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Troika shuts down and the state of RPG's


Romier S
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...and the good news keeps on rolling. :(

 

Troika closes

 

"As many of you may have already heard, Troika has laid off all of its employees and is closing its doors due to our inability to secure funding for future projects," read the e-mail. The e-mail continued on a grateful note. "We want to thank all of our fans for their support these past seven years. It has really meant a lot to us that there were people out there who enjoyed our games enough to create fan-sites and follow our progress as a company." The e-mail then concluded by further thanking Troika's now-scattered employees.

 

Though Boyarsky was the sender of the e-mail, it was cosigned by Tim Cain and Jason Anderson. The three designers were at the forefront of the creative team behind the now-legendary postapocalyptic role-playing game Fallout at the once-mighty developer-publisher Interplay (which, by many accounts, is on the verge of becoming defunct itself).

 

Looks like another playthrough of Vampire: Bloodlines is in the works for me. This news just sucks.

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I don't know why it sucks though. First of all, the company made 3 games that were, for all intents and purposes, commercial failures that were not at all received well by any critics, mainly because of the number of show stopping bugs.

 

Maybe this is a good thing. Now all the talent will hopefully go to some other RPG developers (like many have) who are less bullied by pubslihers and their deadlines so they won't be beta-testing their products on the public anymore.

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First of all, the company made 3 games that were, for all intents and purposes, commercial failures that were not at all received well by any critics, mainly because of the number of show stopping bugs.

 

Whether the games were commercial failures or not has no barometer on determining whether the games Troika made were good or not in my eyes. The only bearing it has on the situation is that it is the reason Troika has closed it doors. As far critical success is concerned, none of thier games were outright panned by critics. They sat mostly in the middle ground area. Arcanum had some excellent critical buzz at release as did Vampire: Bloodlines. The only game that went under the radar for them was Temple of Elemental Evil and it was by far thier most polished game of the three (go figure). It's unfortunate that thier games were released before thier time and even more unfortunate that the publishers in question really laxed on supporting them with proper patches. In the end, I was still more than able to enjoy thier games despite some problems and therefore, I don't see any reason to be happy about them closing thier doors.

 

Why does it suck you ask? You happen to take a look at the current state of the computer RPG market in the past year or two? Of course you haven't, because it doesn't exist anymore. Unless it has "MMO" in front of it, no one cares. No one is out there bothering to develop games like Planescape Torment, Ultima, Baldur's Gate (the real RPG, not the hack and slash game), and Fallout (Troika's team was made up of folks who worked on this classic) . If they are, they are usually console ports brought to the PC after several months. Those wonderfully deep pure CRPG experiences have become a thing of the past on the PC. Troika was one of the few last remaining studios that were focused on pure CRPG development. With Troika now swept under a rug, there are very few studios left creating CRPG's these days. As a fan of the genre, I think it totally and absolutely sucks to see them go, regardless of where the talent ends up.

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RPG's are becoming like Adventure games. Its sad

 

What's funny is that adventure games are actually seeing quite the come back these days. The Adventure Company has alot to do with that as they publish a large amount of old school style adventure titles (Not all of them good). Then you have stuff like Missing and the recently picked up Moment of Silence. Funcom has Dreamfall The Longest Journey II coming. We got Syberia and it's sequel. There are ALOT of games out there for adventure fans to sink thier teeth into.

 

CRPG fans however are in a completely different boat. Thankfully there are still companies out there like Bethesda Softworks, Bioware and Obsidian that are creating content for the RPG hungry PC crowd. I don't think anyone can argue however that these studios are also very focused on co-development with the current and next-gen console market. The titles they do have in the works for the PC are either few and far between or released months after thier console counterparts.

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Why does it suck you ask? You happen to take a look at the current state of the computer RPG market in the past year or two? Of course you haven't, because it doesn't exist anymore. Unless it has "MMO" in front of it, no one cares. No one is out there bothering to develop games like Planescape Torment, Ultima, Baldur's Gate (the real RPG, not the hack and slash game), and Fallout (Troika's team was made up of folks who worked on this classic) . If they are, they are usually console ports brought to the PC after several months. Those wonderfully deep pure CRPG experiences have become a thing of the past on the PC. Troika was one of the few last remaining studios that were focused on pure CRPG development. With Troika now swept under a rug, there are very few studios left creating CRPG's these days. As a fan of the genre, I think it totally and absolutely sucks to see them go, regardless of where the talent ends up.

 

:tu

 

The main reason I fell out of PC gaming was exactly this. That and the lack of turn-based strategy titles (yes I know there have been a few but none that really grabbed me). My favorite computer RPG had to be Baldur's Gate II. Hell I was just playing it again toward the end of last summer and I will probably pick it up again this summer. Nothing but masses of MMORPGs. For god's sake, WTF (where the ****) is a new Baldur's Gate type of game? I even played through Pool of Radiance again a while back...(classic EGA graphics Goldbox AD&D game) about 4 years ago.

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My favorite computer RPG had to be Baldur's Gate II.

 

Wonderul, wonderful game. A Bioware classic and the expansion pack that wrapped up the story was also freaking excellent. There were rumors of a Baldur''s Gate 3 for the PC but nothing ever panned out. I doubt that Bioware would actually develop the next game in the series as they have moved on from that now. In fact, these days they are far more interested in creating thier own original properties (which you can't blame them for). Neverwinter Nights 2 is coming thanks to Obisidian but besides that, I really miss the golden age of kick ass D&D RPG's. At least we have Oblivion and Fallout 3 to look forward too from Bethesda. :tu

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Renamed topic title.

 

I read an editorial in a game magazine recently (PC Gamer, IIRC) that talked about the whole MMORPG vs. single-player RPG. The writer suggested that the state of RPG's isn't as dire as it seems because many (not all) of the elements of classic RPG's that we love can now be found in the more recent MMORPG's.

 

Does this mesh with any of your experiences as well?

 

-j

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Does this mesh with any of your experiences as well?

 

Certain elements, yes. If by that he means the ability to level and increase your character stats than those things are alive and well in the MMO genre. The other elements that make a good single player CRPG are completely non-existant in an MMO. Storytelling is almost completely sacrificed in a majority of MMOs on the market and when there is a story to be told it continues to take a backseat to farming/leveling your character. It is the most important element that MMO's completely lack IMHO.

 

Besides that, and this is just a personal preference, sometimes I just want to play alone and experience what a truly atmospheric world has to offer without seeing 100 other people running around talking about yesterdays football game etc.

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At least we have Oblivion and Fallout 3 to look forward too from Bethesda

 

Amen to that, brother!

 

Morrowind, and her expansions, were/are like gold to me. Made me a true believer in the "Elder Scrolls" mythology. You have no idea how much I'm looking forward to Oblivion!

 

I hope that there are a few "cameos" of stuff from Morrowind in this next installment. Not sure what but, maybe some written stuff or, people you might meet that will speak of Nerevar. Just kinda cool...

 

Was there anything written anywhere about BethSofts success on the Xbox? Were the devs pleased with the console sales, especially since that was their 1st console game?

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Was there anything written anywhere about BethSofts success on the Xbox? Were the devs pleased with the console sales, especially since that was their 1st console game?

 

Can't speak for the developers of course but Morrowind sold very well on the Xbox. The first release of the game lone sold near 400k units. Add in sales of the GOTY Edition and I have no reason to believe Bethesda was not happy with Morrowind on the Xbox.

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Regarding RPGs for the PC, I'm excited about the new Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows after watching some of the videos, as well the possible Diablo 3, Elder Scrolls IV, and there's Freedom Force, KotOR 2, etc. I don't think RPG as a genre on the PC is dying or anything, there's just fewer titles per year is all. Last year in particular though was a bit dry. Just Bloodlines along with the slew of MMOs.

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Besides that, and this is just a personal preference, sometimes I just want to play alone and experience what a truly atmospheric world has to offer without seeing 100 other people running around talking about yesterdays football game etc

Can turn this off. Myself I guess its a matter of playing the games. If I feel like playing alone, I stick to FPS or strategy games like Rome Total War otherwise I guess it's the part about having friends and large groups to hang out with that makes MMORPG's so appealing. Even then I can play with alone if I want to.

 

Still I don't see typical RPG's going away. There are plenty of folks out there that don't care for the MMORPG's.

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Can turn this off.

 

Why bother when I can play Vampire: Bloodlines? That's the point I was making. ;) Considering I'm one of the biggest MMO players on this site, no where did I say I disliked the experience of playing an MMO or the genre in general but it does have it's pitfalls much like any other online game (asshat factor and people in general). The appeal of playing with a group of friends in an online world is well known to me but I think you'll agree that there is a very big difference in playing a well designed story driven single player CRPG ala Fallout 2 or Planescape Torment or playing a game like Everquest.

 

I also don't think the single player RPG will disappear. As stated, there are still developers out there making these games. The "PC" style single player RPG is however becoming very scarce. Part of this is due to lack of interest and a market shift over to the MMORPG genre. The other part has to due with the convergence PC gaming has seen with consoles over the last couple of years.

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I got a free copy of Morrowind with my refurb MSI 9800pro (it was 100% complete instead of the advertised barebones :D ) but I haven't installed it.

 

I think the problem is that we played quite a bit of Daggerfall (older Elder Scrolls game). It got to the point that you were just wandering around burglarizing houses or dungeon crawling. Does Morrowind have a little more story/direction?

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Does Morrowind have a little more story/direction?

 

Yes, Morrowing is a more focused game than Daggerfall. The open-endedness is still there but you will have more quests than you know what to do with along with a central storyline to complete. (the central story will take you about 35-50 hours to complete I'd say.If you pick up the expansion you'll have well over 250 hours of content at your disposal)

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