Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

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eisberg
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by eisberg » November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 7:41 pm
eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 7:22 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 4:38 pm

I don't know if it would've sold better, but it almost certainly would've had better reception, because the originals have a real following - an actual audience which can be understood. Look at the popularity of the remasters. If there was no faithful fan base, they would not have been as well received as they have been.
Isn't that assuming that the audience of the originals would outnumber the the amount of new people to the series? Not many people played the Trilogy, especially when 33k people got it for free, so that suggest that the actual people who are fans of how the originals were are small in numbers, and those people would most likely be by far outnumbered by the number of new people to the series, which would most likely make the reception actually even worse than it is now.
Not necessarily. Games tuned to a niche tend not to attract as many people outside that niche. I'll use an example I've cited in another conversation: the Dominions games by Illwinter. Most people are turned off by the 600+ manual and the fairly weak GUI, but yet the games have very high ratings on Steam. Why? Because most of the people who weren't interested in them didn't bother buying them. But, the series does have a cult following of hardcore strategy gamers.

One problem with Barrows Deep, as delivered, is that inXile didn't have a clear target audience and cast a wide net, trying to throw in a little bit for everyone, which ended up pleasing no one. They hyped the game in various ways in the gaming media in attempt to draw in "modern" players. The "modern" players generally weren't impressed and neither were most of the old school players. By contrast, Illwinter knows who their audience is. Krome knows who their audience is. The reception of their games reflects that.
The "modern" players weren't generally impressed with the bugs and performance issues, hence why vast majority of the negative reviews are related to bugs/performance issues and no so much about the game play itself.

And Inxile has never been about making niche games, they never have been like that, so the idea that they would all of a sudden make a flagship game as a niche game was very much an unreasonable expectation.

So it would have been far more likely that if they stayed closer to the originals than the reception would have been far worse even if it didn't have the bugs/performance problems.

It it with no doubt had the performance/bug problem had not existed, that the reception would have easily been 75+%

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Dork Mage » November 2nd, 2018, 6:46 am

eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
It it with no doubt had the performance/bug problem had not existed, that the reception would have easily been 75+%
Yes and No.

Looking at GOG reviews and filtering performance and kickstarter's out and one gets 4/5 - 5/5 reviews.

But kickstarters would have lowered the review score even without performance issues.

InXile blew-it (not speaking about "is it a sequel" issue) by releasing a game that had performance/bug issues. There was a Beta group that would have gotten BTIV bug free but InXile chose to prematurely release BTIV and will have to settle for a poor selling game.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 7:41 pm
One problem with Barrows Deep, as delivered, is that inXile didn't have a clear target audience and cast a wide net, trying to throw in a little bit for everyone, which ended up pleasing no one.
Yes, though more to the point - a dungeon crawler is a niche market to begin with so it was never going to be a huge seller.

[Haven't played yet - having key issue but support@inxile is responsive/fixing it]

Reviews are: puzzles being repetitive toward the end - bad/fail as a puzzle game.
Reviews are: combat being repetitive toward the end - bad/fail as a combat game.

Not a good combination... there is not going to be a strong word-of-mouth gamers group out there promoting BTIV.

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Themadcow » November 2nd, 2018, 8:56 am

eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
So it would have been far more likely that if they stayed closer to the originals than the reception would have been far worse even if it didn't have the bugs/performance problems.
Which is odd because...

Wizardry 8: 85% Metacritic
Etrian Odyssey IV - 84%
SMT - Strange Journey Redux: 80%
Labyrinth of Refrain: 79%
Shiren the Wanderer: 79%
Demon Gaze 2: 74%

So, no, just making a game in the vein of a traditional BT/Wizardry style dungeon crawler does not mean critics will slate it. It's also worth mentioning that user scores for all the above are higher than BT4 as well.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Spectralshade » November 2nd, 2018, 11:28 am

eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 7:22 pm
Isn't that assuming that the audience of the originals would outnumber the the amount of new people to the series? Not many people played the Trilogy, especially when 33k people got it for free, so that suggest that the actual people who are fans of how the originals were are small in numbers, and those people would most likely be by far outnumbered by the number of new people to the series, which would most likely make the reception actually even worse than it is now.
Yet, it was on the accolades of the origanls that even made the kickstarter possible.

Don't try and tell me that the same people would have backed if they had pitched it as "puzzle game with some light RPG in an 'on-rails' corridor walker while combat consists of fighting literal waves of small groups of enemies as the combat engine can't handle more than a handful of enemies at the same time".

I backed it because of the accolades of the trilogy, and I am sure qute a few people did that too. After all, it was called "Bards tale >4<" and not "random generic game we just mashed together from different concepts".

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Hawkeye » November 2nd, 2018, 12:27 pm

eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm

The "modern" players weren't generally impressed with the bugs and performance issues, hence why vast majority of the negative reviews are related to bugs/performance issues and no so much about the game play itself.

And Inxile has never been about making niche games, they never have been like that, so the idea that they would all of a sudden make a flagship game as a niche game was very much an unreasonable expectation.

So it would have been far more likely that if they stayed closer to the originals than the reception would have been far worse even if it didn't have the bugs/performance problems.

It it with no doubt had the performance/bug problem had not existed, that the reception would have easily been 75+%
Maybe, maybe not.

Bottom line for me:
If you want to revive an old IP, you stick to the spirit of the old IP (what's the point of an old IP, if you change anything anyway?) and if the game you produce is good, it will also attract new blood.

Let's look at BATTLETECH.
It's a kickstarted translation of an 80s tabletop game to the PC (I'm pretty sure you'd call the TT's mechnics even more outdated than the mechanics of the BT trilogy)
HBS changed a lot of stuff, to both, adapt the game to the computer and to modernize/streamline stuff.

Yet, when I played the first battle in the beta, I said to myself: "Yes, this is Battletech"
Is it my _ideal_ Battletech game?
No, I would have preferred if they'd stuck closer to the TT rules.
But while HBS changed more stuff than I'd have, they kept the _spirit_ of the old TT I played back in the days and still pull out now and then today.
The game was _very_ well received by the vast majority of the backers and, surprise, surprise, sold an additonal (estimated) 200 to 300k issues within the first few days on Steam alone.

Compare this to BT-4
When I played the first few hours in the beta, I said to myself: "Ok, it's an RPG allright, but where's The Bard's Tale?"
Now, after I have almost finished the game (the amount of puzzels got on my nerves and I just stopped) I say to myself: "Whoever thought it was a bright idea to turn The Bard's Tale into a puzzle-game with some RPG and CCG elements and combat that becomes boring as hell after 1/3 of the game, needs to be taken to the woodshed and taught the errors of his ways"

I'm not claiming that the vast majority of backers hate the game (usually, those that are happy are busy playing, instead of posting on forums), but from what I can see, at least a sizeable part of them are _not_ pleased with what InXile delivered.
And the sales on Steam seem to be abysmal, no matter how we look at it.

Would sales have been higher if it had shipped with less technical issues?
Very likely.
Would it've sold _good_?
That's _very_ debatable and, IMO, is very unlikely, because the game has no focus whatsoever.

IMO, InXile, perhaps unconciously, tried to please everyone with this game.
Throw in more puzzles and we can satisfy those who like puzzle-games.
Add some CCG elements, Heartstone fans will _love_ that.
Everything has to be 3D guys, today's gamers will not accept anything less.

Of course, as everyone with a brain knows, trying to please everyone can only lead to a game that pleases no-one.
Of course I belive in peace - peace through superior firepower

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Gizmo » November 2nd, 2018, 1:57 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 12:27 pm
Bottom line for me:
If you want to revive an old IP, you stick to the spirit of the old IP (what's the point of an old IP, if you change anything anyway?)
The common opponent to this argument often makes the mistake (possibly on purpose) of interpreting this to mean wanting a 1:1 clone of the previous game. But it has been my experience that the proponents never mean it this way, and almost always mean that the sequel should expand upon the foundation, such that it is a very recognizable game that clearly fits with the rest of the series; despite the expected (and some even welcomed) changes to the story & gameplay—changes that are ideally within keeping, and of a largely beneficial in nature... as opposed to being of a radically divergent nature, such that it appears like a re-skin of another game, or a wholly new, but unrelated one.
and if the game you produce is good, it will also attract new blood.
I would say that this may not always be the case, because there are differing kinds of 'good'. I don't mean that people have their own preferences, I mean that being a good sequel might actually sink the project for it... at least for the mainstream. It is understandable in a self funded commercial endeavor, not to make a game that 95% of gamers won't like, but that 95% of the series fanbase would flip over, to have. What doesn't make sense [IMO], is to do this with a crowd funded game, where the crowd matched the funding needed, and essentially sold out the game before it was made. Why change this afterwards, but before delivery? That's like buying a show ticket, only to learn at the door, that the entire cast is changed, and that the script has been politically revised. This gives a sour feeling, and...

Image

becomes...

Image

I know this first hand, because I was highly anticipating Fallout 3, by this company I'd never heard of at the time... called Bethesda. I was willing to hope despite many predictions made about the game and the company... and I was horrifically wrong to do so; they were so right it's not funny—even when it is.
Image
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Jalis » November 2nd, 2018, 2:54 pm

Some simply don't want to admit that this game, as much as everyone had hoped would be hugely successful, just doesn't have that _feel_. Despite the fact that I think inXile made some very bad design decisions, I wanted them to succeed. It doesn't have that feel, given the numbers. Only inXile knows if the sales is a success for them., However, everything I've read, and written myself, suggests that it's not just problematic in performance & bugs -- combat becomes ridiculously easy and the amount of puzzle reuse is often admonished as well...

It's a misstep no matter how you look at it, especially given the knowledge inXile sunk even more of their own money beyond the kickstarter campaign into the game. It's unlikely they've made it back, though I don't know that to be certain. The game had a few reviews on some of the bigger sites, and then pretty much all mentions of it disappeared... and the word of mouth I've seen (beyond eisberg) has been largely negative, and at best, like myself, "okay-ish, fun-ish, but with head scratching misses/decisions", etc.

It's unfortunate for the series and fans of the originals.

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Woolfe » November 2nd, 2018, 3:25 pm

Hawkeye wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 12:27 pm
Let's look at BATTLETECH.
It's a kickstarted translation of an 80s tabletop game to the PC (I'm pretty sure you'd call the TT's mechnics even more outdated than the mechanics of the BT trilogy)
HBS changed a lot of stuff, to both, adapt the game to the computer and to modernize/streamline stuff.

Yet, when I played the first battle in the beta, I said to myself: "Yes, this is Battletech"
Is it my _ideal_ Battletech game?
No, I would have preferred if they'd stuck closer to the TT rules.
But while HBS changed more stuff than I'd have, they kept the _spirit_ of the old TT I played back in the days and still pull out now and then today.
The game was _very_ well received by the vast majority of the backers and, surprise, surprise, sold an additonal (estimated) 200 to 300k issues within the first few days on Steam alone.
An exceptionally good example.

When I first played the skirmish beta(Which has changed a surprising amount to the release), my immediate thought was the same "This is Battletech", then after a few games I started noticing the differences. It is a very different set of rules to the TT. But it feels very much like it.

The biggest negative I found was that without proper waypointing, fast mechs(especially lights) were not as effective as in the original game. And yet, I still love the game, played it to the end within a week or two of release and continued playing after, I have played over 180hours and I am hanging out for the new DLC that is coming.

Compared to BT4. Which I haven't even played yet partially because it is so fucking big, and everyone even the proponents are talking about the puzzle aspects, which is not something that generally appeals to me.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » November 2nd, 2018, 5:20 pm

eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
The "modern" players weren't generally impressed with the bugs and performance issues, hence why vast majority of the negative reviews are related to bugs/performance issues and no so much about the game play itself.
Most of the people who had enough staying power to get past the bugs and performance issues discovered that combat became monotonous and that there were too many puzzles that had to be waded through in later parts of the game. It's not any one thing - the problems with this game go well beyond the failure to catch major quality issues prior to release.
eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
And Inxile has never been about making niche games, they never have been like that, so the idea that they would all of a sudden make a flagship game as a niche game was very much an unreasonable expectation.
How so? They sold this to backers as a return to the original series. I'm not sure that many backers had the expectation that they were going to try making a "flagship game", if by "flagship game" you mean one with broad, general appeal.
eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
So it would have been far more likely that if they stayed closer to the originals than the reception would have been far worse even if it didn't have the bugs/performance problems.
I've already told you why your claim is not necessarily true and, indeed, unlikely.
eisberg wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 9:39 pm
It it with no doubt had the performance/bug problem had not existed, that the reception would have easily been 75+%
This is nothing you can prove and it seems highly doubtful besides.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Spectralshade » November 2nd, 2018, 5:28 pm

I backed battletech too, and I am happy enough with that product that I immediately bought the season pass for that game when they announced it and that they were doing DLC.

A funny detail about that game: It sold exceptionally well compared to what they thought it would, and those sales are the reason that they are now doing DLC for it.

Beyond the beta, I haven't bothered starting up Barrows deep, because I really didn't like the gameplay in that game but I've completed BT1 in the remasters and will slowly progress through BT2 now that it's released too.

At some point I will play through barrows deep, but that will more be because of how much money I paid fot it than because it is something I am looking forward to (which I'm really not, tbh, given how it panned out).

Battletech is a very good example of staying true to the genre and mechanics of the IP while making it more 'modern' at the same time. Barrows deep is at the opposite end, and a poster example of what not to do when using an existing IP.

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Woolfe » November 2nd, 2018, 7:29 pm

Spectralshade wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 5:28 pm
I backed battletech too, and I am happy enough with that product that I immediately bought the season pass for that game when they announced it and that they were doing DLC.

A funny detail about that game: It sold exceptionally well compared to what they thought it would, and those sales are the reason that they are now doing DLC for it.

Beyond the beta, I haven't bothered starting up Barrows deep, because I really didn't like the gameplay in that game but I've completed BT1 in the remasters and will slowly progress through BT2 now that it's released too.

At some point I will play through barrows deep, but that will more be because of how much money I paid fot it than because it is something I am looking forward to (which I'm really not, tbh, given how it panned out).

Battletech is a very good example of staying true to the genre and mechanics of the IP while making it more 'modern' at the same time. Barrows deep is at the opposite end, and a poster example of what not to do when using an existing IP.
I missed the season pass when it went on sale :cry: :cry: :cry:, Will pick it up next pay though

They always intended DLC if it did well enough, I think the key difference will be the amount of DLC we get now, especially as they have entered Paradox's stable, which uses DLC to both extend the life of the base game, and get additional profit from the game. I am really hoping Paradox make use of the IP in the grand strategy arena. The Succession wars is a great setting from that point of view.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Gizmo » November 3rd, 2018, 10:28 am

Woolfe wrote:
November 2nd, 2018, 3:25 pm
When I first played the skirmish beta(Which has changed a surprising amount to the release), my immediate thought was the same "This is Battletech", then after a few games I started noticing the differences. It is a very different set of rules to the TT. But it feels very much like it.
...
Compared to BT4. Which I haven't even played yet partially because it is so [ :mrgreen: ] big, and everyone even the proponents are talking about the puzzle aspects, which is not something that generally appeals to me.
I haven't played BT4 yet; it was Halloween, and that's when my free time evaporates into almost nothing. I had decided to wait until the patching situation had calmed down considerably. Perhaps I'll get a chance to play it sometime this month. But as to the above, in all that I have seen of it, it bears little to no resemblance—and evokes no familiar homecoming... certainly not the way BT:R does, and I can't emphasize strongly enough that BT:R IS the way they should have handled BT4. They could have contracted Krome to convert BT1-3 into their own implementation of the Bards Tale engine, done in Unity or Unreal.

It could have been fantastic to have it —once again— be a single product as with BT:2004, that was a BT game with the original trilogy built in. Just imagine if it had been like this: (and played like one would expect)
Image
*Click for larger, smoother version
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » January 8th, 2019, 6:17 pm

About 4 months since release, and we see that the average/mean total play time for Barrows Deep, according to SteamDB (https://steamdb.info/app/566090/graphs/), is 13 hours. The median total play time is only 4.8 hours. So, not that many people played the game all the way through (Brian projected 40 hours of content, iirc) or the mean wouldn't be so far from the median. Furthermore, a majority of those who even bothered to touch the game, barely did so, hence the low median.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Dork Mage » January 9th, 2019, 3:55 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 6:17 pm
... (Brian projected 40 hours of content, iirc) ....
Yeh, 5 hrs doesn't get you far into the game - maybe to the point of collecting your party (Trow rogue, Drarf fighter, Elven practioner).

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Lucius » January 9th, 2019, 7:10 pm

Well, this thread was depressing. Let me say, and I'm sure I've said it before, inXile needs to stay the hell away from sequels to old games! They clearly have demonstrated they CANNOT capture the spirit of a game. What was said earlier in this thread about Battletech, in relation to BTIV was very inspiring to me. It was exactly how I felt about one of their previous sequels; "well it's an RPG, but it doesn't feel anything like...."

Fail.

Anyway, yeah I hope inXile has learned their lesson to stay away from IPs and stop destroying their potential futures for people who legitimately loved the originals.

(WL2 seriously made me bitter. I was way too hyped back then about the potential for amaze-balls, and, well, just got plain balls.)

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Gizmo » January 9th, 2019, 11:38 pm

Like with FO3, I thought WL2 was a good game on its own merits, but one that was nothing like it should have been. It was too far removed from its roots—same as FO3——although oddly it was much much closer to Fallout than FO3; it could have passed for an official sequel with only minor re-skinning and mechanical changes...FO3 certainly does not. And neither does BT4 IMO, for just about the same reasons.

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Woolfe » January 10th, 2019, 5:21 am

Lucius wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 7:10 pm
Well, this thread was depressing. Let me say, and I'm sure I've said it before, inXile needs to stay the hell away from sequels to old games! They clearly have demonstrated they CANNOT capture the spirit of a game. What was said earlier in this thread about Battletech, in relation to BTIV was very inspiring to me. It was exactly how I felt about one of their previous sequels; "well it's an RPG, but it doesn't feel anything like...."

Fail.

Anyway, yeah I hope inXile has learned their lesson to stay away from IPs and stop destroying their potential futures for people who legitimately loved the originals.

(WL2 seriously made me bitter. I was way too hyped back then about the potential for amaze-balls, and, well, just got plain balls.)
I agree... I have been saying for a while that I want them to work on a new IP. Create something, don't just try and jimmy something into an existing loved IP.

Numenera is in many ways the closest they have gone thus far... But even it was still associated with Planescape:Torment....

Thing is.. I don't think I would back it anymore... In many ways InXile has lost me as a customer because of how they operate.

In many ways the MS buyout is something I am hoping will bring some fresh air... but we will see... Who knows what other IP Brian has been sitting on...
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Lanatir » January 11th, 2019, 2:45 am

Well. All the people who said the game would rock once all the bugs and performance issues were rooted out were wrong i guess. Even at its best technical version the game still is mediocre at best. And its more a sequel to Myst than to Bards Tale. More puzzles than combat.

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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Themadcow » January 30th, 2019, 6:09 am

Just a final update on this then, which is that the game is bumping along at low but not "dead" levels and is losing around 10% of player base per week overall. Peak users are consistently around 30% higher than the BT Remasters.

In hindsight, the higher tier I backed this at was a mistake - but not one I've regretted much. These things are always and gamble, and the decision to move the remasters to Krome paid off brilliantly. If someone had said to me "would you pay over $100 if you could get a great remaster of BT1-3?" I'd have said yes, so can't complain too much.
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Re: Analysis of Steam activity for BT4

Post by Gizmo » January 30th, 2019, 10:51 am

Themadcow wrote:
January 30th, 2019, 6:09 am
If someone had said to me "would you pay over $100 if you could get a great remaster of BT1-3?" I'd have said yes, so can't complain too much.
Same here. In fact, the reason I bought InXile's previous Bard's Tale [spin-off] was that it had working installers for BT 1-3. I would have liked for Krome to have made an integrated BTCS feature; that is even something that I would buy as a retail product, or paid DLC.

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