Look, I'm not saying Skyrim is the best game ever, and I am certainly not saying Xenoblade looks worse, but I have to disagree with your brutal comments about Skyrim. I definitely believe that they did use some cheap methods to make the world, and it should have had an extra year of development because the original release was almost unplayable. But it was a game with about 3 years of solid development, and I believe that part of the reason the game is designed the way it is is because of the modding community, which consists almost entirely of amateurs, and Bethesda literally supplies all of us with beautiful kits to mod the game. After 5-10 mod downloads, the game world can be completely overhauled into literally whatever you want it to be! Also, if you ever listen to Todd Howard (the producer of ES 3-5) he agrees with many of the points you make, such as lazy developers and what not. While Skyrim is in now way a perfect game, it is also by no means a terrible game, and I think most of the Gaming community would back me up with that. Compared to today'sAAA carp such as CoD, Assassin's Creed, and all the other movies trying to be games that get released, Skyrim is far superior. It may be a tired rehash of a formula that has been used for 20 years, but it doesn't pretend to be anything else, and it is a formula that works and that I enjoy.
I am extremely excited for Xenoblade X, as I have just finished the first, and I do agree that the world design is fantastic and beautiful. I will admit I have only a fraction of the technical knowledge that you do, but I like it that way because the less thinking I do then the more pure enjoyment I can get out of these games.
Im not just singling skyrim out, its AAA gaming, I just gave mass effect the same medicine, this is what happens when big business steps into videogames.
How big of business?
This big. Yes, the Trump family has a stake in Bethseda software, Robert trump, Donalds brother, is a cheif on the board of directors of Bethseda software.
The trumps get more say on where elder scrolls go than the programmers and artists who created the series.
Elder scrolls has always been glitchy, Daggerfall is NOTORIOUS for being impossible to beat due to the main quest line inevitably glitching out. But the game was so vast, and so groundbreaking at its time, and there was so much to do, that we didnt care.
I STILL play my active daggerfall save file to this day, and I STILL find new content, some of which is completely undocumented. In fact, I moved that save file onto my smart phone and I play it with dox box.
The problem is,the series hasnt gone anywhere. We are still doing the same quests, in the same way, with the same controls, and its still a broken buggy mess. The only thing thats changed is the graphics.
Back when it was a super ambitious 30,000 square kilometer epic in the 90's, that was okay. Today, when its a 37 square kilometer buggy mess, using the same design tropes since the 90's, its not OK, no matter HOW much better it looks. Randomly generated samey worthless dungeons, are not ok. A heightmap generated world, with assets dropped in on top, is not OK. The god awful combat and collision detection, is not OK.
Its a misnomer to say 'lazy developers', because developers are anything but. They are overworked, underpaid, and abused to no end. And EVEN STILL practicallyno developer will ever just say 'aww screw it' and put their name on something they know is a terd. Thats what publishers force them to do.
Publishers force them to work 120+ hours a week during 'crunch time' with no overtime pay, not caring about the fact that kind of work scheduele and sleep deprivation makes quality go to hell. Publishers are the ones who set deadlines their devs tell them are impossible, and then make them ship an incomplete product anyways.
"This is an age-old software development issue: reasonable scope on a reasonable schedule," says Keith Fuller, an experienced developer and production consultant who spent over a decade working on Activision projects like Jedi Academy, Quake 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops before going independent. "Our ongoing inability to properly address it is rooted in leadership issues."
"Developers rarely get to tell Marketing 'We can ship it now, we fixed all the bugs,'" notes Fuller. "Rather, the marketing department will tell you when you're launching regardless of fixing bugs. If you want that arrangement to change, figure out how to sell millions of units without telling anyone your game exists."
"The last game I worked on as a studio dev was Call of Duty: Black Ops, and Activision's legal team would go into cardiac arrest if I shared with you how few months before launch that game was almost entirely unplayable," says Fuller. "That's due to the pressure of annual franchise installments and the competitive landscape."
"Addressing this cycle is beyond the realm of development and it's sad that we think this is a development issue," says Keith. "Developers get the short end of both sticks: death marches and the blame for low quality. The solution is to address this culture."
I am adressing this culture. I do not support it, I do not support the way the Devs are treated, and I do not support what it does to the end product. Our industries talent are being worked to illness and exahustion, our games are becoming monotonous homogenous crap, and publishers are just raking in the money without giving a single rainbow.
Xenoblade isnt getting so much support from me because its going to be a fantastic game. Its going to be a fantastic game becuase mnonolith soft flies in the face of AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA publisher developer abuse culture, AND makes better games.http://www.siliconer...-place-to-work/
“One of the big opportunities that put the appointed weekly hours into action came from the 2006 occupational safety and health act revision, which demanded a more thorough employee time management,” says director Yasuyuki Honne. He further shares his beliefs that development styles which anticipate overtime work have already reached their limit. With that in mind, Monolift Soft’s company motto, “Zero overtime and creative work allowed” is what they now go by.
“Playing and having fun is the most important part. It’s the key to bringing out the fun in graphics,” says Genbe, as he explains that those are the deep feelings they share at Nintendo, which he has learned since joining. According to the designer, he has also learned to put his time to better use, thanks to the results of the appointed weekly hours.
“When the work starts to overflow, the leader immediately reviews the schedule accordingly. I spend my weekends on hobbies and polishing my skills using ZBrush at home,” Genbe explains, addressing how the lenient schedule has been a great benefit, by providing him with free time to relax and brush up on his abilities as a designer.
“Not only have my skills grown as an artist, but I feel as if I’ve matured more as a person, as well. The appointed weekly hours allow me to work with a mental sense of stability,”
No crunch time, no ridiculous deadlines, no MARKETING telling DEVELOPERS when they have to be done.
One of these publishing pipelines could only make a 37 square kilometer game. said 'See this huge world, if you can see it you can go there!' Except for all the places you couldnt. And it was full of bugs, invisible barriers, potato land design, and used up tropes from the 90's. They treat their devs like crap.
The other publishing pipeline made a 400 Square kilometer world, and said 'If you can see it, you can go there'. to which someone somewhere must have said 'but sir, what about all these places you just cant reach on foot?' to which they said 'Then we will give the player giant fricking robots and they can horsing fly there while fighting giant alien dinosaurs'. Too which some programmers and layout designers must have replied 'but sir, if we do that it will destroy the illusion of how open world games are designed like the surface of a potato.' To which they replied 'Then we will create a new design, one with no need for potatoes. And it will work the day you buy it, the moment you stick the disc in the system' They treat their devs like highly valuable human beings, and their greatest assets.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Gaming is not getting better. In fact, its been getting consistantly worse, as system power increases, workload increases, and devs are abused more, and more, and more, and more. Last gen it was stagnating and degenerating game design. This gen, you can add that games dont even WORK when you buy them. Sometimes not for months. I dont like bad game design, and when it results from abuse of employees, I give neither excuse nor pass.