Activision Says Valve and Epic Can't Make Destiny

Sean951

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Mar 30, 2011
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To whoever thinks games used to not need patches... Did you play back then? They had plenty of minor bugs, and some not so minor ones. You also had less coding to search through to find the bugs. Much, much less.
 

Twilight_guy

Sight, Sound, and Mind
Nov 24, 2008
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Beh, having to make a new game every two years. Even I know that's not a contract you want. Talk about no freedom and ultimate pressure.

Anyways, legal contracts are odd. I don't know what's up with these sections but I'm sure somebody somewhere thought they were really necessary, at least they did at some point.
 

Treblaine

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Jul 25, 2008
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rolfwesselius said:
Aiddon said:
This contract is weird. Also, Bungie should have known better than to get into bed with those scumbags considering that they're expecting them to churn out a game/expansion a year.
Every other year means one in 2013 one in 2015 one in 2017
Etc.
Which wont be that difficult once you got the engine and allot of assets everything becomes much easier.
Every other year is a long time if ANYTHING goes wrong.

Games are not like movies with a set script that you just film and then hack away in the editing room, they are more like paintings. They take a long time to slowly, carefully and delicately construct then one day to take a step back and realise it's totally fucking wrong. You have no choice but to redo almost the entire work, it's the same painting but it means what may have been almost done will now take 50% longer than you'd have said a year ago.

The thing is you CAN make a great game in 2 years, you just cannot CONSISTENTLY make a great game with only a 2 year interval. Something will go wrong, you will realise you are going in a disastrous direction and the only solution is to purge huge elements and start a fresh. Bioshock did this and the same is being done with its follow-up. Half Life 2 similarly was butchered and remade. Team Fortress 2 was rebooted in development several times.

What you can do is make a safe and compromised game every 2 years. Bungie did fairly well with a 3 year cycle for Halo, but 2 years is pushing it too much I think.
 

DiamanteGeeza

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Therumancer said:
The part that got me is "must patch any critical bugs in the game within a month of release". I'd much prefer you know, "game must release without any critical bugs". I still remember the days before patching and how companies had to pretty much get it perfect the first time. Seems like a clause for the current lazy "we can always fix it later" generation of developers who want to release and move onto their next project ASAP.
Whilst I agree with your dislike of day 1 patches, I'd just like to correct your 'laziness' comment - developers aren't lazy.

We bust our asses to get titles done and submitted so they can ship on time. The problem with patching is that it's opened the door for extra pressure from publishers (and people within developers) to cram every feature in the entire universe into a game. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of games are poorly scheduled (accurate scheduling of a game is surprisingly difficult), nowadays this results in most games being nowhere near ready for ship when they actually submit - the first parties actually have a process that allows them to say "okay, well, we'll approve your game, even though it locks up at the beginning of level 3, as long as you promise to fix it for the day 1 TU" - that's how commonplace this is now.

What used to happen is that the absolute, final, drop dead, must-have-everything-in-the-game-by date was usually a day or so prior to first sub, but now this cut-off date has moved to the night before ship. And it sucks.

However, please don't think of us developers as lazy - it's rude, insulting, and incorrect.
 

TsunamiWombat

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Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

Capcha: two cents worth

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
This was my take on it as well. Activision doesn't control the IP, but this is a way of controlling publishing and/or spin-offs.
 

Frostbite3789

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rolfwesselius said:
Aiddon said:
This contract is weird. Also, Bungie should have known better than to get into bed with those scumbags considering that they're expecting them to churn out a game/expansion a year.
Every other year means one in 2013 one in 2015 one in 2017
Etc.
Which wont be that difficult once you got the engine and allot of assets everything becomes much easier.
With an expansion every other year in between. I don't know if that's DLC or spin-offs or actual expansions. But they're putting them on a yearly release timetable according to that contract.
 

direkiller

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Treblaine said:
"Bungie must shoot for a "Teen" ESRB rating" "

NOT GOOD!

To get that rating there essentially can't be any lethal force fused against humans. Even depicted. Every Halo game got an M-rating to spite how it was mainly shooting inhuman aliens. I don't see how they can go for a T-rating unless they are making a non-lethal game (like Arkham City) or that the ESRB ratings be completely overhauled.
sc2 had a teen rateing
so yea they can get away with more then you think
 

Narcogen

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Jul 26, 2006
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C'mon, guys, pay more attention. Read point 5.4. The party prohibiting ports of Destiny from being worked on by Epic, Gearbox or Valve is the Licensor. In other words, Bungie-- not Activision. A publisher shouldn't care who does a port. The developer, though, might, since working on Bungie's engine would give those competitors any proprietary tech Bungie has developed, as well as potential insight on the future direction of their properties.

Bungie gets to approve who does ports, but cannot withhold approval unreasonably. The agreement sets out that in advance, Bungie won't let those studios work on ports, and Activision is agreeing to that restriction.
 

Khravv

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Johnson McGee said:
John Funk said:
Activision specifically bars Valve Software, Epic Games, and Gearbox Software from developing any Destiny or Comet "conversions or adaptations." I have no idea why anyone at Activision would think to specify this.
Sounds to me like it refers back to the point that Bungie retains the rights if Activision backs out, and this prevents another publisher from swooping in to finish the project and take the credit.

Capcha: two cents worth

So basically if Activision backs out, they want the franchise to die a horrible withering death rather than let the games see the light of day under another publisher's label.
This... this makes a lot of sense, put that way.
 

valkeminator

404Th Ravens. No.04
Nov 19, 2009
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in my opinion, they just want to prevent Bungie from doing what Jason West/Vince Zampanella did to them... Therefore "Locking" Bungie under their belt.

It does sound evil though...

Captcha: Many happy returns

... Hmmm.
 

Ed130 The Vanguard

(Insert witty quote here)
Sep 10, 2008
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Jack and Calumon said:
The only real thing that bothers me is the "Easter Egg" list. Why does that really matter? Are people so paranoid in Activision that they think Bungie might be trying to say naughty things to Activision in hidden parts of the game.
Considering the Activision brand-name was created because someone wanted to put in an easter egg but was denied by the Atari corporation, I find it a hilarious and a little depressing.
 

EGtodd09

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Oct 20, 2010
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Gearbox ported the original Halo to PC, perhaps Activision doesn't want any repeat performances?
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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DiamanteGeeza said:
Therumancer said:
The part that got me is "must patch any critical bugs in the game within a month of release". I'd much prefer you know, "game must release without any critical bugs". I still remember the days before patching and how companies had to pretty much get it perfect the first time. Seems like a clause for the current lazy "we can always fix it later" generation of developers who want to release and move onto their next project ASAP.
Whilst I agree with your dislike of day 1 patches, I'd just like to correct your 'laziness' comment - developers aren't lazy.

We bust our asses to get titles done and submitted so they can ship on time. The problem with patching is that it's opened the door for extra pressure from publishers (and people within developers) to cram every feature in the entire universe into a game. Bearing in mind that the vast majority of games are poorly scheduled (accurate scheduling of a game is surprisingly difficult), nowadays this results in most games being nowhere near ready for ship when they actually submit - the first parties actually have a process that allows them to say "okay, well, we'll approve your game, even though it locks up at the beginning of level 3, as long as you promise to fix it for the day 1 TU" - that's how commonplace this is now.

What used to happen is that the absolute, final, drop dead, must-have-everything-in-the-game-by date was usually a day or so prior to first sub, but now this cut-off date has moved to the night before ship. And it sucks.

However, please don't think of us developers as lazy - it's rude, insulting, and incorrect.
Please don't take this personally, but while I like video games, I do not think well of the games industry, and that includes both the developers and publishers. I believe both of them represent huge problems that are utterly destroying gaming. Insane levels of greed, laziness, and unrealistic expectations galore on all levels. Publishers point fingers are devs, devs point fingers at publishers... I have gotten sick of it and take the appaorch that both sides are equally responsible for the garbage going on.

When I blame the devs here, it's because these are the guys making the game, in the final equasion what the game winds up like, and what problems apply to it, are ultimatly their responsibility. Pointing fingers at the publishers and their policies is pretty much what Devs do with everything, and the publishers when questioned oftentimes do the same thing right back by blaming devs. I just don't care, or buy into it any more at this point. The buck has been passed so many times that it's lost all relevency as a form of defense as
far as I am concerned.

To be honest, from where I'm sitting it seems that while all devs claim to love games and their products, that doesn't always match the facts and what I see what's going on. Cynical as it might be, I'm quick to point out that nobody who makes a salable product is going to say they hate it and it sucks, or will say "it's just a job" when questioned about their employment in relation to a product. In reality most devs seem all hot and bothered to finish a product and run off to the next paying product, and that (again very cynical) observation probabably has a lot to do with why publishers feel the need to put in a requirement for a dev to patch a game, because if they all run off to their next product getting them to backpedal when they aren't required to can be difficult.

Now, there ARE exceptions, there are ALWAYS exceptions and I acknowlege this in every debate or discussion I'm in (which many people forget) but this is the general rule as far as I can tell... and yes this attitude makes me a cynical jerk, and probably offends people within the industry, but as far as I'm concerned it's the industry that made me this way. I generally don't spend a lot of time considering who the actual exceptions are, rather than those who simpyl claim to be the exceptions (which is pretty much everyone).

So, I am sorry that this offends you, but honestly as someone who has sometimes spend months waiting for patches, sometimes ones that never come, I have little sympathy. In the end all the finger pointing on both sides, and talk about policies within the industry doesn't matter to me. As far as I'm concerned you either get the job done or not. To me there is no excuse for making a buggy game and relying on patching to begin with, as far as I'm concerned blaming publisher policies is stupid, because publishers when questioned are usually going to defend themselves by just turning around and blaming the devs. From my perspective none of that matters. Either the game is buggy or it's not. What's more a dev that screws it up by rushing off to their next project before the ink dries on the packaging for the one they just finished isn't going to say they were lazy or doing a rush job, nobody ever says that about themselves. I personally don't care if that's actually the case or not, I just care that my game is buggy.

Sorry if I'm not explaining this well, or it upsets you... but well, you could say I'm in the odd position of being pro-games, but anti-games industry. On some levels I'd love to see the entire industry collapse in on itself, except for that meaning I wouldn't get any games for a while, do to it needing to recover and reform from that.

I think I started becoming so honest about this about the time I honestly realized I didn't have any favorite game producers anymore, just ones I hate more than others. While I might like the product itself, I increasingly find myself becoming upset the more I look at what's going on behind the scenes, or the business aspects of things.

Feel free to dislike me, and sorry about my bitterness. Not everyone thinks like me yet.

Also in closing, I don't know you, so feel free to consider yourself an exception if your a dev if you want to, since I really don't know the first thing about you or your work to make any statements, and really before I ever formed an opinion it would be based on what I see over a period of time, not based on what you (or really anyuyone) tells me I should think, or any one incident. I tend to mostly look at patterns for that kind of thing, and right now the pattern I see is an overwhelming amount greed, rot, and circular blame passing which generally serves as a way of pretending to try and change things, while not actually making anything change.
 

Treblaine

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direkiller said:
Treblaine said:
"Bungie must shoot for a "Teen" ESRB rating" "

NOT GOOD!

To get that rating there essentially can't be any lethal force fused against humans. Even depicted. Every Halo game got an M-rating to spite how it was mainly shooting inhuman aliens. I don't see how they can go for a T-rating unless they are making a non-lethal game (like Arkham City) or that the ESRB ratings be completely overhauled.
sc2 had a teen rateing
so yea they can get away with more then you think
Star Craft 2? Well that's a top-down RTS with mostly robots and insect like aliens being shot.

There isn't a first-person-shooter where lethal force is used humanoids without getting higher than a T-rating. Even if they are all aliens like in Halo or Resistance. The only way around is Portal where the worst you do is indirectly damage various computers. I don't know what Activision are thinking with demand of this T-for-teen rating if anything other than aspirational.

Maybe it's supposed to me: "I know this is going to get an M-rating, but don't go all out like Gears of War, just keep it as close to T-rating as possible". maybe that is what they meant. They did say "aim for" a T-rating. Not "It must be T-rated".
 

Monsterfurby

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Narcogen said:
C'mon, guys, pay more attention. Read point 5.4. The party prohibiting ports of Destiny from being worked on by Epic, Gearbox or Valve is the Licensor. In other words, Bungie-- not Activision. A publisher shouldn't care who does a port. The developer, though, might, since working on Bungie's engine would give those competitors any proprietary tech Bungie has developed, as well as potential insight on the future direction of their properties.

Bungie gets to approve who does ports, but cannot withhold approval unreasonably. The agreement sets out that in advance, Bungie won't let those studios work on ports, and Activision is agreeing to that restriction.
Actually, it appears Activision is the licensor, Bungie the licensee - the contract explicitly grants Bungie ownership and rights to the IP, which basically originates with Activision. Furthermore, the ban is on "development of conversions and adaptations", not on distribution or marketing.

The point is pretty clear to me: whatever conversions and adaptations means (covers anything from bringing the game to another platform to making spin-offs), this provision prevents key competitors from under any circumstance receiving insight into the game's core technology. Sounds reasonable enough, to me.
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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The reason for the Easter Eggs being passed back and forth is probably because it is a collaboration. If other games are intended to tie in then everyone has to be in on the super secret Easter Eggs or risk a continuity blip.

The reason for blocking Valve, Gearbox, and Epic is that this IP is probably intended to compete with Half-Life, and Unreal Technology.
 

Kargathia

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Jul 16, 2009
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Jack and Calumon said:
The only real thing that bothers me is the "Easter Egg" list. Why does that really matter? Are people so paranoid in Activision that they think Bungie might be trying to say naughty things to Activision in hidden parts of the game.

Calumon: 1'000 games? Can we have some?
They're probably still paranoid about getting another hot coffee mod. And while you can't really contractually ban disgruntled employees, you can keep an eye on what the studio is doing above-board.
 

Awexsome

Were it so easy
Mar 25, 2009
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Treblaine said:
"Bungie must shoot for a "Teen" ESRB rating" "

NOT GOOD!

To get that rating there essentially can't be any lethal force fused against humans. Even depicted. Every Halo game got an M-rating to spite how it was mainly shooting inhuman aliens. I don't see how they can go for a T-rating unless they are making a non-lethal game (like Arkham City) or that the ESRB ratings be completely overhauled.
I really am trying not to get my hopes up but you saying that makes me lean even more towards Bungie making what I dream they'll make... shooting other humans is a easy 'M' rating... so what if they're shooting each other's SHIPS! Sci-fantasy shooter still leaves the door wide open for a space combat game! Think about it... Bungie could've been testing those waters with the Reach mission Long Night of Solace with the short space section.

Therumancer said:
Your entitled to your opinion man but for the sake of the industry... it would be a much better place if you kept your mean, insulting, entitled, and ignorant opinions to yourself.
 

Callate

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"So if the game looks like it might be good, and we are, therefore, forced to cancel it, we don't want anyone who would actually make it into a finished good game to have a chance to do so. We learned our lesson from the whole Brutal Legend debacle."
 

Treblaine

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Awexsome said:
Treblaine said:
"Bungie must shoot for a "Teen" ESRB rating" "

NOT GOOD!

To get that rating there essentially can't be any lethal force fused against humans. Even depicted. Every Halo game got an M-rating to spite how it was mainly shooting inhuman aliens. I don't see how they can go for a T-rating unless they are making a non-lethal game (like Arkham City) or that the ESRB ratings be completely overhauled.
I really am trying not to get my hopes up but you saying that makes me lean even more towards Bungie making what I dream they'll make... shooting other humans is a easy 'M' rating... so what if they're shooting each other's SHIPS! Sci-fantasy shooter still leaves the door wide open for a space combat game! Think about it... Bungie could've been testing those waters with the Reach mission Long Night of Solace with the short space section.
Interesting idea. HAWX and the X-series have consistently garnered only T-ratings but while I think it is a safe bet that Bungie's new game will be heavily focused on flying and/or space simulation, I think they'll give up their guns when you pry them from their cold dead hands. First Person Shooting is in bungie's blood, it's in their DNA, they have never made a game without FPS-ing (they did not make Halo Wars).

I'd love a star-wars/flyfly-esque space shooter where you are dogfighting then land to duke it out toe to toe with guns and grenades. It could add great pace and variety to the games, like how GTA interrupts gunplay with street chases, or RDR interspersed old-west shootouts with horse riding and caravan trails. But that's going to be very hard to square with a T-rating.

Remember, PG-13 films only get their rating with a VERY prescribed small amount of violence and they literally walk through it with the censors to find where that line is in various editing and combination of cuts and shots. But you don't have that control in a video game, if you can shoot someone once, you can shoot them an infinite number of times.

Fighting games get away with T-ratings as they all have moves that are not inherently lethal. OK, a pile driver is actually pretty lethal, but the likes of Street Fighter make clear the outcome can only ever be a knock out, never a death as in Mortal Kombat's "Fatality".

Actually, if they ARE REALLY aiming for this T-Rating, that may be evidence they are focusing entirely on a Space sim! Hmm, it definitely is a possibility I'd be open to consider but not something I'd consider a huge likelihood.