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Everything posted by LXant

  1. Yes, @Hendrix, that's probably not too far from the truth. The whole corporation/holding is in a volatile situation, they spend huge amounts of money and have little to show for it. At least for now. So it's only natural to reveal some of the more advanced projects, so they can list them on their quarterly/yearly reports as upcoming AAA titles. Gives the shareholders more than just a short "We work on X unnamed AAA titles". Everyone who has ever written a paper or two knows the situation: you try your best to fill the pages if you have to fill a quota. You take everything you can get. Sometimes quantity becomes a quality on its own. And sometimes an early announcement can make the whole difference. If you want a prominent example, look at Bethesda (before MS bought them). They got under fire for their dumpster fire that is Fallout 76. So, what did they do? Todd Howard revealed a 30 sec clip of a landscape and a slogan "Elder Scrols 6". That's it. It has been four years since then (with 4 more years to go, I reckon), but people were happy with that, and the outrage about Fallout 76 suddenly died. Bethesda became everyone's darling again. The exact opposite was what Blizzard did. People expected the announcement of Dialbo 4 at BlizzCon 2018. Dedicated and hyped PC gamers paid for tickets, travel and accomodations to be there. And they got a f*cking mobile game announcement. Sure, D4 was also in development back then, but they chose not to reveal it, went with the mobile cashgrab instead and got burned. The Activision Blizzard stock price fell hard by around 30% in the following days, from the 60s to something in the 40s. It stayed there for almost a year. It took another half a year to reach the level from before the announcement disaster; not even the announcement of Diablo 4 in Nov 2019 could salvage the mess they created the year before. Paradox is the better publisher in that regard. They are smaller and rely heavily on the interaction with their customers. Understandable, as they sell niche products to begin with. They can't afford to have a bad standing with their gamers. And it showed in how they handled Haemimont's Surviving Mars development and PR. THQ/Embracer is different, and that's not a compliment here.
  2. So 11 months between announcement and the first news drop. Can't say I like that, but now we know when to expect more. Thanks @Wigen for giving us those news!
  3. I didn't follow it back then, but everything is still available. Here's how it went: It was announced end-August, first DevDiaries came out in October and the game released in March, a bit over 7 months after the initial announcement. All in all, a much smoother experience for the players. That's why I don't blame Haemimont for the lack of communication, since I know they're more than willing and able to do it. JA3 isn't the only game THQ announced, and all of them suffer from the same absence of news.
  4. Haemimont isn't part of THQ Nordic, nor of any other entity within the Embracer Group. They're just a Bulgarian studio contracted by the Austrian THQ Nordic, a subsidy of the Swedish Embracer Group, to develop a game. They get money from THQ for their work, but everything else lies within THQ's responsibility. Maybe they voice their concerns, maybe they don't. We have no way of knowing. All we know is that the publisher, who is responsible for community management, is rapidly growing and probably a bit overwhelmed with establishing a new modus operandi. They have to bring dozens of new studios in line, so I imagine expecting them to communicate with an external studio would be of an even lower priority. Right now their main concern is a good financial report. And if I may say so, I've once worked for a company that was held by a Swedish parent company. If that experience is anything to go by, chaotic would be a good way to describe it. Scandinavian workplace culture (at least in big corporations) is vastly different from Central Europe (where THQ Nordic is) and both are vastly different from Eastern Europe (where Haemimont is). Miscommunication is common here. It was a better fit when Paradox contracted Haemimont to make Surviving Mars. With both of them being two small-ish partners they had announced the game end-August, released the first DevDiaries in October and released the game in March of the following year. Haemimont is capable and willing, if the publisher is behind it. When I look at the whole Embracer/THQ thing, I smell a lot of corporate bullsh*t getting in the way of things. This forum here is also registered and owned by THQ Nordic, not Haemimont. The devs have nothing to do with it.
  5. As a side note, for anyone who's interested in the larger picture, I looked into it (a little bit at least) and it seems like the whole parent company is suffering from a lack of cohesion, as they're in the process of growing very fast and re-organizing themselves. I'm talking about the Embracer Group, the parent company holding THQ Nordic, Koch Media and others. Currently they're bigger than even Activision-Blizzard or EA. They have close to 200 games in development (most aren't announced yet) with close to 90 internal game studios and they've casually bought 37 studios in 2021 alone, with 37 more planned for 2022. I also looked at the other 5 games that were announced together with Jagged Alliance 3. The situation is very similar to JA3, with little more, if any, information following the initial September 2021 articles that came right after the games were announced. Not much more of substance to this day, so we're not alone with our problem. All those games, and JA3 is among them, are still listed as "Announced Releases as of February 17, 2022" in the Interim Report 3 21/22 for October - December 2021 of the Embracer Group. So it's being worked on and scheduled for a medium term release date, probably later this year. If I had to guess why there's this huge lack of communication, I'd go with it being a consequence of their rapid growth and the resulting lack of established cohesion between all parts. It's not unlikely that no one feels responsible for small things like community management for games that aren't close to their release date. Let there be some employees leaving the company, let new hires come in, and you can expect some things falling off to the side without anyone noticing. What could that mean for JA3 as a game? Well, in my experience it's almost never a good thing if a developer lacks any direction from their publisher, if there's no one with a clear strategy who can and will guide the studio through the process of making a successful game. But on the bright side: the devs are most likely undisturbed and can work without pressure, as they don't need to do anything else. What can we do about it? For now, most likely nothing. Since we aren't shareholders, our opinion won't matter much. But we can certainly look up some guys from THQ Nordic marketing and tell them how the lack of community management has the potential to damage the image of their product. Send it to more people at the same time and it's hard to ignore. And if we decide to be brave, like our beloved mercs in their fight against a whole country, we could even write to some people in the parent company Embracer Group. Escalate enough and something ought to change.
  6. @GODSPEED I completely agree with everything you've said. Many factors put me at ease regarding the quality of the upcoming game. But the ongoing silence makes be increasingly nervous. Why is there absolutely nothing from the devs, no sign that the project is still alive? Is it because the game doesn't come together as Haemimont envisioned it and they need more time? Is it because they have nothing good to say about it? Is it because of internal cuts and problems? Is the development even failing as a whole? Or is it just bad marketing from the publisher? Maybe THQ doesn't care at all? We don't know, but the silence doesn't instill any confidence. It's the opposite, it makes us think that there's something they want to hide. If they didn't plan to communicate anything with us, they wouldn't have opened this forum in the first place. But they did, and only after the fact did they decide not to talk about their product. Brad Logston was last active mid October 2021, that's almost half a year back. Doesn't bode well. It's THQ as the publisher. They decide if and what and when things go out. The devs aren't at liberty to disclose anything without the publisher's approval. The process is much easier if the developer is their own publisher at the same time, like with Paradox or many indie studios. So, if there's someone we have to press about the lack of communication, it would definitely be THQ.
  7. The utter silence almost a year after the initial announcement is a bit disconcerting. I hope we'll see something like a DevDiary soon.
  8. Looks like you were spot on! 😅
  9. We have a dev studio with a history of good games, one of the better publishers out there, and the announcement trailer was not only well done, but had - if that's something to go by - above average clicks compared to the other games that were announced. It indicates that there's some sort of a fanbase interested in this game and its success; that part plays a key role when it comes to allocation of resources. While it is good to remain cautious, I also think that we have some good reasons for optimism this time around. But @THQN Fabian, a DevDiary and/or the FAQ would certainly help. 😉
  10. They found them 'interesting', hm? That's usually an euphemism for 'wtf' 😅
  11. Well, poor Fabian, descended right into a pit of starved dogs. Hopefully he isn't too frightened to come back. 😄
  12. Hey Fabian, great to have you around! We understand that it isn't up to you to give us any info about the game, so I won't ask. 🙂 However, would it be possible to for you to ask someone about the FAQ and the promise of getting some Dev Diaries? It has been some time already and there's nothing new since the announcement trailer. Please and thank you!
  13. It's listed by them only as TBA, in contrast to other games being TBA 2021/2022. They know as much as we do, which isn't much. 😆
  14. It should also be noted that with both examples we have a couple of years between the announcement trailer and the final release date. I just hope things go a bit faster with JA3. We're patient, sure, but waiting for 3 or 4 more years? That would be too much.
  15. From my experience, the bigger the budget/project, the more restrictions are in place. They are usually placed by the publisher and not the developers. It means that every bit of info, every piece of content that is released to the public has to go through the publisher and needs official approval, as marketing and PR are part of the publishers' responsibilities. It's easier when publisher and developer are the same, like it is with Paradox, but this isn't the norm. And not the case with Haemimont and THQ Nordic; both are obviously different entities. And don't forget that it is a frustrating experience for the devs, too. They dedicated a few years of their lives towards JA3 and can't talk about it. It would drive me crazy.
  16. Don't lose hope, it's too early for that. That new article just does what we do: analyze the trailer/screenshots. There's nothing new, just speculation.
  17. I can't say anything regarding their registration process or country selection, but if you're willing to actually buy the magazine, I'd go for this: https://shop.gamestar.de/hefte/gamestar/1791/gamestar-11/2021?c=5 There you need to select "Epaper", click "In den Warenkorb" (meaning "into the cart") and then you can check out. What you want to avoid is the month-long subscription or shipping the printed magazine across the world. If you really buy it, then I'll give you the complete translation via PM and you'll be free to do whatever you want with it. I mean, if you really bought it, it's yours, right? 🙂
  18. That we are indeed! Now we have to wait until someone posts a summary or a pic (which I can and will translate).
  19. The printed version is scheduled to release tomorrow.
  20. Only if someone provides me with something to translate, mind you. 🙂
  21. That's something all of us have been for the last 20 years.
  22. The choice of developer is a good sign, I agree that their portfolio gives me hope that we'll at the very least get something that is thought-out and not full of bugs. Good news after 20 years of mediocre attempts. Hopefully, when the magazine releases in 2 days, someone will post something about it or provide pics of it. I'd be happy to translate the whole damn thing if need be. I need to thank you too, it is rare to meet someone who can string more than a few coherent sentences together and makes me even re-think my own perspective on certain things. 👍 And I will follow suit and do the same! 🙂
  23. Is there an ETA on the answers?
  24. Let's stay here in this thread, since part of what we discuss here concerns all the things the gamestar article is about. I know, it's a generous interpretation of the rules, but there's not much going on in this forum anyway. 😄 First things first, I admire your dedication. Even I don't play all those old games that much. Sure, every now and then, but not as regularly as you. Overall I agree with you on everything you wrote in your post. The point you made with equipping the militia sounds interesting. Never tried it for myself, though. I'm sure that we'll get an abstracted system of it in JA3, in which training militia might cost money to cover all expenses. While effective, hiring mercs to use them exclusively as mules feels a bit wrong (as in not quite intended by the devs). I can't imagine any dev to implement it as part of the expected gameplay. 🤣 It all depends on how buying and using equipment works. A shame the article preview ended right before they went into the strategic management. 😑 That's actually quite clever. It reminds me of a similar system (at least similar in principle) from the newest Owlcat game WotR, although Kingmaker also had this system in place. There you're presented with many choices, some of which will shift your alignment in a certain direction. The interesting part is that the choice is entirely based on your characters knowledge. Without spoiling too much, there's a person that is unfriendly, but not hostile towards you. You can choose to attack that person in a fit of anger, which is classified as a chaotic action. But if you spend some time doing a bit of research, you learn that the unfriendly person killed an innocent man quite a while ago. With that new piece of information the same action of attacking and killing him is now classified as lawful, as your character now has a legitimate reason to kill said person. Seeing the world through the eyes of your character is a core-principle of any good RPG. What you described here is actually a deep system that requires you to know your mercs. Of course, the downside is that you can never be certain whether the information the game gives you is reliable or not. I'm not sure which is better, I could live with both. But let me tell you, I can already see many people complaining about it. 😅 "It said hit chance is high, yet I missed five times in a row. wtf?!" I wouldn't say wrong, most interviews are just what you think they are: devs trying to sell their product. The interesting interviews I'm talking about are more like podium discussions or lectures about game design. Or devs reminiscing about the history of the genre. If you're interested, look up "The Past, Present & Future of XCOM with Julian Gollop & Jake Solomon from EGX 2017". Both talk about the original vision of the game, tell how those games were created, what influenced their decisions etc. This one is especially great as it takes place after the release of XCOM2 and its expansion WotC. Or "Classic Games Postmortem - XCOM: UFO Defense", a talk at GDC 2013 given by Julian Gollop himself. Very very insightful for anyone that is interested in the history behind those great games. I very much agree, the interrupt mechanic is unique, only the reaction fire of the first X-Com games comes close to it. My problem with it - and I suppose the reason why it got cut from JA3 - is the lack of predictability. While it feels great to have it work out for you, it feels terrible when you're on the short end of it. Let's take Dark Souls as an example. The game is hard, punishing and unforgiving. Yet nobody would call it unfair or unpredictable. If you play well, you won't die. The same can't be said about the interrupt mechanic. You can play well and still randomly die to it. And this is likely the reason for its removal, as it crosses the line towards unfair game design. It is hard to think of a way to improve that particular aspect. Yes, you could always say "then scout ahead, be more careful etc.", but that only slows down the pace. While some may enjoy a game full of slow paced engagements, most people don't. I can clearly see why they'd remove the mechanic and replace it with something that was proven to be successful in recent years. But I wouldn't lose hope yet. I may very well be that Haemimont didn't just copy the overwatch mechanic, but refined it or gave it a bit of a twist. For now we know nothing about it, just that combat is similar to XCOM/XCOM2 and that there's a button with the same symbol as the overwatch command. XCOM/XCOM2 went heavy on implementing RPG/customizing elements. I fully expect Haemimont to at least copy, if not outright improve on it. A good chunk of it is customizing visuals, which is easier today than it was 20 years ago. So, yes, I agree with you 110%. I want tons of different equipment and I want it all to be visible on the character models. If I could agree even more with you, I would! Yes, absolutely my thoughts. In the end we both have the same problem: we don't know what to expect, as not much is known. Until the magazine comes out, someone buys it and then shares this info with us, the upcoming FAQ is our best bet to get our hands on new info. Cheers @GODSPEED! 🍻
  25. Again, you've my thanks and appreciation for voicing your thoughts in such a respectful and thorough manner. I think I can understand the direction you come from, now that I know a bit better what it is you enjoy. I look forward to discussing things with you, your passion for JA is admirable! I can see why you like inventory management. Scarcity adds to the experience of dealing with limited resources, of improvising and a feeling of accomplishment when overcoming such a challenge. But most of the time the logistics part feels unnatural and at times arbitrary. Usually you encounter a great number of enemies, supply with basic weapons, ammo and other equipment shouldn't be an issue thanks to that. It only is because those basic things - while being used against you mere moments ago - simply don't drop as loot. It creates a shortage of something that should've been there in abundance. The question is, how should the game handle this? 100% loot would be realistic, but it would remove the challenge. Less loot would give you a challenge, but go against realism. Which is why I willingly accept the modern abstraction of making basic items like cheap firearms or ammo free/unlimited. It allows you to focus on collecting rare and special items. But it seems we'll have to wait on this one until we get to see the full extent of inventory management. I would like to note, however, that - like you - I want a multifaceted inventory with more than 4 or 5 slots. At least weapon customization is in, something both of us should enjoy. It is hard to tell how many hours I spent with Skyrim/Oblivion/Morrowind over the last decades... and I could argue that hardly anybody plays those games for their story. The freedom of choice is the main selling point of those games. Story-driven games on the other hand limit that freedom to give the player a clearer direction. This puts JA in a bit of a hard spot, as it tries to tell a compelling story while at the same time aims to give the player a sandbox experience. Maybe that's why so many JA sequels failed, because they failed to walk that fine line? While I agree with you in principle, I disagree from a standpoint of game design. Chances and uncertainties are fine, I'd even say important. However, a game still needs to tell the player crucial information, so that their choices are more than lucky guesses or the result of trial and error. If there's an element of chance, the player needs to be told about it. XCOM got that right, as you had effective weapon ranges, weapons had dmg ranges and, of course, the infamous hit chances. And if the trailer is right, it seems that JA3 will follow suit. If something isn't 100%, it can fail. As a player I understand and accept it, because the game tells me that there's a 10% or 30% chance to fail something beforehand. Or if there's a dmg spread between 10 and 20. I accept it, because the game told me BEFORE I chose to go with it. Failure becomes a consequence of accepting the possibility of it happening. But when the game doesn't tell me with how much movement I'm left when moving somewhere, when I won't know if I can see/attack/flank someone when I move to a certain tile, when I don't know if something counts as half or full cover... then failure becomes a consequence of lack of information. It is a frustrating experience and overall bad game design. That's where people start complaining, and rightfully so. Some people enjoy that kind of unfair design, but most people don't. That's a very unfavorable view on interviews. 🙂 I mentioned them because some of those went beyond simple advertising and explored the thought processes that led to certain decisions. It was interesting to learn of the challenges and problems the Devs had when trying to adapt an old game. Why did they change this? Why did they do that? It was very insightful. We might like certain aspects in old games because we associate them with our childhood, but there are many people who never played the old games, who simply lack that feeling of nostalgia. And they don't hesitate to point out elements that are simply not fun or borderline unfair. Hearing those hardcore X-Com fans describe the difficulties when creating the remake helped me understand that not everything was simply "watered down" to make more sales. They were as surprised as everyone else when the game became a huge financial success. Turn-based tactical games were dead back then, the whole genre is still a niche product. Turn-based strategy is generally better received, but - as you said - also remains a niche compared to other genres. We might never agree on this one, but I see XCOM as a step in the right direction. It started the renaissance of the whole niche, which is why we even get JA3 now; development began shortly after XCOM2 released and proved that the success of XCOM1 wasn't just a fluke. It is only natural that JA3 will try to build upon and improve on some aspects of what XCOM2 had to offer. I don't know if you know, but XCOM actually had a bunch of talented modders that created awesome mods for it. Long War was the biggest and most popular one. Their work was so impressive that Firaxis involved them in the development of XCOM2. A huge part of why XCOM2 is so moddable, has thousands of mods and still gets mods to this day is thanks to that group of modders. They even founded their own dev studio btw, Pavonis Interactive. If JA3 comes even close to the success of XCOM2 and gets a mere fraction of its mod support, it would be a huge win in my books. As it is, the interrupt mechanic is out and we get overwatch instead. And I suspect the reason for that change was, as you correctly pointed out, the unpredictability of the whole concept. I understand that this is something you like, that there's always a risk of getting killed by something that is impossible to account for. It is very similar to reaction fire in the first X-Com games. This touches on the aforementioned subject of giving players reliable information. Elements that heavily punish players in random unpredictable acts simply need to be tamed. Not to cater to all platforms, but to make things more predictable for the player. We might also disagree here, but too much randomness - especially when the consequences are as severe as perma-death - is what constitutes bad game design. Many people find no fun in getting punished for something that was a) outside of their control and b) not clearly communicated by the game beforehand. Again, some players might enjoy unfair game design, but most people don't. This is where our experiences differ. I spent countless hours customizing my soldiers, giving them biographies, using visual mods to make them even more unique. The campaigns I fought in XCOM2 are among the most memorable I ever had. When thinking back to Apoc, I don't remember my soldiers. Also, the aliens were not memorable or important for the whole experience. What made the game great was the destructable environment, all the interactions within the city, destroyed buildings after hard battles in the sky, raids against various organizations. It was a huge sandbox that I greatly enjoyed, but it never made me truly care about my soldiers or the main mission. XCOM2 was the exact opposite, which was closer to the original games in that regard. That puts JA2 in a special place for me, as it somehow unifies the strenghts of both worlds, giving me soldiers that I care about, a clear direction and at the same time a sandbox experience that I like. From what little we know about JA3, we might get something very similar. At the very least I'd love to have XCOM2-like customization options. What do JA2 players want? Not always the same thing, that much is clear. And given the high costs of game development (especially when compared to two decades ago) some concessions will be necessary to make it more appealing for a broader audience. Like you, it leaves me a bit concerned, as we don't know where that line is drawn. For now, from what we heard, no major feature seems to be missing. If the gamestar magazine is right, that is. Without seeing for myself I will remain sceptical. But tbh, while I hope for the best, I'd already call it a success if it doesn't kill the entire franchise. And we all know that this could very well happen, as JA3 is the biggest JA project in a long time. Financial failure could mean another 20 years of small pay-to-win/mobile JA games. That makes mod support the maybe most important feature of all.
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