Less SWTOR, More Darkfall

The preceding post garnered a lot of hits, but some readers appeared to have missed the point, which wasn’t “SWTOR is going to suck,” but “SWTOR is almost certain to be a huge financial failure.” Whether it’s good or not is almost irrelevant.

The trouble is not any worry I have about the game’s quality – I expect it to be a very good game, although I have deep concerns about how good an MMO it will make. The trouble is that Bioware may have spent $300 million to make it.

If so, they’re in a position that’s virtually untenable. It’d have to not just sell spectacularly, but be the same kind of breakout hit that WoW was to a much smaller market. In other words, it would have to do better than WoW did at launch – and I have to think that’s incredibly unlikely to happen.

The quality of the game almost doesn’t matter – the issue is spending $200-300 million on it. And this kind of budget is getting more common with time. What we need isn’t more $100+ million catastrophic failures. We need more modestly budgeted titles with a chance to launch sustainably and grow. We need less SWTOR and more Darkfall.

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3 responses to “Less SWTOR, More Darkfall

  1. Fallen Earth is just as valid an example. But the PvE vs.PvP and sandbox vs. themepark divides aren’t the point here, either. The point is the budget. Darkfall was merely the first example that came to my mind of an MMO developed on a small budget.

  2. I think the divides are part of the point – its costs far less money to develop a purely PvP game. You don’t need to hire writers, voice actors, or studio time. You can dispense with quests, with time/money/developers to balance the PvP vs. PvE stats of equipment, loot, drops, and rewards.

    That Fallen Earth still incorporated all those things for small potatoes is proof that it can be done. Though the fact that FE remains in a perpetual beta state begs the question of how well it can be executed on such a shoestring budget.