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  #1  
Old 08-03-2011, 08:18 PM
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ChillyWilly ChillyWilly is offline
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Default Arthur Bruno, I disagree!

I just read the new RPS story on Crate and just felt I needed to respond to Arthur Bruno's comments about Titan Quest and his perceived short comings of the game. This is not a personal attack on Mr. Bruno, just wanted a catchy title, place it in the Rants section and give my own thoughts on Titan Quest.

"One of the biggest things I would have liked to improve was the general presentation and feel of the game. God of War’s dark and edgy feel was a much sexier way to sell mythology to people. You can see our obvious attempt to course correct as much as we were allowed to in the difference between the Titan Quest and Immortal Throne box art and the atmosphere of the games overall. The atmosphere of the original game was seriously lacking a sense of dread and mystery. It was just sort of like “Oh hai! Welcome to ancient Greece, btw there are some monsters around.”

As a long time TQ fan, who has played many classes, logged hundreds of hours of playtime, still have the original demo disc I got from visiting the cool E3 booth they had where I meet Brian Sullivan and the rest of the crew telling them I've been following the game for quite some time, and who still plays to this day and will into the future I take issue with this view. The classical setting of Greece, Egypt and Far East in TQ is exactly what drew me to the game. The environments felt like Greece, rocky, brightly lit, wheat fields, beaches, etc. Egypt like Egypt, sand, Nile river, and Asia like Asia, lush, green, paddies, etc.

The God of War example just wouldn't have made the game unique. In my mind, it would have placed TQ in a cluttered almost same looking genre. Mr. Bruno might say it would make the game sell better and that's what he's there to do. However, it seems like every RPG both young and old has a darker feel which I surmise when your battling monsters this is what developers assume what RPG fans want. Perhaps it's that the Diablo series which has been and into the future will be the standards for RPG's. I love the Diablo series as I do TQ but for different reasons. For one, TQ has a different feel, presentation and look.

The look and setting of Grim Dawn fits in with the time and storyline. I don't believe Titan Quest would have benefitted any more in sales from toning down the environments. In fact, TQ has plenty of areas which a player could consider a darker more moody environment and with the day and night cycle the player has both. I guess what I'm ranting about is that the look of the game was not a detriment and in fact added to the feel of the game.

I have reasons on why the game wasn't an even better success but one that I'll state is that many of the initial reviewers never seemed to have actually played the game! One of the bigger sites I remember the reviewer stating that the game needed a way to get back into town! It's difficult to get positive press when the critic watches only half the movie!


"Another big issue with Titan Quest was the feel and pacing of combat. One of the most frequent complaints I’ve seen about Titan Quest was that people felt like combat was slow and attacks had no real sense of power or impact. A lot of this stems from a lack of satisfying combat effects, hit reactions and death effects."

I'll disagree on the hit reactions and death effects. Yes, the game is not the Diablo series where bodies explode and dismember, but the hit reactions had power and some of the most memorable death effects with monsters flying thru the air with ragdoll effects really stand out in the RPG genre.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:10 PM
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Agree for the most part with ChillyWilly...

Though a "tad" bit more grittiness in places would have been fine imo

But the game representation to the story that was presented I felt was pretty much dead on.

I too enjoyed the death effects (ragdoll & the power criticals taking flight)

I think a toggle for gore (basically blood) in the game would of been fun and caught the attention of some and generated some hype and word of mouth...especially in the former Diablo/D2 crowd, who I think catered more/wanted a darker/edger game environment.

I think the main goal for TQ was to make it a bit more family friendly? To make the game as accessible to as big an audience as possible.

It was certainly a calculated design risk. That said, I certainly don't view or think of TQ/IT as an unsuccessful game, in my opinion it was a brilliant success.

It's hard to play the "what if" game and ultimately leads nowhere but to frustration, been there done that lol

While I too wish that sales and such had been better, leading to a TQ2 and further development, I'm very excited for Grim Dawn...I think this game and it's setting will lend even better to the dark/grittiness atmosphere and will be a lot of fun to play.

But TQ...TQ will always be fun and special just the way it is
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  #3  
Old 08-03-2011, 09:30 PM
ocaij ocaij is offline
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Try to look at it from Mr. Bruno's perspective. He poured his effort into TQ and, despite the fact that A LOT of people here love it, it basically failed him (the company). So in an interview where asked why? he came up with some reasons (obviously not reasons in line with die-hard TQ fans, but maybe reasons that other people "not-here on this site"-types did not love it).

All I can say, after reading that interview, is bravo. Thanks for sticking with your heart and I hope you read the comments. There is a lot of positive reinforcement of your ideas and support for your efforts out there.
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocaij View Post

All I can say, after reading that interview, is bravo. Thanks for sticking with your heart and I hope you read the comments. There is a lot of positive reinforcement of your ideas and support for your efforts out there.
+1 Agreed/well said
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:08 PM
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Haha, I like the thread title!

We may agree to disagree or, perhaps, it may be just a misunderstanding based on an imprecise communication of ideas on my part.

Often when I talk about making the game darker, people assume I mean visually darker. What I really mean, is thematically darker. When I say "sexier" like God of War, I'm speaking figuratively and not talking about actual sexual content and I'm not advocating that it should have been like God of War. Mainly, I'm just saying that we should have been a bit bolder in our decision making and advertising of the game. There seemed to be a constant fear during the development of Titan Quest about upsetting this or that segment of the audience or someone's grandmother. I was literally told by one of the higher-ups that the game should be designed so that his grandmother would want to play it (even though his grandmother had never played a game before in her life). We were building a game with relatively complicated and hardcore gameplay systems but trying to make it thematically and visually appealing to as wide a casual audience as possible. The end result, is that the game was a little more bland and generic in some respects than it should have been and the game world didn't do much to convey a sense of danger.

One example of this would be the mandate that enemies not use language or build anything that would make them seem like they had more than animal intelligence. It was felt by one of the higher-ups that people might feel wrong killing enemies that displayed any obvious intelligence. I guess somehow it is wrong to fight intelligent enemies but okay to slaughter dumb animals? We also weren't originally allowed to have humans die, ever, in the game and no human corpses.

One area where this handicapped us was in the creation of environmental assets that visually demonstrated the enemy's war against humanity. We originally wanted to create enemy siege-works outside Athens but were told that would make the enemies seem too intelligent. It was a struggle just to monster camp assets. All of the ruins were also removed from Greece at one point because someone was afraid that players might not understand why, if the game took place in ancient times, that there would still be ruins... I had to fight for both of these things. Without them, Greece would have just been a featureless expanse of wilderness with occasional human towns that never really appeared to be in any serious danger.

At the same time, we were told that enemies should seem like noble adversaries, not evil or demonic creatures. It was highly controversial when the designs for the Limos and Arachnids were first presented. I had to personally fight to get those approved because they were considered too grotesque and scary looking even though they were based on actually mythology. Undead and the Spirit Mastery were also a struggle to get in the game. I was told that Spirit Mastery was too "Necromancery and evil". We managed to push a few more things like that through over the course of development but it was always frowned upon.

Basically, my belief is that Titan Quest never had as much style and character as it could have because we were afraid to do anything even remotely controversial. When I first designed the skill masteries, they were all based on Olympian gods, with skills modeled after the powers or attributes associated with different gods in mythology. This was rejected because it was potentially too religious and people might not want to feel like they were worshiping mythological gods to receive their powers.

We ended up with a game set in Greek mythology that barely contained any actual mythology other than the inspiration for some of the monsters and dialog on peripheral story-teller NPCs stuck off to the side in the towns. The first quest I put in the game, when we were prototyping it for THQ was modeled after one of the 12 labors of Heracles. The Erymanthian Board was terrorizing a town and the hunters they sent after it hadn't returned. You had to ascend mount Erymanthos, discover the wreckage of the hunter's camp, and then continue on to the snow-capped summit to battle the monstrous board. Of course, I was told we couldn't have snow on the summit because people might not realize it snowed in Greece and then later the whole quest vanished and was replaced by generic crap like retrieving a dowry ring so some chick can get married while monsters are overrunning the world.

So, this is where I'm coming from. I don't think the game needed to be all low-light environments or contain sex mini-games. When I talk about the difference between the TQ and TQ:IT box art, I'm talking about the difference between THQ hiring an outside marketing company to generate box art out of generic assets (ever look at the quality of the temples and stuff in the background?) vs. letting our artists design our own box art. The original box art we submitted for TQ was drawn up by our concept artist, featured a hydra that looked like the one in-game, had a far more interesting composition and better use of color. I think Titan Quest just needed more artistic freedom and personality so that something more unique and exciting could have been created in-game and conveyed by our marketing materials.

Of course, I'm probably also looking at this from the overly critical perspective of a developer evaluating their own work.
  #6  
Old 08-04-2011, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by medierra View Post
Often when I talk about making the game darker, people assume I mean visually darker. What I really mean, is thematically darker.
. . . .

I think Titan Quest just needed more artistic freedom and personality so that something more unique and exciting could have been created in-game and conveyed by our marketing materials.
There's an awful lot of insight in what you've said -- thanks for another peek behind the curtain. As much as I'm a champion of capitalism, it's disappointing to hear of yet another example where 'corporatism' really diminished what would otherwise have been brought to market. I can't wait to see what you're able to do with Grim Dawn on account of retaining your creative license.

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Old 08-04-2011, 04:29 PM
matthewfarmery matthewfarmery is offline
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it sounds you had more trouble from the higher ups then I realised, which is a shame, as you do make some very good points there

at least with GD, you shouldn't have that trouble, but its a shame that you weren't really able to add or design the stuff you wanted, otherwise you would have even more trouble getting the stuff in, on top of the troubles you had with existing monsters, I do feel that the game could have been better with more monster types, darker and more cunning,

but yeah I see where you are coming from, now at least you have a free hand with GD and that is good

edit
@TECHNOmancer

fully agree with what you say there
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Last edited by matthewfarmery; 08-04-2011 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:16 PM
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We did get a lot more latitude on Immortal Throne. You can see some evidence of it in speaking enemies such as the Graeae, Machae and Hades. The story was done in-house and contained a lot more mythological elements. In the world you see a little more visual evidence of the story that is supposed to be unfolding.

Alas, on Grim Dawn we have total freedom but will instead be limited by money and man-power, at least in the degree to which we can implement our vision. We have a lot of ideas that I think won't be fully realized in the game until we're able to layer in more story content with the money we get from our first release.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by medierra View Post
Alas, on Grim Dawn we have total freedom but will instead be limited by money and man-power, at least in the degree to which we can implement our vision. We have a lot of ideas that I think won't be fully realized in the game until we're able to layer in more story content and flesh it out more with the money we get from sales.
Calling all angel investors!

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  #10  
Old 08-04-2011, 05:21 PM
matthewfarmery matthewfarmery is offline
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yeah I see your point, money will be the deciding factor, but judging from the influx of new members recently, sales will only go up, and I do intend to buy a third key also to help you guys out, as the money would have gone on D3, but that is no longer the case

but I do hope you do get the money to make GD as you planned
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