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Why is this game about World War 2, again?

 
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Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 1:37:14 PM   
Daniele

 

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Eastern Front is out fashion, they say. Ardennes are trendier these days. Pacific has been ignored for far too long and North Africa campaigns are not too popular, Husky is not doing too well and so it goes. But why are we always talking about World War 2, in the end?

There are interesting studies about this, that range from psychology to actual gameplay and customers behaviour analysis. One goes, for instance, that World War 2 allows a natural progression for players, from invasion of Poland to harder fought Operation Barbarossa, to get into gameplay mechanics gradually, in a historically accurate setting.

Reality is that World War 2 as a topic sells games. Or gives more chances for games to succeed in the market, at least. According to data we have on hand, which take into account over fifteen years of history, the only setting that's able to compete with World War 2 is Sci-Fi. So science fiction and Panther tanks beat the rocks off American Civil War, Napoleon, Middle Ages, Ancient Rome and all other conflicts put together.

Does a setting enhances or limits gameplay? Or does it give flavour and immertion, more like a promotional tool, than a true design choice? Come join the discussion at #HoW15 and share your views. There is so much to talk about!
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 2:55:18 PM   
zakblood


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quote:

Eastern Front is out fashion, they say.


Eastern Front is out of fashion, they say.




(in reply to Daniele)
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 3:01:37 PM   
zakblood


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eastern front has a great couple of games out for it, but WITE2 will kind of fix all of them as the daddy of all games maybe...

Ardennes is a good area and time frame to do, but has been done quite a bit also...

quote:

North Africa campaigns are not too popular
, but maybe a good game for it could turn the tide...

most are only going to do stuff that is financially viable as nobody wishes to loose money they won't or may not get back, as while it's a hobby for us, it's a job for you, so you do tend to do stuff that sells well, and weapon choices seem to have a large impact also on those decisions, i love the Roman time period but have spent more time in ww2 than any other, saying that, there's not that many great games for the Roman time as there is for ww2 either.

so it's all about choice or lack of it.

quote:

So science fiction and Panther tanks beat the rocks off American Civil War, Napoleon, Middle Ages, Ancient Rome and all other conflicts put together.


is that just for here or in general world selling game turns, as for me it maybe because of what's on offer here tbh, as while my gaming collection is higher in ww2 type games, not to the extent you are implying and for all the friends i know play it's also not so true, so while side figures may show, total war games sold in the real world may or may not?

as i don't have the data, it's only imo tbh

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_video_game_franchises

but it's based on some pre knowledge from sites like above ^^

most players / members here have there own choices of what they like, some like ships, planes and even trains i'm guessing, but all like war and games, so while a few of us stick with a small range of types, others will play almost anything, which is what i fall into, if it's war, it matter not if it's pre gun powered or not, on earth or in space, real life or fantasy, true to life or make believe, i'll play anything, but do tend to like some more than others still.

edited redmarkus4 below does a better job of explaining it, as i at least understand what he says while mine is still a jumble of words





< Message edited by zakblood -- 5/29/2015 4:30:12 PM >

(in reply to zakblood)
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 3:24:37 PM   
redmarkus4


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World War 2 is a topic with global appeal because:

1. It was a world war; almost every nation was affected in some way.
2. It was the last direct, full on military confrontation between the major powers.
3. It involved the full spectrum of land, sea and air, exploited by a set of weapons and tactical techniques that remain recognizable today, even including the earliest drones.
4. There was a clear moral basis for the struggle, at least in the eyes of many; Poland, France etc. desired liberation; the western allies were fighting to prevent the spread of two totalitarian regimes; the USSR had been invaded and was threatened with extinction; the holocaust and other genocides had to be halted.

So it's hardly surprising that WW2 still sells books, films, TV documentaries and games where other major conflicts struggle to gain general recognition.

And when it comes to WW2, it was the struggles in the USSR and in the Pacific that really dominated the story, both strategically and in terms of timescales and materiel. No computer game has ever quite captured the essence of these vast conflicts in a convincing and accessible way, and so the market for a really good product remains.

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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 5:15:14 PM   
tex_ka95

 

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I don't see how the Eastern Front can be out of fashion. Not THAT many games have dealt with the subject (at least not well) and the Eastern front was so vast and covered such a long period of time that the possibilities are virtually endless. I think the war in the west should be more out of fashion (that being said, I'm still looking forward to sinking my teeth into GG:WitW once I give Command a try). I'm tired of Close Combat covering the war in France endlessly (I keep buying them like an idiot).

I have around 150 books on WW2, almost all of them focus on the Eastern front and I still find more that cover areas I didn't know about before. The war was titanic and the possibilities will never end.

There is potential in the Pacific theater, but it has to be well done. War in the Pacific I found too complicated and overwhelming. I may give it another go some day.

One area I would like to see resurrected is the Cold War as if it ever went hot. I know Matrix has a couple of recent titles covering battalion level combat in Germany, but there is a lot of potential there. Plus Command has some Cold War scenarios I'm sure.

Close Combat: Modern Battles had potential if they had decided to actually finish the game and not release it only partially completed.

And there is plenty of potential on future conflicts. We are practically in a new cold war with Russia....China is building fake islands in Asia as the countries around it form new alliances.

That's my 2 cents.


(in reply to redmarkus4)
Post #: 5
RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 5:29:33 PM   
gunnergoz


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These games sell globally, not just in the USA and the tastes differ throughout the world on which game themes are most popular. Obviously Europeans are going to be less interested in the Pacific theater, for instance, while similarly the number of Americans interested in the Russian campaign is probably lower than those Americans interested in D-Day Normandy games.

That factor aside, you have to look at the sort of gaming tastes out there. There are gamers who want light and fast games, and others who want slow and deliberate, detailed games. There are RTS gamers and TBS gamers, solo gamers and MP focused gamers. It is hard to generalize, therefore.

My guess is that game designers would do best to focus on a particular audience niche and produce a good game that satisfies that audience and its particular demands and preferences. Trying to create "one size fits all" games is doomed to failure. Designing to the lowest common denominator yields games that are of low quality and more forgettable. Find your audience and satisfy it. The more general your description of your audience, the less likely you are to satisfy them in any significant way, e.g. if your audience is "carnivores" who eat "meat" then producing a dinner of pork chops will only satisfy pork lovers while the seafood and beef cravers go unsatisfied and the poultry fanatics march out in disgust.

Stop catering to the lowest common denominator in the hope of maximizing profits.

Create well-done games satisfying to a particular audience and maximize the price if necessary - but a good product will always justify its price.

If you want to sell games to penny-pinchers, let them buy a year later when older titles go on sale. Penny pinchers are not interested in the best games, only the ones they can afford or chose to budget for.

Hard core gamers are willing to pay more for a quality product that satisfies their cravings.

You will always find a segment that is unhappy no matter what you produce.

Know your target client base and cater to them as best you can. The better you know their tastes, the more likely you are to please them. Pleased customers keep coming back and bring their friends and children.

So you want to produce a game about the Pacific theater? Fine - but who are you designing it for and what is that audience looking for in a game? Don't sell them anything but what they ask and don't pretend it is something it is not. A monster game is for one audience and a beer-and-pretzels game is for another. There may be some overlap, but that is not your concern. Satisfy your core customers first. Adding features to please one crowd, or dumbing down to satisfy another crowd, is leading to the design of games that in the end please fewer and fewer core customers.

Everyone wants to live comfortably and have a lot of nice things. That requires income and income comes from profitable enterprises. So profits are important. But if you design games around the sole purpose of making profits, you may make a profit once or twice, but will not stay around in the long run because people will feel they have been conned and used.

My two bits, your mileage may vary. Thanks for reading this and carry on.

_____________________________

"Things are getting better!
...Well, maybe not as good as they were yesterday, but much better than they will be tomorrow!"
-Old Russian saying

(in reply to redmarkus4)
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/29/2015 11:01:27 PM   
kevinkin


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I think the buying public has a closer association with WWII compared to other conflicts. When wargaming became mass marketed (in relative terms) the games were purchased by either vets or the kids of vets of WW2.
Feeding into this was the tremendous amount of written history and film dedicated to WW2. The war, at least here in the US became romanticized on a scale even greater than the Civil War. It was hard enough to find a like minded friend to play panzer blitz or squad leader let alone a simulation of ancient of Napoleonic warfare. All this contributes to the preponderance of WWII game titles. Perhaps the internet has allowed fellow history buffs to communicate better and developers started to see a market other than WWII. But
that war will be with us as the #1 conflict for at least another generation.

Kevin

(in reply to gunnergoz)
Post #: 7
RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/30/2015 10:47:51 AM   
terry1040

 

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quote:

Create well-done games satisfying to a particular audience and maximize the price if necessary - but a good product will always justify its price.

If you want to sell games to penny-pinchers, let them buy a year later when older titles go on sale. Penny pinchers are not interested in the best games, only the ones they can afford or chose to budget for.

Hard core gamers are willing to pay more for a quality product that satisfies their cravings.


I am fully on board with this.

Quality products have their price, and if they give me years of enjoyment, why would I not be willing to spend premium dollars. OTH, it is true that if we want to attract a younger audience to this genre, price is an issue.

I remember my days at univeristy, where money was always tight. Still I did invest into expensive games, however I was way more selective about them. Now, those were the late 80s, so the amount of available games was rather limited.

However I do also recall that I paid for SSI's "Kampfgruppe" USD 69, for "Second Front" USD 75 and so on.

And I absolutely enjoyed these games for year and years.

Just my 2 cents
Terry

(in reply to kevinkin)
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/31/2015 12:03:49 PM   
zakblood


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it's funny how some topics get more views and comments than others, depending on the subject, is if members have views one way or another on them and spend the time to comment.

WW2 was so epic in it's scale i don't think there will ever be a time when some one isn't do a war game from it, until ww3 happens that is, and jokes a side, why not, it's a good subject with plenty of scope, unlike lets say desert storm, a totally one sided affair with no real point in doing it, unless your the winning side and like to pat yourself on the back a lot.

been watching a lot of stuff on that conflict, and tbh it's a laugh, that the largest number of people in theatre were US contractors and not combat soldiers, so a game from it would be rather boring unless you like that sort of stuff.

while WW2 was global in it's nature and took up almost the whole world in not only units / size but places fought in, the amount of un fought places are still out numbering the amount of games and places that have been done.

would be nice to see more different battles and area's covered over time, or some older places already done brought up to date, i still like the idea of new engines for better gaming as well, instead of re hashing older gaming engines just to keep down costs.

while size of games in some area's have gone mental, war gaming still in general keeps to well under the 1gb in size mark, with most being a lot less, while size doesn't matter now hard drives are getting massive and cheap also, it would be nice to not only play good, but look a bit nicer as well, some new titles are doing a great job of this, but not all, and have kept to old looks and models with the attitude of last one sold, so will this etc.

maybe looking back at the past for content isn't a bad idea, but we need to also start looking for the future as well as we don't want the same thing over and over again when there's plenty of different things that could be done as well...

(in reply to terry1040)
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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/31/2015 6:54:35 PM   
IronWarrior


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I, for one, would love to see 2by3 make an extremely detailed sci-fi or fantasy 4X for a change of pace. :)

For me, I care less about the setting and more about the amount of detail and depth of a game.

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RE: Why is this game about World War 2, again? - 5/31/2015 8:21:41 PM   
Fallschirmjager


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Vietnam and the Korean war IMO are two conflicts that are completely unexplored.

You still have tens of thousands of participants of both conflicts who are still alive, both have been extensively researched and written about, classified documents about both have largely been unclassified, good maps are available for both as well as OOB and TOE.

Vietnam used to be a taboo topic but I feel that we are now 40-50 years removed from the conflict and it can be looked at in a historical light.

I would really quite like to see an operational level Vietnam or Korean war game.

WW2 is still producing good titles but I do feel that developers are over relying on it because it is 'safe'

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