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-   -   Why won't Blizzard make more games? (http://forums.scrollsoflore.com/showthread.php?t=221146)

Kir the Wizard 04-11-2017 04:51 AM

Why won't Blizzard make more games?
 
Call me a simpleton, but I wonder. :stupid:

Why doesn't Blizzard make more games?

It's what videogame companies are supposed to do. There are lots of Elder Scrolls games. Paradox can't stop making new games and addons to old ones. A LOT of companies are set to produce HQ Medieval/Fantasy content nowadays, often cooperating with set properties. People lust for the heroics of old, wishing to find solace in such escapism.

So why does Blizzard concentrate on merely maintaining the existing cash-cows on life support?

Are there really not enough of those fabled MAN-HOURS to create something new and exciting? A new Warcraft RTS? A TES-level of detail Warcraft RPG set in one of the world's regions?

Is Blizzard wary of taking risks?

Asterisk 04-11-2017 06:22 AM

Overwatch is still rather recent.

I'd say it's because a lot of their games are ones that get a constant stream of updates, rather than one launch with some DLC later down the road.

Mutterscrawl 04-11-2017 07:45 AM

A mix of risk-aversion and not wanting to bloat themselves with the hiring needed to keep additional franchises going.

Kir the Wizard 04-11-2017 07:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mutterscrawl (Post 1573753)
A mix of risk-aversion and not wanting to bloat themselves with the hiring needed to keep additional franchises going.

I admit, part of the reason I made this thread was to gush about how cool a TES-style Warcraft RPG could be.

Cantus 04-11-2017 08:52 AM

Blizz's original business model (pre-WoW) didn't allow for new games to come about. They just weren't big enough. With StarEdit subsequent RTS editors, they were able to build up a fanbase that built mini-games for them, acting as a mini-publisher where they owned all profits. So...no real reason to go beyond the big three games.

Once WoW hit, subscriptions became so profitable they needed to sustain them, creating a massive support base for their MMO while they used that for development of other games. Now here's where things fell apart, they put millions if not billions into funding a small set of big projects. SC2, D3, and Titan were meant to be pillars for the next generation of gaming to support the further growth of the company.

Except, SC2 hasn't grown the way Starcraft did, because that era of gaming was eclipsed by Blizz's own mini-games (MOBAs) and its maker community doesn't need SE2 to create their own games anymore. D3 was a failure on launch because they forgot core tenets of what made it fun (Easy replayability, PvP, and a Skinner box that wasn't a stock market game), and it's now too far gone to salvage. Titan, as we now know, was too ambitious. Blizz is not a company that innovates wildly, they take great notes from other sources (MMO's and games in general) and condense them.

So, they took a turn to where the market currently sits, F2P and DLC (e.g. overwatch skins). Hearthstone, Heroes, and Overwatch (FPS slapped over Titan's world) are all the future of their franchises, and it's very obvious that those games are where Blizz will continue to stand. They're, in a very real sense, just cannibalizing what's left of their primary universes (as those stories end) and putting them on top of simpler vehicles where far less development space is needed to create profit.

Blizz won't create more games in the sense that we're used to because the adventurous old-guard is being replaced by a more cautious new one that shies away from big gambles. When you get to be a company as big as Blizz is now, that's an unfortunately natural turn. There may be new universes every decade or so, and they may pick up new game styles, but it won't be in the big, bold way that we're looking for. Newer studios, where big, bold steps are needed to make a mark, will carry on that torch in its stead.

Kir the Wizard 04-11-2017 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cantus (Post 1573767)
Blizz's original business model (pre-WoW) didn't allow for new games to come about. They just weren't big enough. With StarEdit subsequent RTS editors, they were able to build up a fanbase that built mini-games for them, acting as a mini-publisher where they owned all profits. So...no real reason to go beyond the big three games.

Once WoW hit, subscriptions became so profitable they needed to sustain them, creating a massive support base for their MMO while they used that for development of other games. Now here's where things fell apart, they put millions if not billions into funding a small set of big projects. SC2, D3, and Titan were meant to be pillars for the next generation of gaming to support the further growth of the company.

Except, SC2 hasn't grown the way Starcraft did, because that era of gaming was eclipsed by Blizz's own mini-games (MOBAs) and its maker community doesn't need SE2 to create their own games anymore. D3 was a failure on launch because they forgot core tenets of what made it fun (Easy replayability, PvP, and a Skinner box that wasn't a stock market game), and it's now too far gone to salvage. Titan, as we now know, was too ambitious. Blizz is not a company that innovates wildly, they take great notes from other sources (MMO's and games in general) and condense them.

So, they took a turn to where the market currently sits, F2P and DLC (e.g. overwatch skins). Hearthstone, Heroes, and Overwatch (FPS slapped over Titan's world) are all the future of their franchises, and it's very obvious that those games are where Blizz will continue to stand. They're, in a very real sense, just cannibalizing what's left of their primary universes (as those stories end) and putting them on top of simpler vehicles where far less development space is needed to create profit.

Blizz won't create more games in the sense that we're used to because the adventurous old-guard is being replaced by a more cautious new one that shies away from big gambles. When you get to be a company as big as Blizz is now, that's an unfortunately natural turn. There may be new universes every decade or so, and they may pick up new game styles, but it won't be in the big, bold way that we're looking for. Newer studios, where big, bold steps are needed to make a mark, will carry on that torch in its stead.

Thank you for this wonderful insight.

I guess it's pretty much the sole truth we have.

Guess mods and custom maps it is.

Cantus 04-11-2017 01:21 PM

I wouldn't say that's "the" answer, just that's where I make my own assumptions.

C9H20 04-11-2017 08:39 PM

Well, we've long noted that Blizz is a bit of a fuck up in terms of logistics. They are bad at expanding their business and working at peak efficiency. I am not a gaming industry expert but I strongly feel they don't get nearly as much bang for their (huge amount of) buck as other companies do.

Combined with that I think they have a policy of not making competition for their own games. Apart from the legacy RTS games but even there we won't be seeing another WC RTS for a long while it seems.
So they have WoW as their MMO, SC2 as their RTS, Diablo 3 is their RPG (kinda, can't quite classify Diablo), HotS is their MOBA, Overwatch is their TF2 clone/FPS and Hearthstone has the card game market covered.

Of those I'd only say SC2 and Diablo 3 are on "life support" and will need major new content soon if they are to remain relevant. Either a whole new game or a big expansion. Arguably so is WoW, but it still has lots of subscribers and will remain a reliable cashcow for years to come.

Now given all that, what niche is left to fill? What kind of game could Blizz release that is not competing with their other games? I can see some grand strategy like Civ or EU, but some GS elements could be glued to their RTS games and kind of were given the out of battle stuff we were doing in SC2. They could make a sort of Elder Scrolls like RPG, that shouldn't cut much from Diablo. Apart from that racing games are open but I have a hard time seeing Blizz make one (yeah I know about R&R racing), maybe some silly racing game like Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart feature some or all of their franchises?
And while it is not something we want to hear, given Blizz's money grubbing streak these last few years, they can easily opt to make some mobile focused game that can be done by five developers and that ends up raking in billions. I am talking about a game that would make Hearthstone seem hyper-complex and totally not P2W. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Anyway that is my analysis of things.

Kir the Wizard 04-12-2017 02:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by C9H20 (Post 1574133)
Well, we've long noted that Blizz is a bit of a fuck up in terms of logistics. They are bad at expanding their business and working at peak efficiency. I am not a gaming industry expert but I strongly feel they don't get nearly as much bang for their (huge amount of) buck as other companies do.

Exactly. Look at how Paradox constantly tries new themes, markets and strategies. Even makes new settings, like the Kyros Peace one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by C9H20 (Post 1574133)
Of those I'd only say SC2 and Diablo 3 are on "life support" and will need major new content soon if they are to remain relevant. Either a whole new game or a big expansion. Arguably so is WoW, but it still has lots of subscribers and will remain a reliable cashcow for years to come.

By "life support" I meant still keeping at WoW and trying to let it stay relevant. The game is more than ten years old. It should have been dead by now, but they continue updating it since the market still exists.

Quote:

Originally Posted by C9H20 (Post 1574133)
Now given all that, what niche is left to fill? What kind of game could Blizz release that is not competing with their other games? I can see some grand strategy like Civ or EU, but some GS elements could be glued to their RTS games and kind of were given the out of battle stuff we were doing in SC2. They could make a sort of Elder Scrolls like RPG, that shouldn't cut much from Diablo. Apart from that racing games are open but I have a hard time seeing Blizz make one (yeah I know about R&R racing), maybe some silly racing game like Crash Team Racing or Mario Kart feature some or all of their franchises?
And while it is not something we want to hear, given Blizz's money grubbing streak these last few years, they can easily opt to make some mobile focused game that can be done by five developers and that ends up raking in billions. I am talking about a game that would make Hearthstone seem hyper-complex and totally not P2W. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Anyway that is my analysis of things.

...You know, I think you found a spot-on future thing. A mobile game. Damn.

Lon-ami 04-12-2017 03:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kir the Wizard (Post 1573721)
Call me a simpleton, but I wonder. :stupid:

Why doesn't Blizzard make more games?

It's what videogame companies are supposed to do. There are lots of Elder Scrolls games. Paradox can't stop making new games and addons to old ones. A LOT of companies are set to produce HQ Medieval/Fantasy content nowadays, often cooperating with set properties. People lust for the heroics of old, wishing to find solace in such escapism.

So why does Blizzard concentrate on merely maintaining the existing cash-cows on life support?

Are there really not enough of those fabled MAN-HOURS to create something new and exciting? A new Warcraft RTS? A TES-level of detail Warcraft RPG set in one of the world's regions?

Is Blizzard wary of taking risks?

They're a bunch of lazy fucks. They are already getting enough money, so they won't try risking to make more. It's the same reason why Valve pretty much no longer develops games either.

Other companies have a constant innovation mentality, where their profits are spent on growing and making new stuff. Not the case for Blizzard. It's been long since games stopped being the core objective, now only money is. This kills creativity, and it's no wonder they've lost so much people over the years.

In part, I also think they don't know what to do anymore. They've lost a lot of talent, and even if their latest games have been decent, they're just glorified arcades that lack the depth and worldbuilding of their oldest titles. SC2 and D3 were disasters in comparison with their most basic life and popularity expectations. Yeah, they sold a lot, but are they popular? Making money and making a good game are two different things. Many games out there make a lot of money too, but would you say they're good and will be played for decades? I don't think so. This was one of the flagships of Blizzard, and they've lost it.

I don't think Blizzard will ever be what it once was.

Cantus 04-14-2017 05:35 AM

While not revelatory, here's an interesting interview with Metzen after his retirement that includes tidbits on Blizz's direction in the past few years.

https://soundcloud.com/scott-johnson...tzen-interview

Arashi 04-14-2017 10:58 AM

The only thing that would fuck them up royally is if they lean too hard toward what other western developers do.

Temo 05-02-2017 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by C9H20 (Post 1574133)
Now given all that, what niche is left to fill?.

A fighting game. All of the old guard seemed to be big fighting gamers, I even remember seeing a pic of Metzen playing SamSho or Last Bl- nah, im sure it was SamSho.

Sure, the fighting game community is small compared to other niches, but hey, i would play the Lich King in a Soul-Calibur type game. I always wanted the Lich King as a guest in a Soul Calibur T-T

Mutterscrawl 05-02-2017 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cantus (Post 1574787)
While not revelatory, here's an interesting interview with Metzen after his retirement that includes tidbits on Blizz's direction in the past few years.

https://soundcloud.com/scott-johnson...tzen-interview

Grah, any transcript?

Mutterscrawl 06-16-2019 09:05 AM

Blizz has poisoned themselves with the bad lore and lying to the playerbase, I refuse to give them a cent for anything except overwatch based stuff since it's one of the few good things they've done in years.

BoxCrayonTales 06-27-2019 12:35 PM

Activision Blizzard has seen a record stock drop this year, but they stabilized at nearly half their previous value. Future prospects are most likely mobile gaming.

Mobile gaming isn't inherently bad. It's just a continuation of the handheld consoles that have existed since the 80s, like the gameboy. The problem is the market. Low barrier to entry, microtransactions, dishonest advertising... at least unless you use appapp.io to filter your search results of all the shovelware.

Mobile gaming, like hand held consoles, cannot support the same audiovisual experience available to PC and consoles due to their obvious size constraints. The short attention span of the casual market imposes further limitations.

Nintendo refined the art of telling stories in hand held years ago. As someone who grew up with Pokemon, I can safely say that this interface is not remotely a good fit for what we come to expect from Blizzard's franchises.

Mutterscrawl 06-28-2019 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales (Post 1625005)
Activision Blizzard has seen a record stock drop this year, but they stabilized at nearly half their previous value. Future prospects are most likely mobile gaming.

Mobile gaming isn't inherently bad. It's just a continuation of the handheld consoles that have existed since the 80s, like the gameboy. The problem is the market. Low barrier to entry, microtransactions, dishonest advertising... at least unless you use appapp.io to filter your search results of all the shovelware.

Mobile gaming, like hand held consoles, cannot support the same audiovisual experience available to PC and consoles due to their obvious size constraints. The short attention span of the casual market imposes further limitations.

Nintendo refined the art of telling stories in hand held years ago. As someone who grew up with Pokemon, I can safely say that this interface is not remotely a good fit for what we come to expect from Blizzard's franchises.

Eh, gaming's been dipping in general quality for awhile due to corporate greed, nothing surprising.

BoxCrayonTales 11-06-2019 06:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by luckyjack (Post 1626294)
that's a good question, I love their games

From a gameplay perspective their games are great. That's all.

The storytelling is awful even by the typically low standards of video games in general. There are children's shows with better writing than Blizzard's games.

The problem with Blizzard's writing isn't just that it's bad. It's pretentious. It doesn't realize that it's terrible and takes itself seriously despite its blatant silliness.

Compare the Warhammer universe that WarCraft and StarCraft ripped off: it maintains a completely serious tone while acknowledging its own silliness. For example, it casually mentions that the bureaucracy of an entire star system is fighting a civil war because they ran out of space for paperwork.

TerrorhoofMayo 11-17-2019 07:47 PM

I remember them talking about not wanting to hire more people for one job then laying them off, and something about fitting into their company culture. From what I know the industry makes use of temporary contracts, so I don't see why Blizzard doesn't makes use of it more.
Quote:

Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales (Post 1626296)
The problem with Blizzard's writing isn't just that it's bad. It's pretentious. It doesn't realize that it's terrible and takes itself seriously despite its blatant silliness.

I'd say it's the opposite. Blizzard doesn't take its IPs seriously enough. For example, the Uldun zone is a big joke.

Ardeiute 11-18-2019 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TerrorhoofMayo (Post 1626326)

For example, the Uldun zone is a big joke.

Ugh, despite what everyone else hates about Cata, to be that one was the biggest let down. A potentially amazing zone, transformed in to a damn parody for the entire thing.

Aneurysm 11-19-2019 10:24 AM

Let's say Warhammer lore is a well-written edgy teenage novel. That makes Warcraft lore a monthly comic magazine; flashy and exciting for the sake of being flashy and exciting, prone to retcons and rewrites, and it doesn't take itself too seriously to the point of pretention.

BoxCrayonTales 11-27-2019 10:20 AM

https://www.pcgamer.com/it-sure-soun...e-starcraft-3/

Apparently the SC2 devs want to make a SC3.

I have no idea what the plot would even be about, other than retconning SC2 into incoherence.

I can't even begin to predict the plot since it would inevitably be something really stupid, but I can make predictions of possible plot points that could happen since I was somehow able to predict the Ihan-rii retcon a few months before they were revealed.

The plot of SC3 may or may not involve:
  • New factions pulled out of the woodwork, like the Ihan-rii (and UED for that matter)
  • Retconning the histories and motivations of the factions
  • Involving the xel'naga as a lazy plot device
  • Resurrecting the Overmind... again
  • Rebuilding the Khala
  • Valerian, Artanis, and/or Zagara turning evil
  • The UED showing up as either the villains or the heroes
  • The three races teaming up against some generic Sailor Moon villain
  • The three races fighting each other as the main plot because the writers want to do something morally ambiguous or whatever
  • Nova will become the new Queen of Blades
  • There will be another brood war
  • There will be another eon of strife
  • Amon will be retconned as the good guy all along
  • The zerg will be the main villains
  • The terrans will be the main villains
  • The protoss will be the main villains
  • The planet Bel'Shir will be revealed to be an evil space god
  • Basically just throw darts at the wall until one sticks

I think SC lore is a pile of excrement so I don't really care what the plot will be except insofar as I can mock it and laugh at SC2 fans complaining about how it shits over SC2.

ARM3481 11-27-2019 10:49 AM

Well, since Amon's whole forced evolution of the protoss and zerg were completely unsanctioned by the rest of his kind, technically there might still be two or more advanced alien races "out there" that have been evolving organically toward the natural convergence of essence and form that would have allowed for the xel'naga rebirth, so there's always the possibility of running into one of them.

Or maybe there could be some uprising of neglected alien races formerly under protoss stewardship that want to take over the sector or galaxy for their own protection after being harassed by the zerg in SC1 or Amon's zerg/protoss/human/hybrid forces during the events of SC2.

SC2 made a mess of things by skewing into the realm of fantasy metaphysics when it turned the xel'naga into outright alien gods creating universes and making it about the fate of all existence, but they could always rein that in a bit and open up more of the galaxy in the process. One of SC2's most glaring issues in its meta-narrative was ironically making everything feel small by trying to make it feel bigger through the conceit that these three races fighting across one tiny sector of one tiny galaxy out of billions across the whole universe were somehow determining the fate of all creation in real-time.

As unfortunate as retcons are, it would serve the franchise well if the xel'naga were slightly scaled back to being responsible for seeding galaxies instead of entire universes. It would make them more akin to the godlike alien scientists they were back in SC1's science fiction instead of the literal gods of creation and destruction they became through SC2's transition to cosmic fantasy. Scaling them back could give the universe as a whole more room to grow instead of literally everything in existence being a consequence of the xel'naga.

BoxCrayonTales 11-27-2019 11:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ARM3481 (Post 1626362)
Well, since Amon's whole forced evolution of the protoss and zerg were completely unsanctioned by the rest of his kind, technically there might still be two or more advanced alien races "out there" that have been evolving organically toward the natural convergence of essence and form that would have allowed for the xel'naga rebirth, so there's always the possibility of running into one of them.

Or maybe there could be some uprising of neglected alien races formerly under protoss stewardship that want to take over the sector or galaxy for their own protection after being harassed by the zerg in SC1 or Amon's zerg/protoss/human/hybrid forces during the events of SC2.

Starcraft as an IP is about RTS conflict between the terrans, protoss, and zerg. Adding in new races completely wrecks that dynamic, as seen when the plot of every game after the first bowls down to "the three races unite against an external threat." The co-op commanders and skins are enough of a headache, we don't need a bazillion more. And adding new races would be a budget nightmare anyhow when you still need to put work into the original three and their bazillion factions.

Not to mention the plots in general have been lackluster and absurd, failing to take advantage of the sheer potential of their own setting. I'm still waiting for a zerg campaign were the zerg are conquerors doing missions that contributes to their goal of consuming humanity and the protoss, or missions where the protoss team up with the terrans to protect the terran worlds from the zerg invasion and Confederate incompetence. The SC1 campaigns were a complete waste of their own premise because Metzen had to create Kerry Sue as an insert of his junkie ex-girlfriend.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ARM3481 (Post 1626362)
SC2 made a mess of things by skewing into the realm of fantasy metaphysics when it turned the xel'naga into outright alien gods creating universes and making it about the fate of all existence, but they could always rein that in a bit and open up more of the galaxy in the process. One of SC2's most glaring issues in its meta-narrative was ironically making everything feel small by trying to make it feel bigger through the conceit that these three races fighting across one tiny sector of one tiny galaxy out of billions across the whole universe were somehow determining the fate of all creation in real-time.

As unfortunate as retcons are, it would serve the franchise well if the xel'naga were slightly scaled back to being responsible for seeding galaxies instead of entire universes. It would make them more akin to the godlike alien scientists they were back in SC1's science fiction instead of the literal gods of creation and destruction they became through SC2's transition to cosmic fantasy. Scaling them back could give the universe as a whole more room to grow instead of literally everything in existence being a consequence of the xel'naga.

It's way too late for that, I'm afraid. Where Starcraft when wrong was making Kerry the main character back in SC1, rather than exploring the actual dynamics of the three-way war created by the premise.

The invasion of Koprulu by the zerg and the protoss efforts to hamper them could have powered a bazillion campaigns exploring different facets of it. Space is unimaginably huge so that war could last for decades without resolution.

Instead the writing got progressively worse in every game. The villains feel like Sailor Moon's villains of the week rather than anything to take remotely seriously. The zerg and protoss have been thoroughly shat on by Blizzard so they're not remotely compelling. The Overmind and cerebrates were the only interesting part of the zerg, so naturally Blizzard killed them off. The Khala and Conclave was the only interesting facet of the protoss, so naturally Blizzard killed them off too. The Confederacy and its politics was the only interesting facet of the terrans, so naturally Blizzard killed them off. All just so that Metzen could obsess over stupid Kerry Sue because of his girlfriend issues.

There's no way to salvage Starcraft's lore. Blizzard is simply incompetent at writing stories and there's no possible way to fix that. So there's no point in trying or caring.

If you want a good story in a similar vein as Starcraft's premise, then you're on your own. If anyone wants to brainstorm an original universe that does a better job storytelling than Blizzard can, then I'd be happy to join a brainstorming session.

ARM3481 11-27-2019 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BoxCrayonTales (Post 1626363)
Starcraft as an IP is about RTS conflict between the terrans, protoss, and zerg. Adding in new races completely wrecks that dynamic, as seen when the plot of every game after the first bowls down to "the three races unite against an external threat." The co-op commanders and skins are enough of a headache, we don't need a bazillion more. And adding new races would be a budget nightmare anyhow when you still need to put work into the original three and their bazillion factions.

And WarCraft as an IP was about RTS conflict between orcs and humans (or Horde and Alliance as of WC2.) Until WC3 made it about RTS conflict between orcs, humans, night elves and Scourge.

I fail to see how that poses some unprecedented and insurmountable obstacle. Hell, there were originally intended to be five playable race armies in WC3 at one point, before they decided the Burning Legion didn't really work as one.


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