Thief 4 and playing games designed for consoles on PC

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Wandering Spectre
Wandering Spectre
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Thief 4 and playing games designed for consoles on PC

Post by Raj » Thu Dec 31, 2009 12:48 pm

I'll start my rant from the beginning.
The original Deus EX was a brilliant game that I still love so much it is permanently installed on my rig so I can play it whenever I need a fix.

But then... thinking it would somehow be more convenient to play the game on a console, I got the PS2 version. Not only are there deficiencies like the computer able to deal with much larger maps so there isn't so many load time lapses, but the game itself is totally inferior. Essentially cool things about the PC version, like being able to choose from a wide variety of character portraits to a much better inventory system, are simply gone.

Point 2. Then we come to Deus Ex 2. This game was obviously designed for consoles because the controls on a PC are a little clumsy and again the kinds of options of the first game have just disappeared.

And now I come to my main point and my main terror. The first three thief games were designed (incredibly well IMHO) for the PC. The first game was astonishingly ground breaking (an FPS where you don't have to kill anything and some times the goal is to not kill anyone (although... knocking them into unconsciousness is, I guess, not all that an improvement (but what if you asked the folks who got knocked out?)). A whole new, though, entirely less populated as I would like, genre of the First-Person-Sneaker. And a grand new variety of games that at least incorporate stealth to a greater degree than before was born.

The second game lost none of the conventions established by the first, but raised the quality bar (to such an extent that I think it is one of the finest games ever made).

The third game changed a lot of things, some good, some not so good (in my opinion). A third-person option was included (as an OPTION, so one could still play the game in the more familiar FP-sneaker style), some moves and such were added (like being able to hide by leaning against a wall), and to my slight disappointment a new way of picking locks was added. But to be fair, although it wasn't much of a challenge, it WAS an admirable innovation since picking locks in the first two games had no resemblance to a mini-game whatsoever.

But, my point, alas, is that even the third game was undeniably designed for the computer.

There is a Thief 4 coming out.
And from all indications they are not only making the unbelievable mistake of modernizing the setting (my gosh! Some of what was most appealing about the other games was the middle ages context!), but it also looks like the game will be designed for consoles and the computer version will be an afterthought.

This will be as I described Deus Ex 2.

A de-evolution.

I wouldn't care so much if I didn't love the games so much.

Something out there is dying if the capabilities of a computer, or even just the fact that there is more memory for larger maps and upgradable components that enhance the gaming experience and stuff like that, are to take second place to the, it seems to me, simplified world of consoles.

And I'm not so simple-minded as to not understand the profit motive. Consoles are where it's at. Follow the money.

UNLESS... a game can be made with much higher quality for computers and then also released, in an altered form, for consoles.

What do you all think?
Is it useless and stupid to wave the banner of quality at game designers as if it were merely a white flag?
Still trying to download my on-line personality...

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Hallowed Haunter
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Re: Thief 4 and playing games designed for consoles on PC

Post by Phlebas » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:18 pm

The problem is the publishers more than the designers - no designer or developer actually wants to release the kind of half-assed compromisery we see in Deus Ex:Invisible War (which still managed to be a good game - it was only a letdown because the original was so outstanding) or Oblivion (which again had many good points but suffered severe interface poisoning from the console side). It's the publisher who sees only the bottom line and doesn't allow the extra development time needed to make the appropriate changes for different platforms (it can be done - I'm fairly sure Thief 3 was designed primarily for consoles and the PC version turned out, as you say, very nicely). The console presents the bigger market, so that's where the priority is.

What's needed, then, is a crash in the console market. And it's quite possible there will be one soon - as the technical capabilities of consoles increase it becomes more and more expensive to develop for them at all and the prices of games spiral upwards as well. So there are fewer 'big' games released, costing more, and (almost all) taking fewer interesting risks because if you've paid what it costs to develop for latest-gen hardware you can't afford to risk not having a hit.

Meanwhile the lower-key releases via download (PSN/XBox Arcade) grow - but these don't drive uptake of the consoles, so fewer people buy new consoles. So it seems unlikely the games industry in its current shape will last too much longer. PC gaming, on the other hand, is somewhat less driven by blockbuster releases in the first place, so could well prove more robust.

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