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Amy Hennig: People ask for linear Story-Based Games but aren’t necessarily buying them

Oct 27, 2017
7,251
I think her logic is flawed.

Look at the sales of Zelda, Mario, Horizon, Nier Automata and others.
Open world, open world, open world, open world. Literally none of those games is a linear, story-based game. And the last game you listed sold has textures that look like this.

Western AAA games are not permitted to look like this.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,387
No but it proves it is possible.
Publishers are just not trying anymore because there's simply more money to make in MP games (player retention and micro-transactions go along with each other)
I think that's her point. More people are buying those games than the other hence the top best selling games reflecting that.
 
Oct 26, 2017
7,063
It's putting a band-aid on the issue that regardless of the product and the sales they put out, the money they receive doesn't equal the real price of their labour. Considering that EA also plays the game of delivering bonuses from the metacritic score, that's actually not even a given in the first place.
You don't know that, you don't know anything about how they are paid.
 
Oct 26, 2017
965
People were expecting Resident Evil, instead they got a new IP billed as a horror game with very little relation to Resident Evil.

Capcom has huge problems listening to their community.
I'm not sure if you played much of RE7 if you think it's a new IP with very little relation to Resident Evil.
 
Oct 26, 2017
3,869
Appalachia
I think we need to reframe the argument. I just think that saying that youtube is (one of) the issue is short-sighted because it doesn't explain why things are the way they are. But I think it goes beyond publishers simply being greedy, and I understand that you call them out on it.

The thing is that they just don't care. It's the quest for a bigger profit that drives them. Framing a linear game as a GaaS is hard to work it out, so they make it something else where they can make it a live service. It's not "linear games can't make a profit", they definitely can. It's more "I can make a live service that can profit off the consumers instead". This is the basic argument.

But from that point, do you think that a game being priced 90$ is going to put a leash on their live service ? Is it going to give more options to devs to make what they want ? Remember that Amy's studio was already in an incredibly low morale because the studio had to be splintered for the Battlefield Hardline live service, which put several devs into distress. EA was already starving and draining the studio of their capability to create a great product.

I don't know, it just seems clear there's one target here. And it's not us. At least not in this specific case.
If you want to talk about who is really enacting the problematic shifts, I will definitely agree that it's on the publisher side.

My issue is that consumers have an opportunity to stand united against a lot of this stuff, but they never do. That's kind of what Amy said. Gamers talk the talk but hardly walk the walk. They say they want certain experiences but never buy them. Go to any threads about voting with your wallet and see how many of the responses are "if the game's good I buy it". Consumers don't care.

And since they don't care, many companies in the industry are actively walking all over them.
 
Oct 28, 2017
693
Montreal
Honestly it's hard to buy such games day when when you have so much extra potential extra spending towards aspects of the game taken out.

Pre-order bonus. Retailer exclusive. Console exclusive. Ultimate edition bundle. Season pass. Link with social media. Lootbox. Play other game.

When there's garbage like that I stay away at launch and wait for a more complete version of the game or for prices to drop so I can pick up everything at a reasonable price. If I'm going to do a single playthrough of a single player game I want my experience to be at it's best, and with buggy launch states and missing content I'm rarely enticed to buy them right away.
 

Vishmarx

Banned
Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,053
Many have also not, like Dishonored 2 and Mankind Divided. It really goes both ways and tbh the majority of the ones that have been sales successes have also been pretty much universally GOTY material. I think it’s tougher than ever right now to be a good-but-not-GOTY-caliber AAA single player game.
and then there's lawbreakers and battleborn becoming monumental flops with a AAA budget and the most casual gameplay model on the market.
the only argument i will accept is that its easier to catch lightning in a bottle with an MP game that it is with single players games , who almost always have to be good succeed .
But this makes the situation with well funded devs chasing after chance success even more questionable.These guys have the money to get a witcher 3 calibur made if they wanted to, developers of ark didnt thus they took the easier route.
I also find it hard to believe EA are happy with the profits being made off of their biggest game last year. Its january and im already starting to see half filled lobbies and completely dead modes. And now they cant do lootboxes and they have to add free dlc to it throughout the year.
This is with the most easiest game formula on the market with the easiest selling ip on the planet.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,339
Zelda BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Persona 5, Yakuza 0, Nier: Automata, Xenoblade Chronicles 2... all games I bought that are all favorites of mine from last year. Judging from the GOTY thread here I'm not alone. I also did not buy AssCreed Origins, the latest COD, Battlefront 2, Shadow of War or any other game that only tries to squeeze more money out of me (except Destiny 2, which I regret).
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,454
Her last game was Uncharted 3 and it sold well enough I think. She should blame EA for cancelling her game and not gamers.

Raising prices isn't the answer, not every game needs a $100 million budget. Make AA games instead of AAA if it's too expensive.
 
Oct 27, 2017
7,251
Already a thread, but that's no excuse. Look at Hellblade for an example how to not burn through millions of unnecessary dollars and make money. And the game isn't even $60.
Amy Hennig: I was thinking about this while playing Hellblade, which is amazing and beautiful. And then I thought, “Well, wait a second. They only have to make one character, and we had to do like 20 of those at the same level of fidelity, with as many as 10 of them on screen at a time, running in frame rate.”

Also, I think this is gonna be yet another thread where dozens of posters demonstrate they have no idea what the word "linear" means.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,698
Indonesia
Zelda BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Persona 5, Yakuza 0, Nier: Automata, Xenoblade Chronicles 2... all games I bought that are all favorites of mine from last year. Judging from the GOTY thread here I'm not alone. I also did not buy AssCreed Origins, the latest COD, Battlefront 2, Shadow of War or any other game that only tries to squeeze more money out of me (except Destiny 2, which I regret).
Congrats.. because none of those games (except Mario) fit the criteria of games that Amy Hennig is talking about.
 
Nov 2, 2017
1,593
And there are tens of thousands that are being canned and/or reshuffled around for the publishers needs with no concern for their well-being. What do you think happened at Visceral ? They all left on good terms and it just was a difference in philosophy ? What do you think a crunch is ? A passion drive ?
Dude, can you chill out a bit? Your tone is a bit over the top. We know Visceral was shut down because their games were not profitable (DS2,DS3), so they were given Battlefield to try and become profitable (what is the publisher supposed to do there? Keep paying cheques for a studio that’s losing money?) and they did not succeed at that, and then their Star Wars project ran into a bunch of problems, so they were shuttered (Jason Schrier wrote a fantastic piece on this that shows how dysfunctional the studio had become). It’s a very straightforward trajectory. For reference, I worked at THQ when it shut down, and yes, it sucked.

Obviously crunch isn’t great. Nobody is going to tell you that, and it should not be a necessary evil and it’s obvioisly a very nuanced and complex subject that varies wildly from game to game. A title launching early in the year probably shouldn’t have to worry about crunch, and usually they’ll get the delay they need unless circumstances are particularly dire, but is Activision supposed to delay CoD from its prime October launch slot when they’ve had three years to get it ready?

I honestly think it very rarely gets to a point where you can point at a publisher and say “those guys are EEEVIL”. I’ve been in crunch, I’ve been through company shut downs. It sucks. On the other hand wages have been fucking great for the work and the jobs generally are comfortable and have lots of benefits. I’m not saying it can’t be better. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be better. I’m saying the caricature of publishers being horrible vampires who have it out for their employees is baffling.
 
Oct 26, 2017
4,697
Open world, open world, open world, open world. Literally none of those games is a linear, story-based game. And the last game you listed sold has textures that look like this.

Western AAA games are not permitted to look like this.
They're also all single player offline story based games.

Which a lot of people would like to see from star wars.

Nier sold well internationally.
 
Oct 25, 2017
566
Why pay 60$ when I can watch 100% of the game on Youtube/Twitch and spend half of that for a game that I can play for hundreds or even thousands of hours? This is how lots of my friends and people that I know think. And I can't really blame them. When you've paid 10$ for 2k hours of CS:GO or 30$ for 400+ hours of PUBG how can you pay 50/60$ for a game you'll play once or twice in your lifetime?

It's just how the industry is now. There are tons of games and with how limited time is people will give their money in whatever they see as a better value. Hence the shift to GaaS/online multiplayer games from devs.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,581
Italy
I think her logic is flawed.

Look at the sales of Zelda, Mario, Horizon, Nier Automata and others.

Then look at the sales of LawBreakers, Battleborn, Drawn To Death etc.

I think people obviously want single player games, and are happy to spend $60 on them, they just have to offer something interesting and unique, and have to be produced on a realistic budget.
I think, data and surveys at hand, she knows best that any of us.

I surely agree with her with the fact that when asked (for example, through questionnaires) consumers want everything. That's why the use of such tools to gauge market interest is less and less relevant. There's a mismatch between what consumers state to want and when they actually open their wallet.

Also, Mario is selling because it's Mario---regardless whether it's a story-driven game (which is not---story is not the feature of Mario games). Nier sold well not at AAA levels as Amy was implying.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,387
and then there's lawbreakers and battleborn becoming monumental flops with a AAA budget and the most casual gameplay model on the market.
the only argument i will accept is that its easier to catch lightning in a bottle with an MP game that it is with single players games , who almost always have to be good succeed .
But this makes the situation with well funded devs chasing after chance success even more questionable.These guys have the money to get a witcher 3 calibur made if they wanted to, developers of ark didnt thus they took the easier route.
You have to factor the different value of payrates and currency in Poland compared to other countries to make a game like The Witcher 3 and it's DLC at the budget they did it at.
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,409
Truth. We wait on sales and then brag about how cheap we get games so fast after launch, watching games on youtube isn't just your little cousin's hobby, it happens in the hardcore gaming community too. The old site had few threads on that.

I think the biggest issue however is the inflated expectations, why can't I has games that need to sell 2-3M to be a success from EA or Acti @60$, something between A Way Out and SWBF2.
 
Oct 25, 2017
969
Zelda BOTW, Mario Odyssey, Persona 5, Yakuza 0, Nier: Automata, Xenoblade Chronicles 2... all games I bought that are all favorites of mine from last year.
You do realise that their performance, except for BotW and Odyssey, would be considered dreadful if they were AAA games right?
There's still a sizable market for this type of games for sure but it's not as profitable as it once was.
 
Nov 3, 2017
6,689
They're also all single player offline story based games.

Which a lot of people would like to see from star wars.

Nier sold well internationally.
If Star Wars sold what Nier sold it would be considered a flop, that's just the reality of the situation.

Nier did great for what it is but not even close to the big sellers of the industry.
 
Oct 27, 2017
7,251
They're also all single player offline story based games.

Which a lot of people would like to see from star wars.
That's completely beside the point, though. This is specifically about linear 4-10 hours games vs open world content sinks that audiences overwhelmingly want. Back in 2016, Amy Hennig stated that Uncharted 1 could never be made in today's market because it's a 10 hour linear game with no MP and no extra modes. No "replay value" to speak of.

Nier sold well internationally.
It sold terribly by western AAA standards. Alien: Isolation sold 2 million copies. Alien: Isolation 2 is dead. Tomb Raider: Underworld sold 2.5 million. This was so catastrophic the entire series was rebooted. Western AAA developers do not have the luxury of making games with terrible graphics. Games where major story sequences are text on a background. (Maybe Bungie does, but they don't count.)
 
Oct 28, 2017
376
Bottom line is £50 is way too much for a 5-8 hour linear story game. If it's padded to 20hrs, it looks value for money but... it's padded.
Single player story games (i.e. Not open world) will be reborn in Netflix style subscriptions. Until then, they'll dwindle to a handful of flagship releases that get all the sales.
 

Vishmarx

Banned
Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,053
Also, Mario is selling because it's Mario---regardless whether it's a story-driven game (which is not---story is not the feature of Mario games). Nier sold well not at AAA levels as Amy was implying.
again, blaming the gamers for this is so meaningless, nobody said amy has to make a linear game, or a AAA game. I think theres a gigantic canyon of options between the most expensive least lucrative game on the market and outright cancellation.
Hell say what you will ubisoft , but after unity they actually managed to pull their single player ip out of the grave and make it a big success in this day and age. Their mp games sell like hotcakes but they still actually put in the money and effort in even if it wasnt as profitable as wildlands or something.
 

II JumPeR I

Banned
Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,770
Germany
Yup she is right.
I never buy Singleplayer only games for 60€ anymore. Its just too much, especially when the Story can be finished in under 6-8 hours. Its same for Multiplayer only games. I dont see the value on throwing away 60€ for a Online only MP experience.
I dont have any issue however paying 60€ when a game offers a complete package. Singleplayer campaign, good to great PvP MP and some kind of Coop PvE Mode.
 
Oct 26, 2017
277
I must be out of touch, but are there really that many people who prefer watching somebody play through a whole game on Twitch/YouTube, rather than actually play the game and experience it their self?
Yeah I have a friend who is like that. He used to finish and play all his games until the advent of youtube. In some cases this article speak the truth but single player games still sell well. Maybe not as well as they used to. I on the other hand rarely buy barebones muliplayer games but I think fighters are the exception.
 
Oct 28, 2017
10,905
Dude, can you chill out a bit? Your tone is a bit over the top. We know Visceral was shut down because their games were not profitable (DS2,DS3), so they were given Battlefield to try and become profitable (what is the publisher supposed to do there? Keep paying cheques for a studio that’s losing money?) and they did not succeed at that, and then their Star Wars project ran into a bunch of problems, so they were shuttered (Jason Schrier wrote a fantastic piece on this that shows how dysfunctional the studio had become). It’s a very straightforward trajectory. For reference, I worked at THQ when it shut down, and yes, it sucked.

Obviously crunch isn’t great. Nobody is going to tell you that, and it should not be a necessary evil and it’s obvioisly a very nuanced and complex subject that varies wildly from game to game. A title launching early in the year probably shouldn’t have to worry about crunch, and usually they’ll get the delay they need unless circumstances are particularly dire, but is Activision supposed to delay CoD from its prime October launch slot when they’ve had three years to get it ready?

I honestly think it very rarely gets to a point where you can point at a publisher and say “those guys are EEEVIL”. I’ve been in crunch, I’ve been through company shut downs. It sucks. On the other hand wages have been fucking great for the work and the jobs generally are comfortable and have lots of benefits. I’m not saying it can’t be better. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be better. I’m saying the caricature of publishers being horrible vampires who have it out for their employees is baffling.
What's the point then ? Are the benefits worth having a sword over your head at all times and knowing that you might have to move away with your family for the Xth time because you can't afford the rent without your job ? Some of my friends went through that and it's clear that it's untenable. It's just not working, just as much that you know they didn't have full directorial control of the Dead Space franchise. It's been shuttered for doing things the way they told them to. You know the blame is not going to be placed to the top.

At the same time, it's not so much that they under-performed that it just didn't meet expectations. Which means that DS2 might have even turned up a profit (4M sales !! For a horror game !) and it just wasn't enough for them. So at that point, it's easy to ask EA how much is enough ? And how can studios possibly even survive under their control ? Edit : I'm adding to say that I'm not saying 4M is enough against a 60M budget, but that there were undue expectations here.


It's a mess, so yeah they're not vampires, but they do have fangs.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,387
again, blaming the gamers for this is so meaningless, nobody said amy has to make a linear game, or a AAA game. I think theres a gigantic canyon of options between the most expensive least lucrative game on the market and outright cancellation.
Hell say what you will ubisoft , but after unity they actually managed to pull their single player ip out of the grave and make it a big success in this day and age. Their mp games sell like hotcakes but they still actually put in the money and effort in even if it wasnt as profitable as wildlands or something.
This is true that's why I said it's a problem created by the industry and not the consumer.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,720
Picking exceptions to the rule doesn't negate the rule.
You could apply the same logic to any genre. They're all exceptions. There isn't one genre where you can invest a ton of money in and will guaranteed success, or even be given a high chance of success. Look at open-world games. You have titles like Kingdoms of Amalur, The Saboteur, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Prototype etc. that didn't exactly light up the charts. Or what about all the failed multiplayer-only games or the massive grave of failed MMO's? Like I said, no genre is really safe, so I don't get why certain types of single player games are taking the brunt of the attacks.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,980
Singapore
Then why are people bringing up games like Nier and Hellblade and go "See? Why can't big publishers do that too?"
If games like Nier and Hellblade can sell a few million with no brand identity and very limited marketing and distribution, it reasons that there is clearly a larger audience for games of that sort with a larger brand. A good question is what the ceiling of such a game is these days. Stuff like Uncharted and God of War probably paint a better picture in that regard.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,387
You could apply the same logic to any genre. They're all exceptions. There isn't one genre where you can invest a ton of money in and will guaranteed success, or even be given a high chance of success. Look at open-world games. You have titles like Kingdoms of Amalur, The Saboteur, Red Faction: Guerrilla, Prototype etc. that didn't exactly light up the charts. Or what about all the failed multiplayer-only games or the massive grave of failed MMO's? Like I said, no genre is really safe, so I don't get why certain types of single player games are taking the brunt of the attacks.
Yes, but it's in context to the amount that were successful which is much less now than then.

She's commenting on a noticable trend in her industry.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,778
This is true that's why I said it's a problem created by the industry and not the consumer.
I acutally don't think it's a problem.

If more people prefer MP games that's were the big guys will put their money in. The high player numbers for MP games is not something publishers invented. Neither is that more money is spent by players playing those games.

It's not like there's not a plethora of high quality SP games at lower budget levels. They just don't look like Uncharted or Battlefront and they will not be made by the big publishers.

Some high budget SP games will also still be made, it's not like that market is dead.
 
Dec 4, 2017
18
Seems to me that the game was cutting it. EA had to scrounge for cash to buy Respawn. So they cut that project and team.

Horizon, Uncharted, Yakuza. Nier

There are good single player games out there. Make a good game and people will buy it. Will it make as much money as an online service? Probably not. But those games cost money to keep running too.
 

Vishmarx

Banned
Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,053
On the other hand EA totally invested a comparable number into Mass Effect Andromeda and that certainly demonstrates that even loads of money can’t guarantee anything.
It does if you care, bioware is already on a decline and their best were already siphoned off to make the next lootbox sensation anthem. By having the money, i mean its more than just the process of withdrawing a wad of cash from the bank and throwing it inside the office building. If your top brass is composed of talentless hacks who are more interesting in twitter politics than their job then its your job to get them replaced by people who are actually good at what they get paid for. If you dont have the time for that then hire someone who does.It also means acknowledging the controversy around how much of a shitshow andromeda looked prior to release and making sure it never came to that.
failure is a part of business, just like they wont stop making battlefront after 2. but you just know ME is in the grave and if it does come back itll be worse than ever. instead the next bf3 will have more money, more marketing and more everything from them.

Despite setbacks nintendo and sony have always proved single player games can be guaranteed success just as much as mp games, long as youre committed to it.
Tell me if you had to put money on one of the following crackdown being a big success or the next linear mario bros/tlou 2 being a big success which one would you go for?
 
Oct 28, 2017
405
Publishers re biggest problem for devs. Every games is expected to make hundreds of million and if it doesnt, than its flop. After all its 40 billion industry. Its never enough.

- make good games. Im not paying 60 euros for 6 hours game with 72 on metacritic. But i ll pay $60 for great 10h game full of action and quality. Bunch of unlocks, new game+ etc. Now everything is dlc, season pass...i ll just wait for goty version for $30.
- also why game cant be 30 or $40 but keep the price longer?
- stop paying million to holywood cast for 5 minute cut scene. NO ONE CARES
- release demos, betas and lsiten to feedback. Dont release broken games. I literally skipped prey after demo, controls and deadzone were so bad on ps4.
- there is little inovation in industry or that studios re trying something new and fresh. Every AAA game is semi open world, with stealth mehanics,upgrades.
- release games all year. Everything is for holidays. On gaf i predicted bethesda games ll flop and some others. I bought bunch of games for holidays but i cant buy every one. Bought evil within. Skipped wolf2 even though demo was great. Why wasnt that january or february release?
- not every mp game is success
etc

im individual but im sure all that has impact single player game sales
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,739
Holland
I feel like an ancient relic. Apparently so many people prefer to watch games instead of playing them, I will never understand why. I just want to play it myself :(
 
Oct 29, 2017
3,673
Because people don't say that. Or rather, they don't say that outside of niche enthusiast forums like this. The vast vast VAST majority of gamers are not asking for or caring about linear story-driven games.

Devs need to stop dumping huge amounts of money into writing and cinematics, because it's clear that very few people care about them.
 
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