New Games, Old Feel?

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Kalah
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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Kalah » Oct 6 2013, 21:33

<img src="http://www.celestialheavens.com/images/news/MMXlogo_small.jpg" align=right>The <i>Might and Magic</i> community are a group of nostalgic diehards. Whenever something new is created, complaints immediately abound that it is not the same as before; that some past game or feature was better. With the announcement of <i>MMX: Legacy</i> and the intention of "going back to the roots" as it were, I started thinking about this. Why <i>do</i> we have this tendency to criticize all that's new instead of welcoming the changes? Yes, I include myself; I have certainly moaned enough about the graphics and design decisions of the Ubisoft era, not to mention <a target="_blank" href="http://www.celestialheavens.com/1329788209">the online systems</a>. Why can't we just leave the past for dead, move on and focus on what we have at the moment? Why compare the current with the ancient? Why not just focus on what is here; what is good and what is not?

I recently watched an interview with <a target="_blank" href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001385/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1">Eric Idle</a> - I think he said it best - talking about the fans who want the Pythons back together. In short, he thinks they don't. He said it was like "The Beatles". When people say how much they wish the band would get back together: that means you want to be young again, not that you want those old fossils up on a stage, playing new songs.

I think it is much the same with the M&M fans. We don't necessarily want the old games remade (albeit games like the refurbished <i>Baldur's Gate</i> is certainly on my "to play" list): what I think many of us want is the feeling we had when we were playing the old games. Those days, sadly, are gone. Feeling nostalgic yet? Well, it's about to get worse - keep reading. No matter how much you could wish for it, there is no returning to the days when you were sitting in your old room with your IBM Aptiva or whatever it was, your mom cooking dinner for you, or when you were in your dorm room with a whole weekend ahead of you, with no other responsibility than the occasional trip to the fridge. Does that mean you cannot remember those days with fondness? Certainly not.

It does, however, mean that there is little point in singing the old refrain that "things were better in the old days" when it comes to the <i>new</i> games. I think that what we should be hoping for is not the exact same game remade; what we want is a return to the <i>feeling</i> we had once upon a time. Sadly, no game can recreate that exact feeling. However, I think it is possible to create something similar. The feeling of being immersed in the gameplay, the puzzles, the difficulty and the eating of pizza at 3 a.m. while still in front of your screen. When you played those old games you remember so fondly today, did you sit and think that it was better in the past? No, you immersed yourself in the game. The <i>now</i>.

That, I think, we can still achieve.
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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Lomedae » Oct 6 2013, 23:45

I appreciate the sentiment and reasoning that went into this post. But I think it's totally wrongs as it pertains to the Might and Magic fandom. All we want is quality games. And we have not gotten them for ages. It's not nostalgia at all, you could not pay me to play any kind of new incarnation of h1 or h4. I would hope that a new Heroes game would be more like II, III and V in quality - design, maps, replayanility, etc etc. The problem is not that we are seeing the old games through rose-tinted glasses, the problem is that the last Heroes game was a big pile of doodoo. The problem is that the online initiatives are looking like cash grabs and not engaging M&M gameplay. The problem is that the new RPG is catering to such a small niche commercially that they even resorted to charging for the bloody Alpha version. And if I wanted to play a tribute game to 16 bit MM-rpg I would start up VI. Mismanagement, bad design and utter contempt for the fans and the product.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby JSE » Oct 7 2013, 1:28

@ Lomedae:

Bravo! You *really* hit the nail on the head there! We don't complain because we're nostalgic, we just want a high-quality M&M game again after all these years.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Ironmallet » Oct 7 2013, 3:43

Not M&M related, but I think it's rather relevant: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/ ... ears-Later

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Postby GreatEmerald » Oct 7 2013, 6:07

I also object to Kalah's claims. For one, I can't have any nostalgia for the old days, because I only discovered the Might and Magic series a few years ago. Also, when companies do a good job at remaking games, they are a huge success – just look at XCOM:EU (and even then they needlessly dumbed down several game mechanics).

What I personally expect from an RPG game in a long-running series is the continuation of the story. I think your comparison with bands is pretty flawed here, a better comparison would be with books (in fact, the first MM game was called Book One ;) ). If there's a writer team that created 8-9 books in the same setting, telling one coherent story and making you interested in it, and then another writer group announces the 10th book, you'd expect the 10th book to be at least as good as the previous ones were, and given the title of the book, to continue the story. But much like most books created by different authors, it's not nearly as good as the originals, because the new authors don't know what the original authors thought. And any unaffiliated person, after reading all of them, will tell you the same – so there is no nostalgia involved.

Now if this book wasn't using the same name, then the expectations would be much different. In the same series, you expect the quality to be on par with the standards of the previous books, and the new book to be coherent with the previous ones. In a new series, there is no requirement for it to be coherent, and the quality aspect is also muted since you no longer can do direct comparisons.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Marzhin » Oct 7 2013, 7:02

Well after the... let's say the disappointments that were Might & Magic VIII and IX (in terms of both reviews and sales), the only way we could get a new M&M RPG greenlit was to go for the old-school, small scope route.
But as we've always said, if MMX is successful, we hope it will allow us to do something more ambitious next time. I understand why people who started playing with MM6 or 7 are disappointed, but see it as only one step on a long road.
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Postby Variol » Oct 7 2013, 9:04

I'm the opposite of GE. I really could not care less about the story line. In fact, I remember that, almost all of the quests I ran around to do in 6, 7 & 8 had no effect on the game at all anyway.
I was perfectly happy running around, fulfilling quests, finding better items and making money.
For me, 6 was very good, 7 was even better, better of the refinements; I liked 8 because I could play solo, but not quite enough thought was given to the game on a whole; I struggled through 9 once and it was barely okay and I when I tried to play it again there was "0" replay value. I could no longer tolerate standing on a shore for 4 days, waiting for an f'ing ship to arrive. What idiot came up with that? (that's rhetorical BTW) ;)

it will allow us to do something more ambitious
Maybe I'm misunderstanding this line, but I think some of the past problems have the been that the games (including H5) have been "over thought".

Is it still possible, to make a game like the original Final Fantasy for example, that will keep me playing with about 4 hours sleep/day and lose about 6lbs from not taking time to eat?
My guess would be "no", because truly, there have been so many excellent games made, like Wizardry 8, M&M series, Final Fantasy etc, that it's much harder to come up with something that tops them. But I think it's still possible to make a very enjoyable game.
The secret though, is to go back about 10-12 years on the graphics and make a game which runs and loads very fast (1-2 seconds) so I don't have to walk the dog ever time I'm waiting for the game to load (either by a save game, or going into a different area).

From what I've read about MMX, I feel it will not turn out well, because the most important "basics" have been forgot. The devs seem no longer able to "addict" me into their game; because they have forgot (or just don't know) that it's "not" about graphics, IE Final Fantasy & World of Xeen.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby ToweringAmishPlumber » Oct 7 2013, 15:00

My only real complaint was when SOMEONE! decided that all fantasy games had to be done in 3D. The most memorable, fun and gorgeous games I have ever played were in 2D - think the later King's Quest games, Heroes I - IV, LucasFilm games, etc. And the Gold Box games will never be topped. My point is that, whether it benefitted the game or not, at a certain point every game was in 3D. So many people rave about 3D games, yet they are still very primitive, still have collisions, still look jaggy when you move close to an object, need bleeding edge hardware, etc.. Frankly, unless and until 3D games look like a Pixar movie I'll stick to 2D.

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Postby markkur » Oct 7 2013, 20:34

2D vs 3D seems to be the main thing to many but my biggest gripe (as long as the game is playable), by far, is the undeniable trend away from the greater community's creative-involvement. I don't mean on-line chatting or posting endless ideas and opinions/arguments; I mean creation-tools intended for use & deep commitment to the game by fans who are desiring/willing to make the effort and furthermore NOT having to go back to school to contribute...in only one way.

JVC is mentioned in other news, so I'll mention; he did not stop at making a great game...he gave a great many of us, the easy opportunity to get immersed in extending his' Magic. I believe that he decided; his gift of empowerment to the fans would pay-off and <imo> he was absolutely correct. His fame is not due to this grand "plus" but surely, the great-game was enhanced by this generous commitment/vision on his part.

Some believe we can retrace those steps but <for me>until a company creates that feat, it's hard to know if the revisit is fact or nostalgia. Atm the best existing chance is VCMI & Quantomas' work on different versions. The earlier major-efforts like Wog. Eq or individual efforts like Marzhin's, Sal's, Bersy's, or HoL's, to name only a few, have kept the dream alive.

@ Kalah,

For me there is truth in your main point about nostalgia; I do miss the days when my imagination had to "create the scene". However, <imo>all media has moved away from "suggestion to display". For instance if I take Sauron as evil in a book, movie or game, way back when, what the Dark Lord looked like, was in our mind's-eye, born from a brief description. Today, they will paint every little-detail about a Sauron-like character and leave nothing to the imagination.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Kregling » Oct 7 2013, 20:57

@Kalah, Totally agree with everything you said.

For fun, I mapped out my 20 favorite games of all time against my age and only 1 fell in my post college range (the last 10 years). I think it's a mix of higher expectations for games and being very hard to be surprised anymore. HOMM3 was the first HOMM game I played and the first fantasy style TBS w/ heroes game I played (I loved Master of Magic, but could only watch that at a friend's house). The quality was high, the concept was new and it had tons of content. What was not to love at the time?

I think if HOMM3 was re released today and we had adults gamers play it for the first time, their response would be the same as ours is for new HOMM games, "ehh, it's good, but have you played this game from 5-10 years ago that was legendary?" The quality of HOMM3 was exception for the game at the time and it will never be surpassed by anything in the future (based on my statistical sample of 1). Oh the halcyon days when I could play games for multiple hours in a row!!! craziness =)

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Marzhin » Oct 8 2013, 9:37

@markkur: actually Might & Magic X will have a modding kit, so people can create their own adventures :)
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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby hellegennes » Oct 8 2013, 13:19

Marzhin, I truly respect your opinion, but what you're saying about MM8 and MM9 is completely irrelevant. These games did not disappoint because they went on the same path as MM6 and MM7 but for different reasons altogether (and different with respect to each other, as well). I 'm saying that because you are trying to explain your choice about going old-school, which has nothing to do with pretty much anything.

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Re: New Games, Old Feel?

Postby markkur » Oct 8 2013, 15:21

Marzhin wrote:@markkur: actually Might & Magic X will have a modding kit, so people can create their own adventures :)


I am glad to hear it and I imagine you had a role there too. <vbg> I should ask; will it "truly" be...user-friendly?

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Re: New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Thanatoeil » Oct 8 2013, 16:21

markkur wrote:
Marzhin wrote:@markkur: actually Might & Magic X will have a modding kit, so people can create their own adventures :)


I am glad to hear it and I imagine you had a role there too. <vbg> I should ask; will it "truly" be...user-friendly?

Of course, it will : Ubisoft made the same promise for the Heroes VI map editor.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Ya5MieL » Oct 8 2013, 18:42

I must say the M&M X (albeit for only few days until i completed the early access) brought back the feeling of old times gaming.

Now all I need to complete the experience is being able to purchase the box, and not having to resort to playing the game at friend's house because he had less integrity :P and decided to buy the game without the box :P

Given that turn based tile based game was the only way of getting the game done at all, I think it's pointless to further comment on it and focus on improving what we have available. So far I see some nice progress and hope game will be ready for the launch date.

Nostalgia plays a big role in determining favorite games and our benchmarks for those, but i found that each generation worships a slightly newer set of games and it is fine. As long as we don't turn into old grumpy folks without any desire to give new games even a chance.

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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Marzhin » Oct 9 2013, 7:32

@hellegennes: You misunderstood my point. Doing a game closer to MM6-9 (with free movement, bigger scope, etc.) today would require a much bigger budget compared to doing an old-school, tile-based game. And the fact the series did not end on high notes (whatever the reasons) meant we did not have that budget for MMX in any case, so it was either doing an old-school MMX or doing nothing.
@markkur & Thanatoeil: the modding kit is based on the Unity editor.
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Postby wimfrits » Oct 9 2013, 8:14

@Kalah: good read!
I'd like to add that people tend to romanticize the past. E.g. my memories of MMVII are so warm and fuzzy that I'd almost forget about the major souljar bug and blasters ruining the endgame. HoMM3 was so imbalanced that towns, spells and heroes were banned, yet my memories speak pure pleasure.
Are those well-designed, well-balanced, bug-free games? Not at all. If such a game were released today we'd term it 'poor quality'.
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Postby Variol » Oct 9 2013, 8:59

^^^I would disagree on the "poor quality" comment. The MM6-8 games excellent and the patches which came out were very minor fixes. Look at some of the other messes which were put on the self, riddled with bugs and needed 10 patches (Pool of Radiance....) :proud:
I feel 3DO/NWC really cared about the products they put on the shelf.

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hellegennes
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New Games, Old Feel?

Postby hellegennes » Oct 9 2013, 14:00

@Marzhin:

Oh, well, sorry I misread your argument, then. :)

I understand why you went this way with MMX, I just thought that mentioning the last two instalments was out of place, since we know very well why they weren't received well. Even though I understand what you're saying, now, and I agree that it would be unlikely for Ubisoft to go for a more expensive project, I think it's unfair -for Ubisoft- to use the example of the last two instalments as per the risk involved. You always risk budget when the quality is subpar, the reasons for failure are not random and opaque. Of course, there's nothing YOU can do to change how managers think. For them it is like that: more money involved = more risk. For the rest of humanity it's: less quality involved = more risk.

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Re: New Games, Old Feel?

Postby Dalai » Oct 9 2013, 14:01

Kalah wrote:I think he said it best - talking about the fans who want the Pythons back together. In short, he thinks they don't. He said it was like "The Beatles". When people say how much they wish the band would get back together: that means you want to be young again, not that you want those old fossils up on a stage, playing new songs.

If it were true, we would feel the same about all games. But we don't. We gladly accept new Starcraft, new XCOM, new GalCiv, new Fallout, new Europa Universalis, etc. It leaves the only source of disappointment in new HoMM (sorry, MM:H) - games themselves.
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