This is the summary of what Pathfinder is supposed to be:
"a grindless, classless system that allows for limitless character progression, large-scale battles, player-built structures, player-driven content, and useful trade and crafting."
And to build this wonder they reckon to need just $1m.
This begs so many questions, not the least of which is why, if an MMO fulfilling all those criteria can be made for $1m, we don't we have a slew of them already. What's the variable that might allow this team to produce a such a God Game for 1% or less than what it would cost a big-name studio?
The main cost everyone seems to want to cut is the cost of making it look good. Is that really where that 99% cost saving comes from, though? Mightn't it really come down to how much the people making it are being paid? That, and the cost of the environment in which they work while they are making it.
How much of the $100 million in "development costs" of an AAA MMO goes on making the game look (and sound) beautiful rather than on salaries and infrastructure costs? Is making something that looks beautiful intrinsically more costly than making something that, well, doesn't?
|Is it shallow to want this level of detail?|
Or am I misunderstanding the way the industry operates? Does someone coding or 3D Modelling an indie MMO get the same industry-standard wage-and-benefits package he or she would get for doing the same thing for Blizzard or ANet?
I grew up with the punk ethic. "It was easy, it was cheap, go and do it" as The Desperate Bicycles declaimed at the end of their 1977 non-hit "Handlebars". And yes, it was easy and cheap to make a punk 45. Whether you can make a sustainable, satisfying MMO as cheaply and easily, that I'm not so sure. And, really, $1m dollars isn't all that cheap and two years in development isn't all that easy.
|Or to look at a screen as though through a window?|
Like SynCaine and Keen, I hope we are at that watershed. I hope the next few years will see a stream of well-designed, well-executed, stable, commercially and aesthetically successful MMOs emerging from a plethora of independent developers. I hope we have choice coming out of our ears. I'm more than willing to live with the problem of having too many good MMOs to choose from to be able even to try them all.
For the moment, though, this brave New Wave isn't much more than a ripple far out at sea.