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Anthem (Bioware's new property)

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Mar 9th 2019 at 2:24:40 PM

welcome to corporate america, where the only consequences are for the grunt emplopyees

ShirowShirow More Dread from Land of maple syrup Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
More Dread
Mar 10th 2019 at 12:17:56 AM

Not true, when Activision Blizzard earned record profits they fired 800 people.

Consequences have no bearing on it, grunts get screwed either way.

Bleye knows Sabers.
Mar 10th 2019 at 4:00:15 AM

The issue is how effort is rewarded and what constitutes success. And the concept in the corporate world that to "retain the top talent" you pay high at the top, despite the people on the ground floor putting in more arguably.

Game wise, still plugging away. Got a fair number of masterworks (Pistol, assault rifle, sniper, scout rifle and shotgun.) and I can craft the papa Pump to get some good rolls. Given my Storm a pistol that does crazy damage if you hover and sniper rifle that does 40% more weakpoint damage when hovering. My Storm is now some crazy apache helicopter that spits ice.

Man, if they can put a map this size and with this feeling of power into a Dragon Age game, then at least Anthem will have been a good proof of concept.

Mar 10th 2019 at 10:38:22 AM

well of course thats what they say in corpiorate cuircles. because the same people espusinfg said wisdom are the people with 1.3 million dollar salaries

Mar 11th 2019 at 2:47:22 AM

It's why you don't want these sorts of traditional hierarchies - people at the top should not be able to really vote / influence their own remuneration. But then again they are also responsible for structuring business etc etc... euch. The whole thing is just... badly structured.

You can't allow HR free reign either as then they start doing things that are contrary to what the company does; likewise you don't want lead engineers running things because they are often not great MANAGERS.

But I do think "Executives" are one of the worst things to happen to the industry. You need money people, project managers and doers. But the upper management side... that's a bit iffy.

In game I seem to be getting a solid amount of M Ws - no legendary gear yet. Working on the Challenge of Valour and also some of the other challenges, like the Here be Giants one.

What is good to note is that using a Masterwork will also advance the Challenge for the weapon type its based on AS well as the the MW challenge itself - so that's a nice Anti-Frustration Feature.

M84 Freedom is the right of all sentient beings from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:14:40 AM

Personally, I think the issues with Anthem are simply issues that have been prevalent at Bioware for a while now. Bioware games have always been kind of buggy with somewhat lackluster choppy gameplay. Someone else here mentioned that Bioware has routinely tried to emulate other games and developers but fall short because they lacked the true understanding of what those people did to make it work. It was just easier to ignore the issues because Bioware also played to their strengths of crafting engaging narratives and character writing.

The problem with Anthem is that the kind of game Bioware was expected to make, the tumultuous development cycle, the turnover of staff, the expectations placed on it by EA...it all culminated in a game that showcased Bioware's flaws as a developer and few of its strengths.

And now it might be a time of reckoning for Bioware. That's what happens when you've got a creator that has failed to adequately address their own shortcomings for years and years and overly relying on their strengths.

While Anthem isn't quite Fallout 76 bad, I kind of see the same thing happening. Fallout 76 was also IMHO a culmination of the flaws that have plagued Bethesda practically since their inception.

It doesn't help that both games are textbook examples of the pitfalls of being able to patch games online, something that Jim has brought up before. It can encourage developers to cut corners and rush out a product before it's ready since they think they can just patch out bugs and such later. The problem is that the initial buggy mess will alienate the playerbase and reduce the game's popularity at the onset — a serious blow for a live service game.

Edited by M84 on Mar 11th 2019 at 6:20:02 PM

Disgusted, but not surprised
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:34:30 AM

[up] Good point. I had said they've tried to emulate / adopt from other games. But I think you've expanded on that.

They've been moved out of the zone where people would forgive the flaws; and also, the market is not so sparse for games in their "style" anymore.

Bethesda gets forgiven for recent games because Mods, gameplay loops etc are there and provide more longevity; 76 removes a lot of that as it makes the game UTTERLY standalone and only able to stand on its own merits - having no NP Cs etc hampers it.

Anthem suffers as it wants to be a multiplayer game but forces singleplayer loops on you - returning to the fort every time; lacking compelling longer term interactions with the characters; the bugs with limited redeeming features.

The fact that conversations only "spawn" if you leave and come back is a sign of them being not so great at organically loading the areas they build without a full refresh of the environment; it 's probably why we don't have the promised "overworld" with dynamic quests.

And now, with CDPR, Obsidian, Harebrained et al creating interesting RP Gs with dynamic and interesting characters and plots... yeah they're not the kings in a small playground now.

I LIKE Anthem. It's fun escapism with (for me) good gameplay loops. I didn't have high expectations - magic iron man is fine. But DA: IV - that's where I'm going to be disappointed.

Andromeda shows they can do interesting mechanics and story - just the overall execution seems lacking. But look at the wider ME story - the Deception novel. The main plot threads. They're not, actually, that good at consistent, well paced writing anymore. If indeed they were.

A lot of what made Mass Effect good was that we'd never really HAD a game like that before. It captured the Star Trek away team feeling in what felt like a nigh limitless world. Dragon Age gave us a 3d, close up of Baldurs Gate with a new world.

But those are now dime a dozen. And i don't think they can whip out another game changer easily.

M84 Freedom is the right of all sentient beings from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:37:21 AM

Another issue, which I think someone else also brought up in this thread, is that a lot of the people originally responsible for Bioware's spark aren't at Bioware anymore. The Ship of Theseus issue and all that.

And like you said, Bioware (and Bethesda) are no longer the only fish in the sea, so to speak. They've got competition.

Edited by M84 on Mar 11th 2019 at 6:39:00 PM

Disgusted, but not surprised
InkDagger Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Mar 11th 2019 at 4:52:55 AM

So, I think it was brought up here somewhere and I apologize for changing the topic at all but I've been thinking about this idea recently and I don't see a better thread to pose the discussion question.

Anthem has kind of a problem of 'NEW INNOVATIVE AMAZING GRAPHICS' but those graphics... don't work out great unless you're on a high end system. And even then there are stability problems and loading screens or so I've heard. And I've noticed this occurs in almost every major release anymore. The game is built up with such fabulous amazing features during the tech demos before the game is scaled down for stability and some other words I can't think of because its 5 am. It is constantly happening and a lot of people get disappointed or even outright call foul when it happens (WATCH_DOGS comes to mind).

So... Instead of giving out games with amazing graphics that look great in some places when it works properly but have loads of issues and are packed along side stiff and bad animation in a lot of cases... Why don't more developers stop trying to push the graphics envelope on something that is probably more trouble than its worth until the kinks can be ironed out and instead perfect what we already have?

I look back at some games from only a few years ago and can't help but feel, besides outdated textures that would clearly need to be upscaled, I would probably be totally fine with that 'kind' of game coming out today. I realize there are limits to this train of thought as Fallout 4 honestly couldn't really do a lot of what Bethesda wanted to do on an ancient engine that should have been replaced awhile back or nightmare's like the Telltale engine too, but surely there's more we could do with some older stuff instead of constantly pushing things to limits that maybe we're not quite ready to handle yet?

I'm not quite sure if I'm explaining my point correctly. I feel words are failing me a bit.

Mar 11th 2019 at 6:20:44 AM

I think the immediate answer is "PR" - flashy graphics and whiz bang SUPPOSEDLY sell more, or at least garner immediate up front press and recognition.

The reality these days is that most games, now going for photo-realism rather than design "quirks" to define them, all end up looking rather similar.

As such it's harder to tell games apart beyond UI / camera setup.

Add into that the current constant talk about "60 FPS" and how "buttery smooth" things run (I fucking HATE that term, makes my skin crawl) means they're chasing the dragon of performance.

And that means that the engine is often dictating that, leading to limitations on what said engine can do beyond just "look pretty" - how much of that fantastic environment can you actually interact with?

Look back at earlier games and it was more gameplay gimmicks to reel you in - Far Cry had the grappling hook; Half Life its gravity gun; Portal the unque mechanics.

Others went with character design. You can immediately tell the difference between early Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament characters. More recent shooters? i couldn't tell you if they were an Apex legends character or a Lawbreakers one.

Blizzard has retained SOMETHING of a unique view - large shoulder-pads and exaggerated character designs. but even that's being slightly lost.

slimcoder I'm No One Special. Just a Passing Pro Wrestler.
I'm No One Special. Just a Passing Pro Wrestler.
Mar 11th 2019 at 1:03:34 PM

It should be noted that Devil May Cry 5 just got released with extremly photo-realistic graphics (with no visible signs of downgrades since its reveal trailer) & runs at a smooth 60 frames per seconds like the rest of the games in the franchise.

So it’s not like it’s unfeasible really,

Mar 11th 2019 at 1:34:51 PM

There's always something to improve. Shadows or lighting or something. Even if it's something 90% of gamers will never notice. High graphics are an ever-rising goal, and a damn expensive one. This is why AAA games can sell millions of copies and still be considered a failure, while indie games can look twenty years out of date and still sell fine.

shigmiya64 Somebody get this freaking duck away from me! from a settlement that needs our help, General Relationship Status: Non-Canon
Somebody get this freaking duck away from me!
Mar 11th 2019 at 2:08:08 PM

Devil May Cry exerts a lot more control over what the player is able to see and where the player is allowed to go at any moment, which means it can spend less time keeping track of the environment and more time rendering frames.

InkDagger Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:49:49 PM

Then wouldn't the solution be to go 'Sure, we're not pushing the envelope on something new that WE CANNOT HANDLE, but we're taking what we're doing and doing it AMAZINGLY'. Character models can still look really good even if they're not the most realistic thing ever. For example, Bioshock: Infinite is 6-7 years old but Elizabeth still looks amazing. Or those times where we get remastered games and they still look and feel fantastic years later even though its technically a graphical downgrade?

We keep pushing passed thresholds at an alarming rate without quite mastering things. I worry about some games coming out because I'm afraid that they'll burn quite simply because they reached beyond their grasp.

I think having a well-developed, designed, and consistent experience far surpasses having TEH BEST GRAPHICS FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS UNTIL THE NEXT AAA GAME COMES OUT!

slimcoder I'm No One Special. Just a Passing Pro Wrestler.
I'm No One Special. Just a Passing Pro Wrestler.
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:53:06 PM

Square Enix is also constantly pushing for more advanced & advanced graphics as evidenced by those yearly tech demos they keep putting out.

Which has ended up screwing them over because they keep putting too much money into making their games look good instead of actually making the games.

Ya know Anthem's graphical downgrade is even more embarrassing because in their reveal trailer they basically said everything in said trailer was done on the "In-Game Engine" in big, bold letters which made them look like bold-faced liars when the final product does not look like said trailer.

Edited by slimcoder on Mar 11th 2019 at 4:01:05 AM

InkDagger Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Mar 11th 2019 at 3:59:41 PM

That's another thing I'm worried about. There are the games that I'm worried will be burned and forgotten because they're too unstable on current processors/poorly optimized. Then there are the games that I'm worried will take too much of a downgrade and gamers will be FURIOUS.

We've gotten very very VERY close multiple times with such problems eventually turning to coals but I'm worried about the time it won't and that could be very soon if devs aren't careful.

theLibrarian That all you got? from his own little world
That all you got?
Mar 11th 2019 at 4:00:10 PM

There just needs to be something done in gaming publishing companies of "Have you ever played video games in your life?"

If they answer no, then DON'T PUT THEM IN A FUCKING EXECUTIVE POSITION, especially when they're the ones calling the shots on what games to develop.

That is the face of a man who just ate a kitten. Raw.
InkDagger Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Mar 11th 2019 at 4:02:12 PM

Ok, not just 'played a game', but 'Have you ever been involved with the production of a video game'.

Because I'm sure some of them HAVE played games, but don't understand all the tech under the hood and don't understand what is an easy fix (i.e. Change the texture design of a t-shirt to something else) to what isn't (Let's just merge these two levels into one larger area! Just delete the load screen! Its fine!).

theLibrarian That all you got? from his own little world
That all you got?
Mar 11th 2019 at 4:06:28 PM

Yeah, there's a reason Nintendo has a consistently stellar reputation: In addition to being a great company to work for, all of their bigwigs had been promoted from the development staff. They have failures, yeah, but they have never caused an enormous backlash a la Battlefront 2.

That is the face of a man who just ate a kitten. Raw.
Mar 12th 2019 at 2:46:46 AM

That's also, partially, down to Japanese corporate culture being markedly different than US. For a long time they had their own failures and missteps BUT their key element was that they adapted.

Also, they rarely move outside of their comfort zone. And they wouldn't get, say, their core Pokemon team to suddenly make a multiplayer shooter around micro transactions.

EA suffers from what most Western companies have - they WANT specialists but then treat them as interchangeable staff. Even if their internal policies are counter to it. So, they hire 50 Frostbite SM Es, but suddenly there's an internal crisis and they retask them onto an older Unity engine and get annoyed they can't work on it.

On the one hand they have HR and policy saying "Your career is your own" but then also management demanding mad things from day to day work. That ain't sustainable.

M84 Freedom is the right of all sentient beings from Our little blue planet Relationship Status: Chocolate!
Freedom is the right of all sentient beings
Mar 12th 2019 at 2:54:43 AM

Japanese corporate culture instead has the problem of working employees to the point of exhaustion and even death. Think the crunch-time at Rockstar when making Red Dead Redemption 2...except all the time.

Disgusted, but not surprised
GoldenKaos Soli Deo Gloria from Ynys y Cedyrn - Europa Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Soli Deo Gloria
Mar 12th 2019 at 3:10:57 AM

In addition to being a great company to work for, all of their bigwigs had been promoted from the development staff.

I'm not sure how true that is. Reggie Fils-Aimé, the outbound President of Nintendo America, wasn't. He was at Pizza Hut and VH 1 before joining Nintendo's Marketing team before being President and COO. Furukawa and Kimishima, the current and previous Presidents of Nintendo, didn't come up from development.

Cenedl Heb Iaith - Cenedl Heb Urddas
Ghilz Fight It Out! from The Moon, Or Canada Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Fight It Out!
Mar 12th 2019 at 7:53:48 AM

Yeah, there's a reason Nintendo has a consistently stellar reputation: In addition to being a great company to work for, all of their bigwigs had been promoted from the development staff. They have failures, yeah, but they have never caused an enormous backlash a la Battlefront 2.

Heck the new head of NOA who replaced Reggie Fils-Aimé, Doug Bowser, is a former EA and Procter & Gamble sales guy.

Japanese corporate culture instead has the problem of working employees to the point of exhaustion and even death. Think the crunch-time at Rockstar when making Red Dead Redemption 2...except all the time.

Japanese Corporate culture is also big on not firing people. Instead if you want to get rid of an employee, you make their life hell until they get the memo and quit of their own volition.

Edited by Ghilz on Mar 12th 2019 at 10:57:03 AM

Mar 12th 2019 at 8:26:37 AM

Japanese Corporate culture is also big on not firing people. Instead if you want to get rid of an employee, you make their life hell until they get the memo and quit of their own volition.

On the one hand, that sounds horrible. On the other hand, Western corporate culture is all "The CEO wanted a million dollar raise, so we're firing you. We might give you a decent recommendation if we can be bothered." I'm not sure either is better, they're just different kinds of bad.

Mar 12th 2019 at 8:32:44 AM

Neither are any good, but if someone wants to get rid me, I'd rather they get to the point than drive me insane.


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