The lights are on
We just found out this morning that Cryptic will be handling a new Dungeons & Dragons game titled Neverwinter. Known primarily for their MMOs, Cryptic has had a somewhat difficult year with continuing lack of buzz on last year's Champions Online, a relatively lukewarm reception for Star Trek Online, and the recent departure of chief creative officer Bill Roper. It seems that the developer has accepted their past mistakes and is hoping to do better in the future.
In a refreshingly frank interview with Massively, Cryptic COO Jack Emmert laid out some of the plans for Neverwinter and also discussed where the studio has gone wrong with their most recent projects. Here's his summary of the old method of development for Cryptic:
"In order to maximize the ability and efficiency, we would schedule all our features in a waterfall fashion. At any given time, we'd say, test one element of ground combat in [Star Trek Online] and say "yeah this is pretty fun," but we wouldn't actually have a chance to assess the whole package until really late in the game, practically before launch. Everything would magically come together. This worked very well with City of Heroes and City of Villains -- we made City of Heroes in about a year and a half, City of Villains in nine months. We made Champions in two years and STO in a year and a half, so we're an incredibly efficient studio, you obviously know -- there's no one in the industry that's as prolific as we are, it's not even close."
But, as Emmert points out, "super-fast doesn't mean super-good." He recognizes that the studio's quick-and-dirty method of putting a game together may not work so well any more, and he has goals for Cryptic's future:
"We know we're getting better and better. The ultimate goal is to get a [review] score of 90 or above because we want to make great products. I'm not going to say where we're at with Neverwinter but I'm happy with the trajectory because it keeps getting better and better."
Of course, Emmert also says that Champions Online and Star Trek Online were both "far better than City of Heroes was at launch," which I'm not so sure I agree with. Sure, my expectations for an MMO may have been lower at the time, but City of Heroes at least kept my attention for six months or so. Still, Emmert has some good ideas, and it's always heartening to see a developer owning up to and confronting its flaws. Plus, there's this choice quote:
"I'm not going to be one of those developers who starts bitching about the reviewers or bitching about the customers. That's stupid. We've got to change and this is what we've got to do to change."
Any time a developer isn't bitching at me, I count that as a victory. Here's hoping we begin seeing this change of philosophy at Cryptic represented as we discover more about Neverwinter.
I have a feeling I'm going to be telling a lot of people about that quote before the year ends.
It's good to see a developer admit to its mistakes. I have a good feeling about Cryptic's future (maybe).
mmo? most likely since the bioware doctors said neverwinter was originally an mmo.
It's nice to see a developer recognizing mistakes and working to fix them.
I'm still pretty underwhelmed by the Neverwinter announcement.
Wow, they actually brag about bringing out flawed, lackluster titles quickly.
Good that they want to change though instead of just continuing to be arrogant and crying about things.
Mr. Emmert is a fine designer, but when CoH was under his leadership, the game eventually seemed to be hampered by his "vision". One bone of contention was what became the "flashback" system after he left CoH. Mr. Emmert felt that players "should" create new characters to "go back" and play new lower-level content. Players (and, evidently, many of the designers), liked the idea of a "flashback" option that allowed this "go back". The flashback was eventually implemented, after Mr. Emmert left, and it seems to be popular.
I will gladly give them credit for a)getting an MMO out so fast, so often. Especially when many studios spend at least 3-4 years on LAUNCHING a title, let alone post launch content, so that's impressive. And b) for recognizing that they put out some turds that lacked compelling content.
I hope Neverwinter will be better, that's for sure.
So Cryptic is all about quantity not quality? Well nss. Maybe if they had spent 3 years on STO they could have made a quality game, but as it is, just another rushed turd. Hopefully they are sincerely trying to change their ways.
Why not prove it by fixing STO first? I'm tired of seeing half-assed development efforts spoiling perfectly good IP.
Hey Cryptic, you can start by not offering lifetime subscription scams for future games.
I'd rather them DO something about their awful games than SAY something about them. I don't believe a word of this and I have no excitement for this NWN game. They are a crappy studio that rehashes the exact same models over and over again and package it together with vaguely familiar game play.
Not to mention I could see this D&D game coming a mile away with 4th edition. It's a tabletop MMO, bland and boring as an old man telling you about his days harvesting wheat in Kansas or Iowa or wherever they do such things. Yawn.
Changes come at a cost. This could be good for Cryptic. I just hope that they bring more of their games to consoles. Get a wider audience. I have never played a game from Cryptic but I was really looking forward to Champions Online for the Xbox, but that never happened. We will see.
Funny headline... I think the only thing more funny would be along the lines of "Developer is entirely happy with quality of products, doesn't wish to evolve future titles"
I don't usually make or reply to articles but this was too much hypocritical to let it go.
I am a gamer and a star trek fan for many many years and i followed STO from the 1st developer days.At that time perpexual the original developers of Sto had a grand vision of the game as they wanted to make something like westwood's Earth & Beyond were you could fly and fight in a full 3d realised universe with full 3d realtime ship interiors with full 3d crews.You could at any moment while flying set the ship to ai and explore and interact with your crew in the ship.Also you could play with other real life players from withing your ship.They had developed an amazing engine but they went bankrupt and Cryptic bought the Ip.
Then in a star trek conference Jack Emmert said the lies that the game will have interiors,fully realised exploration and ship battles,player crews and real time missions on planets.....
Everything that man said was a lie.Cryptic had a timetable to use the ancient 2003-4 city of heroes engine and wrap it with some star trek textures and give it to the "suckers" or else "star trek fans" and all that in a year as it happened.
I remember a time when hundreds of people asked about the interiors,player crews and 3d world in the sto forums and the cryptic employes including Jack Emmert reassured them that everything will be made and to not fear.
Slowly but steadily before launching they told that space will be 2d grid with point and click exploration and turn based battles...
-That was the full 3d world they promised....yeah...
Then they said player crews will be removed"To concentrate on a better more personal experience" yeah right...
-And finally they uncovered that the game will have no interiors for ships....
-Oh and i forgot the real time action and exploration on foot missions they promised was a city of heroes clickfest on some god awefull,incredibly ugly and small areas.....
But...he is one of those developers.
Actions speak louder than words
Hopefully Neverwinter will be good.
Please do better.
I like a fantasy setting.. not that I need any MMO's to waste my time in, but here's to hoping Neverwinter is kickass!
Anyone else read more of the blahblahblah, we make games faster so were better blahblahblah?
Thats pretty much all I got out of the interview.
Sadly as much as I love the neverwinter Nights setting and previous games You couldn't pay me to touch another cryptic product without there being massive and I mean MASSIVE improvements over thier current development philosphy. Which has been to recycle the same shody engine over and over again.