Game Tycoon’s 4th Anniversary

I have been actively maintaining this blog for four years, as of today. There are very few things that I have remained actively committed to for such a length of time… my lovely wife, my garden, and of course, games. So it feels like a real milestone to me!

Anyway, I just wanted to take the opportunity to say thank you for reading along. Whether you started recently or in the distant past, your interest in this blog means a lot to me. And to those who have taken the time to comment on posts or send me private notes, an especially big thank you. I had always hoped this blog would evolve into a dialogue, but I’ve learned more from you all than I could have imagined way back in 2005. I’ve truly appreciated your words of support when you’ve liked what I’ve written, and (especially!) your counter-arguments when you’ve disagreed with my opinions.

It’s funny to look back on my oldest posts… this was a very different blog back when. Oh, and I’m still waiting for someone to make an RPG that I enjoy as much as Planescape: Torment, dammit. 🙂

10 responses to “Game Tycoon’s 4th Anniversary

  1. Congratulations on four years of blogging! I only started lurking this year but I’ll be around for the next four 🙂 Thanks for writing so much actionable content for developers.

  2. Congrats on four-years running!

    And if you want to see an RPG along the lines of Planescape: Torment, maybe you can give us some tips on how to successfully pitch one?

  3. > And if you want to see an RPG along the lines of Planescape: Torment
    > maybe you can give us some tips on how to successfully pitch one?

    Touché. 🙂

    Chicken and egg problem: it’s hard to discuss pitch strategy without having a design to pitch. “Something as good as Planescape” doesn’t really help me. The other issue is that one of Planescape’s greatest strengths was its narrative, but unless you’re an extremely famous game designer/writer (and even then) you’re likely to have some trouble pitching a game primarily on the strength of its narrative. Most studios would unfortunately need to find some other hook to sell publishers on, then make the narrative (and the way the player can shape the narrative) an added bonus.

    If I had to make a prediction, I’d guess that the next Planescape (if there ever is one) will come from Bioware. They have the backing and ability to produce such a game, and they clearly have interest in RPGs with strong narratives (and RPGs in which a player’s actions really impacts the flow of the game.)

  4. I can´t resist jumping in since Planescape is one of my favorite games of all time. Yet for all its charms, the game was basically a big dodecahedron of text, brilliant text, but text in a tree structure. It was like one of those games kids play with the folded paper where they ask “pick a number” and then they fold the thing so many times and then say “what´s your favorite color?” and so on until they open a fold and you get something like “you will marry young.” Except for Torment it was stuff like “pick the number of times you think you´ve lived” and then “what can change the nature of a man” and then you ended up in the plane of mechanical order or something.

    The next Planescape will come from an indie developer who experiments with a better way of doing characters than a linear branching structure. The odds of a significant innovation in social gameplay and interactive dialogue coming out of Bioware are pretty low in my opinion.

  5. Congratulations on the milestone!

    Have you tried Risen?

  6. Joe — I have not tried Risen, but apparently I need to. 🙂

  7. Patrick does make a good point. BioWare has always created very polished but somewhat predictable experiences, which is why I’ve always been a bigger fan of Black Isle’s offerings. Even Mass Effect — which I enjoyed quite a bit — is filled with traditional space opera tropes. It’s to SF what Baldur’s Gate was to fantasy.

    As for indie studios, they might very well innovate the dialogue tree, but I’d doubt any would have the resources necessary to match the breadth and depth of Planescape: Torment’s narrative.

  8. Patrick, Radek — agreed, Bioware has not historically veered far from genre stereotypes or conventional dialogue systems. But should they choose to do so (in the context of a game more like Planescape than, say, Baldur’s Gate) they are one of the few companies left that could probably do so with “relative ease” (meaning, they wouldn’t have to spend ages looking for a publisher and they probably wouldn’t have trouble convincing the press or consumers that the game was worth paying attention to.)

  9. Publisher? I was thinking it´d be a Facebook game. Or maybe a microtransaction fueled fiesta. Or an episodic Flash series. Are you with me?

  10. > Or an episodic Flash series.

    That could be cool — especially if the community truly had a way to impact the ongoing narrative. 🙂

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