I miss JE Sawyer. Well, actually, I miss the developers at Black Isle. They were all cool, but it's JE I remember, 'cause of when I came to the BIS boards. He was intelligent - started up a forum dedicated to the discussion of history, and later philosophy, religion and politics as well. He was witty - quoteworthy material and all, 'specially when he donned the mantle of the moderator Overseer.
(I still chuckle at POP CAIN'S FRUIT STAND).
More pertinently, he often discussed his plans for Fallout 3 with the BIS forum-goers, even when it was still being called 'Van Buren'.
He'd come in and start a supposedly hypothetical thread about party management or the use of weapons in a theoretical tactical-combat RPG or the matter of turn-based game vs. real-time game vs. game with both, and everyone would weigh in and he'd make counterarguments and the thread would progress from there, with, during the first few months, the implicit understanding that he was talking about 'Van Buren', the secret Fallout 3 project. Ye, and it was good, and pure, and clean.
I don't know whether he actually changed any ideas about Fallout 3 based on what the people said on the boards - probably not, considering how... extreme the Fallout Fanboys could be at times. But, on reflection, I don't think that was the point at all. I think the point was that there was a connection between developer and gamer, producer and consumer.
Perhaps, if money is your only concern, that doesn't matter; so long as they lap it up, who cares what they think of you? Message board visitors are not representative of the population at large; they are a tiny, hardcore faction of a much larger customer base. Then again, consider perhaps the value of word of mouth. I'm given to understand that the RPG Planescape Torment did not sell well at first (no wonder, considering the aesthetic attributes of the box cover and dire marketing). However, over time, hardcore RPG fans would go up to people who had been hooked on Baldur's Gate and similar games and say 'Well, if you liked that, then you might want to try this...' like a dealer giving his favourite customer a taste of the harder stuff.
And it turned out, PST did rather well after all. No, not a Half-life or Deus Ex or whatever that spawns a thousand insidious sequels and rip-offs that maraude across the gaming cosmos, leaving only unoriginality in their wake. But, as a slow-burner, it did actually do quite well.
Of course, this is just me saying this, with, naturally, my flawed perception of matters based off vague recollections of posts by Chris Avellone and other BIS devs... but something to think about, perhaps, when one dismisses the hardcore fanbase... even if one's primary goal is money and not producing a great game that truly contains the spirit of Freespace 2, or whatever artsiness you want to include here.
Though I'm not entirely sure why I just spent all this time reading and responding to this thread. I don't even know who this guy is or what games he has made, after all.
Eh, not as if I don't have time to waste anyway. No matter.