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Why Eastern European games rock so much ?
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silva
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:07 am    Post subject: Why Eastern European games rock so much ? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'm playing Pathologic HD right now and, after getting mesmerized by its unique atmosphere and writing, it got me thinking: How can these eastern European games evoke such distinct flavors and themes in a way that makes western games seem naive in comparison ? Really, if we take the last decade or so, it seems the west mostly reveled in their Call of Duties and WoWs, while games like Pathologic, Stalker, This War of Mine, Mount & Blade, Cryostasis, Metro 2033, ARMA, Sublustrum, etc. have been flexing the media boundaries with unequaled vision, creativity and design (I wont even cite the Witcher series, as I find it too on the mainstream side).

So, are the eastern Europe devs leading an artistic/creative vanguard of sorts ? If so, what explain that ?
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Blade
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Money and culture, but mostly money.

Eastern European developers have lower development costs low. Most of them started as small teams they have lower wages compared to US developers and they're not afraid of cutting corners (many eastern european games are often quite shoddy on release, and QC is often abysmally low)

In the US, to get the money you'll need to sign with one of the big editor. And this means getting the oversight of the editor for everything. Generally speaking it means reducing your game to a consensual product that's similar enough to another one that's selling well.

In Europe, you first have the chance that you can have publishers who'll publish out of love of the art rather than just for the money. That's why you get all these weird artsy European movies that keeps getting theater releases even when they're not guaranteed to make much money.

And even when they're in it for the money, they don't have the weight of the big US publishers. Nor do they have the guarantee to get 100 companies ready to develop the next Call of Honor for each potentially interesting game they reject.

I guess culture also plays a role. In US, everyone from developers to publishers are fine with entertainment. In Europe, it's more about Art. But the indie community shows that US game developers can also make game with outstanding flavor and deep themes if they don't get a publisher telling them that they need more and bigger boobs, more explosions and a simpler "good vs evil" story.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Pathologic is absolutely amazing, and everyone should play it.

Quote:
they're not afraid of cutting corners (many eastern european games are often quite shoddy on release, and QC is often abysmally low)

Oh come on. Assassin's Creed Unity was just last year. Hell, the entire last year had game after game come out unplayable on day 1.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Spoiler alert, the last decade included more than Call of Duty. This entire thread is premised on the idea that Call of Duty is the only game released between 2005 and the present, even though 2005 featured Splinter Cell Chaos Theory, Shadow of the Colossus, and Ninja Gaiden Black. Oblivion was 2006, as was Medieval Total War II, Hitman Blood Money, and Twilight Princess. 2007 brought Bioshock. The entire Mass Effect franchise was born, grew fat and ugly, and died in the last 10 years.

Gross over simplifications are gross.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Kaelik, Silva's claim is of course wrong and cherry picky, but why are you mentioning japanese games as a proof of western gamedev being good and varied?
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Blade
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

@Kaelik: Of the western game you cited, only Bioshock really has, arguably, a depth in flavor and theme. The others are just good games.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
Kaelik, Silva's claim is of course wrong and cherry picky, but why are you mentioning japanese games as a proof of western gamedev being good and varied?


His claim is that Eastern European devs are better, the fact that Japan is not in Eastern Europe makes them relevant. All regions have good and bad games and thematic and not thematic games, but if you selectively edit the pool such that you only ever see Eastern European Games that are really good, you end up thinking they are better.

Blade wrote:
@Kaelik: Of the western game you cited, only Bioshock really has, arguably, a depth in flavor and theme. The others are just good games.


"have been flexing the media boundaries with unequaled vision, creativity and design"

So? Good games which are the equal in vision, creativity, and design. Also your idea of what constitutes rich in flavor and theme is fucking stupid if it doesn't chaos theory. Or are you saying that just like Japan is in eastern Europe so too is Canada?
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silva
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Blade wrote:
@Kaelik: Of the western game you cited, only Bioshock really has, arguably, a depth in flavor and theme. The others are just good games.

This.

Kaelik, perhaps I didn't express myself well in the OP. I didn't mean to say western games are bad or devoid of artistic and creative flair, I just meant that, overall, the rate at which the west put out games that defy the media boundaries or genre conventions, *that try different/original things*, is lower compared to eastern Europe, specially so in the last decade or so, where, if you remember right, had us drowned in CoD clones until a coupe years or so ago.

Though I think its fair to say the "indie revolution" we are living a couple years now have mudded the waters on this respect, resulting in wildly creative games coming from every corner of the planet.

Sorry if I can't elaborate better than that.
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virgil
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The fact Bioshock was brought up and Portal wasn't is a travesty. Is Sweden in Eastern Europe as well? Because last I checked; Mirror's Edge, Minecraft, & Cry of Fear are all rather good games in terms of depth & flavour. And they are certainly not the only thing that country has put out in the last decade.

Or is this some kind of elaborate plot to talk about Bear World?

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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:
The fact Bioshock was brought up and Portal wasn't is a travesty. Is Sweden in Eastern Europe as well? Because last I checked; Mirror's Edge, Minecraft, & Cry of Fear are all rather good games in terms of depth & flavour. And they are certainly not the only thing that country has put out in the last decade.


The fact that I named some games from the first three years of the last decade, 2005-2007, is probably what caused me to not mention games that came out in 2008, 2009, or 2014.

But frankly, they are claiming Canada and Japan are in Eastern Europe right now, so at this point Bioshock was probably also made in Eastern Europe.

EDIT: and on looking it up, I discovered why I didn't mention portal, because sites that list which games came out in a year don't list portal as a game that came out, they list "The Orange Box."
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John Magnum
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It seems likely that any perceptions about the comparative ratios of excellent, distinctive games to bland games coming out of different regions is at least somewhat attributable to the denominator. That is, Eastern Europe produces fewer games, and of those games a smaller number still get worldwide attention. The ones that do will tend to be your Witchers and Metros and so on, the games that are great and inspire people to check them out. Shitty half-baked Polish or Ukrainian video games just don't get noticed at all.
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Longes
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The ones that you don't get are either incredibly shitty rip-offs of the existing games, incredibly shitty indie games, or nine million variations of mobile games and Bejewelled.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
The ones that you don't get are either incredibly shitty rip-offs of the existing games, incredibly shitty indie games, or nine million variations of mobile games and Bejewelled.


We have western versions of all of those too. . .
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name_here
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Yes, but we don't see the Eastern European versions of them and therefore assume they don't exist.
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silva
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

virgil wrote:
The fact Bioshock was brought up and Portal wasn't is a travesty. Is Sweden in Eastern Europe as well? Because last I checked; Mirror's Edge, Minecraft, & Cry of Fear are all rather good games in terms of depth & flavour. And they are certainly not the only thing that country has put out in the last decade.

Indeed. Sweden has an awesome gaming scene. But judging by its valuing of artistic and creative freedom (see what Paradox is doing as a publisher) I would say it leans more to the eastern European ethos than the western one.
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silva
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Lounges, do you live in eastern Europe ?
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

silva wrote:
Indeed. Sweden has an awesome gaming scene. But judging by its valuing of artistic and creative freedom (see what Paradox is doing as a publisher) I would say it leans more to the eastern European ethos than the western one.


Oh goody, we've progressed all the way to "Only Eastern Europe makes good games, and if someone makes good games, they must be taking influences from Eastern Europe, because no way could they have decided to make good games on their own."
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Longes
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

silva wrote:
Lounges, do you live in eastern Europe ?


Yes. I'm Russian. The list of video games developed in Russia is not very large, and most of them are mediocre. Western market gets to see rare masterpieces (like Pathologic) when they are not murdered by horrible translation (like Pathologic), but we are seriously talking about single digit number of games here. Some conceptually amazing games like Vangers of Perimeter never get exported at all. But again, the number of games is tiny, and you only get to see the very best.
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Leress
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
silva wrote:
Lounges, do you live in eastern Europe ?


Yes. I'm Russian. The list of video games developed in Russia is not very large, and most of them are mediocre. Western market gets to see rare masterpieces (like Pathologic) when they are not murdered by horrible translation (like Pathologic), but we are seriously talking about single digit number of games here. Some conceptually amazing games like Vangers of Perimeter never get exported at all. But again, the number of games is tiny, and you only get to see the very best.


Except the West did get X-blades and Blades of time.
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K
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Longes wrote:
silva wrote:
Lounges, do you live in eastern Europe ?


Yes. I'm Russian. The list of video games developed in Russia is not very large, and most of them are mediocre. Western market gets to see rare masterpieces (like Pathologic) when they are not murdered by horrible translation (like Pathologic), but we are seriously talking about single digit number of games here. Some conceptually amazing games like Vangers of Perimeter never get exported at all. But again, the number of games is tiny, and you only get to see the very best.


That list doesn't include Snowbird Games, the makers of the very interesting Eador, Master of the Broken World.

The real question is not "why do we get interesting games from Europe," but is instead "where are all the interesting games from China and South Asia?"


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

In addition to the other examples; are we assuming that Journey never existed? I'm skeptical of anyone who ignores Journey when talking about deep games.

As for flexing the media boudaries; the only multiplayer roguelike I've seen that feels like a Roguelike is Space Station 13. It's probably the only online game I've seen which generates actual gameplay based roleplay (and probably as much griefplay). Even if it's general levels of Atmospheric "realisms" is permanently marred with a combination of downright byzantine inventory system, and autistic UI mechanics.

Those two are about as different from each other as a game can be; and the visual aesthetics and gameplay mechanics of both make the "unique" Easter European games look just like any generic 'Western' AAA game by comparison.

Now; I won't say that I have anything against Mount & Blade; nor Arma. Both are phenomenal, entertaining, and rewarding to play. Both also have gameplay that you won't see in any of their competitors; but neither is really "flexing the boundaries with unequaled vision, creativity and design" in my opinion. I'm going to assume that the other "Eastern European" examples are more of the same. Refinements, or expansions, on well-established game types. Not actually new genres that didn't exist before.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Judging__Eagle wrote:
In addition to the other examples; are we assuming that Journey never existed? I'm skeptical of anyone who ignores Journey when talking about deep games.


Journey came out in 2012. This is the whole point, we covered 3 of the 10 years in a decade and hit the same number of games as Eastern Europe with that meet the same criteria.

Judging__Eagle wrote:
Now; I won't say that I have anything against Mount & Blade; nor Arma. Both are phenomenal, entertaining, and rewarding to play. Both also have gameplay that you won't see in any of their competitors; but neither is really "flexing the boundaries with unequaled vision, creativity and design" in my opinion. I'm going to assume that the other "Eastern European" examples are more of the same. Refinements, or expansions, on well-established game types. Not actually new genres that didn't exist before.


Actually, yeah this brings up a good point. Several people criticized the Western Games for not having a "depth in flavor and theme" like those Eastern European Studios.

So apparently generic medieval setting is depth in flavor and theme when Mount and Blade does it, but totally generic when Oblivion and Medieval Total War do it.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:25 am    Post subject: Re: Why Eastern European games rock so much ? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

silva wrote:
How can these eastern European games evoke such distinct flavors and themes in a way that makes western games seem naive in comparison ?
I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. What makes those games so unique in your eyes?
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:50 am    Post subject: Re: Why Eastern European games rock so much ? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

ishy wrote:
silva wrote:
How can these eastern European games evoke such distinct flavors and themes in a way that makes western games seem naive in comparison ?
I honestly have no idea what you're talking about. What makes those games so unique in your eyes?


English knights sucked.
Japanese samurai were WTF awesome.

Lather, rinse, and repeat through endless cycles of hipster hatred for Western Civilization and fanboying of the Exotic-of-the-week.
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Kaelik
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 3:07 am    Post subject: Re: Why Eastern European games rock so much ? Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Stinktopus wrote:
English knights sucked.
Japanese samurai were WTF awesome.

Lather, rinse, and repeat through endless cycles of hipster hatred for Western Civilization and fanboying of the Exotic-of-the-week.


The example games feature zero samurai and a non zero number of english knights. So I'm not sure that applies.

I mean, pretty much the biggest difference between those games and others are "REALISM" and "GRIMDARK."

Mount and Blade has some minor command mechanics that are not unique to it, and otherwise is an action fighter that was just "more realistic" than others in the same genre.

Stalker is just Fallout, but localized, and grimdark instead of campy. Those are obviously changes, but if you are committed to praising Stalker's theme as opposed to its gameplay, you basically have to say it is because the grimdark realism of the localized post apocalypse is more thematic than campy 50s tunes and racism themes of fallout.

Metro is the exact same theme from Stalker, but no longer localized, now just an on the rails stealth/shooter instead of an open world game. (I assume there exist people who play Metro as a shooter, but fuck you, I will play it like a stealth game, and I will judge you for not doing the same.)

ARMA is literally "The exact same things as call of duty, but with no story and more REALISM." I mean, the themes of arma are basically 100% duplicated in that FPS put out by the army as a recruitment tool.

Like, the more effort I put into thinking about this, the deeper my contempt for the ideas expressed in the OP, and the gloss other people tried to apply to them, goes.
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