Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today's DoomWorld News Headlines point to this article confirming Bethesda/ZeniMax "layoffs"* in the id Software department responsible for the game RAGE.

I guess you can't release games full of bugs and keep your job, after all...

*In quotes because the last job from which I was "laid off" like two years ago has never called me back to work and the building is in fact now a pile of rubble. In today's workforce, "laid off" has simply become a gentler way to tell workers they're fired.


  1. "I guess you can't release games full of bugs and keep your job, after all..."

    Oh really? *cough* New Vegas *cough* Just saying...

  2. @Druuler:

    LOL... I was expecting Nos to be the first one to bring that up...

  3. Nos was busy playing Skyrim.

    Although I too would point out that Obsidian seems to still be employed; so apparently Bethsoft's bean counters aren't too big a group of hardasses about that whole skill and follow-through thing...

  4. Lol, Nos almost was. I was originally going to say Skyrim XD

  5. Well, as I've said before, I don't think I've ever played a PC game that didn't have patches. It's just that RAGE is the first one that I can remember that, on it's release date, everyone was like: "OMG! This game doesn't work with ANYTHING!"

  6. A zero-day patch, and even broken releases for most players aren't totally without precedent -- though I can't think of the names, I recall there being a couple other games that shipped broken.

    What we've all got to remember, regarding why Obsidian is employed and iD is not, is this: Bethesda Softworks is in it for the money. No artistic merit crap; they just wanna sell stuff.

    Fact of the matter is, despite all the problems, FNV sold quite well. Skyrim, despite its problems, is selling well.

    RAGE... did not.

    I was in Target the other night, looking over the video game rack; and trying to decide whether Spore was worth $20 (I decided it wasn't); and I happened to glance down and see RAGE on the clearance rack, too. That is not a good sign for a game less than six months old.

    When a higher profile game like that flops so magnificently, the higher-ups who actually have to report to shareholders go looking for someone's co... erm, head to put on the block. For whatever reason, it looks like iD won the "who can we fire to make it look like we're actually running this company?" competition. I guess iD's days of being able to get by just on their name from 1992 are over.

  7. I've played PC games that never needed patches, though that was back in the days that releasing a game full of bugs would get you trampled by the company brontosaurus.

    Though Rage wasn't just buggy, it was broken.

    The fact that they're still hiring just rubs salt in the wound though.

    BTW Nos, how's Skyrim without your combat team? :)

  8. @Kirtai:

    "BTW Nos, how's Skyrim without your combat team? :)"

    Oh, sure, twist the knife...

    Actually, it isn't horrible. The game seems to be balanced for the player and one hench; so as long as you pick the correct one it goes okay.

    I've had pretty good luck with Uthgerd as an early-level and general tank (you can recruit her as soon as you get into Whiterun); and Jordis is always a goddamned wrecking ball of a woman once you can afford Proudspire manor. At some point I'd like to play a tank character of my own; and use someone like Aela as ranged support; see how that works.

    My only real problem with them thus far is how poorly they follow -- sometimes it's ten plus seconds before the companion notices you've moved off and starts trying to catch up. Then there's the half-assed navmeshing/whatever they used of the game world that keeps NPCs from following your path directly...

    Either way, I'm awaiting the SuCK somewhat impatiently to see if I can make a companion whose following ability doesn't suck; since the couple of editing utilities released by third parties don't seem to be interested in working on NPCs, combat styles, or AI packages.

  9. Oh, I totally agree that it's all about the dollar signs. is listing RAGE (PC) at $20.69 after just a couple of months, which I agree is sad considering the age difference between it and OBLIVION (PC) which is still listed at $25.88 after five years. The ZeniMax guys are probably feeling like they made a huge mistake.

  10. I've heard that Zenimax is a privately owned company so they can afford to take the long view since they don't have to kowtow to shareholders.

    I have to wonder how the long term viability of TES3/4 (and maybe 5) and FO3/NV are affecting their thinking, especially regarding flash-in-the-pan games like Rage. Maybe this is part of it.

    It would be nice to see more games designed for the long term.

  11. @KIRTAI:

    A video game designed for long-term replayability* rather than a series of linear levels that are totally useless once they're finished? See, that's good for us players and not so good for the profiteers thus isn't likely to happen as often as we'd like, I'm afraid. Games like Bethesda's are rare exceptions to the rule, and I think developers haven't emulated their designs more than they already have because disposable games quite simply make more money faster. Once you finish DRAGON AGE and DRAGON AGE 2 there's really not much left for you to do as the gaming consumer seeking continued entertainment but wait for DA 3 and buy it.

    *Damned spell-checker; "replayability" is too a word...

  12. @Herculine:
    That's why I mentioned Zenimax is privately owned.

    Publicly owned companies need to make money fast to placate the shareholders. Private companies can afford to take a longer view.

    Consider how people still buy Morrowind new on the strength of its replayability and moddability and you mentioned how Oblivion is holding its price, probably for pretty much the same reasons. And they're not the only games like that.

    Yikes, Morrowind is £13 on Steam right now :O

    I suspect that's part of the motivation behind supporting modding, it's a long term investment. Releasing the toolkit costs in the short term, but means they can expect to still be selling the game in ten+ years. Not to mention all the ideas, complete with code and playtesting that the modders provide. Cheap at twice the price :)

    Wow, almost started ranting there, sorry :)

  13. I dunno, I think most people get a few replays out of games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect; if only in the vein of different character builds, or good/evil playthroughs, et cetera.

    While I'll agree they're not long-term games like Oblivion (which I've personally been playing regularly since the second week of September, 2006); but they're not total throw-aways either.

    You want a throw-away? Look at the Final Fantasy series. One story, one route, one set of characters, virtually no choices -- a replay is the exact same game every time; save for potentially a couple minor details like what type of spell this character or that uses.

  14. @Nos:

    We really do think a lot alike; I was thinking Final Fantasy but opted to type Dragon Age for the sake of a more recent example. Indeed, the DA series does have a bit more replayability* and diversity than the FF series; eventually I totally abandoned Final Fantasy games because a.) basically "playing" them was the equivalent of watching a series of pretty CG sequences and b.) they started doing that multiplayer online thing which (while I'm sure it could be fun once or twice) simply doesn't fit well with my sporadic gaming habits.


    Yes, games with a large library of mods behind them definitely are at the top of my favorites list largely for that reason; the releases of construction kits and source codes has done wonders for some of my favorite games. Earlier I mentioned level-by-level games lacking replayability* and yet just such a game is among my favorites. If all I had to keep me busy with Doom was the four retail releases, I'd have finished it and set it aside long ago; as it stands, however, I can still play a new Doom map on a daily basis for years to come. Perhaps we should be hoping that more game companies become privately-owned?

    *There's that red underscore again!