Posted by Rampant Coyote on June 27, 2013
Hmmm… in answer to the title query… yes, maybe publishers big and small are getting interested in that genre they happily left for dead years ago. After some high-profile Kickstarter successes, publishers are thinking… no, not that they were wrong, but rather, that the market has now changed. That’s the excuse I remember….
Well, isn’t this interesting…
Apparently, they are looking at the success of (some) old-school RPGs like Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera, Project Eternity, and the sales of games like Legend of Grimrock (over 600,000 sold, last I heard), and said, “Hey, we can make real money on these!” Maybe not the kind of money they are used to making on Call of Modern Zombie Battlefield Warfare (by, like, at least an order of magnitude), but they are being forced to recognize that there’s still a reasonably large market there.
Ubisoft may have telegraphed this “sea-change” several weeks ago with their announcement of Might & Magic X: Legacy. From what I can tell, it is not a “AAA” game. It’s low-budget (by Ubisoft standards, not by indie standards), and while it is not crowd-funded, they are engaging gamers to vote for features and styles. This is a more transparent development style adopted from crowdfunded games, so… I guess they are learning and imitating.
Is this a great thing?
Well, there’s certainly a question of whether it’s really “a thing” or not. At least the publishers are expressing interest and curiosity… and, in the case of Ubisoft, actually putting their money where their mouth is. But publishers always do this. If there’s money to be made in gaming, they’ll try their best to explore it. That’s why they exist. Many times in the past publishers have made less-than-stellar forays into gaming territories outside of their comfort zone, and retreated. This could be one of those times.
But if they really do go there, and return to the fields they abandoned long ago? While I’m personally a little miffed that I’m such a slowpoke and that my “desperately underserved niche” that I was going to try and occupy with very few neighbors is suddenly looking very crowded, I’m otherwise pretty excited. In the words of Bruce Willis in Die Hard, “Welcome to the party, pal!” As a gamer, the idea makes me giddy, even though I already own far more RPGs than I have time to play. As a game developer… I think it opens up a lot of opportunities. I think the upside wins, overall.
As always, we’ll just have to wait and see where this goes. But if you are a fan of classic role-playing games (and I know most of the folks here lean at least slightly in their favor…), this is a pretty fascinating little rumor…
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