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Remember When Raven Software Was Good?
I'm talking about Raven's original hit series (progressively less and less so), the Heretic/Hexen saga. What I'm interested in discussing here is why, since Raven discontinued the series to do games based on lisenced/prefamous intellectual property (for obvious reasons), so few similar titles have sprung up? My questions are:

-What aspects of the first four games did you like/dislike?

-Is the genre of FPS action meldable with medieval/fantasy/RPG? How successful was this series, or the particular games (Heretic1/2, Hexen1/2) in doing this?

-How do the few examples of games in this vein to surface recently (I'm thinking Painkiller, kind of) measure up to the originals?

-Finally, say Raven or some other company decided that there was money in this and so they decided to do a game in the tradition of Heretic, Hexen and etc: What would you like to see in it? What aspects preserved, what changed or discarded?
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As Long As 
We can play as Scampie, it's all good. 
never liked raven games much
Ill take scifi over fantasy/realism any time

fate: dont try being funny plz, you always fail 
Soldier Of Fortune 
The first one was ace, the second was shite.

There you go, an informative disection of two FPS titles. 
at first i'd like to tell that indeed old raven's games were much more better than latest, but that coul dbe because they were first games i played, hence first impression is always stronger than later...

as for the mentioned hexeretic games:

i liked that they were more complex than id games. also, there were that nice touches like scattering leaves etc, very clever usage of id's engines. that's their strong plus.
i disliked that sometimes they were TOO complex ;) though, the gamedesign was top in all the titles.

i think that fps and fantasy go rather well together, the main flaw in hexeretic series was that it was the way too rpg like, i.e. complex to find way/button/whatever. fps must be much easier than your general RPG game.

cannot think of good hexeretic kind of games amongst modern ones atm... oh!! there is RUNE! fucking amazing game in the medieval setting! this one beats everything around...

as for the new hexeretic game: more speed, less VERY complex secrets, strong atmosphere and more other things any FPS dude would add... and please don't bring gfx part before gameplay! we need interesting games first, then eyecandy.... 
I've played a couple of Raven games. HexenII was the first, and I loved the art and atmosphere but got bored of wandering around endlessly in circles looking for some obscure potion containing essence of badger nipple that may or may not open some secret door hidden in a random bookcase that I need to find to exit the level.

HereticII was kinda similar but less puzzley, which I dug. I found it too boring overall to bother completing it though.

Soldier of Fortune was really really cool with it's uberviolence and giblets - I liked this game. Soldier of Fortune II on the other hand, kept my interest up until the first maze of crates somewhere in the middle of the first map. What a waste of money that was �_� 
Scampie, I shall have my revenge!

Out of all 3 Heretic/Hexen/Hexen2 games, Hexen was, by far, the best. Hexen 2 was the worst. The reason I think this: Hexen pushed innovation - change in how levels worked, multiple classes to play as, an intriguing story and atmosphere with creative and class level design and monster design. Everything about Hexen was innovative IMO.

Hexen 2 was NOT. It was a bad clone. They took out all the neat monsters, all the creative level design for "real world, researched and handcrafted to emulate the feel of a real ancient civilization" which I think was the WRONG way to go. As a result, the levels are boring, drab, the monsters are not creative, the level design has suffered. The story plain sucked. The characters were neat, and I like that they were able to enhance the game with RPG-ish elements. The Necromancer, for example, can gain life back from his Scythe after he's level 10, or so. The problem was that they sapped all the creative energy out of Hexen to try to offer us Egyptian levels!! WTF!! Gimme my castley-cliff swamp levels back!! On a plus note, they brought back the Tome of Power, which was great considering there were 20 weapons already, for a total of 40 weapon effects!

I've pushed Scampie to get Raven to make Hexen 3, but he has declined my kindly sage advice.

As for another game in the tradition of Hexen/Heretic... I DO think RPG elements are OK. For example, I wouldn't mind having a more real-world model, where you could go to a town and buy upgrades to weapons, visit a blacksmith, go to a bar and find an under-ground seller of banned Necro-magic, etc etc. I think a driving story is almost necessary, and a real-world setting helps that.

Multiple characters are great. They offer multiple play styles, which offers great replay value. I would like to see a small differing in perspectives during the course of the game depending on character, though. For example, the Barbarian would go through levels A, B and D, D being a Barbarian only level, while the Baby-eater visits A, C, and E levels. As an example. That way you play through the game as different characters, but you also get different pieces of the story.

Different weapons are great, but THEY MUST BE UNIQUE. I am very tired of regular weapons that do the same shit over and over, especially if it's a fantasy game copying a BFG. Hexen was great at this, especially the Cleric. You had the Serpent Staff, which shot these 2 sin-wavey bolts, or absorbed life at short range. Plus the staff had an eye that would blink at you. Then you had this fire-cross thing that would shoot streams of fire, which would hang around and incinerate nearby monsters. THEN THE ULTIMATE WEAPON OMGFGF GIIASDFB was awesome. Shot out a whole bunch of tortured souls that would scream around and tear the shit out of any monsters, but sometimes would go after you if there was nothing else. Neat stuff.

In Half Life, you had the G-Man taunt you during the game. In Doom 3 you had that Betruger guy. In Hexen you had Korax. There needs to be some bad-ass Darth Vader kinda guy you can expect to face down in the end. It gives the game a sense of an epic. Just my opinion though. Half-life was a bit wierd, because you see G-Man over and over, but you face some giant flower-headed monster. That came out of nowhere. In Doom you KNOW you're gonna face the Cyber Demon last. In Hexen, killing Korax was a sweet spot.

Anyway. Hexen 3 should be awesome, as long as Scampie is kept off the team. I gtg to school!!!! 
When I saw "real-world" I do not mean influenced by THE real world. I mean a world with characters that are believable, etc etc. 
Fantasy Fps 
Walking around in my unfinished knights of the temple map with enclave monsters and weapons from a first person view was pure sex and made me want to do a firstperson rpg... 
I Remember. 
...but I don't want to... OH THE MEMORIES! THE HORRORS!

The burnt bodies... the children with the necklaces of human ears... please make them go away, why MUST MY MIND TORMENT ME SO!?

I remember when Raven Software marched into my hometown, remember when they round them all up, all the men and women, so gentle, so innocent. The slackers and the winos and the ninjas. All the differant fruits of the world, rounded up and shot behind the chemical sheds.

How long has it been since this evil empire took over? I cannot say for sure anymore. They control the clocks, the calenders. The information. Whatever sinister deeds there are done by them, my own twisted thoughts will never match what the history books say and I have no way to ensure my reality is ours and the same.

Days I wish, in vain, that perhaps these times of ours had never come, that Raven had stayed but a simple publisher of violent games. I can never forget what they did. To my family. To my friends. To my mind.

...please help me before it's too late... 
What The Hell 
My icon changed between preview and submit??!? 
The Sad Thing 
is Raven wasn't always bad. When Raven came home and announced his new promotion as head of the accounting department, he found his wife in bed with his best friend, and that just drove him over the edge. 
The Basic 
topic of this discussion does deserve some exploration. Are FPS compatable with fantasy settings? Yes, most definitely, but you have to take the scope of what is feasible in consideration. The first video games that did it for me were the fantasy RPG's done from a first person perspective, Dungeon Master, Wizardy and later the Ultima Underworld series

The pace and physical setting of the FPS lends itself to certain types of fantasy adventures, but not others. Heroic fantasy of the LOTR variety would be too elaborate and slow for the FPS, but the Sword and Sorcery style of Conan or Lieber's Gray Mouser series would be a perfect match.

Some general thoughts about how it should be designed.

Avoid stats -- this means of conveying value was invented for pen and paper role playing, any of this can be substituted by a GUI visual aid.

minimize the RPG elements -- only to the extent getting better items, building up more powerful players adds to game play, keep it -- but anything that slows the game down by seducing the player to spend a lot pf time on the primping/vanity page of player stats should be eliminated.

emphasize weapons -- build a set of ranged weapons that go beyond the crossbow and longbow combos typical of this genre. Clawed grappling hooks, razored lassos, boomerings, sling staves could help fill this out. Make the weapons interesting to use in how you interface with the mouse and the results of their usuage. The light saber in Jedi Knight II almost made that piece of shit of a game worth playing. If each weapon in the game had its own distinct characteristics, how could it fail?

No classes -- the player is a warrior, an assassin for hire and a thief for personal gain; what he does in any given situation is to his advantage at that given moment. A skills system, like Runequest introduced a long time ago could be useful as the player decides what works to his advantage as he is playing the game, but the class system has always been problematic (when you are thirty odd hours into playing Baldur's Gate, and you find your Ranger/Druid not exactly it is pretty hard to turn back), and in fact Runequest introduced the system as a means of overcoming the inherent limitations in the Dungeons and Dragons class based system.

Just flipping through a half dozen Dragon magazines I still have from the 1980's there is quite a wealth of material and ideas for gameplay, traps and the like that have not yet been exploited in any videogame that I have played to this day. 
Was fun. But I did rely too much on the lightsaber throw. 
That's Because 
it was a fucking awesome move. 
My Opinion 
The original style of artwork/theme/atmosphere was really good with the first 2 games (Heretic and Hexen). I liked that weird, cartoon-ish evil medieval world. I think subsequently the artwork, although good, did not have the same stylized quality that struck me as so cool.

I did appreciate Raven's effort in Hexen II, carried over somewhat to Heretic II, to create detailed levels based on ancient civilizations and etc... the "source material," that is, of much fantasy. Unfortunately, I don't think it worked out as well practically as it could have. Both games have interesting level design, and it did improve quite a bit in Heretic II, but I think both are too dungeon based. In Hexen II, for example, much of the level design was just indoor dungeons only with different colours of bricks... I found Hexen II SP very confusing, and never finished it.

I was vastly impressed with the unique action/fantasy/fighting mix in Heretic II. However, I really think the original Heretic was the best out of the entire series however. IT had the most emphasis on action, on simply _mowing_monsters_down_ (as doom did), but had a satisfying mix of extra abilities and weird weapons that made things interesting.

I don't play many RPG's... my idea of an RPG is dungeon siege, and that hardly counts. I actually think that the series lost popularity because they became more and more eccentric, trying to make their games "deeper" - that is, more complex and (nerdily) historically accurate settings, more RPG elements, multiple character classes, and then that final, doomed attempt to innovate even more with the new combat system and unrecognized genius of Heretic II.

I think if they made a sequel in the series, they would have to go back to Heretic-style emphasis on action. RPG elements, such as inventory, artifacts, magical abilities, and all those atmospheric touches they always had, would be good. Character classes and advancement might be too much actually.

Before I heard about Quake 4, I always theorized that Raven might be doing Heretic 3, as id was doing Doom 3, on the same engine.

But they'll probably never do that, since as the screenshots from Quake 4 and Prey all illustrate, that engine is only good for Doom3-style tech themes. Or apparently anyway. 
was that a family guy reference to the evil monkey? 
the screenshots from Quake 4 and Prey all illustrate, that engine is only good for Doom3-style tech themes.

And what is it about those shots that says that, aside from the fact that they're from tech-themed games? 
I agree with lun. All three games have very similar themes and art styles, so are bound to look similar. Of course, the fact they all use the same tech is going to make them look similar as well, but I'm sure the Doom 3 engine can do non-tech-themed corridors too. 
Has everyone forgot that Doom3 did some rather good Hell and Temple environments? 
Yes we have.

Hell was pretty good, but those rocks sure were shiny. 
Yeap, Than 
I have the DVD set, sometimes I can't help myself. 
To Continue Derailing The Thread 
Hell was pretty good, but those rocks sure were shiny.

Yeah, blame the texture artist, not the engine. 
Let's Actually Get The The Heart Of The Issue Here. 
Your beef is not with Raven. Your beef is with the industry as a whole not making the games you want. It also seems you're placing the theme and setting of the games far ahead of 'Is the game fun?', which should be the only thing that ever matters in a game.

I'm flattered that you think Raven is the company setting the pace and gaming styles everyone follows, but let's be honest, the entire industry doesn't follow what one company makes, just whatever sells well. The reason so many WW2 and other 'realism' FPS games exist is not because one single company doesn't happen to be making a fantasy shooter, but because Half-Life/Counterstrike/etc sold so well amoung the public.

Games are expensive to make, and most developers aren't able to afford making whatever they want, they need a publisher for the cash. And publishers aren't going to take risks with their cash for the most part. So sure, maybe if there were a Fantasy FPS currently out and it sold a few hundred million copies or whatnot, there would be more copy-cat type games out there. But getting to that stage to make that type of game requires more than just the decision by the developer to do such a game.

I think rather than bashing Raven specifically, you should be emailing people like Activision and EA and such saying how much you'd like to see more fantasy games. Maybe you should organize a team to make a fantasy mod for one of the latest games out there, hell, maybe a bunch of people will see it and like it that companies get an idea that 'Hey, maybe such a theme would be worthwhile to try!'. Or maybe you should just wait, the current trend of gaming can't remain forever. 
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