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  1. #1

    Should American video game publishers make games like Horizon or the Witcher?

    Why don't American video game developers make games with awesome storylines, settings, and memorable characters? If you look at games that are pushing this medium at least in the area of storytelling like Horizon Zero Dawn, Life is Strange, The Witcher, and Mass Effect is that they are not developed in America. Horizon in the Netherlands, Life is Strange in France, The Witcher in Poland, and Mass Effect in Canada.

    Why aren't there any games like that developed in America? Are there not enough Americans becoming game developers? Are American game developers less risk averse? Are American video game writers less creative?

    Would you like to see Disney or Microsoft open a game studio based on pushing the storytelling aspects of video games? Disney did make movies aimed at an older audience and and even an M rated video game called Turok under the Touchstone label. If Disney is going to make games I would hope they would choose a cooler and more memorable name for their studio.

    Is the game industry too crowded for another Bioware or CD Projekt Red?
    Last edited by CmdrShep2154; 2017-07-23 at 10:39 PM.

  2. #2
    A lot of people will tell you its because american devs put politics and potential audience outcry before anything else but the truth is the publishers are just extremely out of touch and devs dont have as much freedom in america as other countries in the medium. Theres always exceptions of course but around 2007 -a point that often gets called "the year of darkness" when the "games are for fucking nerds" crowd watched the big bang theory and started the 'im such a nerd xD' cringefest- and at that point games overtook movies in profitability. Majority shareholders were bought out by the movie studio crowd or companies like disney with no knowledge of how games are made, just that they are now the money maker and two things were pushed: nickel and dime but spin it with terms like 'micropay freebuys' and 'aim for the widest launch catchment possible for unit numbers'.

    It was a weird time. Ironically the 360 which had been a monster success compared to the PS3 started to lose ground while all the big american ip's started to die off or become less popular. We had a few nice replacements for a few years like Dead Space but the new good didnt not equal the number of good gone bad or dead.

    It was a problem a lot of countrys have had to some degree but i firmly believe the film shareholder buy in to 'chase the money' is a large root cause of american development issues. People will say greed, incompetence or SJW's but at the end of the day i think its simply publishers being bought out by companies with no experience thinking games are shat out by one dude sitting at a desk in a 3 month period.

    All of which means games are made to be put out fast, have a sequel ready in 18 months and as much cross media synergy as possible. You simply cannot make a proper large world doing that.

    Just look at what happened to the last few bioware games for example.
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  3. #3
    You didn't do a very good job of explaining why this is a concern to anyone. We (in the U.S.) have access to all the games you mentioned. Why does it matter where they're developed?

  4. #4
    I am Murloc! Video Games's Avatar
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    Because america is shit for all things video games. From the devs to the players.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by jcf190 View Post
    You didn't do a very good job of explaining why this is a concern to anyone. We (in the U.S.) have access to all the games you mentioned. Why does it matter where they're developed?
    Because it would be awesome if there were more games with awesome stories and characters, and the US games industry seems to be run almost entirely by mediocre sequels. It's just disappointing
    I don't think this matters nearly as much as you think it does.

  6. #6
    You lost me at claiming Zelda has an "awesome storyline".

    Naughty Dog is one of the best story tellers in the industry... Located in California... Insomniac is one of the best developers and story tellers in the industry... Located in California... Sucker Punch, Rockstar San Diego(RDR), Retro, Sony Santa Monica should I keep going?

    /thread Please actually do some research on developers before making a post like this.

  7. #7
    The Lightbringer Skizzit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2154 View Post
    Why don't American video game developers make games with awesome storylines, settings, and memorable characters?
    You mean like Bethesda games? You know, that company that is named after the town of the same name in Maryland? Makers of Elder Scrolls, the 3d Fallout games, and Dishonored?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Skizzit View Post
    You mean like Bethesda games? You know, that company that is named after the town of the same name in Maryland? Makers of Elder Scrolls, the 3d Fallout games, and Dishonored?
    LUL Completely overlooked Bethesda in my above post too. It's like icing on the cake.

    Dishonored is Arkane though, that's France.

    There is also id Software under the Bethesda umbrella. Shocker, another amazing american dev.

  9. #9
    The Lightbringer Skizzit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech614 View Post
    LUL Completely overlooked Bethesda in my above post too. It's like icing on the cake.

    Dishonored is Arkane though, that's France.

    There is also id Software under the Bethesda umbrella. Shocker, another amazing american dev.
    Ah yeah, they published Dishonored but didn't make it. Did not think of that.

  10. #10
    They already do. Next question.
    If it seems like I am acting stupid, there's probably a good reason for that.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by dope_danny View Post
    A lot of people will tell you its because american devs put politics and potential audience outcry before anything else but the truth is the publishers are just extremely out of touch and devs dont have as much freedom in america as other countries in the medium. Theres always exceptions of course but around 2007 -a point that often gets called "the year of darkness" when the "games are for fucking nerds" crowd watched the big bang theory and started the 'im such a nerd xD' cringefest- and at that point games overtook movies in profitability. Majority shareholders were bought out by the movie studio crowd or companies like disney with no knowledge of how games are made, just that they are now the money maker and two things were pushed: nickel and dime but spin it with terms like 'micropay freebuys' and 'aim for the widest launch catchment possible for unit numbers'.

    It was a weird time. Ironically the 360 which had been a monster success compared to the PS3 started to lose ground while all the big american ip's started to die off or become less popular. We had a few nice replacements for a few years like Dead Space but the new good didnt not equal the number of good gone bad or dead.

    It was a problem a lot of countrys have had to some degree but i firmly believe the film shareholder buy in to 'chase the money' is a large root cause of american development issues. People will say greed, incompetence or SJW's but at the end of the day i think its simply publishers being bought out by companies with no experience thinking games are shat out by one dude sitting at a desk in a 3 month period.

    All of which means games are made to be put out fast, have a sequel ready in 18 months and as much cross media synergy as possible. You simply cannot make a proper large world doing that.

    Just look at what happened to the last few bioware games for example.
    Did you think the games of 2007 pushed the video game medium forward? Games like Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, and Mass Effect? Did the success of those games sent the message that games are more for adults?

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2154 View Post
    Did you think the games of 2007 pushed the video game medium forward? Games like Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare, and Mass Effect? Did the success of those games sent the message that games are more for adults?
    If anything they were an extreme divergence from games being their own thing to becoming interactive movies. Most of the commonly recognised all time greats came out in 1998 and it is regarded by most studios from the time as the period with the most creative freedom with a balance of 3d polygonal games design finally getting its feet stable as well. Places like Square Enix literally label this period 'the golden era' and you would be hard pressed to explain why games like mass effect are more mature than something like metal gear solid, just one of the release from the 'best year ever'. Games had recovered from the crash by realising industry wide that standards were needed. You could not force out as much shovelware as possible for instant profit as this nearly lead to the total collapse of gaming as a medium. The 1990's began a change towards stable, feature complete products being released when complete not as fast as possible so work could begin on the sequel. By the mid 90's the tech was no longer and unknown so the workmanship increased. Just go look at wikipedias list of 1998 releases and you will see what an overwhelming list it is in terms of critically released titles compared to every other year on record.
    There was a second creative boom around '04'-'06 where the name of the game was iteration to 98's innovation. Lots of 98's classics had their follow ups in that period. Half Life 2 and the like. But in 2007 there was a profound shift. Facebook became a thing, big bang theory and 'geek culture' became something now fashionable instead of something only for bullying and like i said games overtook movies in profitability on titles like the '04-'06 "silver age" releases of sequels to the 'golden age' stuff.

    But after that the suits changed hands. Craftsmanship was replaced with the factory line so to speak. Its not about maturity but about why the games are made. You saw a lot of devs post '07 quit or get fired and replaced by people that really have no place having a part in the videogame process. The 'i see a skip story button, wheres skip gameplay button' crowd that have only been a detriment in the longrun for the american videoame industry in particular. Its lead to a lot of studios sinking under the small number of behemoths and as more devs care more about their game being a political tweet rant in game form and not the craftsmanship put in the indie suffers. Without the need to experiment or the go ahead to do so the AAA suffers.



    To give a good example look at Silent Hill on the PS1. Capcom had a hit with Resident Evil in 1997 and Konami wanted their own knock off. But Team Silent didn't phone it in like so many others did and put a lot of love and thought into Silent Hill. But one important factor was when they tried to run the test build of the fully 3d sleepy american town. It ran like shit unless the draw distance was pulled super far in. So one of the developers who had been reading The Mist by Stephen King said "okay, so how about we use that and call it 'fog'?" and the rest is history. Every game from around 98' was part of that need to experiment to overcome hardware limitations. That option is not given anyway today. It just suffers more from American studios because so many of them want to make the game equivalent of 'blockbuster movies' so costs get higher and it starts a domino effect of issues that means quality suffers as a whole.

    I mean personally i cannot remember the last US produced game i held in as high regard as something like Bloodborne, Max Payne or Beyond Good and Evil to name a few.

    Its why we have people sure 'the next crash is around the corner'. Trouble is theres so much money tied into it the crash can be held off by sacrificing the little guy. Which is basically how. EA operates.

    -I'm not shitting on them all wholesale mind but you will notice a trend in the successful ones. The detailed ones with a lot of story and character will be monumentally linear like The Last of Us or Uncharted. Or sequels to popular titles may seem better but in the retrospective are actually worse. See Skyrims ending changing nothing compared to Morrowinds ecosystem and weather overhaul post dagoth ur fight, or Mass Effect in general going from rpg to shooter meets awkward dating sim. None 'the worst shit ever' or the best. Because the key problem on development remains the same: time and money.


    Thought overall it might just be the american devs ability to more easily trade brands. Compared to things like Square Enix treating Final Fantasy like an institution Bungie would really be the only one who seemed to give above and beyond two shits about their brand beyond the game they release. Most seem fine starting a new project and brushing their hands off after the old one compared to most other regions so maybe theres also a culture thing there too?
    Last edited by dope_danny; 2017-07-23 at 11:14 PM.
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  13. #13
    Merely a Setback Jtbrig7390's Avatar
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    I think developers should make whatever game they want and we decide if we buy it or not. If everything was a Witcher or Horizon Zero Dawn gaming would be boring has hell.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2154 View Post
    Why aren't there any games like that developed in America? Are there not enough Americans becoming game developers? Are American game developers less risk averse? Are American video game writers less creative?
    I think you touched upon the answer in your original post. The movie industry. America has a huge movie industry that is very well established and attracts talented film makers, screen play writers, Actors, directors and all the other people from around the globe and more than enough funding required to make flims of any scale a reality. If you have a vision for an absolutely amazing story that you want to tell, you can rake in millions of dollars a year and catapult to celebrity status by getting it on the big screen.

    Japanese game devs often give the impression they're frustrated film makers who had to settle for cutscene heavy video games rather than being able to follow their passion for film, which makes sense when you consider that their movie industry is largely focused on domestic consuption rather than a global market like America's movies. Their gaming markets are global though, and offer a second shot for would-be film directors that missed their true calling in life.

    Even for talented story tellers they're very often reluctant to get involved with the games industry because of all the alterations that need to be made to allow it to be told in a video game rather than as a novel. Deep down, I think they just know that games are a horrible medium for telling traditional stories, while the stories that do work in games are very much told in a none-traditional format by the mechanics rather than exposition. That requires people with a very different, far harder to acquire skill set and a deep understanding of the games mechanics in order to make it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skizzit View Post
    You mean like Bethesda games? You know, that company that is named after the town of the same name in Maryland? Makers of Elder Scrolls, the 3d Fallout games, and Dishonored?
    Ok, lets be real here, Elder scrolls (past morrowind) and bethesdas fallout have many thing, but awesome storylines and memorable characters are not one of them.

  16. #16
    The Insane apepi's Avatar
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    It is easier to make easy repeatable selling games.

    Though it is not like games with good storylines don't exist, it is just they don't get as much press as all the CoDs in the world.
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  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Tech614 View Post
    You lost me at claiming Zelda has an "awesome storyline".

    Naughty Dog is one of the best story tellers in the industry... Located in California... Insomniac is one of the best developers and story tellers in the industry... Located in California... Sucker Punch, Rockstar San Diego(RDR), Retro, Sony Santa Monica should I keep going?

    /thread Please actually do some research on developers before making a post like this.
    This. Naughty Dog is at the top of the list when it comes to story telling/characters.
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  18. #18
    Old God Acidbaron's Avatar
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    Going to regret responding to this obvious troll and bait thread,

    The reality of things in software development: teams are international, the places those people study or build up their experience is also all over the globe claiming one nation has a major edge over another is pointless, it's like claiming your country got the best football team while most of them are from different backgrounds. Nationality plays no role in this but the area created around its grow does. whats brings me to...

    The second reality is economic benefits, the US is know to be a tax haven for companies, you don't have the social costs and thus employee's also don't have the social protection they do in other nations, it is also more region based since you won't see companies being all over the US but just in specific areas and that's due to tax cuts. Same goes for everywhere else, globalization makes it so regions are competing to bring industries to them.

    For that reason these companies have work places all over, Belgium know for its high taxes and thus harder to start a business and grow your work force is also home of Larian Studios (divine divinity series) but also has more than one studio and i dare to bet due to the how costly it is to employee people here they prefer growing their other studios. So again nationality means very little, but people need some sort of fake sense to feel greater then they are based on where they were born despite often those clinging hardest to it are those who did the least to add to that value a nation or nationality has.

  19. #19
    Old God Noomz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CmdrShep2154 View Post
    Why don't American video game developers make games with awesome storylines, settings, and memorable characters? If you look at games that are pushing this medium at least in the area of storytelling like Horizon Zero Dawn, Life is Strange, The Witcher, and Mass Effect is that they are not developed in America. Horizon in the Netherlands, Life is Strange in France, The Witcher in Poland, and Mass Effect in Canada.

    Why aren't there any games like that developed in America? Are there not enough Americans becoming game developers? Are American game developers less risk averse? Are American video game writers less creative?

    Would you like to see Disney or Microsoft open a game studio based on pushing the storytelling aspects of video games? Disney did make movies aimed at an older audience and and even an M rated video game called Turok under the Touchstone label. If Disney is going to make games I would hope they would choose a cooler and more memorable name for their studio.

    Is the game industry too crowded for another Bioware or CD Projekt Red?
    But only HZD and Witcher 3 are actually good. Bioware haven't been good since ME2 and even then all their games have just been the same game in a different setting.
    A game doesn't need heavy story to be good.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Acidbaron View Post
    Going to regret responding to this obvious troll and bait thread,

    The reality of things in software development: teams are international, the places those people study or build up their experience is also all over the globe claiming one nation has a major edge over another is pointless, it's like claiming your country got the best football team while most of them are from different backgrounds. Nationality plays no role in this but the area created around its grow does.
    It absolutely does because different countries give different opportunities, encouraging different industries and people in varying ways, making certain things easier. Like how Sweden, for being such a small and insignificant country, had (and still has) a huge presence in the music industry with both bands and song writers. In the 80's and 90's we also had a huge representation when it came to sports. Why? Because our country had for a long time encouraged sports in people from a young age, helping potential athletes on their way to the top.
    Hell, Sweden has even had a really big presence in the gaming industry. Avalanche Studios, Starbreeze Studios, DICE, Fatshark, Frictional Games, Overkill Software (later bought by Starbreeze, also a Swedish company), Mojang, Massive Entertainment and Paradox Interactive are probably all developers you've heard of. This is absolutely a result of a society and country that has encouraged such an industry and the technology that enables it.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-05-sweden...-industry.html

    "Sweden's video-game boom in the last half decade is one of the biggest success stories in the industry, fueled by a talented and creative workforce and the fruits of years of government support for education and technology."

    So you're absolutely incorrect in what you've said.

  20. #20
    The Lightbringer Selastan's Avatar
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    Having discussions about why American game publishers suck on a massive forum dedicated to the game(s) of an American game developer/publisher...

    If they are so bad why are we arguing about this on a Blizzard fan forum?

    Oh, and Double Fine, Obsidian Entertainment, Bethesda Game Studios, NetherRealm Studios, Oddworld Inhabitants, Maxis, Firaxis Games, Treyarch...

    Not to mention the greats that are no longer among us, like Neversoft, Pandemic Studios, THQ...
    Quote Originally Posted by Selastan View Post
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