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Old School LucasArts Announcement Monday

The Lucasartsgames Twitter Feed indicates LucasArts has an announcement planned for Monday (thanks GamingShogun/VG247). Though one of these tweets mentions this will be "awesome news for our old school fans," the most recent post clarifies that "It doesn't have to do with any specific intellectual property..." Here are the relevant updates:

Amazing news coming Monday! Super excited! You have no idea how tough it is not to start yelling about it! But it's secret! Until Monday!

I don't want to tease, it is just tough not to say anything! I might be tempted, however. Have to think about it over the weekend. ;)

Okay, we will do hints. It is awesome news for our old school fans. (anything more direct might get me in trouble)

Monday, early, actually. I suppose if the president of the company messages me to leak it I would. Til then, it is teasing. Sorry guys.

@TTU_VAPOR It doesn't have to do with any specific intellectual property...

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107. Re: LucasArts News Mon. Jul 9, 2009, 09:50 Verno
 
5000 staff members? What are you talking about? Niche developers don't have 5000 staff members.

If you actually read what I said, you would see the letters EA in there.

Instead of putting them all onto a few hugely expensive AAA games, you can spread them out onto smaller, less expensive projects

And what happens when those all of those games do not break even? Spreading out 5000 between different projects does not magically reduce your expenses any less.

Problem solved

Nope.

If you haven't noticed, most big publishers are bleeding money. EA had Q3 loss of $641 million

There's a lot of reasons why, it's nothing so simple as "oh geez they should be listening to Jerykk and making indie games!", that's just retarded.

Maybe it's because they (and so many others) only make huge investments that can't pay off unless each game sells over 3 million units. Hollywood studios realized long ago the importance of having a diverse portfolio

Again, it's not so simple and I find it hilarious you cite Hollywood as an example when that's probably the WORST possible example you could have used. Hollywood is not responsible for the majority of movies you can find on dvd. Yep, read that again so it sinks in. There are a few distributors and production companies who specialize in bringing over foreign or developing independent/low budget film but the majority of the big Hollywood studios do nothing but churn out big budget films.

Honestly, you sound like you didn't really think about your response at all beyond "Hey, I want to contradict Jerykk!"

Honestly, you sound like you really believe the idiocy of moving 5000 people around somehow reduces your expenses. Independent companies will fill niche genres, there is zero need nor room for companies like EA to move into them. They are not only not setup to handle them but typically have little experience with them as well. There is more than enough room to accommodate both niche and "blockbuster" companies in the industry, the industry has done nothing but GROW for the past decade in fact. EA's individual mistakes do not apply to the entire industry, other large publishers posted gains and profits last year, a fact you neglected to mention. Their largest competitor Activision is doing quite well on big box titles and sequels.

The reality is that you want more innovation and think that this can only come from the independent side of the industry. Maybe you're right, maybe not. That side of the industry is already producing content, some of it outstanding but you don't seem to satisfied. I think the truth is that you're impatient/selfish and just want what you want when you want it. Nothing wrong with that as a consumer but unfortunately as the song goes "You can't always get what you want".

I want the next Planescape Torment as much as the next guy but the industry needs time to evolve out of it's current state, the independent side is especially green.
 
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106. Re: LucasArts News Mon. Jul 9, 2009, 01:54 Jerykk
 
Uh, that's exactly his point. What does EA do with the other 5000 staff members?

5000 staff members? What are you talking about? Niche developers don't have 5000 staff members. It's rare for them to have more than 50. If you're talking about internal EA staff, they have plenty of projects to assign them to. Instead of putting them all onto a few hugely expensive AAA games, you can spread them out onto smaller, less expensive projects. Problem solved. If you haven't noticed, most big publishers are bleeding money. EA had Q3 loss of $641 million. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe it's because they (and so many others) only make huge investments that can't pay off unless each game sells over 3 million units. Hollywood studios realized long ago the importance of having a diverse portfolio. American videogame publishers have not.

Honestly, you sound like you didn't really think about your response at all beyond "Hey, I want to contradict Jerykk!"
 
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105. Re: LucasArts News Mon. Jul 8, 2009, 09:47 Verno
 
Niche games don't need 400 member teams or cinematic presentations

Uh, that's exactly his point. What does EA do with the other 5000 staff members? At some point in popularity you turn a niche into mainstream as well then you're not set up well to do either. You sound like you really haven't thought about this at all beyond "hey this would be neat!".
 
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104. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 8, 2009, 03:20 Jerykk
 
In large part, though, like I keep saying, major American publishers are not set up to produce high cost low volume software. You really need to be specialized in just the right way for that.

I don't really see why American publishers can't do it. Niche games don't need 400 member teams or cinematic presentations. Lower production values require less employees and less development time. And since you're making a game with niche appeal, you don't have to spend nearly as much on marketing. As for QA, I don't think it really matters whether you're EA or 1C. Polish is polish and the lack thereof will result in problems. Notice how everybody is angry about how buggy ArmA2 is? The thing is, many people are willing to forgive the bugs because the game is so ambitious and has so much depth. The same can't be said for most games published by American publishers.

I really think it's a load of crap that American publishers can't profit from making hardcore, niche games. There's definitely a market for them and while it obviously isn't as big as the market for mainstream games, that doesn't mean it can't be profitable. If Sins of a Solar Empire was published by EA, would it have been any less profitable?
 
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103. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 15:32 Beamer
 
The problem is that American publishers are only interested in big budget AAA games or very cheap budget games. There's no middle ground. I think space sims and flight sims can still be profitable, just not as profitable as ultra-hyped shooters or Wii shovelware. And that's the issue right there. It's not just about making profit, it's about maximizing profit.

In large part this is true, but this isn't some evil company thing, it's the employees, too.
In large part, though, like I keep saying, major American publishers are not set up to produce high cost low volume software. You really need to be specialized in just the right way for that.

It's the indies and the Eastern Europeans that manage it for that reason. They get killed when they try to make the next Half Life or Peggle, but they can function very well doing the niche games. Low overhead, low employee costs, hardcore fanbase that can be reached without marketing, and less fire and brimstone if they release something buggy and spend the next 18 months constantly patching it instead of even attempting QA.
 
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102. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 15:12 Jerykk
 
The problem is that American publishers are only interested in big budget AAA games or very cheap budget games. There's no middle ground. I think space sims and flight sims can still be profitable, just not as profitable as ultra-hyped shooters or Wii shovelware. And that's the issue right there. It's not just about making profit, it's about maximizing profit.  
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101. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 14:55 Beamer
 
The A team factor is the big one. Flight sims are extremely complicated and require a ton of talent. That majority of that talent would rather do something bringing in more money and career opportunities.

Small companies don't have this issue. Their talent tends to be unproven and there either of love or to prove themselves. They're paid significantly less and, in cases of true indies working barely organized, they don't get benefits. They have no marketing to speak of and extremely low overhead. They can often make a profit with a couple hundred thousand copies shipped or less. Big studios can't. They eat that in overhead alone. They're geared primarily towards very very low cost lower volume products or very high cost huge volume products.
Flight sims are neither of those. They're high cost low volume products.

Of course, VoodooV refuses to admit they're low volume. I don't know, maybe he didn't subscribe to PC Gamer in the late 90s when the flight sim editorial was constantly about the decline of sales... until that column itself was cancelled.
 
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100. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 14:36 Verno
 
Fixed the part you conveniently continue to ignore and distract away from with your personal attacks.

I don't know what's funnier, your tirades, or the fact that your responses just end up restating my points and you just try and take credit for it.

Sims made money, joysticks were irrelevant, the simply didn't make ENOUGH money, nor did they have broad appeal. There was no decline in sales, just that they weren't enough to keep the greedy execs happy. That's the problem with mainstreaming an industry. Simply making a profit is not enough, you have to make big profits or get axed.

Your assumption that they make a profit at all is the logical fault in your entire argument and you've provided nothing to support that claim. Just because a niche company with 30 employees can bring a flight sim to retail and make a profit doesn't mean that a company employing thousands of people should divert a portion of their manpower towards one. If you owned a business and only made $1.00 profit, there would be nothing dishonorable about closing up shop if you didn't feel the potential was there for your products to make more.

Companies don't invest in your company to make whatever profit VoodooTheUser deems ok. Most companies require loans just to operate in the first place. Very few companies are financially solvent for their entire development period, in fact many publishers themselves aren't totally solvent either. It's pretty hard to tell your bank "well we'd like to pay off that loan for all of our computer equipment next year but it's going to take four more years because we like making barely profitable games for Voodoo". Likewise it's hard to tell your publisher "nope sorry we don't want to make Call of Duty 5, we're hardcore gamers who want to develop some unknown property".

Niche genre games should be made by niche genre companies. They are not only more suited towards but any actual profits derived are more valuable. It's hard to keep your company afloat when your A team is on a product that will not sustain the company's expenses while the B C and D teams work on properties that will pay the bills.
 
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99. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 13:46 Beamer
 
Lastly, I should focus on this:
If you're one of those people that believe the bottom line is all we should care about, then fine, different strokes for different folks. But gamers as a whole are not corporate apologists like Beamer is apparently

It's not about the bottom line being all you care about, it's about something you need to understand.
As Verno said, you lack the ability to see gaming as anything other than your preferred hobby. It's so far beyond that - it's a business, a livelihood to those in it and an investment to those investing in the publically traded stocks.

You can't whine that EA isn't doing what you in particular want. EA is not here to serve the needs of VoodooV. Like I keep saying, support small companies if you want people catering to your needs, ie the needs of a small audience. EA cannot afford to do this. No major publisher can. I don't get why this is hard for you to understand, nor do I get why you deny that flight sims lost their appeal. What's next, will you argue that adventure games never stopped selling? I think the blood on the walls of Sierra Online can tell you otherwise.

But guess what? It took a while, but adventure games are back! How? Why? Because small little indie companies that can afford to are making them! Guess what's already happening with flight sims!
 
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98. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 13:39 Beamer
 
Sims made money, joysticks were irrelevant, the simply didn't make ENOUGH money, nor did they have broad appeal. There was no decline in sales, just that they weren't enough to keep the greedy execs happy. That's the problem with mainstreaming an industry. Simply making a profit is not enough, you have to make big profits or get axed.

It's like talking to a wall.
And a hypocritical one at that. "Waaaah, stop with the personal attacks until you grow up and pull your head out of your ass!"

Flight sims stopped generating a profit. Why is this so hard for you to understand. Did they all? No, of course not, a few still made profits. But as a whole sales dipped so far that they were no longer worth the risk. People weren't buying them and all the sales they used to bring in were instead being diverted to FPS games. It's not a hard concept to figure out - FPS sales needed to come from somewhere. Much of their sales came from new customers to gaming, but they also cannibalized from other areas. The main area to suffer was flight sims, previously the top of the action genre.

Of course, it's hard to argue industry dynamics with someone that thinks a significant amount of people buying racing games own racing wheels.

This comment was edited on Jul 7, 2009, 13:42.
 
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97. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 13:16 VoodooV
 
:: How does one even respond to something like this? Should I graph it out for you? How about I just go all caps?
FLIGHT SIMS STOPPED MAKING ENOUGH MONEY, THEREFORE THEY STOPPED BEING MADE. THEY'RE INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE AND TIME CONSUMING TO DESIGN. IF THEY WEREN'T SELLING ENOUGH, AND THEY WERE NOT, THEY WOULD NOT BE MADE. BIG PUBLISHERS ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF PLEASING THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF PEOPLE. THEY ARE PUBLICALLY TRADED COMPANIES.

Fixed the part you conveniently continue to ignore and distract away from with your personal attacks.

I don't know what's funnier, your tirades, or the fact that your responses just end up restating my points and you just try and take credit for it.

Sims made money, joysticks were irrelevant, the simply didn't make ENOUGH money, nor did they have broad appeal. There was no decline in sales, just that they weren't enough to keep the greedy execs happy. That's the problem with mainstreaming an industry. Simply making a profit is not enough, you have to make big profits or get axed.

If you're one of those people that believe the bottom line is all we should care about, then fine, different strokes for different folks. But gamers as a whole are not corporate apologists like Beamer is apparently. But hey, keep it up beamer, keep cutting up my posts, make personal attacks about the stuff that you don't agree with, only to repost the stuff you do agree with and pass it off as it was your genius idea that only you came up with. You've got a lot of growing up to do kid.

All you have to do is pull your head out of the ass aka the accounting ledger to see that your typical gamer is slowly getting more and more turned off by these supposed AAA titles that have high cost, but low content. The more companies keep worshipping the bottom line, the more gamers are going to look for entertainment elsewhere.
 
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96. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 11:12 Beamer
 
The other problem is that no one seems to realize that something which can be profitable for a very small company might be a loss for a very large company (and, of course, vice versa.) Just because a small Eastern European company can make a profit with flight sims doesn't mean EA can. While EA has the advantage of certain redundancies and economies of scale, it doesn't always apply, and a game that's expensive to build yet brings in few sales can't really take much advantage of those. Plus you'd need to put together a team interested in building this product instead of another one and put top talent in it instead of roles on projects more likely to be more profitable (this might be part of what you're whining about, but it's also the fault of the employee. If you were a top talent coder, what would you rather do - work on a flight sim that might make a few hundred thousand dollars to a few million or work on an FPS that would make a few million to tens of millions. Remember, your bonus is very likely tied to sales, and even if it isn't it's easier to move to a higher paying job when you've got multi-million selling software on your resume and easier to climb the ladder when your development house is selling so many copies that it's growing constantly to feed demand.)  
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95. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 7, 2009, 09:59 Verno
 
All because our interests don't coincide with big enough profit margins.

The problem with people like you is that you think businesses should cater to you based on your individual need and don't understand that there is an entire market beyond your needs. Gaming is also a business, not just your hobby. You only see one side of the equation and are blind to the other. You make a generalized statement like "bigger profit margins" without understanding that some parts of the market were no longer profitable.

If it was all so easy, you would be out there doing it yourself, raking in millions and being worshipped by the niche crowds. It's not easy. Try running a small business before you start accusing a multi-billion dollar industry as being inadequate to consumers needs.
 
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94. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 20:08 Beamer
 
It's the other way around.

So you're saying "supply and demand" is lost on publishers? Hardly. They stopped selling as much. So they stopped being made as much. If you really want to blame someone for the derth of flight sims blame Carmack and Romero.

All because our interests don't coincide with big enough profit margins.

: Sigh : How does one even respond to something like this? Should I graph it out for you? How about I just go all caps?
FLIGHT SIMS STOPPED MAKING MONEY, THEREFORE THEY STOPPED BEING MADE. THEY'RE INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE AND TIME CONSUMING TO DESIGN. IF THEY WEREN'T SELLING ENOUGH, AND THEY WERE NOT, THEY WOULD NOT BE MADE. BIG PUBLISHERS ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF PLEASING THE SMALLEST AMOUNT OF PEOPLE. THEY ARE PUBLICALLY TRADED COMPANIES.

Case in point, racing games. People still buy them despite the need to buy an extra controller

No, they don't need an extra controller. And they're actually selling far less well than a decade ago. Regardless, you'd be surprised how few people actually own race wheels. Most, you know, use the keyboard control. Which every racing game supports.

Not exactly rocket science there. But there you go, a little free education for you kid.

Well, "kid," much like public education in many areas, it's free because it's just not terribly good. Your assumptions are wrong, pretty heavily biased with your own spin, and show a lack of understanding about the industry, let alone economics.


 
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93. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 19:37 VoodooV
 
So that's a yes to the pretentious douchebag part then?

If your job is politician, then I'd say you're doing a good job, because I know of no other job description that involves insulting anyone who doesn't agree with your opinion, none of which has been backed up by anything remotely close to these little things called facts.

People didn't just abruptly stop buying sims at coincidentally the same time companies stopped making them. It's the other way around. Companies decided they weren't making enough money out of them, not that they weren't making money, but that they weren't making ENOUGH money, and stopped making them. Leaving gamers out in the cold...once again. All because our interests don't coincide with big enough profit margins.

It has nothing to do with joysticks. Case in point, racing games. People still buy them despite the need to buy an extra controller. Anyone with half a brain knows that racing games have broader appeal than sim games, thus, more games like that get made.

Not exactly rocket science there. But there you go, a little free education for you kid.
 
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92. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 14:45 Beamer
 
And I don't buy that "killed 2 games" crap, either.
If a publisher is dumb enough to release a bad game to test a market then they get what they deserve. It's especially true if the bad game has little to do with what a full game might be.

You can strip a game down to its elements and release a "lite" version as a test market. Just look at GT5 Prologue. Release an instant-combat version of a flight sim, with the full flight model, and you've got it.

This was arcade gibberish. Yes, so was the TSN version in many way. It's not a good test for another game because a) it was garbage and its publisher knew this and b) it had little to do with this "other" game you're discussing.

Another example would be the XBLA version of Wing Commander. If that killed the series, well, that's the fault of the publisher, not the fans for refusing to purchase something so terrible and shallow. You shouldn't expect fans to buy shoddy crap in hopes that something better comes along. All it does is keep telling publishers that they can slap a brandname onto shoddy crap and we'll still purchase it.
 
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91. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 14:40 Beamer
 
Just so we're all on the same page, Beamer is acting like a pretentious douchebag who pretends to be far more knowledgeable about the gaming industry than he actually is.

Just so we're on the same page, knowing the business side of games is my job.


What's worse is that it's a pretty safe bet we will never, ever see a real sequal to Red Baron sim now... Who in their right mind would invest in a project that now has a reputation of rabid destructive fans?

BS. The "rabid destructive fans" are nothing compared to the crap Fallout 3 went through and that game was enormously successful. This has nothing to do with people holding Red Baron up on an altar and everything to do with it simply being a bad game. Why else would they pull it from XBLA? Why else would they dump it unceremoniously to Walmart exclusively? Why wouldn't they do any marketing of it, or even have their PR person handle it? They knew it was crap! Pretty crap, but played like crap.

I'm not a rabid purist for any game. I just want decent games to play. I didn't care that Fallout 3 was a huge change, it was a fun game. I didn't care that all of Strategy First's attempts at Jagged Alliance were faithful, they were terrible. Just like Red Baron Arcade was. You might have liked it, but hey, people liked Transformers 2, too. Doesn't mean it was good and that the people that knocked it were wrong.
 
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90. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 14:12 nin
 
Just so we're all on the same page, Beamer is acting like a pretentious douchebag who pretends to be far more knowledgeable about the gaming industry than he actually is.

I'll take that over Z9000 crying "victim! victim!" in every thread.

 
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89. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 14:10 VoodooV
 
Just so we're all on the same page, Beamer is acting like a pretentious douchebag who pretends to be far more knowledgeable about the gaming industry than he actually is.

Keep it up with the ad hom attacks, cuz that will get you SO far in life.
 
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88. Re: LucasArts News Monday Jul 6, 2009, 13:48 Z9000
 
There's nothing to feel good about when a decent arcade game get's shot down by people. XBL will never run it now. Many PSN people probably won't buy it. The sad truth is it was a fairly decent arcade game that kind of played like Warhawk and many folks might have liked it, and now many won't even get a chance to judge for themselves. That's all the bitching achieved, denial of a game to people who might have enjoyed it.

And no, I didn't have anything to do with this project or even know the people who worked on it. I think what "fans" did to this project was very unfair. What's worse is that it's a pretty safe bet we will never, ever see a real sequal to Red Baron sim now... Who in their right mind would invest in a project that now has a reputation of rabid destructive fans? In a way I think the people who bitched about the arcade version pretty much put the last coffin nail in the full blown project they wanted and expected. Killed 2 games with 1 unfair bashing.
 
PS3 resurgance by GOW3 - Check! Mass Effect for PS3 - Check! Diablo 3 for consoles? I say "For sure"!
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