As a followup to the eulogy to Troika last week, Gamespy's "resident cynic" has put up a feedback page
where he responds to emails from readers on the subject. Surprisingly,
for a hype-filled site like Gamespy, some of his responses
Bethesda's RPGs take four years and suck. They're huge, sprawling, soulless, massively single-player games. Morrowind
would probably have actually been good, if it had a shorter dev
schedule. Instead it was a jumbled mess. I tried to play it three
separate times and had to give up because it was just horrible.
Two-year dev schedules are brutal because, and I say this with
all love, developers *screw around* a lot. It's like the early days of
GameSpy. We were all there sixteen hours a day. It was horrible. With
better project management and if we'd spent less time messing around,
we could've cut it to twelve or less, easy (and our work would've been
better for it). You learn that over time. It's the reason Raven can
pump out an uninspired but playable title every 12 months. They've
mastered the scheduling aspect. If you gave them a two-year dev cycle,
they'd produce something amazing.
All that said, I've heard from several Troika employees, all of them
off the record, about what went down there. Suffice to say that it was
a combination of things on both the developer and publisher sides,
which doesn't really surprise me. What I'm impressed with is how public
the Troika founders have been in taking responsibility for their
mistakes. But yes, there was more fault there on Activision's part than
I probably indicated in the column. I was trying to step away from
publisher-bashing for once. You know that I'm like 95% in the
developers' camp, most of the time.
wasn't much fun for me either. For one, loading new areas every 10 seconds and
the interior/exterior loads (which I think are still present in Oblivion) did a lot to break immersion. Hopefully Fallout 3 will take a different path.