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Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs

Obsidian's Chris Avellone indicated that Obsidian just missed a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas, reports Joystiq, saying this came in a tweet from a no longer existent account, allegedly saying: "[Fallout: New Vegas] was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn't." Sure enough, the game currently sits at 84 on Metacritic. They also note their report of layoffs at Obsidian, though these are still unconfirmed. Thanks nin.

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82. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 21:23 Panickd
 
Verno wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 13:13:
Bhruic wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 13:08:
This is why people hate metacritic, it's never used "properly".

Out of curiosity (honest question), how would it be used "properly"?

Only my opinion of course but I see it as a convenience tool for consumers, not as a resource for the industry to use in commercial business transactions. It's like if Universal only wanted to pay royalties if a movie hit X sales figure and also had a 90% Rottentomato rating. I don't see it as a valid or intended use of the system.

Since Metacritic doesn't properly score many reviews I don't think it ever could be used properly. Not every site rates games on a 100 point scale and Metacritic fudges the numbers of reviews that aren't given in that way so they match up to their arbitrary scale. It's bullshit that developer bonuses are based around such a half-assed system.
 
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81. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 19:28 Mgshadow
 
I have never used metacritic.

I generally can look at screen shots of a game, and say "I want to play this".
Most critics are too cynical of anything. It's like that want the game to give them a virtual hand job or its not a good game.

I can make my own shitty opinions Thank you very much.
 
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80. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 17:07 saluk
 
WaltC wrote on Mar 15, 2012, 21:44:
Creston wrote on Mar 15, 2012, 21:16:
Not sure why you'd ever agree to a deal where you get money based on an aggregate score of subjective views by third parties.

No tears shed here.

Creston

This deal was just one of many bonus conditions most likely in their contract--certainly not the only one...;)

I have to say that on buying the game during a recent Steam sale for--I think--$4.99--it was pretty rough and rugged before I started installing the plentiful mods made available for it by the community. The one thing that stands out in my memory was just how bad the textures & general graphics were in the vanilla game--it looked like something published a decade earlier, imo. If the fully modded game could have been reviewed there's no doubt it would have garnered a 90+, at least, but in the condition I saw of the final release (prior to any mod installations), I think they were very lucky to get an 84. As I recall the vanilla FNV was much, much worse-looking than the vanilla Fallout3--which really surprised me. Both games benefit greatly from community mods, but FNV was by far the most improved of the two,imo.

Eh? I never installed mods and thought NV was miles ahead of Fallout 3 in visuals. I also thought it was a much better game. As far as crashes, Fallout 3 was no spring chicken either.

It's unfortunate that this is how things went down, but I don't see any would-be heroes anywhere. Industry sucks.
 
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79. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 16:10 Wowbagger_TIP
 
Creston wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 11:05:
Dmitri_M wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 03:57:
Why didn't they just buy a couple of extra reviewers?

I thought that's what game companies did.

That's what the publishers do, and in this case, Zenimax isn't going to buy a few more reviews so they HAVE TO pay out the bonus to Obsidian. More likely in reverse.

Creston
If better scores lead to more sales, then Zenimax/Bethesda would stand to profit more from higher scores. Likely far beyond whatever bonus they'd have to pay.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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78. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 16:07 Bhruic
 
Only my opinion of course but I see it as a convenience tool for consumers

I think that's giving it more credit than it deserves. I don't mind the consumer ratings, although they are subject to sabotage, generally they are a good indicator of public perception of a game. But the professional rankings are absolute shit, imo. With the system we have now of "paid" reviews, and such a relatively small sample size, it's too easy to skew ratings in favour of games that don't deserve it (or vice versa). As you said, Fallout:NV should have a higher ranking than Fallout 3. And the User Scores of 7.9 and 7.8 reflect that.

Beyond using it as a marketing tool, I don't see any practical application for it.
 
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77. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 15:34 Teddy
 
wtf_man wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 09:13:
I won't debate whether that thinking is correct... but the bottom line is pretty much all Obsidian had to do was come up with the content.

Which is pretty much what I said. Changes to the engine and mechanics of the game were pretty much nil, which cuts out a decent chunk of development time and resources. Apparently as a concept, that's either confusing, or somehow insulting to people to state outright though.
 
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76. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 14:15 Dev
 
Bopper wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 07:00:
Adjusting employee bonuses according to metacritic scores? This seems like a very bad idea as reviews are (or are meant to be at least partially) opinion pieces on a product and thus can range widely. This also helps promote the kind of back-scratching that happens between publications and game publishers where good review scores are rewarded with benefits i.e. early reviews, press access and complementary handjobs.
And yet, I've heard about it before, I think its almost an industry standard at this point. I think the idea was to encourage the devs to make a better game and get better average review scores. But I don't think it always actually works out that way.
Teddy wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 07:41:
Pretty much any Call of Duty following Modern Warfare, all based on the same base engine with minor alterations where the bulk of the work was on 'new' content.
You mean like how they take maps from the previous games and reuse them in the new games with almost no work on the porting of the map, and sometimes resell them in the mappacks for an exorbitant price? I agree that that is almost no work to do that.
Silicon Avatar wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 08:43:
http://newvegas.nexusmods.com/downloads/file.php?id=35262

Oh I forgot to mention that I have to use that or I get a weird stuttering effect in the game. My FPS aren't low it just stutters without it. It has something to do with timers.

Interesting, I had no idea that that Large Address Aware thing (to let the game use more than 2gb) could change how the game used timers. I don't think I saw non FPS related stuttering, but if I do, thats good to know.
 
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75. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 13:13 Verno
 
Bhruic wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 13:08:
This is why people hate metacritic, it's never used "properly".

Out of curiosity (honest question), how would it be used "properly"?

Only my opinion of course but I see it as a convenience tool for consumers, not as a resource for the industry to use in commercial business transactions. It's like if Universal only wanted to pay royalties if a movie hit X sales figure and also had a 90% Rottentomato rating. I don't see it as a valid or intended use of the system.
 
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74. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 13:08 Bhruic
 
This is why people hate metacritic, it's never used "properly".

Out of curiosity (honest question), how would it be used "properly"?
 
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73. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 12:53 deqer
 
Verno wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 12:45:
NV unquestionably was better written, had a more refined combat system and far better quest design.

"refined" ? "better" ? lol

Sounds like stuff that was supposed to be in the first game...

But noooooooo; money is more important; so, they pushed out their first game quickly and then decided to take the rest of their work and put it into a new title.
 
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72. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 12:45 Verno
 
Ruffiana wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 12:34:
Fion wrote on Mar 15, 2012, 21:04:
How can this incredible game not have an 85 at Metacritic? Sure the first few days were rocky but over all New Vegas is WORLDS better than Fallout 3 (which has a 91). Not to mention it's easily the best Obsidian game.. ever lol.

I enjoyed Fallout 3 much more than New Vegas. *shrugs*

I thought FO3 had a lot more random/fun exploration stuff for sure but NV unquestionably was better written, had a more refined combat system and far better quest design.
 
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71. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 12:34 Ruffiana
 
Fion wrote on Mar 15, 2012, 21:04:
How can this incredible game not have an 85 at Metacritic? Sure the first few days were rocky but over all New Vegas is WORLDS better than Fallout 3 (which has a 91). Not to mention it's easily the best Obsidian game.. ever lol.

I enjoyed Fallout 3 much more than New Vegas. *shrugs*
 
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70. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 12:24 Signatus
 
Not knowing the details about layoffs, this might be another misinterpreted situation by the media. In the videogame industry, people being laid off after a project finishes is pretty standard. Unless they already have a project going on that needs the people or the company can invest in some in-house work, people will be laid off just because there's no work for them.

I doubt Obsidian was just counting with that money, knowing how volatile and not realistic the scores are in Metacritic.

All in all it's a shame, as even though every game Obsidian has put out has faced heavy criticism for not being "perfect" (perfect as in games from the likes of Bioware or Bethesda), they are still able to do decent games that entertain.

As someone said before, they more or less suffer from the same as Troika. Hopefully they won't have the same fate.
 
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69. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 11:42 Verno
 
WyldKat wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 11:39:
I loved Fallout New Vegas and while layoffs are unfortunate, Obsidian doesn't have anyone to blame but themselves for the Metacritic rating. Most of the criticism was focused on the instability of the game, which should have probably been fixed during QA.

That's a function of Bethesda and Obsidian together more than it is Obsidian's sole responsibility.
 
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68. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 11:39 WyldKat
 
I loved Fallout New Vegas and while layoffs are unfortunate, Obsidian doesn't have anyone to blame but themselves for the Metacritic rating. Most of the criticism was focused on the instability of the game, which should have probably been fixed during QA.  
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67. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 11:05 Creston
 
Dmitri_M wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 03:57:
Why didn't they just buy a couple of extra reviewers?

I thought that's what game companies did.

That's what the publishers do, and in this case, Zenimax isn't going to buy a few more reviews so they HAVE TO pay out the bonus to Obsidian. More likely in reverse.

Creston
 
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66. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 11:03 Creston
 
Cutter wrote on Mar 15, 2012, 23:44:

Not really, Cres. Most of them are pretty specific. You need to sack a QB X amount of times or have so many shut-outs or the like. They're reasonable but they still have a hard cap. As others have mentioned, it was just bad negotiating on their part. Much better to go the route about general sales targets than some arbitrary review mechanic.

Right, but what I'm saying is that "Sack the QB X amount if times" is something you still have some level of control over. You can (try to) play like Beast Moe, or you can 'play' like Albert Haynesworth.

Nothing you really do is going to affect that metacritic score (well, other than making a better game, but I don't think Obsidian set out to make anything less than the best game they could.)

Creston
 
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65. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 09:32 Verno
 
wtf_man wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 09:13:
Bethesda only licenses the Rendering Engine (Gamebryo). Everything else is in-house. (Radiant AI, Dialog and Quest Engines, etc.) You cannot build a Fallout 3 or TES game with Gamebryo, alone.

Fair points, I stand corrected

I will say however that "all they had to do is come up with content" still makes light of what Obsidian did with FO:NV. I don't think their lack of engine development should be any consideration when it comes to financial reward either. It was a great game, it sold 5+ million copies and counting. This is why people hate metacritic, it's never used "properly".

This comment was edited on Mar 16, 2012, 09:37.
 
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64. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 09:13 wtf_man
 
Verno wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 08:48:
I see your point about the engine but Bethesda licensed the engine as well, it wasn't an inhouse creation.

Bethesda only licenses the Rendering Engine (Gamebryo). Everything else is in-house. (Radiant AI, Dialog and Quest Engines, etc.) You cannot build a Fallout 3 or TES game with Gamebryo, alone.

That is why they claim Skyrim is a "new engine", while the rendering engine is still a tweaked Gamebryo engine. They just happen to think all of their in-house engines plus a tweaked Gamebryo engine = One big RPG engine.

I won't debate whether that thinking is correct... but the bottom line is pretty much all Obsidian had to do was come up with the content.
 
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63. Re: Fallout: New Vegas Bonus Missed by 1 Point; Obsidian Layoffs Mar 16, 2012, 08:48 Verno
 
Teddy wrote on Mar 16, 2012, 07:41:
The point was very simple. When the base engine is already made for you, and all you're doing is throwing in new content with a tweak or two here and there in terms of technical differences then the game is going to take significantly less time and cost significantly less to make than one where the base engine needs to be created or needs drastic alteration to use. Less time coding, less time debugging = less cost. It's pretty basic logic.

I can't agree with this, they made an overwhelming majority of new content for every piece they reused. I see your point about the engine but Bethesda licensed the engine as well, it wasn't an inhouse creation. Sure the R&D time on engine extension and setting up things like the combat system was a lot higher for them but it doesn't make Obsidians accomplishments any less impressive.

They did an amazing job with FO:NV and really deserved to be rewarded for it instead of being hung on some lame contract term.
 
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