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The main factor: time

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With all the hoopla recently about a future DA game, presumably DA:III, expectations seem to have risen dramatically among fans here (myself included). Some people seem positively giddy with excitement, while others are wary of what kind of product DA:III will be.

Despite all the criticism leveled at the DA franchise's lead developers, writers, designers, etc., I think the main factor determining how DA:III will turn out will simply be time. Time spent in fruitful development, to be specific.

I don't know when development on DA:O officially started, but from what former DA lead Brent Knowles has revealed, and considering that DA:O was shown at E3 in 2004, it probably started some time in early 2003. The original targeted release date was some time in 2007/2008. As we all know, it wasn't released until the end of 2009. Total time estimate is about 7 years, of which perhaps 1-2 (according to Brent) was spent in developmental hell. That leaves more than 5 years of fruitful progress.

Another popular RPG, Skyrim, was released in late 2011, more than 5 years after the released of its prequel, Oblivion. Not being too familiar with the company or the franchise, I'm not sure if the developers had worked on Skyrim full-time since Oblivion's release, but I'm sure they still spent plenty of time on the game, even if not every moment was spent coding.

It's been about 1 year since DA:II's release. Is our excitement about DA:III warranted at this point? I predict that it's highly unlikely to match DA:O or Skyrim's scope if it's released any time within 4 years from now. However, taking 5 years to develop a game is highly unlikely given that EA usually does 1-year or 2-year release cycles.

So I'm almost certain that DA:III, while it'll be better than DA:II, simply won't be able to match DA:O in sheer scale and amount of content, factors that were critical to my enjoyment of DA:O. That doesn't mean it won't be a good game, just that it wouldn't be the "return to form" many may be expecting from the franchise.

What do y'all think? Whocares65 (talk) 21:27, April 11, 2012 (UTC)

Couple things. One, Origins took longer because it was developed for the PC only at first. When they decided to release it on consoles too simultaneously, the port took time. The main PC game was done, so seven years is not accurate in the strictest sense. It was given time though, no doubt. Two: Time is one of the most important factors, but not the only one. And you are right about EA. Two years is the norm, but I think another six months can be tacked on to that at least given the reaction to DA2. But the reason DA2 did not reach DAO's heights has much more to do with the type of game it is, and the audience it was geared towards, over the time in development. DA2 removed itself from the old reliable "RPG" only crowd and targeted action gamers a lot more, and they just did not pay attention in significant numbers. And the old RPG gamers just did not like the game much at all. So while DA3 will need time to be good, I think it really needs to pick a game philosophy and decide what audience it is shooting for more than DA2 did. Straddling the fence just isn't going to work obviously. The Grey Unknown (talk) 21:53, April 11, 2012 (UTC)

In re extra time because of DA2: don't forget the fan reaction to Mass Effect 3. They may be different series, but they're from the same studio, and the negative response to ME3 has been much stronger and more widespread than to DA2. We may *hope* (though bad things can always happen) that they take some time to get DA3 right. Or if they don't, then I guess that'll be one last "screw you" to the fans. :-( Diyartifact (talk) 03:11, April 12, 2012 (UTC)

Time, eh? May 29, the final (well, at least for now) court hearing in EA vs Activision case. If EA loses, they lose $400 million. Which will need to be remedied somehow, as for now EA stocks are dropping. Which could mean, they'll have to rush the production of DA3, which in turn could mean, that we get (or rather not get, I, for instance, am not paying them a penny) an unfinished who-knows-what, worse then DA2.-Algol- (talk) 23:36, April 11, 2012 (UTC)

On the bright side, it could possibly be an end to EA once and for all. They might try to bring bioware down with them though...Crimpycracker (talk) 23:59, April 11, 2012 (UTC)
Yes, let us have those shitty Activision games. you Sir are a fu**ing moron.
Sh*t, they're really in court? Well, this just lowered my hopes for DA3 then... EzzyD (talk) 15:23, April 12, 2012 (UTC)

COD is one of the reasons that the quality of our games is decreasing, because they release one every year and it sells well EA is trying to copy that, the result is DA2 and the ME3 ending--Icemoomoo (talk) 06:45, April 12, 2012 (UTC)

An extra year for development time is close to being a no-brainer financially. Two year development costs for BioWare are estimated to run 30-40 million (and that includes the large advertising budget according to some estimates). So an extra year development should run 15-20 million at most. But it goes almost without question that DA2 sales and ME3 sales would have increased each by a million, probably multi-millions (based, for example on DA:O and Skyrim sales), without the rushed game content (in the case of DA2), or the rushed ending content (ME3). One million sales at $60/game is 60 million. Even assuming a low, 50%, rate of return, that's a 25 million+ return which more than covers a 15-20 million investment along with good profits. Given that the one million in extra sales could, and probably should, be extra sales in the multi-millions in at least some cases, an extra year development time is clearly a justifiable business risk that is likely to generate enormous returns in the long run. WarPaint (talk) 02:09, April 12, 2012 (UTC)

If EA's business strategy is "quantity over quality", well, it's their decision. But not buying games, which lack quality, is our decision. So people! at least don't pre-order anything coming from EA, let them scratch their heads and count the money they didn't make.-Algol- (talk) 09:31, April 12, 2012 (UTC)
WP, you're banking on full price sales though, and the last two game reactions, three really counting TOR, will affect the initial sales of DA3 without question. It's very important for these games to sell as much as possible as quickly s possible. I know you know this, but a lot of others here do not. And EA isn't going anywhere anytime soon, to whoever said that above, and EA going down would be the end of Bioware as it is currently constituted. Even losing that case, while certainly painful, is not a company breaker. There will be repercussions though. More cut corners, cut IP's, closing subdivisions etc....and Algol...EA's stock has sucked for years, which has changed nothing. Their assets though are enormous however. The Grey Unknown (talk) 11:39, April 12, 2012 (UTC)
EA's stock has sucked for years, yes, but it can only drop so much. There is a limit, no matter how enormous their assets are, they seem to have achieved a good tempo of squandering them. With each failure, DA2, TOR, ME3 endings, their usual "We don't care if you hate us, you'll still buy our crap" is becoming less and less viable. I don't imply they're going down soon, I do imply, however, that if people start respecting themselves as customers, and deny EA money for their crappy services (I mean Origin, really?), they either change their business practices, or they will go down eventually. I'm looking forward to that day.-Algol- (talk) 14:33, April 12, 2012 (UTC)
Hey WarPaint, in which EA business deal,game or project did you see them thinking in a long run? Their own policy denies the long run profits. That's EA. They never do things for a long run. It's wonder how they survived in gaming industry so far.--Markurion (talk) 12:31, April 12, 2012 (UTC)
Maybe it's a conspiracy? :P EzzyD (talk) 15:21, April 12, 2012 (UTC)

The thing that tears me apart is that i know DA3 will be much worse if they rush it for quick profits, but at the same time the fan in me wants the game as fast as possible. I guess it will be smarter to hope DA3 gets a long development period and just wait it out. And if it does have a long development period and it still isn't up to par with Origins... im going to be one angry City Elf. User:Warrior Tabris

Maybe we can slughter some shems together? :P City Elf is awesome! EzzyD (talk) 12:30, April 13, 2012 (UTC)
First city elves are sell-outs, dalish are the only way to go,
second I very much doubt that EA is going under. Despite the rushed and poorly made game that DA2 was it still, (if only barely) made break even. that means that they didn't lose money over making it. As long as they don't lose money they can keep making crappy games forever. Furthermore, their philosophy is this: "People that play video games are stupid and social losers, therefore games should be rushed as much as posible as they will buy it anyway because they have nothing better to do." Just think about it. They are the ones behind "Sims" are there any game more pointless, and more money grappling then Sims. It is obvious that they want to fool people into buying their products, like a lemon car salesmen.
Maybe I am wrong, but I know that if a company do not genuinely care about making a quality product, and take pride in their work, then they will never make anything good or worthwhile.
And this is true for every industry. This is why we have brand awareness. Something becomes a brand only when it has become known as a producer of quality products, something people can be proud of owning. Not just a chair, but Fritz Hansen Chair, not just a lamp, but a Poul Henningsen lamp, not just a table but a superelliptical table, and so on.-rphb- (talk) 22:57, April 13, 2012 (UTC)
First city elves are sell-outs, dalish are the only way to go
... and why are we to accept this as the credo? Makes me wonder... -Gabriellesig 23:10, April 13, 2012 (UTC)
Because it is an absolute and apodictic truth.-rphb- (talk) 23:20, April 13, 2012 (UTC)
City Elves are not sellouts, they're practically little more than slaves and as such are pressed into the culture and faith of their overseers. BTW City Elf is my favourite Origin :) EzzyD (talk) 14:35, April 14, 2012 (UTC)
They are sellouts, so I have spoken.
Ps. Seriously guys, I hope you can hear that I am making fun of you in this. Lets get back to the focus of this tread-rphb- (talk) 13:19, April 15, 2012 (UTC)
Heh. The only real sellouts here are the lead developing team of Bioware :P EzzyD (talk) 13:31, April 15, 2012 (UTC)
Amen-rphb- (talk) 14:45, April 15, 2012 (UTC)

The team at Bethesda that made Skyrim and Oblivion also made Fallout 3, which came out in 2008. They also spent almost a year releasing sizable DLC packs, though I don't know if the entire team worked on each one. Wsowen02 (talk) 23:32, April 15, 2012 (UTC)

Here's a bit of an update on EA financial issues via recent news articles. The first has to do with the EA vs Activision lawsuit scheduled for trial at the end of May. Turns out that there is a connected lawsuit in which Activision is being sued by the two Infinity Ward founders who left Activision to found Respawn, apparently with help from EA. The Infinity Ward founders claim that Activision owes them $125 million in unpaid royalties and they're also seeking rights to the Modern Warfare brand. Activision delays court date with West and Zampella

My take: The lawsuit(s) will be settled privately before trial, (about 90% of all lawsuits are settled on the eve of trial in the normal course of events). This one definitely won't make it to trial. One reason is that the Activision's $400 million claim is doomed. Damage recovery requires the claiming party to prove measurable financial damage. Activision's problem (if you want to call it that) is stellar sales of CoD despite the departure of the studio founders. Where's the damage? Second, the testimony in a lawsuit is public; and news reporters love public trials. No way Activision wants the two Infinity Ward founders, and the 40 other studio employees that left, to testify publicly about every possible problem with Activision policies, particularly when Activision stands only a small chance of winning. Third, juries favor the 'little guy' over the 'big guy'. Activision could come out of this whole thing with zero recovery, a 125 million loss and loss of IP rights.

The second news article, Report: EA facing up to 1000 job cuts, has to do with possible EA job cuts. EA's denial reported in the article is particularly weak ("There are no lay off as such"). A related article from Startup Grind, Electronic Arts Set To Layoff +500 Employees goes into some of the issues facing EA, including SWTOR issues. My take is that someone is mounting a campaign against EA CEO, John Riccitiello.

Seems to me that the BioDocs are also vulnerable, probably more so than Riccitiello. The BioDocs "own" SWTOR problems even more so than Riccitiello. With the addition of ME3 dual fiascoes (ME3's ending, and false advertising), the BioDocs' internal stock doesn't look good at all, particularly given the latest news from the the BBB, Bioware Falsely Advertised Mass Effect 3, Says Better Business Bureau. The BBB publicity is the type of thing that stock analysts hate because it reflects negatively on corporate ethics (rightly or wrongly), and because small investors pay attention to this stuff. Even though it shouldn't be a big deal financially, the publicity and potential impact on EA stock could cause a management shake up at BioWare. WarPaint (talk) 15:47, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

Yeah. To the informed observer it's becoming rather drastically clear that there are some major issues brewing with Bioware. Subpar expected game sales with poor fan reception and word of mouth disease, massive fan backlashes or outright abandonment of the company, potential massive financial loses with the MMO if things don't rapidly turn around, etc etc...I've always been 98% confident, even after the polarizing disaster that was DA2, that there would be a DA3. And I still think there will be right now. But to be brutally honest, the signs are really starting to show that things could swing drastically the other way. No panic, not much worry, but the potential is much greater than even a few months ago now. And it isn't likely to get better soon... The Grey Unknown (talk) 17:37, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

Despite all that doom and gloom, it should probably be pointed out that EA is still raking in the dough. I would say as much as 90% of consumers don't give a crap about all that stuff and will keep buying whatever gets shoveled their way, regardless of quality. If BioWare is confident DA3 can turn a profit, it will get made. Son Goharotto (talk) 18:41, April 16, 2012 (UTC)
First @WarPaint. I am not sure why what small investers think matters.If things are just remotely in america like they are over here, then 99% of all stocks are owned by big industrial investors like pension founds, money fonds, and governmental investments.
Second. Did SWTOR suck too? wow, I remember us talking about how important SWTOR was for the company, but I hate MMO so I never paid anymore attention to it. With a sucky ME3 it seems to me that Bioware is nothing but a memory.
For that I think that there is a definite possibility that the Dragon Age franchise will be cancelled and the Bioware studie shot down by EA. I almost prefer that senario over a DA3 that like DA2 is nothing but a painful mockery of what DA:O set out to be.
I feel old sometimes. Westwood, Bullfrog, Black Isle and many of the other companies that produced some of my most memorable games from my childhood are all gone now. And I guess we can ad BioWare to the list. It hasn't truly existed for years, and EA are like the darkspawn, it corrupts everything it touches.-rphb- (talk) 21:23, April 16, 2012 (UTC)

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