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Old 13-03-20, 12:06   #1
Caesum
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Default Was AOD a failure and who is responsible?

A direct continuation of conversation started in "TR3 graphics are ahead of its times" thread:
https://www.tombraiderforums.com/sho...223821&page=10

^ if you need to learn more about what was already said I propose starting with THIS post and then up until #126 which is mine.

Anyway, to continue:

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Originally Posted by dg1995 View Post
And yet they accepted it. It wasn't like this that Core Design was a slave of Eidos and had to do whatever they said.
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Originally Posted by paulojr_mam View Post
I do think it's odd how Core was making games that didn't draw a lot of attention, then they made this incredible TR series, then they went back to doing average games. But the fact they're a one-hit (or more accurately a one-franchise) wonder, doesn't mean they're less skilled at that one-hit.

All asked by Eidos.
People behave as if Core never had a choice and Eidos simply abused them, but I don't think that's true. It was Core's job to deliver new games and Tomb Raider was their biggest hit. Jeremy agreed to create each new game and Eidos gave TR guys lots of money as a recompense for their time and effort. So much that the TR guys were considered "the Golden boys" by the rest of the Core staff.

Besides we should remember that Core guys were actually switching TR between camps. When TR1-2 team was fed up they gave it to TR3-5 guys. Then they gave it to that new (inexperienced) team that messed up the first year of the production.

Bad management was the most often brought up topic in all articles, as well as Jeremy's total absence during TRAOD production and him convincing TR guys to create new titles. I don't want to put all blame on poor Jeremy of course, he had an awful job to do as well and it backfired on him anyway; but we have to remember that in the end Core agreed to do all the TR games, they weren't slaves or anything.

Also just to remind you, you shouldn't put all blame on Eidos either. They were going out of money by the time TR4/5 was released and they desperately needed a new hit. TRAOD was originally going to be released in 2002, but Eidos ultimately decided to postpone so Core had more time to fix it. As far as I remember TRAOD was postponed at least three times and they still couldn't manage to fix it entirely.

You guys hate on Eidos but Eidos were basically dying back then. And they kinda did in the end, since SCi bought them. And also one thing to reconsider all the hate speech around Eidos: after TRAOD was released and Eidos was still running as a standalone corporation, they allowed Core to create new games anyway. It wasn't until SCi bought them and started restructurisation when all Core's work was halted and they were sold.
I believe if Eidos wasn't bought by SCi Core Design would have had a chance. SCi had plans to cut GB£14 million from annual costs though and since Core had no strong IP by then they were just sold.

Last edited by Caesum; 13-03-20 at 12:13.
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Old 13-03-20, 12:44   #2
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It was a mess on all sides IMO though Eidos were ultimately the one that sent it out to die, then they repeated it with Underworld/Anniversary if I remember.

Commandos 3 that same year (Also published by Eidos) also reeks of being heavily rushed. (Arguably worse than AOD even with it's bugs.)
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Old 13-03-20, 13:24   #3
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It was a mess on all sides IMO though Eidos were ultimately the one that sent it out to die, then they repeated it with Underworld/Anniversary if I remember.

Commandos 3 that same year (Also published by Eidos) also reeks of being heavily rushed. (Arguably worse than AOD even with it's bugs.)
Nah. Commandos 3 is a far better game compare to AOD.

I played Commandos 3 once and it gave me far more enjoyment compare to AOD.
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Old 13-03-20, 13:46   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caesum View Post
People behave as if Core never had a choice and Eidos simply abused them, but I don't think that's true. It was Core's job to deliver new games and Tomb Raider was their biggest hit. Jeremy agreed to create each new game and Eidos gave TR guys lots of money as a recompense for their time and effort. So much that the TR guys were considered "the Golden boys" by the rest of the Core staff.
Okay, part of the blame was on Core. But it's minuscule. I don't think Core could say no to Eidos. Eidos would probably give their game to someone else, like they eventually did in the end. Eidos could not do without TR. And with that I have the insight that it's not that Eidos was "evil", it's that it was far too dependent on TR, it allowed itself to be too dependent. Which means it was badly managed.
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Besides we should remember that Core guys were actually switching TR between camps. When TR1-2 team was fed up they gave it to TR3-5 guys. Then they gave it to that new (inexperienced) team that messed up the first year of the production.
Yeah, that intrigues me too. If they were switching teams, then all teams had more than one year to develop each TR game. And since there's nothing all that different from one TR to the next, I don't see reason for the extreme crunch time the devs reported in interviews and articles.

And even though being annual wasn't entirely Eidos fault, I still think the state of final release AoD was 99% Eidos fault.
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Originally Posted by Caesum View Post
You guys hate on Eidos but Eidos were basically dying back then. And they kinda did in the end, since SCi bought them. And also one thing to reconsider all the hate speech around Eidos: after TRAOD was released and Eidos was still running as a standalone corporation, they allowed Core to create new games anyway. It wasn't until SCi bought them and started restructurisation when all Core's work was halted and they were sold.
I believe if Eidos wasn't bought by SCi Core Design would have had a chance. SCi had plans to cut GB£14 million from annual costs though and since Core had no strong IP by then they were just sold.
You are right. We shouldn't blame Eidos, we should blame SCi, but that's just semantics, a mere change of name.
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Last edited by paulojr_mam; 13-03-20 at 13:48.
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Old 13-03-20, 14:56   #5
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Commercially? No.
Critically? Yes.
What it was trying to do? Hell yes!
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Old 13-03-20, 16:10   #6
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Nah. Commandos 3 is a far better game compare to AOD.

I played Commandos 3 once and it gave me far more enjoyment compare to AOD.
Medkits can randomly be used up entirely ( a stack of 15) randomly, the game had issues with bullets somehow going in the wrong room of a building when shooting according to the patch notes and the submachine gun weapon firing at certain bits of the map will just not actually hit whoever's standing there.

In addition to being super-short compared to every other Commandos game. (Roughly the same as Chronicles now that I think about it, just using the really hard difficulty to hide it.)

I enjoy C3 but it is a buggy unfinished, rushed mess and I actually have to load my saves occasionally because my entire supply of healing items (that I can't get more of as they're rare) just vanished from a single injury, I do not have to do that with AOD and The Mag Vega/Viper SMGs do not randomly fail to hit someone at all in AOD.
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Old 14-03-20, 11:09   #7
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Okay, part of the blame was on Core. But it's minuscule. I don't think Core could say no to Eidos. Eidos would probably give their game to someone else, like they eventually did in the end. Eidos could not do without TR. And with that I have the insight that it's not that Eidos was "evil", it's that it was far too dependent on TR, it allowed itself to be too dependent. Which means it was badly managed.
Core had enough control over TR franchise to even kill the main character and get away with it. They tried to kill Eidos most important franchise lol. I think it shows well just how much freedom they were given when it comes to games. Something like this would have never happened these days.

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Yeah, that intrigues me too. If they were switching teams, then all teams had more than one year to develop each TR game. And since there's nothing all that different from one TR to the next, I don't see reason for the extreme crunch time the devs reported in interviews and articles.
Bad management. They decided to put the new, inexperienced team to work on an AAA title on a new, unknown platform that was still developing. The team was ambitious but had little to no control over what it was doing. Jeremy, who was meant to control the project, instead just run away.

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And even though being annual wasn't entirely Eidos fault, I still think the state of final release AoD was 99% Eidos fault.
The game ended up in the current condition because Eidos didn't want to postpone release for the 4th time. Fans were already raging by then so I don't blame them for doing that.

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You are right. We shouldn't blame Eidos, we should blame SCi, but that's just semantics, a mere change of name.
Semantics matter. Otherwise we can just as well switch Eidos with Core and it wouldn't make a difference, because it's just a "mere change of name".
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Old 14-03-20, 11:31   #8
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Originally Posted by Caesum View Post
Core had enough control over TR franchise to even kill the main character and get away with it. They tried to kill Eidos most important franchise lol. I think it shows well just how much freedom they were given when it comes to games. Something like this would have never happened these days.
I'm pretty sure Eidos didn't even notice that was what was happening. They certainly just thought it was a neat cliffhanger ending to build up anticipation for the next game.
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Bad management. They decided to put the new, inexperienced team to work on an AAA title on a new, unknown platform that was still developing.
The bigger guilty is still Eidos, needing Chronicles and having them do it.
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The game ended up in the current condition because Eidos didn't want to postpone release for the 4th time. Fans were already raging by then so I don't blame them for doing that.
I think more time wouldn't have helped.
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Semantics matter. Otherwise we can just as well switch Eidos with Core and it wouldn't make a difference, because it's just a "mere change of name".
But in the case of Eidos and SCi, I don't think much has changed, correct me if I'm wrong. I suppose the management might have been changed, but the personnel was probably all the same people, after all it's the same company, just under a different ownership.
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Old 14-03-20, 13:35   #9
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I'm pretty sure Eidos didn't even notice that was what was happening. They certainly just thought it was a neat cliffhanger ending to build up anticipation for the next game.
I honestly doubt it. Jeremy was absolutely furious according to the articles so it was a huge deal.

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The bigger guilty is still Eidos, needing Chronicles and having them do it.
As I said before, Core could have put old folks on the more important project and let the new guys experiment with classic Lara. Or the TR1-2 team could have returned to help one of the projects instead of working on Project Eden, or there could have been any other team at that time moved to work on it. It absolutely eludes me why more experienced folks worked on basically a TR4 add-on, Project Eden, Herdy Gerdy and Fighting Force 3 instead of working on the title that was actually their most important one. Also why Core decided to halt other games and help TRAOD so late in development? Especially since in the end they had to help it anyway. I find it bad management and saying "they didn't want to work on it" just doesn't cut it for me. A lot of "lesser" Core folks wanted to get the royalties the TR team were receiving.

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I think more time wouldn't have helped.
According to the interviews just 6 more months would have helped a lot. Judging by the differences between the reviewer's version (+manual) and the finished product a lot of cool features were cut out near the end of production.

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But in the case of Eidos and SCi, I don't think much has changed, correct me if I'm wrong. I suppose the management might have been changed, but the personnel was probably all the same people, after all it's the same company, just under a different ownership.
A lot has changed. For Eidos Core was still a company with many successful titles. Even after TRAOD Eidos allowed them to continue making new games etc. When SCi took over all that was important was cutting costs, and since Core had no strong IP at that time (and CrystalD were doing just fine with their new TR game and cool older games) they were just sold. If Eidos managed to stay afloat for longer I honestly believe Core would have had time to stand up again.

Last edited by Caesum; 14-03-20 at 13:37.
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Old 14-03-20, 16:00   #10
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As I said before, Core could have put old folks on the more important project and let the new guys experiment with classic Lara. Or the TR1-2 team could have returned to help one of the projects instead of working on Project Eden, or there could have been any other team at that time moved to work on it. It absolutely eludes me why more experienced folks worked on basically a TR4 add-on, Project Eden, Herdy Gerdy and Fighting Force 3 instead of working on the title that was actually their most important one. Also why Core decided to halt other games and help TRAOD so late in development? Especially since in the end they had to help it anyway. I find it bad management and saying "they didn't want to work on it" just doesn't cut it for me. A lot of "lesser" Core folks wanted to get the royalties the TR team were receiving.
You seem to know a lot more than I do. Did TR veterans really work in all of those titles mid-AoD development?!
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