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Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake

There's an interview with Oskari Häkkinen on Digital Spy talking with the Head of Franchise Development at Remedy Entertainment about Alan Wake, their upcoming psychological action/thriller. Remedy had previously expressed a desire to create a PC version of the game, saying a final decision of this rested with Microsoft, who recently indicated that Alan Wake is skipping the PC platform because they decided the Xbox 360 was the "most compelling way to experience" the game. Now Oskari shifts gears a bit, and says the reason for skipping the PC is because Remedy is just too small to handle the PC version: "We're a small studio, about 50 people. Concentrating on one platform is just a lot easier for us where we're smaller than other studios, and its [sic] just been focused, focusing on one platform and getting that done. We have no plans for PC right now." Thanks VG247.

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46. Re: Remedy Apr 6, 2010, 23:06 D-Rock
 
Acleacius wrote on Apr 1, 2010, 00:48:
damn too bad, never thought the guys at remedy would turn out to be dicks, to the customers that supported them.

Here's hoping they have shitty sales to go along with their new dickishness.

Back in the days of Max Payne and the 3dMark tech demos that were still considered cool, not many people thought they could possibly go in this direction.

Since about 2003 they've been steadily going downhill in the form of big egos (that would have been more justifiable in the Max Payne days), technology that wasn't significantly better than anything else out there, and many resources put into development time with little to show for it.

They lost me several years ago when their once down-to-earth link with the gaming community seemed to fade and the only items of note I ever saw from them were arrogant posts on Futuremark and Remedy forums that had this "We know better than the gaming community -- just listen to us!" essence to it. Suddenly any product any of their development teams produced required you to pay more for less and they didn't seem to care that the customer wasn't happy about it.

If I'm 'wrong' about any of this, please feel free to prove it. I'd love for someone to show me somewhere where these guys have shown respect for the gaming community in recent history. Please. And by recent, I mean recent in 'technology years', not real years. I suppose the Death Rally port to Windows might qualify, but honestly -- for as "big" as these guys claim to be, that's maybe a week of effort for them?

I just haven't been impressed by these guys in a long time and I think they're going to end up somewhere between where Ion Storm and 3D Realms did.
 
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45. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 20:33 StingingVelvet
 
Beamer wrote on Apr 1, 2010, 12:06:
Port team?
Microsoft had Gearbox take Halo to the PC. Turned out to be worth neither the time nor the money for either party.
Microsoft had People Can Fly take Gears of War to the PC. More of the same.
Microsoft had Big Blue Box port Fable themselves. More of the same.

Well they turned out well for me because I got to play some great games I otherwise would not have been able to.

In the above cases it wasn't worth the effort. The time, effort and money would have been better spent on new projects than porting old ones. The ROI simply wasn't there.

As Jerykk said, do you actually know these ports did not make money or are you making things up? I assume it's the latter, because I know at least Fable did well on PC, I remember reading its sales were quite high. Gears has a reputation for being a bomb on PC, but I remember that was mostly just in comparison to the console game, because it still sold 500,000+ on PC, which is 25 million dollars. I doubt it cost 25 million dollars to port and sell.

In any case, what I am sure the issue is ROI wise is they would rather sell a few thousand more Xbox machines than make a few million dollars on a PC port. They have long term goals, the Microsoft does, and the more people using their living room box the better.

I don't know if anyone will buy an Xbox for Alan Wake though, I predict middling reviews and low interest.
 
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44. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 17:35 exorcism
 
I was excited about this game and had intended to buy and play it. I'm not a console gamer and therefor I cannot and will not buy this game as long as it's an Xbox exclusive. Regrettable as I've been waiting for a good thriller a while and the last Silent Hill didn't do much for me.  
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43. Re: Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake Apr 1, 2010, 16:03 Verno
 
I'm sure a PC version will appear a year or two later.  
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Playing: Fire Emblem, Diablo 3, Bravely Default
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42. Re: Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake Apr 1, 2010, 14:39 Umbragen
 
The only reason there wont be a PC version is because Microsoft doesn't expect to earn back its investment - they're cutting their losses.  
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41. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 14:12 saluk
 
I believe this excuse. Behind the scenes I imagine things going badly - a dev time this long usually points to development troubles. Sometime in there, they probably decided, that in order to actually finish the game they needed to adjust their process and focus on only one platform. It's not "We're too small" to support two platforms. It's more of a "We are incompetent and screwed up and the only way we can finish is to change the scope."

The most common way to solve software development problems is to change scope. Limiting the # of platforms (pc is like 12 platforms by itself) if a huge way to do that.
 
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40. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 12:39 Jerykk
 
He'll also keep pointing out absurd comparisons, like paying for GTA4 DLC, as if it's comparable. You know, trying to corner the market on a game that virtually made the PS1 and PS2 versus untested property they've already sunk a ton of money into, aren't certain they'll recoup even that much, and figure that putting even more into a version on a platform that has repeatedly said it isn't terribly interested (see any Alan Wake thread here, starting from the initial announcement) probably won't make back the investment.

#1: The GTA games were a flop on the PS1. Those were the 2D iterations and they were greatly inferior to the PC versions. It wasn't until the PS2 that the series became a mainstream succcess.

#2: MS didn't pay for GTA4 exclusivity. They paid for GTA4 DLC exclusivity. Not even permanent exclusivity. Again, if they're willing to pay $50 million for timed DLC exclusivity, you really think they wouldn't be willing to pay a few million to make a full game exclusive? They've done it before.

#3: If they aren't sure they'll recoup their costs from Alan Wake, wouldn't it make more sense to release it for PC as well? After all, the bigger the audience, the more potential profit. As others have said, the prevalence of PC ports shows that they must be generally profitable and I highly doubt the costs of porting Alan Wake back to PC would have outweighed the profit.

I know you love defending Microsoft but you're pushing it a bit far.

In the above cases it wasn't worth the effort. The time, effort and money would have been better spent on new projects than porting old ones. The ROI simply wasn't there.

#1: Halo, Gears of War and Fable were all extremely delayed ports. We're talking years here. Is it any surprise that they didn't sell as well as when they debuted on Xbox?

#2: Do you actually know how much it cost to port these games or how well they sold? Or are you just talking out of your ass?
 
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39. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 12:06 Beamer
 
You can't tell me Bungie would have had a hard time making Halo 3 for the PC, or Ensemble Halo Wars. Perhaps Remedy is small, and to meet the release perhaps a PC version would have been hard to manage, but Microsoft could just assign a port team, or delay the PC release, or whatever else. Instead they shelved it and made up stories.


Port team?
Microsoft had Gearbox take Halo to the PC. Turned out to be worth neither the time nor the money for either party.
Microsoft had People Can Fly take Gears of War to the PC. More of the same.
Microsoft had Big Blue Box port Fable themselves. More of the same.

In the above cases it wasn't worth the effort. The time, effort and money would have been better spent on new projects than porting old ones. The ROI simply wasn't there.
 
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38. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 12:00 Beamer
 
Duc, don't bother.

Jerykk will keep telling you that QA for the PC isn't costly.
He'll also keep pointing out absurd comparisons, like paying for GTA4 DLC, as if it's comparable. You know, trying to corner the market on a game that virtually made the PS1 and PS2 versus untested property they've already sunk a ton of money into, aren't certain they'll recoup even that much, and figure that putting even more into a version on a platform that has repeatedly said it isn't terribly interested (see any Alan Wake thread here, starting from the initial announcement) probably won't make back the investment.
 
-------------
Music for the discerning:
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.hydrahead.com
http://www.painkillerrecords.com
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37. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 07:51 StingingVelvet
 
Duc wrote on Apr 1, 2010, 02:45:
Speaking as someone who does multi-platform software development (ARM, x86 *nix, Windows) and I can tell you that it's not bullshit and if any of you stopped to think for five minutes you'd realize why.

Conservative estimates put the time you spend fixing bugs at approximately 50% of development and every platform you have needs it's own QA, carefully honed test procedures and probably dedicated staff. Don't get me wrong, if you can do it properly multi-platform development results in better code for a variety of reasons - but we don't have to QA any other platform than ARM for our own internal development and if it turned out we had to support any of the others for anything other than internal use we'd probably need to double our team size.

The PC ecosystem has many things going for it but consistency isn't one of them - it's probably the area Microsoft have done the most actual harm to PC gaming - Modern versions of Windows come in Starter, Home, Premium, Professional and Enterprise variants in 7 alone, all in 32 and 64 bit versions and that's not even considering Vista,XP, DX9 vs DX10 or the myriad of different hardware options. It's not like Microsoft couldn't afford to add the 30 or 40 people necessary to get this game out on the PC but this is easily the most plausible and honest reason why they are not releasing it. Compared to supporting one or possibly two console SKU's the PC doesn't make much financial sense, consider the sales numbers from something like modern warfare 2, in Nov 09 it sold approximately 4.2 million units for the 360, 1.8 million for the ps3 and 170,000 units on the PC 1. (Note, NPD numbers don't appear to include digital sales, but then Steam and all the other digital stores represent their own set of challenges as I'm pretty sure DSmart went in to previously on this very forum.

Now, if you want to slate Microsoft for massively confusing the market with dozens of pointless options (and Games for Windows, I doubt that's helped.) and Remedy being too cheap to spring for a PC release that's fair enough I guess

And yet damn near every multiplatform game of any merit releases on PC, despite "rampant piracy" and all these costs you speak of, so they must make a profit right? They must be worth doing for publishers on some level, otherwise trust me, they would not do them.

I don't think anyone would argue there are not costs associated with releasing this or any other game on the PC. However, these costs and annoyances are things any multiplatform publisher is trained and good at dealing with. The real reason behind this is a lack in PC games on Microsoft's part, as has been shown numerous times since the Xbox launched.

You can't tell me Bungie would have had a hard time making Halo 3 for the PC, or Ensemble Halo Wars. Perhaps Remedy is small, and to meet the release perhaps a PC version would have been hard to manage, but Microsoft could just assign a port team, or delay the PC release, or whatever else. Instead they shelved it and made up stories.
 
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36. Re: Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake Apr 1, 2010, 07:36 MTechnik
 
When I first heard of the game, it sounded cool.

Now, after way too long, I am done caring about it. The gameplay videos aren't compelling. Oooh a flashlight in stead of a flame thrower (seems to be the short-distance AOE tool), in an otherwise story based survival game.

I'll pass, the 360 can have it.

I'll even pass when it shows on the PC 9 months later.
 
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35. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 04:54 Merkaba48
 
I am disappointed. I'm one of those who got excited about the game way back when it was 'The Max Payne guy's next game', and I was most certainly expecting it to be a PC release. Today, I don't own a 360 and I have no intention of buying one, so I'll either have to skip the game or wait to see if they port it to PC. By that point I may not care, depending on the reception of the game on the 360.  
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34. Re: Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake Apr 1, 2010, 04:24 Beelzebud
 
"We have no plans for PC right now."

Well then we're even, because I have no plans to buy anything with "Remedy" on the label right now.
 
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33. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 04:07 Jerykk
 
What I was actually trying to express was the cost relative to the size of the user base - and as we all know that Microsoft doesn't actually give a shit about PC gaming and I find it extremely unlikely that they'd throw more money at an already massively delayed game.

I'm pretty sure that MS would make a profit if they ported Alan Wake to PC. Again, 360-to-PC ports are not expensive so it's really not that hard to profit. Remedy also has (or rather, had) an established PC fanbase thanks to the Max Payne games. Alan Wake was a highly anticipated so I think the PC version would have sold sufficiently well. There's a reason why most multiplatform games come out on PC. If they weren't profitable, publishers wouldn't bother.

I think that Remedy supposedly developed the engine from scratch rather than use an existing engine, which means their required investment in testing is going to be proportionately higher than using something like Unreal.

You do realize that the engine was developed for the PC, right? Alan Wake was a PC game first and foremost. In fact, they probably spent quite a bit of money trying to scale the engine down for the X360.

PC game testing doesn't require nearly as much effort as you think it does. It's not like they have 40 dedicated testers who constantly test the game on every possible software and hardware variation. Compatibility testing is an occasional thing performed at certain stages in the project, much like pre-cert testing for consoles. It's usually outsourced and takes about a week.

What I suspect is that Remedy doesn't have the cash to expand and test and Microsoft won't pay.

Even if Remedy did have the money to develop the PC version, MS wouldn't allow them to. MS has proven time and time again that they desire Xbox exclusivity above all else, which is why they've spent millions just to get exclusive games and DLC.

The most honest and plausible reason for Alan Wake not showing up on the PC is that MS wants the game to be an Xbox exclusive. It has nothing to do with PC development costs outweighing potential profit.
 
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32. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 03:51 Duc
 




Do you actually know anything of Microsoft's history? You are aware that they paid $50 MILLION just to get GTA4 DLC timed exclusivity? You really think they wouldn't be willing to pay a little more for a PC port if they weren't hell-bent on making everything an Xbox-exclusive?

Yes I was aware. What I was actually trying to express was the cost relative to the size of the user base - and as we all know that Microsoft doesn't actually give a shit about PC gaming and I find it extremely unlikely that they'd throw more money at an already massively delayed game.


You honestly think that MS aborted the PC version because of QA costs? And wtf? 30-40 people? You would need maybe 5-10 more people to work on the PC version and that's mostly QA (on temp contracts with no benefits).

I think that Remedy supposedly developed the engine from scratch rather than use an existing engine, which means their required investment in testing is going to be proportionately higher than using something like Unreal. Doubling is probably extreme though, so I guess that's a fair point.

In addition, it's not like the PC version is a completely new game. The artists, designers and programmers who work on the X360 version? Yeah, they work on the PC version too. That's how multiplatform development works. You don't hire a completely new team for each version of the game. Multiplatform development is so popular because it's cost-effective and 360-to-PC ports are about as cost-effective as they get.
Yes I am aware you don't need new assets or code for a multi-platform title, in fact I'd go further - I bet they alrady have a PC version working, as people have observed it at least started out on the PC and I doubt they dropped something as useful as a locally debuggable, demoable variant.

What I suspect is that Remedy doesn't have the cash to expand and test and Microsoft won't pay.

 
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31. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 03:15 Dev
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Mar 31, 2010, 21:32:
You have your core operating system, all of which are now NT based (XP, Vista, 7). You have your graphics API, which is DirectX (just like the X360). Obviously it's most complex than that but as long as you develop your game knowing that it's going to be multi-platform it's not a problem and this game started out as a DX10 title. Ironic that one of the games designed to highlight the strength of DX10 completely missed the boat.
Also don't forget, one of the reasons MS completely changed sound systems in Vista away from directsound was because the setup they went to is closer to xbox 360.
I find it amusing in some ways that basically MS screwed the entire sound industry just to get it a little easier to port to PC. Directsound now has to be emulated and in emulation its only stereo, and not hardware accellerated.
Some of that changed with creative releasing the alchemy thing, but still.

Ruffiana wrote on Mar 31, 2010, 20:52:
Developing for a single console is nothing like developing for the PC...unless you're developing for a PC...as in one hardware configuration, one operating system, all running the same versions, same drivers, etc.
Sorry I'm gonna have to disagree with you there.
That's the ENTIRE POINT of having something like directX, so you don't have to program for specific cards (like they used to have games that would only work with 1 particular 3d add-in card). The idea is you program it for directX and it just works. In programming, you never want to deal with the hardware directly, you always want to deal with software interfaces, like HALs. Now sure, maybe it needs extra testing, but MS has done a lot to make sure its easy to port. Heck, the xbox 360 is more like a PC than not.
Someone said they were gonna do vista only, so that would have simplified things from a testing standpoint, no 9x/XP testing. Really they'd mostly have to test vista decently and windows 7 should mostly work fine.
(of course its best to test both, but if they are low on money, they should be able to reduce windows 7 testing)

And how many games come out with some game stopping bug that show they never really tested the game much anyway and are just letting the customers beta it?

YES there are some differances of course between PC and Xbox, and PC needs more testing, I just don't think its as drastic as "nothing like" as you say. And I also don't belive thier excuse about resources given MS's history.

This comment was edited on Apr 1, 2010, 03:27.
 
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30. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 03:09 Jerykk
 
It's not like Microsoft couldn't afford to add the 30 or 40 people necessary to get this game out on the PC but this is easily the most plausible and honest reason why they are not releasing it.

Do you actually know anything of Microsoft's history? You are aware that they paid $50 MILLION just to get GTA4 DLC timed exclusivity? You really think they wouldn't be willing to pay a little more for a PC port if they weren't hell-bent on making everything an Xbox-exclusive?

You honestly think that MS aborted the PC version because of QA costs? And wtf? 30-40 people? You would need maybe 5-10 more people to work on the PC version and that's mostly QA (on temp contracts with no benefits). This isn't some epic RPG or multiplayer game either. It's a linear, highly-scripted single-player game that takes testers maybe 4 hours to do a complete playthrough. In addition, it's not like the PC version is a completely new game. The artists, designers and programmers who work on the X360 version? Yeah, they work on the PC version too. That's how multiplatform development works. You don't hire a completely new team for each version of the game. Multiplatform development is so popular because it's cost-effective and 360-to-PC ports are about as cost-effective as they get.

I've only worked on multiplatform games, not software, so maybe you guys have completely different ways of doing things. Your experiences are clearly not representative of game development, however.

This comment was edited on Apr 1, 2010, 03:24.
 
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29. Re: Remedy "Too Small" for PC Alan Wake Apr 1, 2010, 02:45 Duc
 
Speaking as someone who does multi-platform software development (ARM, x86 *nix, Windows) and I can tell you that it's not bullshit and if any of you stopped to think for five minutes you'd realize why.

Conservative estimates put the time you spend fixing bugs at approximately 50% of development and every platform you have needs it's own QA, carefully honed test procedures and probably dedicated staff. Don't get me wrong, if you can do it properly multi-platform development results in better code for a variety of reasons - but we don't have to QA any other platform than ARM for our own internal development and if it turned out we had to support any of the others for anything other than internal use we'd probably need to double our team size.

The PC ecosystem has many things going for it but consistency isn't one of them - it's probably the area Microsoft have done the most actual harm to PC gaming - Modern versions of Windows come in Starter, Home, Premium, Professional and Enterprise variants in 7 alone, all in 32 and 64 bit versions and that's not even considering Vista,XP, DX9 vs DX10 or the myriad of different hardware options. It's not like Microsoft couldn't afford to add the 30 or 40 people necessary to get this game out on the PC but this is easily the most plausible and honest reason why they are not releasing it. Compared to supporting one or possibly two console SKU's the PC doesn't make much financial sense, consider the sales numbers from something like modern warfare 2, in Nov 09 it sold approximately 4.2 million units for the 360, 1.8 million for the ps3 and 170,000 units on the PC 1. (Note, NPD numbers don't appear to include digital sales, but then Steam and all the other digital stores represent their own set of challenges as I'm pretty sure DSmart went in to previously on this very forum.

Now, if you want to slate Microsoft for massively confusing the market with dozens of pointless options (and Games for Windows, I doubt that's helped.) and Remedy being too cheap to spring for a PC release that's fair enough I guess

 
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28. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 02:17 Jerykk
 
Again, if it is simply a money issue, a PC version is still possible, as long as it is a substantial hit on console. Just not until much later.

It's not so much a money issue as it is a Microsoft issue. As long as Microsoft is the publisher, the game will never appear on anything other than the X360.

MS is starting to get really annoying. First they start turning high-profile PC games into Xbox exclusives. Then they start buying DLC exclusivity (GTA4, TR:Underworld, CoD:MW2, etc). Now they are targeting the more obscure games too. I was greatly looking forward to Limbo, Hydrophobia and Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and now they are all XBLA-exclusives. Lame.
 
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27. Re: Remedy Apr 1, 2010, 01:56 zirik
 
Remedy "Too Small" for PC

thats what she said.
 
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