A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Seerow View Post
    Yeah, buzz on twitter about the game/team in question indicates it's been in development for a while and they're looking to expand their team. And Microsoft still has no control over the company for another 18 months even if the deal does get approved. I find it hard to believe the two are related in any way.
    On the other hand if your company is known far and wide as a vile and toxic hellhole from which major talent has been fleeing for years, maybe holding that jobs posting until after the announcement that you're going to purchased by a different company with a maybe functioning HR department has some wisdom to it.

    To say nothing of the wisdom of having something to offer your new overlords when they show up, besides decaying revenue streams from increasingly moss-covered titles and various disillusioned fan bases. Because if I were in Blizzard leadership right now, I'd be very, very worried about looking like the weakest, least valuable piece of the acquisition, so this might be a good time to light the fires under that new project. Get it as far along as possible in the next year. Maybe make the announcement very public, try to drum up some positive buzz, like would have happened 8 years ago.

    Though a survival title is almost too on the nose for a rather floundering developer with a real deficit of original ideas to try to drum up some enthusiasm *coughOriginalFortNite*cough*MetalGearSurvive*coug h*Conan*cough. The genre seems almost immune to anybody but small indie teams actually scoring big hits.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    On the other hand if your company is known far and wide as a vile and toxic hellhole from which major talent has been fleeing for years, maybe holding that jobs posting until after the announcement that you're going to purchased by a different company with a maybe functioning HR department has some wisdom to it.

    To say nothing of the wisdom of having something to offer your new overlords when they show up, besides decaying revenue streams from increasingly moss-covered titles and various disillusioned fan bases. Because if I were in Blizzard leadership right now, I'd be very, very worried about looking like the weakest, least valuable piece of the acquisition, so this might be a good time to light the fires under that new project. Get it as far along as possible in the next year. Maybe make the announcement very public, try to drum up some positive buzz, like would have happened 8 years ago.

    Though a survival title is almost too on the nose for a rather floundering developer with a real deficit of original ideas to try to drum up some enthusiasm *coughOriginalFortNite*cough*MetalGearSurvive*coug h*Conan*cough. The genre seems almost immune to anybody but small indie teams actually scoring big hits.
    When you put it like this, it makes me think that this would be a great way to test how much Blizzard is left in Blizzard. If anybody can pull it off, it's the company that made StarCraft...so now we'll get to see if that company still exists, or if Activision really has killed it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheesegear View Post
    Girlfriend and Parents: Why do you spend so much money on that stuff?
    Me: Would you rather I spent all my money on alcohol like others in my peer group?
    G&P: You keep spending as much money as you want!
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    Bossing Around Mad Cats for Fun and Profit: Let's Play MechCommander 2!

    Kicking this LP into overdrive: Let's Play StarCraft 2!

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    When you put it like this, it makes me think that this would be a great way to test how much Blizzard is left in Blizzard. If anybody can pull it off, it's the company that made StarCraft...so now we'll get to see if that company still exists, or if Activision really has killed it.
    I think for survival games its mostly that the audience has a high tolerance for jank, and wants a lot of expressive, often simulation type features. Witness Subnautica, which is absolutely beloved even though it runs like a sloth dying of consumption and doesn't exactly control super smooth either. Nobody cares, because it's by a small team with a cohesive vision, has a great world to explore, and lots of very flexible, creative things to do in that world.

    These are not the strengths of major developers though, and big devs get absolutely crucified in public perception for polish/smoothness issues. The more polish you add, the less dynamic and interactive the world necessarily becomes, which directly undermines the entire appeal of the genre. I think it's inherently a hard genre for major developers to go for.

    And Starcraft came out 24 years ago. Whatever else we can say, Blizzard is definitely not that company anymore. Nothing made up of humans remains constant for that long. Even if the company roster was completely unaltered, the people won't be the same because its a quarter century later.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Subnautica is beloved because it's not just a crafting/survival game, it's narrative-heavy atmospheric horror and we don't get a ton of those. Not saying Blizzard can't do that with theirs of course.

    On the pure survival front, Microsoft runs Minecraft so Blizzard should be able to get some help "in-house." Obviously Minecraft is more than that, but its various survival modes are still solid examples of the genre.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Subnautica benefits heavily from being an underwater game with horror elements. Low visibility is expected and even desired. You can excuse things not popping in until the last minute as your character just not seeing them. If your pc is good enough you can actually go into the settings and "fix" the pop in issues, but it leads to a much less immersive experience. Or at least it did for me.

    The narrative driven part is a little more complicated. The first game definitely benefited from giving your character a background and motive even though it was fairly bare-bones. The second game leaned into fleshing the story out much more, and is a much worse game as a result.

  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by warty goblin View Post
    I think for survival games its mostly that the audience has a high tolerance for jank, and wants a lot of expressive, often simulation type features. Witness Subnautica, which is absolutely beloved even though it runs like a sloth dying of consumption and doesn't exactly control super smooth either. Nobody cares, because it's by a small team with a cohesive vision, has a great world to explore, and lots of very flexible, creative things to do in that world.

    These are not the strengths of major developers though, and big devs get absolutely crucified in public perception for polish/smoothness issues. The more polish you add, the less dynamic and interactive the world necessarily becomes, which directly undermines the entire appeal of the genre. I think it's inherently a hard genre for major developers to go for.

    And Starcraft came out 24 years ago. Whatever else we can say, Blizzard is definitely not that company anymore. Nothing made up of humans remains constant for that long. Even if the company roster was completely unaltered, the people won't be the same because its a quarter century later.
    All the great names involved in SC1, SC2 and WC3 left and now are in companies like dream-haven and frost giant games.
    So yes we know that it is no longer the same company in terms of people with great names.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    The second game leaned into fleshing the story out much more, and is a much worse game as a result.
    I don't think that's the main reason Below Zero was a worse game than the first one. Rather, it was the fact it was far smaller and had less to explore, with the game's length artificially lengthened by making you have to explore through mazelike cave systems--there were none of the vast underwater caverns you got in the first game. Plus, let's be honest, the Seatruck absolutely sucks compared to the Cyclops/Seamoth combo from the first game. It was doubling down on the aspects of the first game nobody cared much about (which included the story, true) while dialling back the good stuff.

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I don't think that's the main reason Below Zero was a worse game than the first one. Rather, it was the fact it was far smaller and had less to explore, with the game's length artificially lengthened by making you have to explore through mazelike cave systems--there were none of the vast underwater caverns you got in the first game.
    An addendum, if I may: they artificially lengthened the game by making you explore the same mazelike cave systems more than once.

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    This is why I made a bee-line for AL-AN on my last playthrough. I know about the statue/water filter/geological research whatsits the Architechs left behind, please do not make me retrace my steps just for that.

    They also didnít seem to put as much effort into making it feel like a world rather than a game that takes place underwater.

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    Lots of zones that are empty or nearly empty with only one species in it, all the Prawn suit arms littering the deepest levels with no explanation, even the design of the Oxygen plants feel more like Ďnotice me, Iím a powerup!í rather than something living in an ecosystem.

    Additionally they had to redo the main quest at least once during development, which I think is what resulted in the part you start out with kind of trailing off, and breaking a bit if you complete steps out of sequence. This does not make it better, but hopefully they learned enough from that not to break it that way again if they ever make Subnautica 3.

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    Plus, let's be honest, the Seatruck absolutely sucks compared to the Cyclops/Seamoth combo from the first game. It was doubling down on the aspects of the first game nobody cared much about (which included the story, true) while dialling back the good stuff.
    Second Seatruck complaints. While Iím glad they made an attempt to shake things up, I wouldnít miss the Seatruck if they never brought it back in a sequel.

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    Part of the problem for me was that it seems to be more durable than the Seamoth, with no effort on the playerís part. Combine that with the lack of mid-sized predators in most zones, and I never really felt threatened the way I did in Subnautica 1.

    I will argue that the Snowfox was even worse though: too fragile to be useful, hard to steer, not a lot of customization options, the only plus it has is that you can pick it up and carry it.

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Kareeah_Indaga View Post
    I will argue that the Snowfox was even worse though: too fragile to be useful, hard to steer, not a lot of customization options, the only plus it has is that you can pick it up and carry it.
    I never even bothered building that thing. For wandering around the surface the prawn suit was simply better--more durable and no chance of you freezing to death--and since the Snowfox was useless in the water, that was a pretty big black mark in a game that's supposed to be about underwater exploration!

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Subnautica benefits heavily from being an underwater game with horror elements. Low visibility is expected and even desired. You can excuse things not popping in until the last minute as your character just not seeing them. If your pc is good enough you can actually go into the settings and "fix" the pop in issues, but it leads to a much less immersive experience. Or at least it did for me.
    The "nights at Freddy's" games pretty much only work because of a limited field of view and things suddenly showing up. There's probably other examples.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful ó but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by factotum View Post
    I don't think that's the main reason Below Zero was a worse game than the first one. Rather, it was the fact it was far smaller and had less to explore, with the game's length artificially lengthened by making you have to explore through mazelike cave systems--there were none of the vast underwater caverns you got in the first game. Plus, let's be honest, the Seatruck absolutely sucks compared to the Cyclops/Seamoth combo from the first game. It was doubling down on the aspects of the first game nobody cared much about (which included the story, true) while dialling back the good stuff.
    I suppose I'm of the opinion that they took development time that should have been spent on making the world larger and more immersive and wasted it on the story. You're completely correct that the story in a vacuum is not the main failing of the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kareeah_Indaga View Post
    An addendum, if I may: they artificially lengthened the game by making you explore the same mazelike cave systems more than once.

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    This is why I made a bee-line for AL-AN on my last playthrough. I know about the statue/water filter/geological research whatsits the Architechs left behind, please do not make me retrace my steps just for that.

    They also didnít seem to put as much effort into making it feel like a world rather than a game that takes place underwater.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Lots of zones that are empty or nearly empty with only one species in it, all the Prawn suit arms littering the deepest levels with no explanation, even the design of the Oxygen plants feel more like Ďnotice me, Iím a powerup!í rather than something living in an ecosystem.

    Additionally they had to redo the main quest at least once during development, which I think is what resulted in the part you start out with kind of trailing off, and breaking a bit if you complete steps out of sequence. This does not make it better, but hopefully they learned enough from that not to break it that way again if they ever make Subnautica 3.
    Completely agree with all of this. I'll also add that the strategically placed oxygen plants serve to make the game feel more like a platformer than an exploration/survival game. You're following along the stage the devs made for you rather than exploring.


    Second Seatruck complaints. While Iím glad they made an attempt to shake things up, I wouldnít miss the Seatruck if they never brought it back in a sequel.

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    Part of the problem for me was that it seems to be more durable than the Seamoth, with no effort on the playerís part. Combine that with the lack of mid-sized predators in most zones, and I never really felt threatened the way I did in Subnautica 1.

    I will argue that the Snowfox was even worse though: too fragile to be useful, hard to steer, not a lot of customization options, the only plus it has is that you can pick it up and carry it.
    A lot of this is simple sound design and atmosphere. In the original, the sounds and environment all work to keep things tense at all time. In Below Zero nothing ever shuts up. Ever. There's something roaring, someone talking, or some jaunty tune playing almost constantly. The original is good at suggesting things and making the player's imagination go wild about what might be lurking in the darkness. The sequel goes "HEY LOOK AT THIS! ISN'T THIS SCARY" for 20 hours straight. When you get right down to it, nothing in the original game is all that threatening. You have to mess up pretty badly to die once you know what you're doing. The difference is that it feels dangerous.
    Last edited by Anteros; 2022-01-27 at 07:25 PM.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Man: Trouble at the old game development factory
    Woman: What is it?
    Man: Microsoft bought Activision-Blizzard.
    Woman: Oh no, how are you supposed to compete against that?
    Man: I don't know, I'm just trying to make a game! I wasn't expecting the Microsoft acquisition!

    CLIPPY bursts into room
    CLIPPY: NO-one expects the Microsoft acquisition! Our chief weapon is money!

    (making the rounds)

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Clippy: Hi there! It looks like you're trying to form a union.

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarchic Fox View Post
    Clippy: Hi there! It looks like you're trying to form a union.
    Would you like me to explain why that's a bad idea?

  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Microsoft accquires Activision Blizzard

    Quote Originally Posted by Sermil View Post
    Would you like me to explain why that's a bad idea?
    Clippy: I'm asking the questions here. Would you like me to kick this up the chain to your supervisor?

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