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EA Announces Open-Ended RPG 96

Posted by Zonk
from the nice-idea-now-its-mine dept.
With the success of Bethesda's Oblivion featuring so prominently in the headlines of late, EA's announcement of 'Project Gray Company' comes as little surprise. From the Gamespot blurb: "The action takes place in a massive open world where you can go anywhere you want, and the characters in this world are powered by an incredible simulation [artificial intelligence] based on the same technology used by the makers of The Sims 2. The story of the game is built around a series of Story Quests. You can choose to follow specific Story Quests, embark on a range of other types of quests, or set off on your own adventures in the massive open world environment."
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EA Announces Open-Ended RPG

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  • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:28PM (#15192039)
    From TFA:
    > No platform, price, or release date was announced for the game.

    Yeah, that's about as open-ended as it gets.

  • EA (Score:5, Funny)

    by kryten_nl (863119) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:31PM (#15192070)
    You'll never beat my lvl 60 'EA develloper' with his 'Improved Lack Of Sleep', 'Tolerance For Low Wages' and his special 'Transform Coffee To Code'....
    • You'll never beat my lvl 60 'EA develloper' with his 'Improved Lack Of Sleep', 'Tolerance For Low Wages' and his special 'Transform Coffee To Code'....

      You misunderstand. The coffee isn't actually turned into code -- it's merely a catalyst in the process. The coffee is turned into energy and urea, with the energy from the reaction used to power the hamster wheel.

      It's the hamster wheel which does the actual creation of code. :-P
        • Very good, except a catalyst isn't changed by the reaction for which it is a catalyst. [wikipedia.org]

          Gak! I've been Grammar Nazi'd!!!

          =)
          • I'm afraid that you were attacked by a Semantics Nazi, not a Grammar Nazi; your mistake was not in choosing the wrong form of, or position for, a word, but in choosing a word with a different meaning from the meaning which you intended.

            If it makes you feel better, I can play the part of the Grammar Nazi by mentioning that "Nazi" isn't a verb. Toodles.
            • by jthill (303417)
              English not your first? You can noun verbs, and verb nouns.
            • I'm afraid that you were attacked by a Semantics Nazi, not a Grammar Nazi;

              Nobody expects the Inquisition!!

              your mistake was not in choosing the wrong form of, or position for, a word, but in choosing a word with a different meaning from the meaning which you intended.

              From a pure chemistry definition, sure. However, our good old pal Webster's [m-w.com] has this to say:

              1 : a substance (as an enzyme) that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (as at a lower tempera

    • My Level 72 "EA Executive" beats your "EA Developer" every time. All those who fool with my "Business Suit of Uninformed Late Redesign" will feel my wrath.
    • by OK PC (857190)
      Very funny comment, truely worthy of recognition in the archives
  • No multiplayer! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by willith (218835) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:32PM (#15192081) Homepage
    As long as it's not multiplayer, I'll give it a look when it comes out. I've sunk ~60 hours into Oblivion over the past month or so, and the primary thing that keeps me coming back is that I feel like the focus of the story (which I am, because it's obviously a single-player game) instead of one more $CLASS, grinding out levels. Yeah, Oblivion has great graphics, ten billion sidequests, and a crazy-detailed gigantor world to play in, but the biggest plus is the fact that I don't have to share the game world with other people--no 1337-sp33k, no chat spamming, no people out of character, no griefing, and none of the other jackassery that plagues every MMORPG in the universe.

    • Yeah, Oblivion has great graphics, ten billion sidequests, and a crazy-detailed gigantor world to play in, but the biggest plus is the fact that I don't have to share the game world with other people--no 1337-sp33k, no chat spamming, no people out of character, no griefing, and none of the other jackassery that plagues every MMORPG in the universe.
      On the other hand - without other people, it's not a RPG. It's just clicking on a keyboard.
      • Incorrect, RPGs can be played single player, I.e balder's gate, diablo.

        The correct statement should be its not an ORPG or MMORPG because there are no other people.
        • The inference is that those aren't RPGs either. I tend to agree. Without other people to observe and react to it, it's like trying to roleplay. Much like throwing food at someone's open mouth for an hour is not NECESSARILY the same as saying they are being fed. It's a subtle line and I dont expect everyone to agree on new subdivisions.
          • Why do you have to have other people? Can't an actor play a role alone?
            • You have asked a philosophical question.

              I dont _believe_ an actor can play a role alone. If there is no one to observe an actor, how can it be judged they are playing a role? Am I playing the role of me or am I just being me? Let's not forget the multitude of roles that spawned The Method (acting). Can I troll alone? Perhaps I'm just playing the role of an annoying /. troll (that one scares most people off).

              FYI, I think that "Can a person play a role alone?" is a complex question without a clear answer. It
              • As I see it the main reason other people are even folded into the idea of an RPG is that at the time tabletop RPGs were developed - and that is where the term and genre of game originated - the only way to have any sort of satisfying interaction between a player's character and their world was if those interactions were 'calculated' by humans. That is, the other players and the GM.

                As game AI gets better and programmers actually take that sort of thing into account, you can very much approach that sort of dy
          • So we've all been lied to since the 80's? Damn Nintendo and Sega, they tricked me into thinking their single player role based games were RPG's! All those hundreds of titles, all single player, all lies.
            Oh no, it goes back even further! I played D&D RPG games on my C64. Damn you Commodore! You tricked me.
            Since RPG's didn't actually exist until the late 90's, apparently. These game companies have been smoking crack 25 yrs ago to think they knew what an RPG was.
            Wait, maybe they considered having you
        • Incorrect, RPGs can be played single player, I.e balder's gate, diablo.
          If they are single player - they are not RPG's, no matter what the box says. Calling a tail a leg does not make it so.
      • Re:No multiplayer! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Pausanias (681077) <pausaniasx.gmail@com> on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:14PM (#15192399)
        On the other hand - without other people, it's not a RPG. It's just clicking on a keyboard.

        Aaah, the age-old discussion about what is an RPG. To some people, a computer RPG is a game you play with other people where you all pretend to be in a made-up world. To other people, a CRPG is a game where, like a book, there is a clear story and a clear protagonist---the player.

        The first group of people are transfers from tabletop RPGs. They don't see the point of pretending to be a paladin/ninja/timelord without having the occasional irreverent out-of-character fun or computer equivalent of drinking beer with buddies.

        The second group of people are folks who want a story above all else, and usually want to be the focus of that story. They don't like OOC talk, and for them the ideal game isn't about being with other people---it's more like reading a good book.
        • The first group of people are transfers from tabletop RPGs. They don't see the point of pretending to be a paladin/ninja/timelord without having the occasional irreverent out-of-character fun or computer equivalent of drinking beer with buddies. The second group of people are folks who want a story above all else, and usually want to be the focus of that story. They don't like OOC talk, and for them the ideal game isn't about being with other people---it's more like reading a good book.

          If I were the dead

        • Those two are certainly not mutually exclusive. I fall into both those categories.
        • Aaah, the age-old discussion about what is an RPG. To some people, a computer RPG is a game you play with other people where you all pretend to be in a made-up world. To other people, a CRPG is a game where, like a book, there is a clear story and a clear protagonist---the player.

          There's no debate or discussion. Without other players present, in meatspace or cyberspace, you aren't playing a role - period. Decades of marketdroidspeak have caused some folks to consider a tail as a leg - but that doesn't m

          • There's no debate or discussion. Without other players present, in meatspace or cyberspace, you aren't playing a role
            But you are playing a role of whatever character you are playing in the game. Actually, if you define an RPG as simply being a game in which you take on a role, then just about every videogame out there is an RPG.
            • Actually, if you define an RPG as simply being a game in which you take on a role, then just about every videogame out there is an RPG.
              And that's precisely the problem. Like so many other terms related to computers, decades of marketspeak have rendered the term essentially meaningless.
              • And that's precisely the problem. Like so many other terms related to computers, decades of marketspeak have rendered the term essentially meaningless.

                And as you say, saying that this is so, does not make it so.

                A role, from Dictionary.com:
                1. also rôle A character or part played by a performer.
                2. The characteristic and expected social behavior of an individual.
                3. A function or position. See Synonyms at function.
                4. Li

                • And as you say, saying that this is so, does not make it so.

                  In this case, yes it does.

                  A role, from Dictionary.com:

                  The moment someone whips out a dictionary and cites an irrelevant definition, rather than presenting an arguement, is the moment I know I'm dealing with a clueless idiot. When the follow up it up with sophmoric rhetorical questioning, I know they don't even rise to that level.

                  I highly doubt that lo these 25 years ago, Richard Garriot thought to himself "Even though this here Akalabeth was

                  • The moment someone whips out a dictionary and cites an irrelevant definition, rather than presenting an arguement, is the moment I know I'm dealing with a clueless idiot. When the follow up it up with sophmoric rhetorical questioning, I know they don't even rise to that level.

                    While I appreciate your attempt at intellectual conversation, you seem to miss where I pasted all the definitions there were and invited you to pick the one you thought was most relevant. Or perhaps you think that dictionaries in gener

    • As long as it's not multiplayer, I'll give it a look when it comes out. I've sunk ~60 hours into Oblivion over the past month or so,

      I'd kill for a co-op option for Oblivion.
    • Don't be hatin' (Score:1, Redundant)

      by KingSkippus (799657) *

      no 1337-sp33k, no chat spamming, no people out of character, no griefing, and none of the other jackassery that plagues every MMORPG in the universe

      ...And no camaraderie, no sense of accomplishing something (even if it's only virtually) with other people, no real community, no socializing, no making of real friends from parts of the country (and the world!) that you've never been to and would likely probably never have gone, no chatting about that cool quest you ran last night with someone who was there

      • Re:Don't be hatin' (Score:3, Interesting)

        by XenoRyet (824514)
        Most of what you describe as the advantages of MMO style games is socalizing. That's all well and good, and it is a valuable use of time, but it doesn't have to tie in with your gaming time.

        Socializing of any kind comes with the risk of "jackassery", and I would have to say it's more prevalant in MMO's than in other settings, but as you say, it's a small price to pay for the positive aspects you can gain. However, even neutral socalization can get in the way of enjoying a game, and some people would pre

      • because you can't see past the actions of a few people

        Unfortunately it's not just a few people. It's a very large part of the population of every big commercial mud today. Where on a traditional, nonprofit mud these folks get taught better, and if they won't listen, they get banned, on the new wave of fancy commercial graphical muds, the business side gets in the way of that. Many times the jerks are even catered to, since there are a lot of them and they're putting money in the coffers.

        • You must be playing the wrong game, then. Or maybe I just happen to be playing the right ones. The one I happen to spend most of my time in is City of Heroes [cityofheroes.com], and the people there are great. Almost every person I've run across in these games have been exceptionally nice people. And, as I said, I have a few good friends outside of the games now as a result.

          Are there idiots? Sure. But to say that they're all idiots (or even to imply that most of them are) is just plain wrong, and as I said, a gross mi

          • Unfortunately, I don't think Sony will be going broke any time soon.

            But it's not just about 'jerkhood' in the sense that some folks are just jerks in ways that are jerky no matter what the context. It's a bit deeper than that.

            Different people play these games for different reasons, and different things matter to them. What one group sees as simply playing the game, another may see as exploiting, and destroying the game for them. Good mud admins work very hard to keep the various groups (4, in one famous ana
        • Not really. For instance, in World of Warcraft you have the option of choosing a role-playing server, where there're strict behavioural rules enforced by Blizzard's staff. Also, even if within the rules you find some other kind of idiot there, you can easily "/ignore" him for good. And if both things aren't enough, there're tons of addons you can install to increase even more the immersion experience. Other than those, don't forget to enter a "strict role-playing" guild if you wanna full immersion, or an "i
      • Re:Don't be hatin' (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        no sense of accomplishing something (even if it's only virtually) with other people,

        Funny, my main complaint about MMOs is that I get no sense of accomplishing anything, period.

        NPC: Please help me, PC1! You must slay the dragon and save the town!
        PC1: OK. [goes off, returns] The dragon is dead!
        [30 seconds pass]
        [dragon respawns]
        NPC: Please help me, PC2! You must slay the dragon and save the town!
        PC2: OK.
        PC1: Uh, didn't I just slay that dragon? Shouldn't the town be safe?
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:35PM (#15192109) Journal
    So now the only question that remains is how to plug humans into that and form the first matrix.
  • I saw the Dev Diary on the site yesterday. If the vibe I got from that is indicative of the rest of the team, there really is no hope... There's over a half-a-minute long intro that has NOTHING to do with the game.

    Not to mention that the art screams LOTR...the orcs, the towers, good God.

    I really hope to be proved wrong though.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:37PM (#15192127)
    $10 says it's Madden-based. Here are the initial classes:

      - Quarterback - Needs high wisdom
      - Lineman - Needs high strength
      - Wide Receiver - Needs high dexterity
      - TV Announcer - Similar to a "half-orc"
      - Cheerleader - Basically put in for the usual "dark elf" player
    • They got John Madden to design it, and every player is Brett Favre.
    • Oddly enough... (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The "Lord of The Rings" games started out with the "Tiger Woods Golf" codebase.

      (+1 Informative - I'm actually not kidding.)
  • by Goldberg's Pants (139800) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:37PM (#15192130) Journal
    "But this game isn't finished. There's virtually no script, no ending, nothing."

    "Ah screw it, call it open ended and ship it."
  • by Jakuta (643082) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:40PM (#15192150)
    I want a game where I can dominate, be evil, have minions and basically rule with an iron fist. Some of my fondest memories are of evil groups at tables. Isn't anyone tired of wearing the white hat? Wouldn't you like to match wits with a truly diabolical foe? Just my own meandering thoughts... *sigh*
    • Like Evil Genius [howevilareyou.com]?
    • Join the Republican Party.... they seem to be needing some new blood. :-)

      -NJ
    • GTA:SA (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Alaren (682568) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:58PM (#15192293)

      Nah, there are definitely games out there that try to cater to this mindset. I mean, you can be evil in Oblivion, though it's not quite the same thing... and there's Evil Genius [howevilareyou.com], which tries to go that direction. Not to mention those Dungeon Keeper [gamespot.com] games and the ever-popular City of Villains [cityofvillains.com].

      The problem is, very few game companies really want to let you be evil unless it's a slapstick sort of evil. Let's call this the "San Andreas Effect" for no good or obvious reason. Imagine a game that simulated full-out terrorism, where you used religion to recruit suicide bombers. Imagine a game that simulated government "black ops," where you have to decide between torturing prisoners yourself or outsourcing your torture operations to other villains in exchange for something. How about a game where you hunt, rape, and kill children? Or maybe just a game where you ruthlessly invade peaceful countries, commit genocide, and raise up a new world order?

      It's not even really politically okay or fiscally expedient to be bad, let alone evil, in video games. Even in the highly controversial GTA:SA, you don't really fight the cops, you fight the crooked cops... you may engage in mass murder via gang warfare, but only so you can "clean up the streets"--eliminate the drugs. You can be sexually promiscuous, but it's always consensual.

      In short, the closest thing you're going to get to the game you're asking for is probably Civilization [2kgames.com] or some such, where you can be an evil dictator "from above," without actually seeing your evil deeds enacted. Actually getting down-and-dirty in a game? Not in the U.S., not in the current political climate.

      But I might have missed your point. Did you really want to be evil in a game, or are you thinking more that you want to play "the forces of darkness" wherein you follow the "evil path" but don't actually do heinous things?

      • Re:GTA:SA (Score:5, Interesting)

        by badboy_tw2002 (524611) on Monday April 24, 2006 @04:45PM (#15192652)
        See Postal. You get to burn, kill, maim, destroy the innocent all because you've had a very bad day. Even after people are down you get to pin them down and put a bullet in them, or roast them and get to hear them moan in pain as they're burning. Then see Postal 2, which brings in the "slap stick" you refered to. The first one kind of turns your stomach, the second is pretty stupid. I guess it depends on the reaction they were going for.

        On the other hand, I think maybe some of the Mafia type games (Mafia, GTA, the latest one being the Godfather), are pretty good at defining "evil". The games have rules like "don't kill civilians", where various penalties apply when you knock off some guy walking down the street, but hey, halve the fun is blowing people up. Its true you're not really fighting innocent cops in GTA:SA, but the drug thing is wrong. Half the missions are about taking "turf" and delivering "packages" which may or may not be drugs. They don't come out and say it, but its there. In Godfather, you're constantly shaking innocent business owners down for money. That's pretty bad insomuch as you're commiting acts of violence and tyranny against the helpless. These aren't criminals, just regular folks. You don't want to kill them, just scare them a bit, but if you need to mow down joe average to get your way, so be it. I'd say the moral scale for that game are solidly in the black.

        As for the "genocide" simulator, yeah, Civ is as close as you get. But then, when you think about it, most evil dictators don't see the results of their acts right up close and personal, and definately aren't taking too much part in the direct execution of their orders.
      • In short, the closest thing you're going to get to the game you're asking for is probably Civilization or some such, where you can be an evil dictator "from above," without actually seeing your evil deeds enacted. Actually getting down-and-dirty in a game? Not in the U.S., not in the current political climate.

        Here's a free clue for you, (as you need one badly) - that attitude far predates either the current political climate or the current Administration. But I understand your motivation - taking cheap s

        • You've got good enough karma to suggest that you're not just trolling, so let me offer you a clue as well. Consider it a "clue exchange."

          First, I didn't say anything about the current administration, unless you're referring to the hypothetical torture scenario. (OT: In fact I voted for G.W. Bush back in 2000; I was raised Republican and participated heavily in the party for many years. By the time 2004 rolled around, well, fool me once, shame on you, right? The current administration's biggest problem

          • So I'll say it again; this time try to read what I've written instead of looking for ways to be offended. In the U.S., in the current political climate, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to successfully secure funding, create, and sell a game wherein the player is dedicated to committing truly evil deeds.

            I *did* read what you wrote - and replied to what you wrote. And what you wrote was wrong - it's not the current political climate, the inability to be 'truly evil' goes back decades. The curren

            • The current 'anti-free expression' is but the current manifestation of something far deeper and older.

              I can buy that, but I don't see how it makes me "wrong." A statement that does not delve as deeply into "original cause" as you might prefer is not rendered wrong by the omission. Insufficient, uninformed, misleading even... but if the current political climate is the manifestation of something far deeper and older... and if it in turn prevents or at least discourages a particular form of expression...

    • I'm surprised you have never heard of Dungeon Keeper. It sounds right up your alley.
    • Actually there was a computer version of Birthright (a board game loosely coupled to D&D) that
      was actually pretty good in that respect. It was loads of fun to erode the economies of your
      neighbors and provoke wars so you could sweep in later and pick up the pieces.
    • Just wait for DK3.
    • I remember Fable being like that. If you went the evil route, people would cower in fear as you passed and you could be such a bigger badass than if you were good. Plus you grew horns and stuff. Hell, when i went through it on evil, after i got the sword of Aeons and waited through the credits i just went through and massacred towns. In that save, i own every piece of property avaliable in the game. As for actually commanding minions, theres some game thats on the tip of my tounge, but for the life of me i
    • Working on it, though at the moment it's just text-based.
    • I particularly enjoy the KOTOR games in this regard. I admit the story is fairly linear and all conversations have hardcoded outcomes (though numerous), however those games have some really fun evil shit in them. You could doom the survival of a planet, make families kill each other, and kill almost anyone who gave you lip. I think at the end of KOTOR 1, it was me, HK-47, and one other person (another robot?). Every other potential member of my crew either ran away for good or died by my hand :D
  • I think I found the website [somethingawful.com] for it.
  • It will either be based off the harry potter license, LOTR license, or whatever other movie license they can get their slave driving hands on.
  • SQ4 ref? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Monday April 24, 2006 @03:57PM (#15192288) Homepage Journal
    There was a gag software ad way back in "Space Quest IV" [sq7.org] with the same idea.. (imagine the following read aloud in that awesome Gary Owens narrator voice)

    Narrator: It's here at last! With a combination of SAI--Simulated Artificial Intelligence--and VRAI--Virtually-Real Artificial Intelligence--we at MaxThis! Software have created a simulated simulator experience that's unlike anything you've ever simulated playing before. With SimSim, you can create a simulated environment in which you can create any simulated environment you want!
  • How can a game this revolutionary possibly succeed without the lead developer's name in the title?

    I mean, you can't just go all willy nilly with "open ended" gameplay without a Sid Meyer's, by Will Wright, or even a Peter Molyneux Presents in the title! How else will we be able to distinguish it from the thousands of other X Tycoons, Sim-X's, or Virtual-X's of the world?

    A game like this...needs provenance!

    Where have you gone, David Crane?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 24, 2006 @06:34PM (#15193346)
    ...normally known as a bazooka, or a recoilless rifle?

  • EA hasn't had an original idea EVER.

    They rely solely on abosorbing existing studios, their talent and their customer base usually driving off 25% or more of the customers.

    They ruined the Ultima series, they ruined Ultima Online and I have yet to hear about any EA product that didn't have major issues at release.

    F*#$ you, EA!!

    My condolences to the employees you abuse, the ideas you crush and the great games that you never allowed to be because they did not meet your schedule.

    Never, ever will EA get ano

    • They had plenty of original ideas... of course you have to go back to 1982-1989 to find them all.
      • I have never played it, but I have heard that Deathlord [gamefaqs.com] was a unique, fantastic game. I heard that players had to work damn hard to outsmart the game, since it ofen outsmarted the player and his preconceptions. I would have linked to the Home of the Underdogs page on Deathlord, which features the above review and screenshots, but I decided against it because of legal concerns (if you have ever been to HOTU, you know what I mean).
  • We now have the MSORPG, Massively Singleplayer Offline Role Playing Game. Probably like Oblivion. Oh wait...
  • Electronic Arts has some experience with epic, open-ended role-playing games from publishing the last few installments of the classic Ultima series
    Ahem, let my try and summarise my reaction to this...
    HA! AH HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAA*breath*HAHAH A HAHAHAHAHAH-*choke* *die*
    I don't even have to read the rest of the article after the opening line, yes they have experience, they have experience DESTROYING THE FUCKING SERIES. anyone that calls ultima 8 and 9 "Open ended" and anything other then tra
    • Hey! I liked 8. It was the game that got me interested in the Ultima series. But you're right about one thing: 7 was the shining silmaril to EA's Morgoth.
  • As long the player doesn't have to keep going to the toilet every 15 minutes or have quests to make woohoo with 3 different ghouls.
  • powered by an incredible simulation [artificial intelligence] based on the same technology used by the makers of The Sims 2 Looking forward to pushing the entire settlement into the pool and removing the ladder.

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