations. I'd rather a lower budget if the game could still be made.

They're in a dilemma. People expect super high definition graphics and AAA tech even from games with a small budget, when they come from a bigger publisher.

I really see only one way for projects with ideas which stray from the mainstream: Go Indie and crowdfunding. Some nice games are done that way.

But, even if you do that, people have totally overblown expectations. See the System Shock remake. I hold my head in shame every time I visit the Steam forums for that game. Gazillions of "When is this being released pleeeease... :( :( " threads. Well... it will be released when it's done. I guess. 🙄 Not to mention they had to start all over again, of course, because people didn't like what they saw, and they had to change everything to make it closer to the original. Well... I guess crowdfunding has its very bad sides as well. Again due to expectations though.

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8 hours ago, chakkman said:

They're in a dilemma. People expect super high definition graphics and AAA tech even from games with a small budget, when they come from a bigger publisher.

I really see only one way for projects with ideas which stray from the mainstream: Go Indie and crowdfunding. Some nice games are done that way.

But, even if you do that, people have totally overblown expectations. See the System Shock remake. I hold my head in shame every time I visit the Steam forums for that game. Gazillions of "When is this being released pleeeease... :( :( " threads. Well... it will be released when it's done. I guess. 🙄 Not to mention they had to start all over again, of course, because people didn't like what they saw, and they had to change everything to make it closer to the original. Well... I guess crowdfunding has its very bad sides as well. Again due to expectations though.

Thing is, do people actually expect super-duper graphics from every single game nowadays? Or is it more than the gaming industry itself has built up their own expectations about what a game needs to sell? I mean I like good graphics too, but there's a rather large gamut of what a game can do in order to look nice without needing the absolute latest rendering tech and high def textures. On the other hand, I still play classic Doom/Quake fairly often so I have no issue dealing with old looking graphics anyway. :)

As for the System Shock remake, I remember the switch from Unity to Unreal. But people didn't whinge I don't think, in fact the Unity demo was pretty popular from memory. It's just that the devs chose to switch to Unreal for whatever reason, and initial screens of the Unreal build lost the visual charm from what they already had in Unity. Things look much better now so that's positive, but I guess there's something to be said that being on call with a large community all the time does have its downsides. People want communication with devs, but it can also be a massive headache.

A word of warning, Agent Denton. This was a simulated experience; real LAMs will not be so forgiving.

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3 hours ago, Xolvix said:

Thing is, do people actually expect super-duper graphics from every single game nowadays? Or is it more than the gaming industry itself has built up their own expectations about what a game needs to sell?

Both.

Next level graphics are THE reliable way to get large numbers of consumers on board with new franchises. It is true that there are a lot of indie hits that buck the trend of more graphics = more money, but they are the occasional islands in a sea of flops. There is really no way to pick out surefire winners in the indie scene ahead of the actual release. There are certainly companies that try, but those efforts do not produce the same consistent quality of profit margins and product launch benchmarks as the AAAs. Even if they produced the same or greater return of investment on average, they are much more volatile, and that is frightening to investors.

Conversely, major graphical downgrades are one of the few ways to poison the AAA well. Consumers expect predictable graphical improvements from their AAA franchises. That's what the AAAs market their products on. So if they don't see those improvements, it is taken as a sign of deeper problems with the product. Players will hold off buying and critics will be harsher. Even if the title fully recovers its reputation later (e.g. a game like LoZ: Wind Waker), investors will pick up on this one episode of short term underperformance and may end up being spooked for years after the rest of the world moves on.

So yes, companies have built up their own expectations about what can sell, and then get locked into a demented cycle of self one-upmanship by their own marketing. But it is informed by real consumer preference and (to an even greater extent) by secondary market forces that dictate what kind of development gets monetarily rewarded. 

Edited by ChronA
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There's definitely loads of graphics whores out there who will slam everything without super duper high definition graphics.

I still play the original Thief's on my Windows 11 machine. I wonder how many people still do that... doubt that there are many.

It's sad, because, honestly, graphics are WAY overrated. IMO, games much more benefit from a great atmosphere, meaning a mixture of coherent graphics, game world, music, and setting, than from stunning graphics. I'm afraid it's a mentality thing. If you're shallow, you will only notice the shallow things. E.g., I can't imagine any other reason for Assassin's Creed being so popular. The gameplay is super boring always the same boring stuff. And it's very casual. If you can climb up the highest tower of the city just by pressing one or two keys, there's something fundamentally wrong with your gameplay. And your audience.

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On 5/7/2022 at 11:46 AM, vozka said:

I thought about this as well and on one hand I'm excited about the idea but on the other it would bring so many changes I'm not even sure if it could work. You'd have to redesign many of the stealth tropes at least.

For example, being in a room with dark walls while a guard holding a torch passes through might be fine, but being in a room with white walls might not because the amount of reflected light would be high enough to make you visible. Awesome.

Being careful of other people seeing you casted shadow. This would raise the difficulty so much (if it's implemented in any way realistically) that it might be less awesome.

Being seen through reflections in windows, mirrors or water. Possibly leading to frustrating situations where you have no idea how you were seen, unless the game specifically tells you.

I'm sure there are many other things you could think of.

Any number of those could be disabled or smoothed over to make it more palatable and more like what TDM has now. Where you can stand on top of a table in a somewhat dark room and not get caught.

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On 5/8/2022 at 7:17 AM, Xolvix said:

Supposedly none of the Tomb Raider games sold enough units to their satisfaction despite it being quite popular.

And Crystal Dynamics is supposedly working on a new Tomb Raider game. I still have hope that new games will be developed in the "not so popular" franchises. If they are going to be satisfactory, who knows. I quite enjoyed the gameplay of Thief 4 but I didn't compare it to the older games and just saw it as a game on it's own.

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53 minutes ago, Carnage said:

I quite enjoyed the gameplay of Thief 4 but I didn't compare it to the older games and just saw it as a game on it's own.

If you approach it like that (I did that as well), it's actually not a bad game. Surely no super hit, but, far from crap.

As for a new Tomb Raider: If it's not like the original Core Design games, or the first 3 Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raiders, then I'm not interested. Tomb Raider for me is about puzzles, jumping, exploring, and adventure, not about action and a protagonist which sighs and moans every 5 seconds, which is supposed to be immersive or something. 

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That's a good point about Crystal Dynamics. For a series that wasn't up to the sales figures Square Enix wanted, they're still given the freedom to make a whole new Tomb Raider game. Of course they've got new owners now, but I wonder if this development was already in the pipeline before the sale was arranged, or after. In any case, why couldn't Eidos-Montréal be given the freedom to finish their own franchise before moving onto other projects?

@chakkman, I'm curious why you were able to approach Thief 4 as its own game (like I did) and appreciate it for what it was, but when it comes to the newer Tomb Raider games it's just not possible. For me they're fun for what they are, and the games have progressively more difficult puzzles as the franchise progressed. Heck the final one (Shadow of the Tomb Raider) is noted for having the least amount of combat, at least until the final act where it kinda ramps up.

Edited by Xolvix

A word of warning, Agent Denton. This was a simulated experience; real LAMs will not be so forgiving.

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30 minutes ago, Xolvix said:

I wonder if this development was already in the pipeline before the sale was arranged, or after.

From the press release I understood that they were already working on it.

"The acquisition brings a compelling pipeline of new installments from beloved franchises and original IPs, including a new Tomb Raider game."

"Crystal Dynamics is actively working on several AAA projects, including the next mainline Tomb Raider game that will deliver next-generation storytelling and gameplay experiences."

And here's the whole press release:

https://embracer.com/release/embracer-group-enters-into-an-agreement-to-acquire-eidos-crystal-dynamics-and-square-enix-montreal-amongst-other-assets/

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50 minutes ago, Xolvix said:

@chakkman, I'm curious why you were able to approach Thief 4 as its own game (like I did) and appreciate it for what it was, but when it comes to the newer Tomb Raider games it's just not possible. For me they're fun for what they are, and the games have progressively more difficult puzzles as the franchise progressed. Heck the final one (Shadow of the Tomb Raider) is noted for having the least amount of combat, at least until the final act where it kinda ramps up.

I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider for a few hours. The intro gameplay was absolutely horrible for me, when the place falls to pieces, and there's one exaggerated gimmicky scene after the other. I absolutely hate that. 

I played Rise of the Tomb Raider for 40 or 50 hours, and, while it had its moments, it's just not the same as the old Tomb Raiders. Played parts 1 to 4, and you know what I mean. They're totally different games. It's a totally different protagonist. The games are much more cinematic these days, the playable character is very different, there are many things they changed to make it appeal more to nowadays' audience of gamers. Much more action (especially in the first Tomb Raider reboot, but also in Rise of the Tomb Raider), less jumping and puzzles, and a much more emotional, always moaning and crying Lara Croft. I just don't like the direction the games headed. Much in line with nowadays' kind of games. They always feel like films these days for me, not like games. Interactive films, where you don't shape the game, it shapes you. Can't explain it better.

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rotr plays like a cheap copy of uncharted and lara seems like a clueless mercenary that is fumbling and whining her way through the story. Core TR has a feeling of exploration and mystery and core Lara is a genius action hero with supermodel looks that is always cool and in control.

core Lara chooses to be there and has fun doing what she does and always tries to get ahead in the race

nu lara doesn't have fun she is crying and whining only makes it through the ordeal battered and bruised

 

Core TR is exploration and mystery with a fun capable character

TR reboot is fighting goons with a whiny clueless character

 

1572973365878.png.3f7765fc8d6bc485110bd9d18adfa5f4.png

Edited by Frank Cotton
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Exactly! The only reason they still call it Tomb Raider is obviously to make $$$ from a big name. It's as if one of those German tech companies get bought up by a Chinese company, and, apart from the name, their products don't have anything to do with the legacy of the company anymore.

See, I get why they do it. Nowadays' audience demands it like that, because noone wants to play action adventure jumping puzzle games anymore. It's just sad if you know what the games used to be like, and what they are like now.

Splinter Cell, Ghost Recon, Wolfenstein, same thing with those. Even Deus Ex to some extent. Tailored to the taste of today's audience. 

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2 hours ago, chakkman said:

Tailored to the taste of today's audience

I disagree with that. If you think about one of your earlier points that games become more like hollywood movies The gaming industry used to be controlled by "nerds" and people looking to realize their ideas that couldn't be realized in any other medium. Companies like Sony, WB etc. brought more and more hollywood people in The Same people who are responsible for what hollywood is now lord over the gaming industry. Listen to a guy like Druckman that guy is a hollywood producer through and through. The same culture the same people the same nepotism, infecting games. Regarding $, the margins if you adjust for the size of the gaming market today have become worse for games. They do exactly the same they do for movies for games now. Ignore, denigrate AA titles in the press, like they did with STYX 1 and 2. Hype up AAA titles that often aren't even functional at release. They use more money to promote and push their products than to make them. The whole gaming media solely subsist on funds from big publishers.

 

All these new releases being only nice graphics but noting else, is not a consumer driven market development look how well some indie titles or AA titles do despite only getting negative press, while on the other hand AAA devs spending exorbitant amounts for marketing and some times don't manage to break even.

 

TL;DR Hollywood people made the gaming industry worse.

BkjvKjFapDxyzWl9NqItbW8a1K4Dh-4hHpKKpyv9_N0.jpg

Edited by Frank Cotton
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5 hours ago, chakkman said:

See, I get why they do it. Nowadays' audience demands it like that, because noone wants to play action adventure jumping puzzle games anymore. It's just sad if you know what the games used to be like, and what they are like now.

From the looks of it, a lot of modern games involve running around different arenas where 500 alien robots are firing machine guns from every direction, also everything explodes every 5 seconds and everything’s on fire and the MC can fly in midair Matrix style and runs and bounces round at 200mph and has more weaponry than an entire army and sprays the walls with bullets as 94 monster trucks do back flips and explode and if you die you have to start all over again because you can’t save where you want because reasons.

Then you cut to a melodramatic cut scene because the main character is also in a soap opera.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Apache Fiero said:

From the looks of it, a lot of modern games involve running around different arenas where 500 alien robots are firing machine guns from every direction, also everything explodes every 5 seconds and everything’s on fire and the MC can fly in midair Matrix style and runs and bounces round at 200mph and has more weaponry than an entire army and sprays the walls with bullets as 94 monster trucks do back flips and explode and if you die you have to start all over again because you can’t save where you want because reasons.

Then you cut to a melodramatic cut scene because the main character is also in a soap opera.

You might find exactly that sort of thing (complete with the badly-voiced melodramatic cutscene) in a modern Doom mod, because hobbyists have mad ambition and no restraint. Your average AAA would be more like:

First you cut to a way too long melodramatic cut scene because the main character is also in a soap opera. Then you're dumped into a random arena (that's really just a single room with one staircase and some boxes in it) with 500 10 alien robots are firing machine guns from every direction (because the one guy who somehow made the 500 aliens work in the demo quit after management verbally harassed him), also everything explodes every 5 seconds and everything’s on fire and the MC can fly in midair Matrix style (in certain contextual locations and in the cutscene that plays in the middle of the fight) and runs and bounces round at 200mph 15mph (because someone in the focus group said the fast movement made them feel disoriented and they got lost in the identical linear corridors--and the movement was was obviously the only reason) and has more weaponry 3 (console friendly but also somehow egregiously unbalanced) loot-box unlocked weapons with more ammo than an entire army and sprays the walls with bullets as 94 5 monster trucks one of your co-op player unlocked in a loot-box back flips and explode and if you die you have to start all over again before the first cutscene because you can’t save where you want because reasons the pre-teen-male console demographic aren't used to manual saving. Then you cut to a melodramatic cut scene because the main character is also in a soap opera... and the game ends there because the developers could not meet management's holiday launch deadline. But don't worry they will sell you the real ending (96% of which was already in the game files on release day) as paid DLC 6 months from now.

Edited by ChronA
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this guy gets it.

And all story decisions by the MC are decided in the cutscenes and are contrary to what the player would choose or do.

All characters are unlikeable and only berate the player but the story demands you care for them.

 

5 hours ago, Kurshok said:

Maybe the only way to fix the gaming industry is to join it and change things from the inside by force.

The dumb decisions aren't made by the programmers or 3d modelers or even the writers. The bad decisions come from the top down from board members, CEOs, producers, focus groups and directors. Most of these positions are filled with people based on nepotism.

The best thing you can do is buy all your AAA games on Piratebay and all AA and indie games directly from the dev.

Edited by Frank Cotton
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18 hours ago, Apache Fiero said:

From the looks of it, a lot of modern games involve running around different arenas where 500 alien robots are firing machine guns from every direction, also everything explodes every 5 seconds and everything’s on fire and the MC can fly in midair Matrix style and runs and bounces round at 200mph and has more weaponry than an entire army and sprays the walls with bullets as 94 monster trucks do back flips and explode and if you die you have to start all over again because you can’t save where you want because reasons.

Then you cut to a melodramatic cut scene because the main character is also in a soap opera.

Today's games in a nutshell, hehe.

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I bet that everyone's excited about this news, considering the potential revivals.

...but as far as Thief goes, I am personally actually quite content with what The Dark Mod already offers me. The only thing that I could imagine would be an improvment to the already existing Thief series, would be some sort of silhouette detection, so that I can't hide in silly places just because I happpen to stand where a shadow falls.

The premise of Thief - the exciting part - is a basic "I am a thief. I like to sneak." and any story development beyond that, I'm not that concerned about. I doubt that five more sequels could ever get me engaged more than The Dark Mod's FMs can, simply through the blank slate allowing for more independent world building.

As for any improved graphical quality, I don't care about such things. The sneaking mechanics is more involving than admiring textures or models.

I guess that, since I'm old, and have played so many games, I like mapping more than I like even playing games too.

...so I'm actually not excited personally. I already have all the icecream I could ever want, contained in one little editor. ❤️

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4 minutes ago, Nort said:

I bet that everyone's excited about this news, considering the potential revivals.

...but as far as Thief goes, I am personally actually quite content with what The Dark Mod already offers me.

Me too. The only slight niggle I always had about it is that, naturally, the style, difficulty, and quality of the FM's vary quite a bit. And, of course, that there isn't a long campaign of FM's which feels like a coherent game. FM authors try, but, again, naturally, there can only be a 3, 4, or 5 FM series. Which you have to wait for, if it's still in development.

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20 minutes ago, chakkman said:

Me too. The only slight niggle I always had about it is that, naturally, the style, difficulty, and quality of the FM's vary quite a bit. And, of course, that there isn't a long campaign of FM's which feels like a coherent game. FM authors try, but, again, naturally, there can only be a 3, 4, or 5 FM series. Which you have to wait for, if it's still in development.

Since Ive recently just watched maps being played on YouTube, I don't know much about how the download database is structured right now, but just the functionality to categorize according to description (like mainly Thieving/Horror/Other), along with size and user ratings/downloads, can go a long way to promote creativity.

In contrast to a series like System Shock, it doesn't really take a genuis to tell a good Thief story. (It just takes a huge cynic, I guess.) ...and so I have far higher hopes for more creativity to spawn from this community, than I have for it spawning from a fairly random professional game developer studio. What could people with steady dayjobs really tell me about being poor anyway? No, these kinds of stories spring from the shadows. At least that's what I think.

...and even if nothing has yet been released that fits your tastes, the editor is always, always there for you. You know best what you want out of a thief like game, and I can't imagine what that would be, or if I personally would even like it myself. You just have to get active and creative in pleasing yourself. At least that's what I'm doing.

 

Edited by Nort
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Personally I think Moonbo's Requiem FM is about as good as one could wish for in terms of a spiritual successor to the Thief trilogy. The story hits all the important notes, and the level design is uniformly top notch across all the expected axes of stealth gameplay. And there is even a sequel that trailblazes entirely new territory from its predecessor in gameplay, story, and tone. That's just icing on the cake.

Indeed there several FMs for TDM that I believe equal or even surpass the quality of the original games' levels. The trouble is how do you discover them in that giant downloader list? Are there other great missions in there that I have yet to find? That is undoubtedly the greatest current weakness of this project. The ability to sort FMs in the game client (i.e. both the downloader and the mission launcher) by date, size, and author would be a great help. Search by keywords or tags and support for grouping missions into collections would also be very useful.

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