[F76] Sidenote

File this under “It’s all starting to make sense” (from Wikipedia):

BattleCry Studios was founded on October 3, 2012, as subsidiary of ZeniMax Media, headed by Rich Vogel as its president.[1] Initially, BattleCry Studios was seeking employees with experience in microtransactions and free-to-play games.[2]

On May 28, 2014, BattleCry Studios announced their first game, BattleCry.[3] On September 10, 2015, it was reported that BattleCry Studios had laid off a “substantial portion” of their staff.[4] On October 7, 2015, the development on BattleCry was halted for the studio to work on different projects.[5] One of the studio’s first projects following the hold of BattleCry was the modification and restructuring of Bethesda’s Creation Engine (in conjunction with sister company id Software, utilizing netcode from Quake) to support multiplayer functionality in anticipation of then upcoming Fallout 76.[6]

When you follow the [2] link, you get an Engadget article from 2012 that states:

Bethesda may be known for its one-of-a-kind offline RPGs, but its new Battlecry Studios division is looking to ride the online free-to-play gravy train.

Eurogamer has sussed out a few details based on the firm’s job postings, which include a “monetization designer” and a platform lead position that requires experience with “design and implementation of microtransaction systems and services.”

The advertisements also suggest some sort of console release, as Bethesda notes that “console experience — preferably next generation (PS3, Xbox 360)” is preferred.

Battlecry is headed by former Star Wars: The Old Republic executive producer Rich Vogel.

While the hotbar-selling SWTOR is kind of a hilarious gotcha moment, Rich Vogel also did Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies back in the day. So… he either sold out or allowed his vision to become corrupted by publishers, although those are basically the same in the end.

Maybe we can argue about how much each Bethesda Studio contributed to the overall Fallout 76 package, but my money is that the corrosive, microtransaction design came from the studio headed by the guy who introduced the world to selling hotbars in an MMO. And, of course, Todd Howard… who is either an empty suit or willing participant in this nonsense.

Posted on October 30, 2019, in Fallout, Miscellany and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Good read. And do you think it is time to start using the term “macrotransactions” because there is nothing micro in most of them?

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  2. Schubert is the hotbar salesman, get it right!

    Nice research work here, puts some pieces in place.

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  3. Nice theory, but he had already left Bioware months before SWTOR went free to play.

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  4. So… he either sold out or allowed his vision to become corrupted by publishers, although those are basically the same in the end.

    Or perhaps UO was where the seeds of the idea were first planted. Consider his interview with Gamasutra back in 2011:

    So as soon as you got thousands in an area, it’s just amazing, the dynamics. And, of course, when things got short supplied and things became valuable what people would do for them. There are people who paid even then $10,000, $20,000, $100,000 for a castle in real money.

    Did that surprise you – the amount of real money people were prepared to invest?

    RV: Oh yes. MUD people paid money but nothing like that. People were actually offering real money for objects in the game that were not real. Houses and castles were worth a lot of money. And if you had a good house and lots of stuff in an area you paid $10,000-plus for it.

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