Chris Avellone interview

Discussion in 'NMA News and Information' started by Brother None, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    IndieRPGs has a pretty read-worthy interview with Fallout 2/Wasteland 2 designer Chris Avellone on RPGs and the industry in general.<blockquote>Back in March, Brian Fargo mentioned a pretty depressing example of Obsidian’s treatment by Bethesda, the publisher of Fallout: New Vegas. In your experience working with publishers, do you find that sort of behavior unusual?

    No comment.

    That whole model concerns me, the idea that a publisher can pay the costs of developing a game, then leave the developer with no additional source of revenue the second the game comes out. Are royalties ever on the table in your negotiations with publishers?

    They are, although it’s difficult to negotiate. We always try to fight for royalties, we just aren’t always successful.

    Given that you’re now working on Wasteland 2, do you see any differences so far between working independently versus working with a publisher?

    There’s more sharing (design docs, vision docs, early area creation, more fan feedback and idea exchanges). Also, the willingness of other companies doing Kickstarters to help each other has been a nice change of pace – there’s a feeling like “we’re all in this together.” Brian Fargo and inXile, for example, gave us a lot of budget and backing feedback, shared the post-mortems and takes on their process, and all of that really helped with our campaign and getting things rolling.</blockquote>
     
  2. Faceless Stranger

    Faceless Stranger Board Drifter

    Aug 19, 2010
    What was the example of bad relations that Fargo mentioned back in March? I must've missed that interview.
     
  3. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Non Binary Pod Person Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005
    He mentioned how he fought to get Wasteland 2 made, but publishers just didn't understand it, among other examples I'm forgetting. I believe he talked about it in the original Wasteland 2 video on KS.
     
  4. Gurkog

    Gurkog First time out of the vault

    21
    Jun 9, 2011
    He talked about how publishers are responsible for the majority of QA for ALL games, demand to have full control over any animated video and voice acting, and that developers are afraid to set the public straight on why games have crappy VO, videos, and bugs because they might get blacklisted.
     
  5. babadook

    babadook Lived Through the Heat Death
    Orderite

    Apr 2, 2005
    What I would like to know is if there is any bad blood now, post "bash traditional publishers" campaigns. Is there any risk that we will see popular franchise projects being handed to smaller, "inexperienced" studios in favor of being handed to say InXile or Obsidian who have played the "traditional publishers suck" card (Perhaps not so much Obsidian but good relations with InXile)?
     
  6. Surf Solar

    Surf Solar So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs

    Aug 20, 2009
    Since neither Fargo or any other Obsidian guy dropped a direct name of a publisher, I don't think so. Hell, Fargo even has a deal with EA to make the game available on their Origin platform.

    At the end of the day, these people are grown ups and there is money involved, no reason to have bad blood for anything. It's just business.
     
  7. babadook

    babadook Lived Through the Heat Death
    Orderite

    Apr 2, 2005
    EA is not paying for developing this game though. They are a distribution channel so either they take this deal and get money or they refuse it and get no money. I can see them having the possibility to reason differently if they have ten studios to pick from to develop their game where one studio claims to hate to work for publishers.

    You are most likely right. It's just an itch in need of a scratch.


    Add: I see this has been discussed to death on the Wasteland 2 forums.
     
  8. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    I don't know if publishers care much about Kickstarter per se, though Fargo often stretches it (sometimes with a bit of populism, since he tends to exaggerate the problems and present a bit of a black and white view in his speeches.. though I understand it can feel rather great to not be working for hire for once, and it sounds like he had a bad experience with Bethesda).

    As for Obsidian, they've taken a mostly neutral stance on publishers and remarked time and time and again that they feel there's still space for the model and they'd like to do big games too. The problem is, there are signs that they have pissed at least a couple of publishers: SEGA wasn't satisfied with their AP performance and dissed them more or less as quick as they can, Bethesda.. well, with Bethesda it's a bit more complicated and I'm not too clear on what's happened.

    The DLC delays, the Metacritic debacle, Sawyer comments on the engine that were widely reported as on Skyrim (when they weren't, but Sawyer never even bothered to say something as simple as "I haven't worked on Skyrim, my comments were referring to Fallout: New Vegas"), the fairly bad reception and reputation it got on release for bugs, etc.

    A lot of that could be argued to be unfair, but it makes me wonder if Bethesda (as a company, I know there are people like Jason Bergman who, at least in public, have been rather enthusiastic about the project and the collaboration) simply doesn't want to collaborate with them anymore.

    Aside from that, Obsidian's obstacle when dealing with publishers will be bad reputation/weak sales they've had in the past, definitely not the fact that they used Kickstarter to fund a quickie on the side.
     
  9. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    What's that Swayer / Skyrim comments you are talking about? Can't remember them.

    But beside this, you can also blame "gaming journalists" who like to pick up every little thing and bloat it up to something big. Examples being Feargus talking a bit lightly about the publisher who wanted to do a kickstarter with Obsidian, which was bloated up as if publishers are the big evil on various gaming news sites, or the 85% metacritic situation, which was transformed into a scandal from a just very small tweet posted by Avellone, or the tweets from Notch every once in a while, which as well had been bloated up to huge news by various sites, even if he just randomly wrote something, etc. etc. There are a lot such examples recently.
     
  10. Richwizard

    Richwizard So Old I'm Losing Radiation Signs
    Orderite

    Jan 18, 2010
    That stems from gaming journalists pretending they're "big time" journalists. They want to make a name for themselves by creating the latest, greatest scoop. They would get more respect if they focused more on what's really going on in the gaming industry and community. The news team here at NMA deserves more respect than those self absorbed wanna-be's.
     
  11. WorstUsernameEver

    WorstUsernameEver But best title ever!

    May 28, 2010
    Well, yeah, obviously. Trust me, I'm not particularly sympathetic with the brand of sensationalist bloglism (if you're a blog people can't complain about your journalistic standards!) that a lot of sites provide.

    But people started more or less quoting Sawyer on that connecting it to Skyrim much earlier than the various gaming websites picked it up, and as annoying as it can be, it really wouldn't have taken much more than "hey, I was commenting more or less on F:NV's engine" to clarify, at least in part. I'm not saying it was *his* fault, what I'm saying is that I get the feeling that Sawyer just wasn't interested, and that makes me speculate that *Obsidian* isn't interested in working with Bethesda anymore (either because of problems in the collaboration, or they more or less already knew they wouldn't get the chance anymore).

    But, uh, again, this is more or less uninformed speculation. I don't have sources at Obsidian.
     
  12. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Ah, you mean this engine stuff with the memory and such? Well, in that case, it is not exactly wrong- Skyrim has exactly the same problems as FNV, Fo3, etc. Even the performance drops from many npcs is pretty much the same. The Skyrim engine *is* a lot improved, but it didn't removed all problems.

    But like I wrote above, I pretty much remember nothing of what he posted regarding this, so yeah, don't nail me down on my text.
     
  13. Brother None

    Brother None This ghoul has seen it all
    Staff Member Admin Orderite

    Apr 3, 2003
    I think he specifically talked about the Metacritic bonus kerfuffle.

    But honestly, Fargo doesn't really hide his dislike for Bethesda, falling only just short from openly critiquing them, while his working relationship with EA for both the Bard's Tale and Wasteland 1/2 has been nothing short of a joy. Funny how things work sometimes.
     
  14. TorontoReign

    TorontoReign Non Binary Pod Person Staff Member Moderator

    Apr 1, 2005

    Oh yeah. That Metacritic deal was pure bullshit. A site that brings in trolls by the thousands isn't necessarily a good judge of the success of a game. Many people either leave 10's or 0's there. The whole New Vegas bonus situation really pissed me off to no end.
     
  15. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    I hate review that made by idiots.
    I saw a game reviewed awfully because it's grapic was oldschool-like.
    And lots of idot who think the reviewer is right, they say same things that reviewer said, without play it propery or play that game with prejudice. Altough most of players plays very little time and quite even it was good(looking good maybe) game or bad game.
     
  16. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    I think they took the "official reviews" from websites and such for the % and not the user ratings. Taking the user rating would be really, really bad, simply because it is even easier to manipulate.


    Heh, just remember Alpha Protocol, which was trashed by most on the american sites. Then, a year later, a few of these reviewer folks wrote a new article about the game with "well, guess it isn't so bad after all." - after a year, when it was much too late.
     
  17. Briosafreak

    Briosafreak Lived Through the Heat Death

    Dec 18, 2003
    Yep, and the EA thing is indeed ironically hilarious, and at the same time nice. But still we have to recover the funny birthday video from the 90's, the one made by Interplay employees with all the EA gags, just for kicks.
     
  18. Faceless Stranger

    Faceless Stranger Board Drifter

    Aug 19, 2010
    Yeah, I remember that, it's a shame that it won't be getting a sequel due it's initial reception, it was one of the better rpgs of this generation.

    As for Fargo, I am curious why he doesn't just openly criticise Bethesda, has he ever had a game published by them? I don't think that inXile would get blacklisted just for that as it seems that he's already just short of that as you said.
     
  19. Lexx

    Lexx Background Radiant
    Moderator Modder

    Apr 24, 2005
    Yes he had, called "Hunted: The Demon's Forge." I don't see why he should openly criticise anyone, though. It won't achieve anything except setting himself into a bad position for possible future contracts.
     
  20. woo1108

    woo1108 Vault Senior Citizen

    Sep 27, 2012
    Alpha protocol is good game? I haven't heard good things about that game in my country.