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Old 11-15-2007, 03:50 AM   #1
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Default Space Quest 7 fan game has been cancelled by Vivendi

I know this post should probably be posted in the fan games forum but I just wanted to let everybody know that Vivendi sucks <insert bodypart of choice>.

Vivendi has ordered the SQ7 fan team to put Space Quest 7 on hold indefinitely.

The game was 85% done and was looking great. A lot of creative fans have been working on the game for the last 7 years and I just can't believe that Vivendi would do something like that. It's not like they're planning on releasing a new SQ game!

This again confirms that Vivendi is run by a bunch of idiots! I know they want to protect their products and stuff but why order a hold on an amazing fan project that will probably generate more revenues? Aren't these fan games also responsible for the resurge of the Sierra collections? Even though everybody knows the new collections suck (bad compatibility, no manuals, games missing etc), they still bought the collections!

How can they not see that?

Hopefully, the SQ7 team will find a way to release the game in the future.

See the link for the saddest adventure gaming news I’ve heard in a long time: http://wiw.org/~jess/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9767. I just want to say Thank you! to the SQ7 team. You guys are awesome!

I think this does not bode well for future Sierra remakes/fan games. What will happen to Hero’s Quest 6? Quest for Glory 2 remake? Will Vivendi stop all fan initiatives?
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:12 AM   #2
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Quest for Glory 2 remake
Afaik AGDI resolved that issue with Vivendi.

But yes, Vivendi can be legitimately called dumb. Some tried to defend them when they did the same thing with the KQIX fan project, but at least they could also sort that out.
But it wasn't excusable.
They were also working years on that project and it got even promotion on Gamespot. Vivendi didn't care for King's Quest, but still shut down the project because it could.
Vivendi stood in a bad light then, and probably was also a factor that hurted the sales of the KQ collection.

It's always like they think "well, a bunch of the most hardcore fans franchises are working on these fan games. We will tolerate their project for a few years and send a cease & desist shortly before completion to piss them off in a big way".

Personally, Vivendis decision are more hurting their business than anything else.
Their lazy put together compilation of the old series angered most fans because they just used DosBox to get them run on modern Windows.
For some games the copy protection hints were missing, KQVII wasn't in the newest version,...

I hate it when people say that you should buy those stuff to show Vivendi that you still care for the franchise.
But no, I don't buy it, because I want to send them the signal that they should do those compilations in a proper way. Why I should buy these game when I already have them in the DOS version or can find them cheaper on eBay???
With an updated interpreter, it would have been different.

Well, I already strayed off from topic.
So, Vivendi makes incredibly silly mistakes, which are not only punishing for the fan communities, but also for themselves, because the fans will boycott the compilations and other Vivendi products.
In the end, it's some kind of poetic justice.

Still, I hope the SQVII the can sort it out with Vivendi like the KQIX team could.

To sum it up: I sense a pattern.
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Old 11-15-2007, 07:37 AM   #3
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And this is surprising how exactly? It's Vivendi after all. They have the tact of a blind bull in heat.

In King's Quest IX the issue seemed to have been resolved by removing the numbering from the title. Perhaps simply renaming the project Space Quest: <Insert Subtitle> would help... or maybe not.

I feel bad for the team over at SQ7.org.
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:14 AM   #4
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They've made a mistake from the beginning by their terrible decision to avoid the crowd. Trying to stay away from the public? Why? Actually that is so wrong! Especially if you have to show something good, like in this case. If they were public, they'll have much, much bigger support now. Therefore much more people wanting, willing the project to continue, bigger petitions etc. And the more people wants this project to live, the bigger are chances vivendi to let that happened and faster. The power of the will will prevail. Can't believe this? Just take a look at the King's Quest remakes.

And I'm not feeling sorry for the team, because for the past 7 years, they didn't update their site for the last few years. So for me this was looking like a dead project for long time and this "hiding from the public" policy now can be seen why was really wrong. I mean what were they really thinking? That they will be "under radar" from vivendi? WTF? And they were believing it will be just like that? I really can't believe that. And they even advice other team projects to hide their work from public? Well, that's smart advice...

Anyway, I wish they will can make some deal with vivendi and can continue to work on this project.
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Old 11-15-2007, 11:55 AM   #5
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I agree with Iv4n on this one; in fact, it's something I talked to Colin about a few times in the past (I'm the "Liz" in his SubChan post). IMHO, trying to keep a low profile has worked against them from the get-go, depriving them of strong fan support and causing them problems in attracting team members. And since they were directly talking with Vivendi anyway, it's not like they were even *trying* to hide until they were done.

If they'd gone the KQIX route, they'd also have enough fan support and industry exposure to be able to rally under this. As it is... I don't see how they're going to get Vivendi to listen. Even if they do form a game company, Vivendi's still not going to allow them to simply release the game without some sort of corporate mucking or signing over of rights.

I feel bad about this since Colin's a great guy, but... this is at least one place where the KQIX team got it right, I think. *shrug*

Peace & Luv, Liz
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Old 11-15-2007, 02:54 PM   #6
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Liz (and Iv4n),

Two points.

First: There is a philosophy among professional writers, and the philosophy is this.

You can tell everyone about your next novel, what the characters will be, what the story arc will be, how long it'll be, who you want to get to illustrate the cover, and how it's going to set the literary world on its head.

Or you can shut up and actually WRITE IT.

Second point.

Exactly what did KQIX's fan support get them? In fact, the KQIX team got threatened with shutdown (just like SQ7). Vivendi made them a deal: turn over ALL THE RIGHTS TO YOUR WORK to us, and we will let you continue.

The same offer was made to the SQ7 team, WITHOUT the need for a petition and a thousand emails.

The only difference is that the KQIX team took the deal, and the SQ7 team didn't.

So tell me again what all that fantastic fan support got the KQIX team.

--Josh
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:43 PM   #7
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So tell me again what all that fantastic fan support got the KQIX team.
A thriving community with inspired fans; a lot of excited artists willing to help; fun contests, auditions, and other events; and a lot of exposure for the people on the project.

Even if the KQIX team turned down the deal, they'd *still* have had a lot of good fan memories and fun and a very nice bit of exposure/experience/promotion for anyone on the team who continued in gaming work. I got to read a game script, go to my first "real" audition, and do a VA recording session.

Whereas the SQ community has gotten rather anemic, many fans were getting pretty apathetic about the game ever getting released, I know Colin's always had a struggle attracting people to help, and what happens in the end? Vivendi *still* shuts them down, something which quite frankly doesn't surprise me one bit, and I told Colin as much way back when, too.

Now, if Colin had flown *completely* under the radar... not told Vivendi anything until the game was ready to go, that'd be another story, an equally intelligent decision. But instead... all this "halfway" solution accomplished was that a lethargic community sees a nearly invisible game just as quietly disappear into the ether.

I mean, not picking either extreme ended up with pretty much a lose-lose situation... you keep the fans from being able to have any excitement in the progress of the game, *and* you show Vivendi the giant "Kick Me" sign on your back.

Even if Colin *had* hyped the game and gotten the fan community into it all, and Vivendi shut them down anyway... at least we'd still have that gathered community still going and any of the stuff the team had released and any new ideas the project inspired. I miss the SQ community a great deal, but you can only go so far on empty nostalgia with nothing new.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:12 PM   #8
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Jeysie,

I don't disagree with the thought about flying completely under the radar. I thought that that was understood in the notion of being discreet; there's no point to playing both sides of it, clearly. I wanted to see the project handled more like SQ:TLC; NOBODY really needs to know about it 'til it's done.

But I don't think that "strong fan support" has anything to do with this particular situation, does it? KQIX had strong fan support. SQ7, comparably, didn't. They both faced the same offer from Vivendi (and made different decisions). Where do you see that "strong fan support" impacted this situation?

BTW, the experience one gathers working on fangames cuts both ways, so don't make the mistake of saying "experience" is a blanket positive. Yes, you get exposure, but you also have the black mark of having your work owned by a large corporation who has paid nothing for it. To potential employers, that can be a disincentive to offer a meaningful wage: "Why should I pay you a good salary when you're willing to give large amounts of work away to a well-funded major corporation?" As it is, publishers and developers tend to lowball new employees anyway; if the potential employee also demonstrates a blithe willingness to give copious amounts of good work away free to rich corporations, that just reinforces the notion that the employee does not value their own work.

Yes, you can talk about all the subsidiary good that MIGHT have been done as far as rallying the SQ community and keeping them alive. But that wasn't the goal, and in neither KQIX's case nor SQ7's was it a help in actually keeping the projects going.

BTW, I hope people realize that every time they download one of these fangames, they are perpetuating the situation by giving Vivendi their tacit "thumbs-up" to the "threaten with closure, snap up the rights for free" tactic.

--Josh
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Old 11-15-2007, 05:34 PM   #9
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But I don't think that "strong fan support" has anything to do with this particular situation, does it? KQIX had strong fan support. SQ7, comparably, didn't. They both faced the same offer from Vivendi (and made different decisions). Where do you see that "strong fan support" impacted this situation?
The journey, as it were. When I look at the KQIX folks, and AGDI as well, I see living communities of fans that are excited about the projects and involved in their own creative side ventures/contests inspired by those projects. Having something new on the horizon that they can be emotionally involved with and talk about.

When I look at the SQ community, however, I see something that's pretty much orbiting the drain. I don't think it'll ever fall in, but it's not going much of anywhere either.

I realize that your main concern is with releasing the game. But my admittedly selfish POV as a fan is that I want there to *be* a community to care about the game when it's released.

If it had rallied the fan interest and still got shut down, there'd still be the result of the renewed community to make it have been worthwhile. As it is... all I sort of feel is "meh". I mean, even one of the old SubChan posters who's still a die-hard SQ fan and misses the forum, had nothing but an "Eh, I knew Vivendi would shut them down; I didn't think they were going to get anywhere anyway" and a shrug to offer at the news. Pretty sad and miserable to me.

I didn't leave the SQ community because I hated it; I left because, like many of the other "oldbies" that left, there was simply nothing left to say any more.

Plus, you just don't *know* how it might have gone. The KQIX fans were kept blind to the details of Vivendi's shut down and offer, so one could argue they couldn't have an impact. (After all, they were just relieved to have the project continue any way possible.)

But a lot of devoted SQ fans who *knew* what was going on might have been able to push that same support into convincing Vivendi to bend. You don't know for sure. But I do know Vivendi's pretty much got you over a barrel here, because you've definitely got nothing to offer them. They know the SQ fans aren't really going to peep, because there's so few of us left.

And while I'm pleasantly surprised at a new game company coming out of this, I doubt it'll help much. Look at what happened to the aborted official SQ7 projects, after all. I think it'd take a really big name, established game company to make Vivendi consider giving up control to a bunch of games it looks like nobody really cares about any more.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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"Maybe it's still in the Elemental Plane of Candy."
"Is the Elemental Plane of Candy anything like Willy Wonka's factory?"
"If it is, would that mean Oompa Loompas are Candy Elementals?"
"Actually, I'm thinking more like the Candyland board game. But, I like this idea better."
"I like the idea of Oompa Loompa Elementals."
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:13 PM   #10
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But I do know Vivendi's pretty much got you over a barrel here, because you've definitely got nothing to offer them. They know the SQ fans aren't really going to peep, because there's so few of us left.
Vivendi was never going to bend. They didn't bend with KQIX -- despite a petition of thousands of signatures. And the fans were "kept in the dark," as it were, because, unfortunately, the fans can't be involved in legal negotiations (unless you're talking about some sort of class action suit). The fact is that, involved or not, Vivendi was WELL AWARE of how much the fans cared about KQIX, and that didn't put TSL any less "over a barrel" than the SQ organization was.

--Josh
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:27 PM   #11
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Jeysie: I don't understand your arguments.
First your point is that with more exposure the SQ7 project would have more support now. Might be.
Then Josh says that they already got the same offer which the KQIX team accepted.
Which shows that the level of support wasn't the problem, but the offer itself.

So, then it's the question if a bigger, louder community which would have backed the project could have convinced Vivendi to let the fan project continue without any rights trading.
But when I think about it, I doubt it.
It made sense for Vivendi to wait until the project was nearly finished. Because then they could say "hand us over the rights or you won't be allowed to release the game". It's probably a clever, if cold-hearted move.
For most people the frustration would be too big to cancel their project short before completion with the thought that all the work has been wasted. So they would accept the offer.
It did work one time.

Overall, I don't like the sentiment in this discussion. Somehow it feels like the blame is again more geared towards the fan project then Vivendi. Their move was definately antisocial and amoral.
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:29 PM   #12
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Vivendi was never going to bend. They didn't bend with KQIX -- despite a petition of thousands of signatures.
It depends. Was Vivendi going to simply shut down the fangame, no quarter, and the fan response prompted them to make *some* kind of offer? Or did Vivendi straight from the get-go make the "sign everything over to us and still release or we shut you down" offer?

In the former case, the fan response made a difference (and for your game as well).

In the latter case, this doesn't serve as an example. Vivendi didn't listen to the fans because they already were willing to concede an offer, and the fans, not knowing the details, stopped protesting once they heard the game was still going, so they couldn't affect the terms.

But if the situation right here had happened: you told the fans that you shut down the game because Vivendi's terms were unacceptable, and there were actually enough fans to care and make a fuss... you don't know.

But, mostly I'm just sad because I had a feeling this was how it'd play out: no game released, and no community to really care that much either way. That's more or less what it boils down to for me. With a stronger PR campaign, there would have at least been a community; staying completely under the radar there might have still been a game. But this situation is more or less the worst of both worlds.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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"Maybe it's still in the Elemental Plane of Candy."
"Is the Elemental Plane of Candy anything like Willy Wonka's factory?"
"If it is, would that mean Oompa Loompas are Candy Elementals?"
"Actually, I'm thinking more like the Candyland board game. But, I like this idea better."
"I like the idea of Oompa Loompa Elementals."
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Old 11-15-2007, 06:34 PM   #13
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Overall, I don't like the sentiment in this discussion. Somehow it feels like the blame is again more geared towards the fan project then Vivendi. Their move was definately antisocial and amoral.
I agree that Vivendi are a bunch of jerks. I just felt from the beginning that Colin was going about the wrong way to play their little game. Basically, Colin made the mistake of assuming that Vivendi was in some way honorable and interested in playing fair.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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"Maybe it's still in the Elemental Plane of Candy."
"Is the Elemental Plane of Candy anything like Willy Wonka's factory?"
"If it is, would that mean Oompa Loompas are Candy Elementals?"
"Actually, I'm thinking more like the Candyland board game. But, I like this idea better."
"I like the idea of Oompa Loompa Elementals."
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Old 11-16-2007, 01:55 AM   #14
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It depends. Was Vivendi going to simply shut down the fangame, no quarter, and the fan response prompted them to make *some* kind of offer? Or did Vivendi straight from the get-go make the "sign everything over to us and still release or we shut you down" offer?

In the former case, the fan response made a difference (and for your game as well).
Since there WAS no "fan response" to the closure of SQ7, Vivendi would not have had a reason to extend the offer to SQ7. This requires quite an assumption: that Vivendi now treats every instance of fangame development as if its closure will prompt a tremendous outpouring of fan ire, and therefore make a similar offer to each.

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I realize that your main concern is with releasing the game. But my admittedly selfish POV as a fan is that I want there to *be* a community to care about the game when it's released.

If it had rallied the fan interest and still got shut down, there'd still be the result of the renewed community to make it have been worthwhile.
Well, I can certainly agree that it's fair to be disappointed that we didn't sell out to Vivendi and finish the game. But to blame the SQ7 group (and/or any individual associated with it) for not taking it upon itself to revitalize the SQ community, rally the fanbase, issue constant updates about how wonderful the game was going to be, toot its own horn with newsletters and websites and demos, or whatever, that was NEVER the job we undertook -- and you know that (especially given that you were at the first meeting). So I agree, it IS selfish of you -- and unfair, too.

--Josh
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:30 AM   #15
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This is weird. I was absolutely certain this project was dead, and now I'm faced with both the wonderful news that it's not and the awful news that it's been cancelled by Vivendi. I do not know whether to be happy or sad!

I really hope Vivendi will fold, or that they will get to some kind of agreement with the Space Quest team. Is there anything the fan community can do to help? What deal does AGD interactive has with vivendi?
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Old 11-16-2007, 05:44 AM   #16
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Since there WAS no "fan response" to the closure of SQ7, Vivendi would not have had a reason to extend the offer to SQ7. This requires quite an assumption: that Vivendi now treats every instance of fangame development as if its closure will prompt a tremendous outpouring of fan ire, and therefore make a similar offer to each.
Seems like a reasonable assumption to me. If I were a company who had gotten such a huge outpouring of support from fans of a fangame in a property I thought was dead, I'd be a little wary of the possibility of another similar situation. And, even if I wasn't, the situation would have shown me that there might be other useful options besides just a plain shutdown.

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But to blame the SQ7 group (and/or any individual associated with it) for not taking it upon itself to revitalize the SQ community, rally the fanbase, issue constant updates about how wonderful the game was going to be, toot its own horn with newsletters and websites and demos, or whatever, that was NEVER the job we undertook -- and you know that (especially given that you were at the first meeting). So I agree, it IS selfish of you -- and unfair, too.
Selfish and unfair of me to expect a big fangame being made by fans to stay connected to and participate in the community they started out from and are making the game for, and let the fans know that the game isn't dead (aside from very vague promise updates once in a blue moon) and is making progress? Gee, I'm *so* sorry that's unreasonable.

The one fan thing that SQ7 did spring out, the SQ Omnipedia, has become completely overrun by spam because there's no community left to take care of it and the admin of it hasn't been helping it out with IP bans or anything either. Again, pretty sad.

FWIW, I actually thought Colin should take the opposite extreme anyway. I could live with him keeping a low profile... it was actively courting Vivendi at the same time that was the really bad move, IMHO. Completely negates any benefit from laying low.

I'm not disappointed that you didn't sell out to Vivendi, BTW. I respect that choice. I'm just kind of sorry that the way the whole thing was handled means that the team now has pretty much nothing at all to show for it SQ-wise.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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"Maybe it's still in the Elemental Plane of Candy."
"Is the Elemental Plane of Candy anything like Willy Wonka's factory?"
"If it is, would that mean Oompa Loompas are Candy Elementals?"
"Actually, I'm thinking more like the Candyland board game. But, I like this idea better."
"I like the idea of Oompa Loompa Elementals."
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Old 11-16-2007, 06:22 AM   #17
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Seems like a reasonable assumption to me. If I were a company who had gotten such a huge outpouring of support from fans of a fangame in a property I thought was dead, I'd be a little wary of the possibility of another similar situation. And, even if I wasn't, the situation would have shown me that there might be other useful options besides just a plain shutdown.
I see. So instead of waiting to see IF there's a huge outpouring of fan support and then responding, they automatically make the same (lousy) offer to every single fangame? Could be. But again, that's an assumption.

Quote:
Selfish and unfair of me to expect a big fangame being mad[e by fans to stay connected to and participate in the community they started out from and are making the game for, and let the fans know that the game isn't dead (aside from very vague promise updates once in a blue moon) and is making progress? Gee, I'm *so* sorry that's unreasonable.
Jeysie, YOU'RE the one who admitted to being "selfish," I was just repeating it. Sounds like now you're trying to reframe it.

What's unreasonable is expecting an organization that has ONE task -- a colossal task at that -- to ALSO function in numerous SUBSIDIARY ways that YOU PERSONALLY wanted them to function.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a vibrant fan community for SQ. There's something very wrong with layng that responsibility entirely on one small group that's simply trying to put out a fangame.

--Josh
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Old 11-16-2007, 07:44 AM   #18
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I see. So instead of waiting to see IF there's a huge outpouring of fan support and then responding, they automatically make the same (lousy) offer to every single fangame? Could be. But again, that's an assumption.
Well, obviously they *did* decide to make the same offer to other fangames, so...

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What's unreasonable is expecting an organization that has ONE task -- a colossal task at that -- to ALSO function in numerous SUBSIDIARY ways that YOU PERSONALLY wanted them to function.
The KQIX folks did it... I can fault them for several things, but they understood that PR is an important aspect of making a game and that having a PR person on the team is a very good move if you're not going to take the "completely low profile" tactic.

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There's nothing wrong with wanting a vibrant fan community for SQ. There's something very wrong with layng that responsibility entirely on one small group that's simply trying to put out a fangame.
If the team members simply interacted with the fans regularly, much in the same way they used to *before* they started the game, or they at least made regular updates with some actual info and proof as opposed to vague promises, that's all that would be needed. The influx of something concrete to look forward to might have been enough to sustain interest.

You're asking like hoping to see the fans from a community to continue acting like the fans in a community they used to be is some incredibly weird and unreasonable concept. I missed talking to a lot of those guys when they suddenly decided to more or less drop off the face of the community, even outside of any information on the game.

As it is, even if the game did get released, I doubt there would have been much of anyone around to care except for a handful of die-hards. Personally I'm also completely surprised it was even as far along as it was; everything public about the project suggested it had just dropped off the face of the earth. That's the other side of the thing... after all the hard work, Colin and the team deserve kudos and lots of people willing to play the game, not folks blinking and going, "Oh, they actually finished it? Huh."

Anyway, the end result is here, no real sense for me in worrying about "might have beens". It'll be interesting to see how other potential fangames decide to approach these sorts of issues.

Peace & Luv, Liz
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Adventures in Roleplaying (Nov. 19):

"Maybe it's still in the Elemental Plane of Candy."
"Is the Elemental Plane of Candy anything like Willy Wonka's factory?"
"If it is, would that mean Oompa Loompas are Candy Elementals?"
"Actually, I'm thinking more like the Candyland board game. But, I like this idea better."
"I like the idea of Oompa Loompa Elementals."
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Old 11-16-2007, 08:27 AM   #19
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I don't think there's any point in blaming either the team or even Vivendi. Anyone making or waiting for a fan game is (or at least should be) aware of the fact that being shut down is a very possible, and (depending on the franchise) even likely, outcome of the project.
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Old 11-16-2007, 10:08 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeysie View Post
Well, obviously they *did* decide to make the same offer to other fangames, so...
Jeysie, your logic escapes me. You're claiming:

A. KQIX had fan support;
B. Vivendi made the KQIX team a lousy offer (you have not established a causal relationship between A & B, but you choose to assume one);
C. SQ7 did not have fan support;
D. Vivendi later made the SQ7 team the same offer; therefore
E. Both fangames "benefitted" from KQIX's fan support.

Even if one assumes the causal relationship between A & B, it doesn't begin to establish one between A and D, and the conclusion you're drawing is built on more than one unfounded assumption.

Curiously, you're also stating that PR is essential to a fangame unless you're going to keep a completely low profile. That's odd because you just got done arguing the opposite: you're claiming (as an assumption) that the efforts of KQIX's fanbase set a precedent whereby Vivendi will automatically make the same offer to every fangame regardless of fan response. If that's the case, then it DOESN'T MATTER how much PR you have or how energized your fanbase is: you'll get the same offer from Vivendi regardless. So all that PR no longer buys you anything...except, as you suggest, other intangibles that have nothing to do with whether or not you get to proceed with your project.

Let's give you your A&B assumption for the sake of argument, and also give you your assumption that due to the KQIX fanbase response, Vivendi will now make this lousy offer to everyone. If we assume both of those, then we should be damning the KQIX fan response for making it HARDER for every fangame to get produced from now on.

Perhaps we should both just agree that keeping a COMPLETELY low profile is (and, in SQ7's case, WOULD have been) the only proven, established way to go unless one is ready, willing, and able to sign over all the work to the legitimate copyright holder, who will not compensate for the work.

And maybe we should leave it at that.
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