KZ2 and game budgeting in general *spin-off

Discussion in 'Console Industry' started by Laa-Yosh, Apr 18, 2009.

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  1. obonicus

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    The enemies in Killzone are space nazis. They're about as saleable as Halo's colorful aliens or Gears of Wars' pock-faced linebackers. Main character I'll say the same, as I will for visual style. We're comparing the relative appeal of a whole bunch of almost interchangeable space marine games.

    I'll give you co-op, though, that could easily be a factor. But remember that Call of Duty 4 also came out without co-op -- it certainly didn't impact its sales. Problematic MP might keep it from picking up in popularity as time goes on, but that sort of thing doesn't tend to affect early-adopters. If I were to count a real negative, I'd look at KZ1. How many franchises managed to overcome a rather poor first series entry and achieve success?

    My point is that this theorycraft is pure BS. No, no one on this board (or any board) can predict with real certainty what'll be a hit or what'll be a miss, beyond the really obvious ('gosh, I thought Halo 3 would sell well and it did, and that Blacksite Area 51 would tank and it did!'). And hey, if you can, what are you doing wasting your time posting here anyway?

    As for Lair and Heavenly Sword, they were probably hoping people would make the Heavenly Sword = girl Kratos connection. And... at 1 million copies, maybe they did. And Lair... I don't know. Some people like dragons, I guess? Eragon sold pretty well as a book and did okay as a movie. They probably should have called up Sega to hear about the public's appetite for dragon-riding games. A bigger question is why did they even go with Factor 5, IMO.
     
  2. TrungGap

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    Well, I wouldn't put the blame on Sony, but on GG. Sony just gave them the freedom (and probably the mandate to make KZ2 look as good as the trailer and that's it). I think GG didn't give the game play (feature set such as co-op, controls, etc) enough attention.

    But it is what it is...I think Sony should have push the release date of KZ2 to the end of the year. Sure, the holidays competition is going to be madden. But that's why it'll get its synergy. It's like a sport car...without something else to compare it to, you don't know how awesome it is. More importantly, they would have a the extra time to finish off feature list and tweak the control. Make the game more appealing to mass (so if it means axing some hardcore feature, then do so). The objective is to get this into as many hands as you can, because when you're spending this amount of money, you want to appeal to as many people as possible.
     
  3. obonicus

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    I sorta agree. They do run the (great) risk of being slaughtered at year-end, and maybe Sony has something big lined up for Christmas (I don't know what, though, since I bet GoW3 is early 2010). A longer demo/beta period like CoD4/Halo 3 would have been good, too, not just to tweak the game to make it appeal to the biggest number of people but to get people interested in what really is a pretty impressive-looking game. Maybe pack in demo codes with other games, like with, say, Infamous to milk the superfans who aren't interested in Infamous (and then unlock it later for everyone) or use a community site/registration like CoD4 did to work people up into a boil.
     
  4. BadTB25

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    If they waited until holiday this year though, they would run into COD 5 by Infinity Ward and Halo 3: ODST for owners that own both PS3 and 360. Some are speculating that the lack of impressive sells of KZ2 is due to shooter fatigue.

    Add to that, games that we do not know about that will come out from E3.

    Sony and GG could have figured that they had the fps market to themselves in the slow Feb/Mar/Apr months.

    EDIT: Beaten by obonicus.
     
  5. 22psi

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    highly doubt the 'shooter fatigue', COD5 has sold mucho

    ODST will sell mucho
    COD6 will sell mucho
     
  6. StefanS

    StefanS meandering Velosoph
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    Indeed, you can't really prove why a particular franchise gets popular (i.e. good sales). You could look at the overall picture (i.e. all of the popular games, all FPS, etc.) and look for correlation, though. This way you get common trends. However, this doesn't mean that a game based on that findings would be popular. After all correlation is not causation :D
     
  7. TrungGap

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    That would keep KZ2 relevant. The synergy (comparison) between the titles would keep KZ2 at least in front of parents for the holiday purchase. Beside, KZ2 at first glance, KZ2 would have dominate the competitors. Whether it has leg depends on what GG do to fix KZ2 between now to then.

    I agree with 22psi
    . Halo3 is still on the top 20 list after how long? Isn't that amazing? It shows FPS isn't dying.

    I doubt that's what's going through the exec heads. They think it can overcome the slow period and the game has leg to last into the holiday to keep the buzz afloat.
     
  8. Silent_Buddha

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    That problem with that is, what happens if you have nothing with which to grow the user base significantly?

    You have a situation here where you have a title that has the potential to move consoles increasing the user base.

    But instead you'd rather hold off on that hoping that the user base expansion accelerates in a void of console moving titles so that you can instead hopefully make more money on a larger user base.

    I can't really think of a single business that operates in that way. Holding onto a product when it is is ready means you are constantly losing money everyday it isn't selling. Especially if you have any kind of competition and don't have a significant lead.

    I think the explanation for GT5 is a lot simpler. It just isn't ready yet. Both Sony and PD would love to see the game released ASAP. However, this being Sony's biggest exclusive remaining, it would be a horrible cockup if they released it in bad shape.

    Thus rather than release it in an unfinished state that might tarnish the games image... It's better to delay it until it's ready. Similar to how Blizzard generally developes its games.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  9. Crossbar

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    Let´s face it Killzone sold well but it will never be the game for everyone and it never was the intention of Sony or else it would not be called Killzone. It will always be easier for a parent to move on from Lego Starwars to pick up Halo which has a glossy astronaut on the cover than it will be for them to pick up Killzone 2 with the subtitle "Their home your hell". It would be for me anyway. To further prove my point the recommended age for KZ is 18 and Halo 16 at least where I live.

    Killzone is at this time a new landmark when it comes to visual realism (I've seen many xbox fans that would subscribe to that) and as that it probably has already fulfilled a goal for Sony and there is great marketing value in that, which we may find hard to put a price on.

    I think you are underestimating the execs. They also dstribute titles after when they are finished and how they will be able to sell most copies at full price. I think their second option would have been to release KZ before last christmas, but that FPS base what pretty well covered by AAA titles like COD WaW and Resistance 2 which all brought revenue to Sony, better to save another AAA title to a later time when the hardcore crowd got new money to spend and has consumed the games they got for christmas.

    Killzone will not be the main poster child this fall, and one reason for that is that Sony will start marketing the PS3 to the more casual market. This already partly started in Europe last fall, but the PS3 has not really entered that market yet in US, partly I guess because the US market is more price sensitive.
    Sony will probably follow in the marketing steps of Microsoft who last fall replaced their Halo/PGR bundles with Lego/KungFuPanda bundles at the same time as they lowered the price.
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    This... And more...

    There is no sure thing. If you are developing games, you KNOW you'll have flops. Flops that will lose you money.

    In the process, you hope you guessed right on a project to OK. More importantly you hope one of the projects you OK will earn "oodles" of money. Enough money to cover the flops and continue funding for developement of new titles.

    The problem is, good ideas do not always equal games that people want to buy and play.

    Good ideas sometimes don't translate well into good gameplay.

    The problem is, when you decide to fund a game, all you have are a bunch of ideas... And then you follow through and hope it's a hit, but know you'll get some flops.

    Game critics can't tell you what will sell or not sell. It's quite possible that while they may like a game, that the majority of people just don't share that view.

    For example, I personally HATE open world "sandbox" type games in general. But those games are far far more likely to garner good ratings from game critics than a game on rails.

    Likewise, people seem to give higher ratings to games that are somehow new or innovative, even if what people might want is just more of the same of something they already enjoy. I would have been happy for example if Fallout 2 featured the exact same gameplay as Fallout 1 except with a different storyline. And would have been even happier if Fallout 3 had the exact same gameplay as Fallout 1, except with a different storyline.

    Part of the Halo/COD series success is that they don't stray too far from what people like about the Halo/COD series. They're all basically the same with better graphics/different stories.

    About the closest thing you can get to a sure thing in game developement is a good developer with a proven track record. And even that isn't a sure thing.

    --------

    For KZ2, I like the fact that they wanted to inject some realism into the game with weighted weapons. I personally thought that was absolutely brilliant.

    A pistol SHOULD be faster to swing around and aim at someone close to you than a rifle. Just like real life. There's a reason why you want smaller lighter weapons in close range combat (especially in confined spaces) over larger more powerful and longer range weapons.

    However, anyone who thought something like that would garner anything but critical praise from the media/gaming elite were smoking crack. Success for critical praise, check. Success for massive appeal and massive sales? Nope, sorry, not going to happen.

    That's where you can run into disparities between what's a good "idea," what will probably gain "critical praise," but won't get you stellar sales.

    On it's own probably not a killer, especially if the game had a superb storyline... Or superb online with co-op, well balanced versus modes, easy matchmaking, etc...

    But in the end, it's a technically superb graphics showcase. With some great features and an attempt to bring something different to FPS games...

    And when all is said and done, it just might be a case that most people just want more of the same rather than something different...

    -----------------

    The flip side of that, of course, is that while too much innovation can kill your game. It's also innovation that might bring a whole new genre with you at it's leading wave reaping the rewards...

    The problem is... There's just no way to know that until you take the gamble and try it...

    Regards,
    SB
     
  11. function

    function None functional
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    Sorry, but I've done a bit of the "fragmented quote" thing to try and respond to specific points. Not trying to quote out of context or anything.

    Well, apparently not because despite having been absolutely rammed down people's throats no-one cares! When you describe them as "space Nazis" it does sound make the game sound incredibly lame, and even makes Quake 2's "space Nazi Borg" sound clever!

    And yet everyone knows the Master Chief, lots of people know Marcus Fenix (by face if not by name) and no-one knows about or cares about whoever it is in Killzone 2 despite the game being marketed like crazy.

    I wouldn't dare say that a game with space Nazis and without an identifiable main characters(s) couldn't be a hit, but if I'm purposefully trying to construct a product to push my console and spending $50 million I'd want something that gave me as much to work with as possible. I'd damn well want a cool looking character to stick in the adverts (even if that meant using the dreaded "focus groups")!

    A man jumped out of a burning bomber (without a parachute) over France during WW2 and survived! This doesn't mean that if you design a bomber you should omit parachutes. :D

    If I'm spending $50 million on a FPS to go up against exclusive titles that have co-op, and it works for them and is a massive success, I'd have to be silly not to specify it for my game - especially if my game hasn't even entered pre-production. I know I'm labouring the co-op point (and it's not even a point of contention!) but to me it really says a lot.

    MP is interesting - MS wanted Halo 3 to be their online killer app and so they used a large scale MP beta to perfect it and to spread hugely positive word of mouth. I would have expected Sony to try and do the same thing with Killzone but it didn't really work out that way. In fact, for all Sony's spending on first party games they don't seem to have put much thought into constructing a showcase online killer app ... unless they thought Home would shift PS3s?

    I agree on KZ1 - it doesn't seem to have helped KZ2. A completely new franchise may have served Sony better ...

    Absolute certainty? Of course not, but that doesn't mean you have to take a hands off approach where you throw tens of millions at a developer, close your eyes, cross your fingers and just hope you'll have a highly marketable game with a comprehensive and compelling suite of online features.

    Not all risks are the same. My point is that Sony don't appear to have tried to maximised their chances or cover all their bases.
     
  12. JPT

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    This is purely subjective, but for me and my bunch of friends that got PS3, the basic premise was that, the game (KZ2) was not very fun in SP. We do not play TD online etc, but we love co-op, which means we spend most of our gaming time with R2 co-op.

    I will probably finish KZ2, but that is because the Co-op in R2 is now close to grinding for me, to get my last char to lvl 30. But if insomniac releases new co-op maps/missions then I (we) will probably stick to R2 for foreseeable future.

    As for risk and underperforming titles, if last gen meant that a successful title means selling 2M+ units, then that might be the premise that Sony puts down for its 1st party titles, ie profit = 2M+. While breakeven is less to some degree, maybe 1M etc. Or maybe the measure of success for a 1st party title, is how many new consoles its able to sell + number of copies. And then Sony reaps profit from 3rd party games due to licenses etc.
    I have no clue about Sony's business model, but its possible if the revenue from 3rd party is good.

    Sony would probably love to have a Halo or Gears franchise that sells a lot more, but you have to have a measure of success that is realistic and probable for your ventures and not solely on what your competitor does.
     
  13. obonicus

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    Linebacker CHUDS or muppets with Fisher-Price weapons are better? All of these games are incredibly lame conceptually.


    I'd argue the contrary. For Halo 3, yeah, everyone knows Master Chief. For Halo 1, though, Master Chief looked like the green MP model in DOOM! I'd say they succeeded in spite of the main character. Remember that when Halo 1 came out, PC gamers were stumped: why exactly is this so great? But a multitude of factors helped push the game into a success and Halo 3 was just Microsoft being smart with their main IP.

    As for Marcus Fenix, I wouldn't call him a great character design either. Mostly a lot of BEEFCAKE!! They did luck out by giving him Bender's voice, though, since that's what I remember about him. In Killzone 2, I remember Rico, because he's so incredibly stupid in that game. The main character KZ2 has a personality, but he's mostly an onlooker, in a sort of CoD way. Which may have been a mistake, they should have hired Jon St. John for the voice-work and given him Duke Nukem-ish one-liners.

    They have the Helghast, though, who are pretty cool -- but as I heard in a podcast last week -- after the opening cinematic, if you don't know the story you're sorta 'hell yeah, we're going to kick out these damned invaders!' only to find you're not playing the badass red-eyed guys. There's a ton of lost opportunities there, but it's more of a focus issue than a design one, maybe even more of a marketing thing (and I sorta mean more than ads).

    Not really the same at all, is it? Lack of MP modes isn't a recipe for disaster necessarily. You can create a game and tick off all the checkboxes and still not have a hit. These aren't certain things. I think KZ2 should have had coop as well, but I have my doubts if it would have made a huge difference.

    I agree, I don't think KZ2's path was flawless at all. They could have done a whole bunch of things to drum up interest, but Sony has ridiculous 'buy Qore to get an early demo or play the demo AFTER the game is released' setups, with little beyond a quick MP beta to test online.

    That's not really what happened, either. I do think Sony should probably have a tighter rein on its studios' games, but I don't think they should force every game to check off all options to maximize sales. Note that this isn't as a gamer, as a gamer I appreciate talented studios being allowed to make the games they want to make, even if coop would have been a perfect fit for KZ2. This is as... whatever it is we're doing here, where people with absolutely no say and no idea of the actual figures give suggestions to billion-dollar corporations.
     
    #213 obonicus, Apr 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2009
  14. BadTB25

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    It's not my opinion of why it is not doing better, it's what I've heard others have speculated. I actually agree with your pov on this one.

    Other than the controller complaints when it released, I can't see why the title isn't doing better. It's doing respectable, but I really thought it was going to do much better.
     
  15. scificube

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    That is one possibility. I'm offering another. I didn't insinuate this was the modus operendi of Sony or any other business. I wouldn't say Sony hasn't been trying to push games that do exactly what you are saying in the mean time. I never said GT5 was done. I am saying it won't be done until it can do more damage and it is in a state Polyphony Digital feels is beyond reproach. The two are not mutually exclusive.
     
  16. Nesh

    Nesh Double Agent
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    Can we really say for sure that GT5 is delayed because of more cars?

    How much improvements can another Forza have compared to Forza 2 taking into consideration the amount of time they have available? How would another Forza compare to GT5 which has been in development for a longer time?

    People have already being experiencing minor improvements between sequels of simulation racers. They are becoming less and less forgiving. GT3 for example may have sold like hotcakes in 2001 despite having less cars, less car modification options and missing many of the tracks in GT2, but the same thing can not happen today.

    How many consoles can Sony move in the long run if they release GT games too soon without any worthwhile improvements? How many PS3's will they move if it is just another GT5P with simpy more cars and tracks?
     
  17. dobwal

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    I don't know how you put the blame on GG. KZ2's storyline is derived from KZ1 and was a known entity to Sony and Sony decided to pour huge amounts of resources into KZ2. Second, there were huge amounts of hype surrounding the game for a long time, which makes me wonder did the userbase get KZ2 fatigue. Basically, did Sony pump up KZ2 too much for too long and basically numb the userbase to its release. You can only stay excited about a title for so long. Or is the PS3 userbase not really interested in new IP as a whole. PS3ers seem to flocked to only well known, long history, high profile franchises

    KZ2 short coming has nothing to do with the initial lack luster sales of KZ2. They weren't known qualities before release. However, there were tons of positive reviews which all stamp AAA all over KZ2. It also should be noted that month to month sales only declined 9% (323K versus 296K). There is only a handful of games even in the 360 library that pulled off close to 300K in its second month in release especially when only considering games release outside of the holiday sales season. I think the only game that outperformed KZ2 on the PS3 in terms of second month sales is GTA4. Games with sales killing flaws or uninteresting feature sets don't usually reflect such a sales trend.
     
  18. ErnstH

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    It's high second month sales are likely caused by its release at the very end of February. I think the total ~600K sales belong to the same initial sales spike.
     
  19. Shifty Geezer

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    If this theory is valid, we ought to see it happen with other titles. Are there other games that have had extreme marketing beyond the market's interest, to adversely affect sales? I think of Gears here, which AFAICS had a similar heavy exposure, long lead-up with totally over-the-top, unrealistic PR shots, but that doesn't seem to hurt sales. One could argue KZ2 had a far longer lead time, hyped since '05, but IIRC it had a prominent lull. So unless every current PS3 owner watched E305, got hyped for KZ2, and over time got bored of waiting, I don't know that PR was intense enough to cause interest fatigue in the 12 months or so leading up to launch.
    Again, generally true of all games. It's not like XB360 owners have rushed to partake of Mirror's Edge, Lost Odyssey, yada yada. Hardly any new IPs do fantastically well unless they have the advantage of being launch/early titles. Devs have gone on record saying a new generation is the ideal time to launch an IP because of this.
     
  20. dobwal

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    GTA4, Fallout 3, SC 4, Wii Fit and Wii Mario Kart are all titles release at end of the month of their respective release. You'll have a hard time finding any 300K+ selling title release in the last few days of the month that will have sales within ~8 or 9% of their first month sales.
     
    #220 dobwal, Apr 22, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2009
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