15 July, 2006
One of the hardest aspects of game development is realizing when you have a terrible idea. Nobody wants to admit their idea sucks, and in an industry with sometimes very fragile egos it’s a dangerous thing to start picking on someone else’s idea too hard, especially your those belonging to your boss. Choosing which features to cut is called “knifing your babies” for a reason.
So, keeping this in mind, let’s talk about some ideas that just didn’t work out. Things where it seemed like a good idea at the time. Give specific details about why the idea seemed like a good one at the time, and why it didn’t work out. Super extra bonus points for developers that own up to their own mistakes. :)
One of my mistakes was when I was still working on Meridian 59 at 3DO. Spells cost reagents to use, and you mostly get reagents from killing monsters. Or, you can buy them from NPCs for a fair bit of money. The problem was that the main mage spells used to kill monsters cost one reagent every time you cast it; so, it was really expensive for a mage to go out hunting without falling back on weapons.
Our solution was to revamp the damage spells to be enchantments. So, if you “punched” an enemy with the enchantment, it would do better damage than most mages would do while punching. The problem? We got rid of the “blast” type spells in this revamp. We wanted to add in the spells later (at higher level with increased damage), but we never got around to it before 3DO took us off the project. We did finally put the spells in as intended, but it nerfed spellcasters in PvP while it helped them in PvE. Since M59 is a PvP-focused game, this was a mistake.
I also talked about a few of these types of mistakes in my post about EverQuest 2.
What do you think? Are there any big ideas that just failed once the dust finally settled?