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Do we know if Firaxis is still working on BE at all?

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by ruhrgebietheld, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. ruhrgebietheld

    ruhrgebietheld Chieftain

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    Recently played BE:RT for the first time in several months, and as I played I couldn't help but think how close the game is to being the standout title we all hoped it would be. While the vanilla game got old fairly quick, Rising Tide was such a massive step forward that it feels like just one more medium-sized expansion and the game would be the classic that we all hoped for. So do we know if Firaxis has abandoned development on the game in favor of Civ VI now, or is there still hope for another expansion to make the game truly great?
     
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  2. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    No, we don't know whether they're still working on the game, but everything points into the direction that they are not.

    There haven't been any patches that fix the remaining problems with Rising Tide, there haven't been any promotions, the game hasn't managed to keep a big community, Steamdb doesn't show any activity other than the update that added the advertising text for Civ VI (at least I think that's what it was), and it has now been more than a year since the last expansion.

    So don't hold your breath.

    Might want to try Machiavelli's Echoes of Earth and my Codex Mod though if you haven't already.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2017
  3. filcon

    filcon Chieftain

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    Yeah, looks like more stuff is on hold. Shame I like CivBE more than Civ6.
     
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  4. Metecury

    Metecury Chieftain

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    Yep the game has a lot of potential, I think a few patches and an expansion might fix it. Or perhaps a sequel.
     
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  5. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    To me both BE with RT and Civ VI have a lot of potential.

    In BERT's case it would start with greatly reducing trade unit yields, replacing the trade unit screen to something like seen in a Civ VI mod and then rebalancing the game around having food & production mostly coming from local yields. A bunch of false choices dealing with quests (aka newbie traps) should also be looked at.

    In Civ VI's case it would first start with stealing the UI mods and changing the district cost scaling model.

    Both of them need better AI and UI.
     
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  6. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Warlord

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    I sure hope that Firaxis does not give up on BE:RT either. Like you, I believe Rising Tide is very close to being a great game. BE and RT actually introduced several cool ideas such as the affinity system including hybrid affinities, diplomatic agreements, spoils of war, water cities, quests, and the tech wheel. With the right expansion and patches, the game could be stellar.

    The first thing the game needs is a patch to fix the "little things":
    - Fix the graphics to make the map easier to see. I could barely see my borders on a glacial map when I was playing as Elodie.
    - Fix some of the quest choices to make them more balanced and more interesting.
    - Fix trade routes to make yields less OP.
    - Fix diplomacy to prevent weird situations where the player gets dragged into a war against an ally because of another alliance. Then an expansion could add a couple new things like a planetary council.

    Then an expansion could add just a few new things:
    - Add a planetary council.
    - Make the majority of affinity points come from actual gameplay choices such as tile improvements and buildings rather than techs. Maybe let the player devote some culture to affinities as well? Or maybe have each affinity get affinity points differently. (supremacy - tech, purity - culture, harmony - alien nests)? This would help really differentiate how the affinities play.
    - Add futuristic governments with a card system like civ6.
     
  7. filcon

    filcon Chieftain

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    more challenging AI would be cool :)
     
  8. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Chieftain

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    Honestly, the fact that they left Vanilla in the state it's in indicates to me that their devotion to the title had run dry around the time the Tide Rose. :)
     
  9. Joch

    Joch Chieftain

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    BERT is still a nice game, played a lot and thinking of starting a new game.

    This game was savaged by the community, unfairly IMHO.
     
  10. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    It was also 'savaged' by lack of player base - for not living up to expectations, I reckon..
     
  11. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Warlord

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    The game was caught in between two unrealistic expectations, that it would be as good as civ5 BNW and that it would be as good as SMAC.
     
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  12. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Unrealistic expectations explain part of the bad rating, but the lack of a devoted playerbase I'd attribute more to it just not having the depth to keep "strategy players" interested, and not the "familiarity" to keep roleplayers interested. That, and then the modding community also died rather quickly.
     
  13. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Warlord

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    I think the two things go together. BE had 2 basic player bases, civ5's and SMAC's, that it needed to appeal to. The lack of appeal to strategy players that you refer to, relates a lot to the civ5 player base whereas the familiarity to keep role players, relates a lot to the SMAC player base. I don't think the game fully committed to either group and as a result, it ended up disappointing both.
     
  14. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Yeah, but the same is true for people who have never played SMAC or Civ V.
    It just wasn't a good package.
     
  15. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    And no amount of putting a game on sale (itself probably already a clear indication) will save a game from not attaining a player base.
     
  16. Darsnan

    Darsnan Chieftain

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    I think this in a nutshell explains an awful lot. BE was a very pretty game with a killer soundtrack (its the only game I've ever played that I turn off my radio and listen solely to the soundtrack while I play), but it was like the proverbial beautiful woman who then opened her mouth, and you realized there was no depth whatsoever behind the beautiful facade: the tech quotes were blase, the Secret Project Wonder moments were forgettable, the interaction with the other leaders pretty much non-existent, and once you've conquered a foe, well, it just sort of made you feel "what was the point"? Juxtapositioned against SMACX which had so many stellar quotes (Richard Baxton piloted his Recon Rover into 3 fungal vortexes....), killer SP movies (Self Aware Colony, Dream Twister, Mind Machine Interface, et al.), interacting with individualized leader personalities, and of course once you conquered a foe you got to watch them burn in the Punishment Sphere - all of this continually induces a "just one more turn!" feeling that has kept me going back to SMACX for the last 18 years.
     
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  17. GenyaArikado

    GenyaArikado Black Queen

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    the biggest mistake was the open personality approach for leaders imo. Made everyone feel the same.
     
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  18. Joch

    Joch Chieftain

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    IMHO what killed the game was the unrealistic expectations of players.

    Anyone who had played Civ5 and seen the pre-launch articles had a pretty good idea what to expect, basically Civ 5 in space. If you went in with that frame of mind, it was pretty good.

    The game was very wide open, you had many different kind of worlds available. With the tech web and affinity system, you could craft some pretty wild civilizations. Civ:BE has a lot of replay value.

    With Civ5 and now Civ6, the game is basically on rails, you start in 4000 BC already having a pretty good idea of what your Civ will look like in 2000 AD since, well Earth is Earth and the tech tree is basically a one way street.

    A lot of players never gave BE a fair chance, you had:

    - the players who wanted a revamped Civ4;

    - the players who wanted Civ6;

    - the players who wanted their ideal version of a super complex strategy game.

    All went out of their way to kill BE in the hopes that Firaxis would produce the game they wanted.

    Well the "community" has spoken and you can expect that all future versions of Civ 6+ will just be better looking variations of Civ 5.
     
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  19. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    But you're again just looking at it from the perspective of what I think is somewhat of a sandbox-guy.

    From my perspective of somebody who watched pretty much all the pre-release footage and expected a strategy-focused experience... I was pretty pissed after a few hours because of how one-dimensional it played. First game on Apollo was a breeze, and figuring out that Trade Routes are insanely strong and basically remove the need for actual empire development didn't took long either. And those things weren't really apparent from the pre-release footage, because the devs played very inefficiently themselves.

    Yeah, but why would you want to "replay" a game that wasn't "fun" the first time you played it?

    And the tech web and sponsors... sure, replay value, if again, you're a sandbox-guy. For people focused on strategy it was pretty clear that there was exactly one sponsor worth your time (Kavithan at first, later African Union) - because Sponsors didn't actually play differently, they just got bonuses that varied in strength (something that was mostly fixed in Rising Tide) - and one strong path through the tech web (per Affinity). The way the Affinity Victories were designed, requiring exactly one expensive technology from exactly one part of the tech web, already laid out that path pretty clearly, and picking up extra stuff just wasn't worth it due to the very short games compared to other Civ titles.

    I'd rather say Civ 5 and Civ 6 have progress that is a lot like a road with many lanes. You can switch between them, and one will be a bit faster than the others (hopefully depending on the map and gameplay situation), but you'll always follow the same path overall, and they're somewhat equally strong, so you can actually switch stuff around without severely handicapping yourself.

    Beyond Earth's release tech web was more like a bunch of roads that all lead towards the same goal in the end but take very different routes. That sounds fantastic, until you realize that there's one road that is actually straight and covered in Asphalt, while all the others are mostly little, curvy pathways with lots of rough terrain.

    That may again be fine for the sandbox type of player, for the strategy-focused player it's a pretty significant flaw.

    How did you miss the players who wanted a remake of SMAC? o_O

    I'll focus on this one though:
    No. People wanted a decent strategy game with decent depth and decent balancing. Beyond Earth wasn't that. It was very badly balanced, and lacking in depth. And that's not to say I didn't like the game - after all, I then played a total of 3500+ hours of BE, and released more than 40 mods for the game - but these flaws were clearly there, and people were absolutely in their right when they pointed them out.

    Anybody who played the game, realized that it's pretty shallow, gave it a negative review and moved on is perfectly in their right to do so, that has nothing to do with "not giving the game a fair chance", that's simply not being happy with the product. I would probably have done the same, if the game hadn't hooked me with its lore and the atmosphere that made me want to see a "deeper" version of it.

    So I mean, in the end I do understand your frustration. And I guess that's the flaw of universal rating systems. The game was disappointing to many groups, but at the same time, if you fit in the group that avoids all the problems the other people have with the game, then undoubtedly it can be a great experience. But just because it is for you, doesn't mean that it would be for others "if only they gave it a fair chance!" - they've given it a chance, at least many have, and then reviewed it by how well it managed to entertain them personally.

    But what do you mean by a "fair chance" anyway? The game was marketed as a Civ Title, as such of course it creates expectations in people. That has positive sides, and that has negative sides. It got people to buy it. And it got people disappointed because it was portrayed as something that it couldn't quite live up to, because it didn't have the scope of a Civ title, and probably not the budget either.

    There is nothing unfair about it. If Firaxis had wanted to calm down those expectations, then they could have done it by declaring that it's a bit of a side-project with a small amount of developers that heavily built on Civ 5's mechanics. The game would have probably gotten a better rating then, but it would also have gotten less sales.

    That's evidently incorrect, given how many people point out that Civ VI is just too similar to Civ 5 in their opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
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  20. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Chieftain

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    Actually, it wasn't. On release, trade routes were unlimited and did not auto-renew. That alone clogged down the mid- to late- game far more than anything that ever came out of Civ 5. Also, desperately trying to get a trade unit to a station so you can keep it around was and is a far cry from Civ 5's City States. The tech slingshots that had long since been patched out of Civ 5 got reintroduced in order to be re-patched out. The elements where it most closely resembled Civ 5, such as appalling balance between social policies, were not Civ 5's strengths.

    That was true right up until they ripped later quests out of Vanilla and never bothered to put them back in.

    Not really. I can't speak for Civ 6, but Civ 5 had you alter your play depending on desired victory condition. This was especially true by the time of the last expansion, but even in Vanilla the American upgrade B-52 to Stealth Bomber strategy was far different from the more standard "Kill everything with Horsies" that had to get patched out (as opposed to BE's "Kill everything with Battlesuits" that had to get patched out).

    Actually, no. *Firaxis* went out of their way to kill BE. To this day Vanilla is bug-laden, imbalanced, and rather stale after roughly turn 100 thanks to the lack of further affinity quests. Not to mention the fact that the UI doesn't even make it easy to read the Civilopedia entry for a wonder that's just been built if we're looking for more flavor. We just get a little note in the corner that won't even bring up the entry when you click on it. Many things about it are slipshod, and its last patch didn't even bring it close to the level of Civ 5 Vanilla with its last patch before they devoted their time to Gods & Kings.

    It was that lack of continued support that made me decide not to buy Rising Tide despite notable improvements, and this has carried over to Civ 6, which I'm also not bothering to buy.

    New game elements are fine to reserve for expansions. Fixing old game elements should be reserved for patches, but those patches are things that Firaxis most emphatically did not bother to produce. Firaxis had, up to BE Vanilla, a fine history of giving their games regular, frequent, and reasonably good patches. Their decision to discontinue that trend is what killed BE, at least in my eyes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

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