William Goldman wrote brilliant books and brilliant movies, and brilliant books about movies. And in his first book on movies, he casually defined a central rule of Hollywood. Three maddening words: nobody knows anything.
These three words will probably outlive us all. Because really, nobody knows anything. In Hollywood, you might have the right star, the right script, the right everything, and the movie bombs. But also – which is why it’s infuriating – you could have it all wrong, and yet, to quote The Producers from memory, “The wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast…Where did I go right? ”
It’s bigger than Hollywood, of course. To reformulate Goldman’s thought, one could say: all art is a bet. And if you love art, if you really love it, the betting is a big part of the appeal. Art galleries are full of bets that have really paid off. And not only that: even disasters are strangely invigorating – the right kind of honest disaster makes you feel alive. The art bet is the best bet of all, I think. But if you’re trying to make money from this thing, art betting is probably something you’re not in love with.
Todd Howard and company. discuss the “core DNA” of Bethesda Ganes and how it works in Starfield.
I thought about it yesterday when the news came out two Bethesda games, Starfield and Redfall, had been delayed. I would first like to solve this problem: it is a pity. If you’re looking forward to these games – and I’m looking forward to Redfall in particular – it really sucks that you have to wait any longer. If you’re making these games, it’s probably maddening to have to wait until 2023 until people can enjoy what you’ve been doing all this time.
Because it’s our job to write about games, at the office we were all trying to figure out what that meant – what that meant for Microsoft and Bethesda games and the people who worked there, and maybe what that meant for Game Pass, where these games are headed. I hope any delay is good for the professional lives of the people making the game – that’s an angle I’ve heard, and I hope it’s true: I hope this delay ensures a good environment of work. (Someone also pointed out that delaying a game sometimes just delays the crunch, obviously.) Bethesda’s delay is bad for Game Pass, which needs big games to get people to sign up, and now the 2022 lineup from Microsoft seems rather empty in general. That’s another angle I heard. And I’m sure that’s true – but I also suspect that this kind of argument won’t always be right.
Anyway: Goldman. If you’re making big-budget video games – in fact, if you’re making any scale game you care about – “nobody knows anything” must be a constant concern. These wonderful big event games are fabulously expensive and employ hundreds of people, and the smaller games also demand a lot from those who make them.
For this reason, ten years ago I heard a lot of publishers say, “Okay: let’s try fewer and bigger bets.” A hedge against “no one knows anything” that brought us mega-games and lingering tentpoles and empty summer schedules and a million open-world map markers and pre-planned DLC campaigns. I really like this stuff! But look at language from the editor’s point of view. Paris again. Always bet. Games are expensive and have a lot to do. Even though they are relatively safe things – again the parlance of the game – they can have catastrophic bugs. They can alienate people with micro-transactions. They may miss crucial financial quarters. They can be delayed.
Game Pass – just realized this so I agree with you if you say now that I’m slow – that’s a lot of things but one of them I understand now is a potential answer to the “nobody knows anything” problem. To put it another way: what does the Starfield – and Redfall – delay mean for Game Pass? I don’t know, honestly. But I suspect that things like these delays are part of the reason Game Pass exists in the first place. Delays are part of the cost of doing business – many huge games are delayed for various reasons. Game Pass exists in part to make that a little less painful.
(Speaking of all this, another thing Goldman said is that reshoots can be a sign of a film’s strength rather than weakness – a sign that something is worth doing well; I think it’s This is also the case for Starfield and Redfall.)
As a service, Game Pass has blockbusters, but it doesn’t rely on them, and blockbusters are where a lot of the art betting takes place that must terrify big companies like game owners. platforms, I guess. Big teams. Huge budgets. The chance – even minimized – that you’ll exit the game and find people have moved on.
Redfall’s delay also leaves Xbox’s AAA offering for 2022 feeling remarkably empty.
It’s a bet. But what about a service that bundles a lot of games together, and maybe you like some and maybe you don’t like some, but you pay a little to have them all? Less bet, I think. More of a sure thing. And with it, not just the promise of what you already have on your Xbox, but what you could have in a few months, a few years. What’s coming to Game Pass next?
(I would like to clarify here that I don’t think Game Pass means the end of blockbusters – I certainly hope not! It just feels like a way to have something safer and more stable in the background while you continue to hopefully take on big projects.)
I always thought Game Pass didn’t come from the part of Microsoft that bought Bethesda, but rather from the part of Microsoft that bought Mojang. I’m sure that distinction is fanciful, but the reason is that no matter how great a Starfield or Redfall live service game turns out to be, it’s never going to be as much of a live service game as Minecraft: Lego digital, procedural endless exploration and tinkering, a game that every new generation rediscovers and clings to.
And all of this makes me think – not Starfield or Redfall, but Game Pass, and what it really is, how it really works. In a way, I’m tempted to say that the key to understanding Game Pass isn’t a Netflix-like subscription platform, but something like Twitter. And I mean that in one way: a lot of people have realized that quitting Twitter is pretty hard, because it would be, well, boring.
Over the past few years, many people have found they want to quit Twitter, but…ah. It would involve finding a new way to keep in touch with these people I love, to keep up to date with this stuff, to scroll this stuff out there.
I don’t think Game Pass has the same issues as Twitter, the two things are not alike at all. But I suspect Game Pass wants to be just as hard to break. The future, perhaps, looks a lot like this: services that are easy to get into and hard to get out of. And a big-budget game like Starfield or Redfall would certainly help with that – big-budget games are great – but so would a bunch of smaller, open-ended games that you just don’t suddenly want to be without.
Article source https://www.eurogamer.net/until-starfield-and-redfalls-delay-i-guess-i-didnt-fully-understand-game-pass