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In Response to the "Is It in the Game?" Blog

HB_AJ

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Guys,

Great to see the discussion going on about the game and how the work should be prioritized.

Also big props to best_fullback for the insightful Blog Post "It's in the game?" This is the sort of perspective we asked for from the forum over a year ago now, and it’s really what we’ve taken to heart in prioritizing the work we’ve been doing this year.

Here are a few other pieces of information to add to the discussion.

I'd like to think that our series of games from 2004 to 08 may have had something to do with the rise in popularity and profile of Rugby. Whether this is the case or not, the commercial realities for a sport now well into its professional era means that securing licenses this year is significantly more costly than it was 8 years ago.

It's all well and good to set out a laundry list of licenses that you'd like to see in a Rugby game. I promise you we have the same leagues and game modes on our wish list... I guarantee you that our wish list is longer than yours.

We’ll talk more about deep game modes and the challenge in creating a compelling one from the Rugby World at a later date. For now, I’ll say again we took your feedback to heart last year when we asked your opinions on the priorities for this game and what we heard was “Gameplay over Game Modes”.

Remember, in terms of gameplay and game modes, Rugby08 was the culmination of five years work on Rugby that began in 2002. We had the opportunity to continually build on what we had achieved the year before – and Rugby 2005 was built on the FIFA engine, which had been developed for years before we ever got our hands on it.

As has been suggested elsewhere, comparing the budgets (and sales figures) of FIFA to games like AFL is instructive. What the comments in this thread don’t capture is that the FIFA budget in that comparison does not even take into account the investment that has gone into the game and its technology in the previous iterations of that game on that generation. So when you are comparing, say, our game, to FIFA 11, what you may not realize is that you are comparing it to:

Road to the World Cup
+ 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany
+ FIFA 07
+ Champions League
+ FIFA 08
+ Euro 08
+ FIFA 09
+ 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa
+ FIFA 10
+ FIFA Ultimate Team
+ FIFA 11

Each of those versions of the game had a very significant budget and team behind it – because there is a market for that game that sustains that level of investment year over year – and each one was able to develop features that were kept and built on year over year and saw further refinement to the now spectacular FIFA engine. You want to see a spectacular achievement, play FIFA 07 and FIFA 10 side by side. Now look back at that list and see what went on between those releases – and that’s without any insight as to what sort of effort and strategic vision it took for EA to get from FIFA 07 to FIFA 10.

Recommended reading: http://www.next-gen.biz/features/fifa-10-championship-managers

That’s not to make excuses for any decisions we make – our game will stand on its feet and the added attention that Rugby World Cup brings to the sport and consequently our game increases the likelihood that it will be the first of a number of ***les on this generation of consoles building on what we have achieved to date.

It is our goal however that you will continue to experience from this first ***le the surprising and exhilarating gameplay moments that were the hallmark of Rugby 06 and Rugby 08 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDdtMnZrot4) but now in HD and online.

Cheers,
Alastair
 
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Teh Mite

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I can't take the credit for that Alastair, it was best_fullback who penned that particular blog! It is a spectacularly good read however!

For all member's who've not seen it yet, clickity here!
 

Getofmeland

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Great insight Alastair...

Also Great to see that video of the LEGEND which is GAY_GUY!
 

jack6161

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That’s not to make excuses for any decisions we make – our game will stand on its feet and the added attention that Rugby World Cup brings to the sport and consequently our game increases the likelihood that it will be the first of a number of ***les on this generation of consoles building on what we have achieved to date.

Hurray! More rugby games = happy me!
 

j-dawg

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Thats some good feedback Alastair, Thank you.
 

TRF C A Iversen

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Great thread to start here Alistair. Having seen this kind of feedback response to the work of the likes of best fullback and Gay Guy is likely to be the catalyst for more relevant and helpful feedback from everyone. I hope so at least.

Thank you also for this response because it highlights everything I've been speaking about in relation to game engines, budgets, licensing & piracy. I've often had the feeling I was mostly correct when I stated what I have in the past and it helps to know it more surely now. Hopefully this will now pass the message onto some who've had unrealistic expectations that they need to support rugby games and in doing so bring about an evolution in them.


After all that, I guess what I've often wondered about with the Rugby games over the years is why the limitations on editing players? Especially back in the days of it not being online. There was clearly the situation that people could've put whoever they liked into some unlicensed leagues via a simple editor (well maybe not that simple, but our own brilliant Woosaah managed to create one). Yet despite this being possible, it just seemed to not be there.

I always felt that there was maybe a fear that if you enabled it, that the leagues and teams you wanted to license would be annoyed and less likely to work with you in future. I really don't believe that would've been the case. It's legal to do so in pretty much every other sports game type and let's face it, license holders aren't going to be too shy to give a license to someone else for a $1000 more. I just couldn't fathom that one when it was known that fans would've loved you guys for it.

Maybe there was a worry that if you had it in one iteration and not in the next (due to a new legal reason or something) that the next one would not sell as well? I'm racking my brain for a reason, but I'm just in the dark as to why the lack of an editor for in-game players.

Anyhow, thanks for all you've told us today, I really appreciate it. Looking forward to more news as it happens.
 

best_fullback

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Hi Alistair,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog and give your feedback. Its really refreshing to see that a blog I literally only wrote out of interest and spare time was read and commented upon by the GM of HB studios!

The points you have raised are interesting, but I can't say unexpected. The reasonable and realistic members of the TRF community fully understand the constraints you are under not only as this is your first next-gen Rugby ***le, but also is without the cash clout available to behemoths such as EA Sports. My article, though not specific to either Rugby ***le being released, was aimed to show people this, and to alter their exceptions and demands accordingly.

Its great that you have come and given such personal insight to logistics and prioritising of aspects the game compared with established ***les. Its shows that although you don't post on the forum daily, that certainly isn't required for you to look at our ideas, consult with your team and really consider them in line with your wish-list.

Thank you for the feedback you have devoted to our forum :)

Keep up the good work!
 

aotearoa

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Thank you Alistair and great blog as well.. Completely agree with gameplay over all the extra fluff - over on Sidhe forums people are posting about making sure the there are generic sponsor logos and even the game designers (HB and Sidhe) are talking about boot colour etc..

Obvioulsy the more realistic the game is in these respects the better but as best_fullback says - gameplay is everything, gameplay is the bottom line. Was WCR better because you could spin out of the tackle with Robinson or Joe R? No. Was it better because you had the licensed england and france teams? No and Non.

Just been playing a bit of JLR before typing this and as much as i enjoyed it back in the day it is now a very limited game and i'd play 08 over it every time.
However, one of the areas in which it does do very well is mauling. As you know you can set up a driving maul from open play and depending on the stats of who arrives drive it and even wheel it to a limited extent (love the forward surge when you add the big man himself!). This one aspect alone completely changes the game and i truly feel that if a similar and slightly improved version of this had been improved in Ea 06/08 then in my opinion those games would have gone from beng very enjoyable, good games to excellent rugby games. The tweaks i would add would be peeling of the back of the maul, more dynamic/rolling mauls where you can expose oppositions weakness in term of the shape of their defensive mauls.

The question for HB was why didn't they add this?
More pertinently, in 4 months time, about what features might we be saying why didn't they....

I enjoyed reading Alastair's post and felt encouraged by it but playing devil's advocate I could ask are they preparing us for a lack of licenses and encouraging us to remain interested by citing a focus of time and resources on gameplay?

From my perspective I thoroughly enjoyed their previous versions and am sure that with several significant improvements and other smaller refinements (see below) HB will produce an excellent game and if this comes as a result of focussing exclusively on gameplay and not getting licenses or hair styles right i really couldn't care less.

Here's to a great rugby game!!

Significant improvements
Rucking - a more interactive contestable event including stealing ball, counter rucking, holding onto the ball until the referee calls hands off (then penalises you)
Mauling - how can you create a rugby union game without mauls? A massive part of giving a game depth both in terms of strategy and simply variety of play

Refinements
Lineouts - 06 lineout mechanic was much better than 08. More options from the lineout - peeling around front and back and up 5m channel
Running lines - support players should run much better lines - ever heard the canterbury diamond?? Ball carrier at point, left and right shoulder and man behind
Offloading - more instinctive mechanic where player respond to the nature of the tackle and availability of the ball in the tackle and once the ball carrier has hit the ground - passing out of the tackle and popping off the ground are 2 completely different things!
 

tonganoutlaw

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i can see myself playn both games now... playn hb rugby game sayn if only this had more licences like sidhe does.. playn sidhe rugby challenge sayn if only the graphic and gameplay were like hb rugby 2011 game lol
 

kostaz

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i can see myself playn both games now... playn hb rugby game sayn if only this had more licences like sidhe does.. playn sidhe rugby challenge sayn if only the graphic and gameplay were like hb rugby 2011 game lol

Masii foi tangamimi
 

Hatch87

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what we heard was “Gameplay over Game Modes”.

I'm glad you chose the right path and didn't listen to the narrow minded idiots who would rather have you spend your time on licensed refs and their tattoos over a fun game to play. Its the same everywhere though, I'm on the F1 2010/11 forum for CM and the 2010 game regularly gets compared to GP4 and F1CE. The realistic ones amongst us points the fact that both these games were the final form of a series and really should be comparing it to GP1 and F1 2000, but obviously it goes right over their heads. Some people love to hate.

Keep up the good work, and I look forward to putting that disc into my tray and not removing for quite a few months, or until F1 2011 comes out ;-)
 

Gay-Guy

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It is our goal however that you will continue to experience from this first ***le the surprising and exhilarating gameplay moments that were the hallmark of Rugby 06 and Rugby 08 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDdtMnZrot4) but now in HD and online.

Cheers,
Alastair

They kid using France in that video...is now on another level and would IMO undoubtedly be the best in the world.

With the new game though....if I spend time discovering glitch exploits....I probably won't tell him lol!
 

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