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'We should have been more audacious' - A Civilization: Beyond Earth retrospective

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ari Rahikkala, Mar 6, 2015.

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  1. ToothedBomb

    ToothedBomb Prince

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    I can't see that happening really. Civ V is one of the most sold, most played games on Steam, isn't it? I don't have the numbers, but I reckon they made a pretty penny off the game, DLC and expansions. Just because some spin-off game didn't sell as well as expected, doesn't mean the entire franchise should be put in the fridge.
     
  2. oldag07

    oldag07 Warlord

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    No disrespect to the developers, I have been taught, it is easier to make an exciting idea practical than a boring idea exciting.
     
  3. Gali

    Gali Prince

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    There's no way Civ BE affects the possibility of a civ 6. It wasn't even made by the guy who saved CiV ED Beach. Gods and Kings and BNW got way too much good press for them to scrap Civ 6. If they never fixed vanilla and that was the taste then no. CiV has its problems and never won over a sizeable part of the civ 4 fanbase but it was quite succesful in the end and more than allows for a sequel.

    The devs are rather missing the point whith this assesment. The problem with Beyond Earth isn't primarily in the lore. Having the civs differentiated by backstory would help. CiV had all the historial backstory they said they needed and its vanilla diplomacy was abominable. It had the same problem BE has; no rewards for dealing with insane and very identical AI's. The problem is not that I don't know the difference in Ais its that 90% of their interaction is trying to get stuff for the useless favors. The problem isn't that they included the familiar trade route system from CiV its that they royally messed it up. It was way too spammable and they put forward no effort whatsoever to polish it. Massively expanding the number of trade routes available and then reducing the options to sort them was just lazy. The stupid yield system really kills the system. It punishes you for having developed cities. Nearly every trade route I could make to the Ai was worth less to me even witht he virtue that improved the yield. My last game I doubled my internal yields by leaving one worthless city in my empire and running every route through it.

    They were very ambitious in two areas that are among the games key failures. Victory conditions in this game are horrible. They designed systems that are very time intensive and at the same time require no thought. They were utterly relying on facing significant late game pressure fromt he Ai to turn those victories into a race. they forgot that most people don't play on a difficulty that allows the Ai to present that challenge. They also failed to write the Ai to gang up and attack anyone close to victory. Even if they had that would be massively stupid. I have vivid memories of my distate for Realm Divide in Total war Shogun 2. The casual audience that made CiV a success would never accept that type of gameplay. Contact victory never works due to the utter failure of the expedition system. By that time nothing is happening in my games and its even worse than pre BNW culture victory. at least there i could just hit end turn, in BE I have very tedious micro to do through trade routes and managing those stupid settlers and sending units through.

    For the Tech web they wanted to allow more freedom by opening up the tech tree. They utterly failed due to the pacingof victory though. Either you play on a dificulty where the AI does nothing or you have to mass rush affinity techs and ignore the tech tree. Not ignoring 2/3 of the tech tree is just stupid gameplay. It took the overfocus on science techs from CiV and made it worse.

    So many other systems just failed. They massively expanded archaeology by making it from turn 1 and adding more diverse rewards. The result is far less than its predecessor. I get far fewer digs and nothing they add is amazing. Due to the failure of satellites very few digs become available. Espionage is the same thing. They expanded the system heavily and managed to get less out of it. At least in CiV I got tourism and diplo modifiers out of it while it was a catch up mechanic on high levels. IN BE its just finish the quests, defend and spam the base missions if I have the energy.

    They heavily changed stations and its almost all for the worse. I like that they don't take up as much territory, but why can't I settle near them then. They screwed up the yields though. And the entire system is moot since they all just die with nothing you can do.
     
  4. Hail

    Hail Satan's minion

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    civ6 exists!

    about their panel. this all remainds of the text written by Jon Shafer where he admits that vanilla civ5 had some flaws. :)

    the point?
    Jon wanted us to kickstart his game "At the Gates" :goodjob:
    now Miller wants us to buy Starships :goodjob:
     
  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    TY for posting this, I'm intrigued. Will almost certainly end up getting this.
     
  6. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    I'm not sure I follow. I remember some of the big fixes that came to Civ V that made it a much better game than what launched before they even rolled out the first expansion. And I can deal with glacial patches if they each bring big changes to the base game.
     
  7. Ikael

    Ikael King

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    There's a myriad of problems with BE, but if I would have to point one single flaw that ruins the game and transpires trought every single layer of the game design, it would be flavour. Or more precisely, its lack of thereof.

    There's a huge disconnection between the game mechanics and the lore, between the player actions and its consequences, between the reality of what the game desoperatly tries to potray (the colonization of an unexplored and untamed planet) VS its gameplay and core design mechanics, aka, what you, as a player, do.

    Harmony doesn't encourage planet preservation and military mobility, Supremacy doesn't encourage specialization trought technology and military agression, purity doesn't encourage terraforming and turtling. The different factions doesn't reward any particular gameplay style nor strategy, as they are the blandest part of an already souless, insipid, focus-test designed game. Technologic advancement doesn't bode for any hard decision making. Diplomacy doesn't make any ounce of difference. Wonders are anything but wondrous. At least the social policies and exploration system works and adds a little of much needed significance to the game, I will give them that.

    But In short, this is a game that doesn't make you feel like the powerful leader of a futuristic politic body trying to explore and colonize an uncharted planet. At all. It is a game devoid of almost any emotion, and that's a tragedy considering the talent and ideas behind it.
     
  8. Victus75

    Victus75 Chieftain

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    So what I am seeing is that some people are saying they don't care about the lore, that gameplay and mechanics are more important, while others aren't liking the game because they didn't fully flesh out the lore in a meaningful way.

    Though I figure that nobody would oppose a richer lore, just that there are other priorities when it comes to improving the game that some players would rather the BE team focus on.
     
  9. Joch

    Joch Warlord

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    Civ 5 apparently sold around 5.9 million units, but that is actually just average for Take 2.

    Grand Theft Auto 5 sold 45 million units and generated almost $2 billion in sales and that is just console sales. It is being released for PCs this month.

    Borderlands 2 sold 8.5 million units.

    What people fail to realize is that BE is Civ VI, it was the next game after Civ 5 and it turns out to have had apparently poor sales. Did anyone see anything in that interview or any other official announcement that there will be another game called Civ VI?

    Assuming BE does turn out to be a financial failure, what will the reaction of Take 2 be: " No Problem, here is another couple million dollars to build a brand new strategy game totally different from Civ5 and BE and aimed at hard core strategy gamers". Doubtful.

    The problem the Civ series has is that it is PC only at a time when PCs represent only 10-15% of the gaming platforms. To maximise sales means selling console games, which means dumbing down games to appeal to casual gamers since casual gamers represent 90-95% of the market.

    Am I the only one who noticed that "Starships" will be playable on the Ipad?
     
  10. liv

    liv Emperor

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    Joch what is your source for your numbers? i am pretty sure I read somewhere at Civ V sold over 20 million copies
     
  11. Victus75

    Victus75 Chieftain

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    I and many others will disagree that BE is Civ VI. I can't say they will for sure never make another Civ game again, but just because they haven't announced it does not mean they won't develop/announce/release it in the future.

    It has been mentioned in a couple of other threads, yes.
     
  12. Bandobras Took

    Bandobras Took Emperor

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    Though with a rich enough lore and setting, it can help distract you from other issues. Take Alpha Centauri, where you can have so much fun enslaving Mind Worms and insulting other faction leaders that you fail to notice that Supply Crawlers break the game in half.
     
  13. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Warlord

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    True - but it doesn't work for everybody. I'd be nice to know how many people actually feel that way, though.
     
  14. ToothedBomb

    ToothedBomb Prince

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    I just feel they always treated BE as a spin-off. From the get-go we were told the team was smaller, with new game designers who were excited to make their first game. A side-project, if you will. That's the vibe I got from the beginning, anyway. I could be entirely wrong. Maybe I'm misremembering a few details.

    I just looked it up. The 20 million is apparently for the Civ series as a whole, so Joch is right.

     
  15. Joch

    Joch Warlord

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    for Civ 5 there was an article a while ago that there were 5.9 million units out there:

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/introducing-steam-gauge-ars-reveals-steams-most-popular-games/


    have not seen actual sales number myself. Take2 did announce that the Civ franchise as a whole, i.e. Civ 1 up to and including BE sold 29 million units.

    as for the other figures, they are publicly available:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto_V

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borderlands_2

    update: actually while surfing for this post, I found this article which came out last week. According to this BE sold at least 2.13 million copies which does make it a blockbuster, turns out my estimate of 500-600k was wildly off.



    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2015/03/steam-gauge-measuring-the-most-popular-steam-games-of-2014/1/

    so the future does look good if they can patch the game.

    this is where the problem is, 800,000 have played the game, but 1.3 million have it, but have never played it. Its also not clear if this includes people who downloaded it when it was free-to-play:



    and this is interesting, even though the average number of players on Steam is low, those that do play the game log in a lot of hours:



     
  16. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Yeah because Firaxis will start to develop console games in a highly competitive market by starting a new IP in a genre they have no experience with. Yeah 2K is very likely to throw tens of millions at such an endeavor !

    Instead of you know keep financing projects that brings a profit. That while being far from the outlier that is GTA5 sell well and most likely don't take hundreds of millions to finance. If a customer profile is 15% of the market you don't ignore it. What kind of ridiculous marketing is that ? If you have something that works for a niche market and brings a nice profit you cultivate it. Maybe Civ6 will try to appeal to a larger audience sure but they'll milk the Civ franchise as much as they can don't worry.

    Dude, civ5 is the 16th most bought game on steam. Devs would sell their mother for that. All your sale numbers also aren't profit... DLCs, cost of production etc... all are important factors that could widely affect the picture you're trying to paint. Sale numbers aren't everything. GTA5 is the Avatar of video games, it's an outlier. Trying to make it an example is nonsense. Throwing money to the console market isn't all there is. GTA5 is 300million and destiny went as high as 500million. The later had disapointing sales and yeah in that case investors won't be tempted to do it again.

    Also source that CivBE is a financial failure please (well you didn't said it was to be fair).

    Firaxis is big enough to have multiple projects. Starships is being released on ipad because they thought it ould do well in that market. And looking at the game I agree. But so what ? Will they make other such small projects for a more casual crowd ? maybe. But I fail to see why that would mean the end of exploiting the Civ goldmine.

    CivBE, Starships, CivCol, CivRev 1 & 2 are all games that sell because of the main franchise. They bring money because of the main franchise, like plastic toys for your favorite movie. But they cannot survive without it.
     
  17. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    By forcing a specific playstyle per Affinity, as supposed to small variant strategies available per Affinity (which is what we have, and what Firaxis could also improve upon) you reduce variety within the game and thus both visible and invisible depth (the former immediately obvious to a player, the latter discovered from playing the game).
     
  18. Sherlock

    Sherlock Just one more turn...

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    You know why they stopped making games like X-wing and 'Wing Commander'? They cost too much and took too long to make. And the bean counters said 'we can make more money doing console games'.

    I'll be very happy the day they announce CiVI, if they ever do.
     
  19. Ashbery76

    Ashbery76 Warlord

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    Civ5 has a tiny budget and staff numbers compared to the likes of a GTA and most other console AAA.CIV is a good little earner and BE would have made a profit as it seemed a small budget project.
     
  20. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    And Chris Roberts is currently making a vaporware that is crowd funded for 73million $.
     
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