Dungeon Keeper Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Dungeon Keeper RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Top 5 Most Unnecessary Video Game Reboots https://www.gameskinny.com/dzxoa/top-5-most-unnecessary-video-game-reboots https://www.gameskinny.com/dzxoa/top-5-most-unnecessary-video-game-reboots Thu, 19 May 2016 04:26:11 -0400 ChrisDeCoster

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Dungeon Keeper (2013)
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The mobile platform should have been perfect for this 1997 strategy classic. Unfortunately, while the original exclusively focused on the single player, the 2013 remake turned out to be just another Clash of Clans knock-off, one with such a reliance on microtransactions that it's completely unplayable without dropping a ton of cash. Satan himself would be pleased.

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What other reboots tried and failed to revitalize their franchises? Let me know down in the comments!

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Sonic Boom
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While Sonic's had plenty of bad games, including the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)Sonic Boom united fans and critics alike from the very beginning when the new character designs were revealed. This, coupled with the game being rushed out and hitting store shelves in a glitchy, unfinished state, makes for one of the Blue Blur's worst outings yet. Meant to begin an alternate continuity that includes a kid's show on Cartoon Network, this game proved dead on arrival, almost killing the spinoff franchise outright.

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Not only that, but why isn't Sonic fast in this game, and why can he only carry a hundred rings?  

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Syndicate (2012)
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Yet another example of a series that latched onto a fad at the expense of what made the original unique, Syndicate (2012) changed from a top-down tactics game with an emphasis on player freedom to a run-of-the-mill first person shooter with some roleplaying elements.  While it had some unique features, such as the ability to hack into enemies minds and control them, fans of the original tend to give this one a pass due to the change in genre, and fans of shooters gave it a pass because of the amount of other, better shooters to play.

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Bomberman: Act Zero 
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Who would think that taking a classic, arcade-style series like Bomberman and setting it in a grim, post-apocalyptic future would be a good idea? Apparently someone did, because Bomberman: Act Zero is exactly that. Not only is the game to serious for its own good, but the gameplay is poorly balanced and unreasonably difficult (ninety nine levels with one life and no continues). And it offers almost nothing new to the franchise. In fact, it removes offline play -- arguably one of the most beloved features of the franchise.

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DmC Devil May Cry
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While not a bad game in its own right, DmC Devil May Cry alienated fans of the series with how different it was from the earlier games.  Replacing the cool fantasy world with what appeared to be a modern reimagining of They Live might have been one thing, but the changes made to the iconic series protagonist and the general tone of the story proved too much for many fans of the series.  

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And while the trippy level design, awesome soundtrack, and fast-paced combat may have been loads of fun, let's face it: no one wants to see Dante's awkward teenage years.

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Reboots can be a great way to get new players into a series, while also reminding fans why they fell in love with the franchise in the first place. However, some reboots can tarnish the names of a series by throwing out what fans love in an effort to cash in on fads, such as making a light-hearted game into a dark, gritty mess.

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Here are five games that tried (and failed) to reboot their franchises.

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War for the Overworld Breathes New Life into a Beloved Franchise https://www.gameskinny.com/9z64e/war-for-the-overworld-breathes-new-life-into-a-beloved-franchise https://www.gameskinny.com/9z64e/war-for-the-overworld-breathes-new-life-into-a-beloved-franchise Thu, 19 Mar 2015 06:28:23 -0400 Glen Schoeman

I recently jumped on the Twitter bandwagon because I was told repeatedly that if I had any hopes of succeeding as a writer, having a Twitter account was absolutely imperative. What I found, however, was that I felt like I was standing in a crowded room talking to myself. There are so many people that you aren’t quite sure who to follow, and often, those that you do follow end up having nothing valuable to say. 

Every now and then though, something comes across my feed and I instantly know that I have found something great. This is exactly what happened when I came across War for the Overworld at the beginning of last year.

Dungeon Keeper Reborn

I was a huge fan of Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Keeper 2 in my early teens as they were the first games that I played that allowed me to play as the bad guy. As the evil overlord, it is your job to defend your dungeon from the invading heroes hell-bent on eradicating your evil presence from their landing and restoring power to bunnies, kittens, and everything good.

In order to do this, you must command and train an army of vile creatures ranging from salamanders and bile demons to dominatrices and even a horned reaper.  For what appears to be a simple and straightforward RTS ends up with a fair amount of depth as each creature has its own abilities and strengths. An understanding of which creatures hate each other is vital in order to ensure your victory. If you never got a chance to play Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Keeper 2 or would just like to play them again, they are available on GOG.

A third entry, Dungeon Keeper 3: War for the Overworld, was planned but subsequently cancelled, much to the dismay of thousands of fans of first two games (there was a “freemium” mobile version of Dungeon Keeper released last year but I prefer not to talk about that lest I fly into a fit of rage). This is where War for the Overworld comes in; a fan-made spiritual successor to carry on the legacy of a great pair of games.

War for the Overworld first appeared on Kickstarter at the end of 2012 and ended up raising a decent sum of £210 000, which just goes to show how badly people wanted to do more dungeon keeping. Originally the game was slated for release in August 2013 but the team seemed to realise that it may have been a bit optimistic and have pushed back the release date a number of times since then. 


So what's the hold up?

Rich Stanton from Rock, Paper, Shotgun managed to get hold of creative director Josh Bishop to find out what was going on.

“It took some time to take a group of geographically diverse people and grow into a functional group of developers,” says Bishop. “Since then we’ve made significant progress on the game – we’re just about to push out our first release of the Linux-based build with Mac OS X to follow shortly. From a development perspective we’re progressing faster than we have ever been.

Our original and regrettably specific date has slipped. We think we’ve done the right thing by pushing it to early next year – this allows us to preserve the original scope without sacrificing quality.”

This was in October last year. Since then, the Bedrock Beta patch has helped the team identify many of the issues and they are now scheduled for release on April 2nd, which they confirmed today on Twitter was still on track.

From the sound of it, they have tried to preserve the feel of Dungeon Keeper with similar elements such as spells and minions that strongly mirror its inspiration without infringing on copyright laws. They have even managed to secure Richard Ridings, the voice of the narrator in both Dungeon Keeper games, to "reprise" his role for War for the Overworld.

I am really excited to get a chance to get back into a much-beloved childhood classic and even though it technically isn’t Dungeon Keeper, I think that Subterranean Games will give a lot of people exactly what they have been asking for over the last fifteen years. Now if only someone would get on board with a spiritual successor to Vampire The Masquerade: Bloodlines my life would be complete.

Seriously, indie game devs, you need to make this happen.

War for the Overworld is scheduled for official release on 2 April and you can check out their official site. It is also available on Steam's early access if you want to play the Bedrock Beta before the game goes live.

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Dungeon Keeper Case Study: Free-to-Play Games Are Not Free Games https://www.gameskinny.com/p42x0/dungeon-keeper-case-study-free-to-play-games-are-not-free-games https://www.gameskinny.com/p42x0/dungeon-keeper-case-study-free-to-play-games-are-not-free-games Thu, 10 Jul 2014 18:54:54 -0400 Stephanie Tang

(Warning: The YouTube video review linked in the header contains profanity.)

With the rise of every new MMO experience comes a new rehashing of the age-old question: to use the subscription model or to not use the subscription model?

So far, it has been difficult to find anything that isn't a Blizzard game struggling to maintain a sustainable population - although the newly-minted WildStar hasn't shown signs of flagging yet, and Elder Scrolls Online seems to continue standing tall in spite of a whole host of launch issues, so that standing record remains to be seen.

But with regards to erstwhile "WoW killers" of the past; Rift, Star Wars: the Old Republic, Aion, TERA, etc. they have all fallen from the subscription bandwagon, because player subscriptions were not enough to carry the costs of the game. There are plenty of different reasons why these games failed, many of which are discussed here in Let's Talk MMO: Subscription or Free-to-Play Cash ShopsAnd yet, no matter "the real reasons why," they all share a similar story. 

Sooner or later, you'll see someone call it: "this is going free-to-play in less than six months." 

And it's usually true.

But why is this always hailed as such a good thing by people who held out on playing it at launch, even if those cases (e.g. TERA vs. SWTOR) where the jump to F2P was done quite well? What is so pleasurable about playing a watered-down, desperately ad-riddled grindfest of a game with halved XP and zero chance for the best player perks? 

When a game goes free-to-play, it does not mean you are playing the game for free.

Of course, there is an interesting counter-argument to this... but it crops up in the mobile market, not in desktop gaming.

The reason for this is often because casual mobile gaming is almost entirely designed for wasting as much time as possible, and often in the most brainless way possible. There is very little skill involved in playing Candy Crush. That won't stop you from playing the whole busride through, right?

As such, it is much easier to weigh a casual mobile game evenly when it comes to playing it completely free versus paying for various upgrades and in-game currencies for faster progression. When the point of the game is repetitive time-wasting, well, what's a little more time?

The bigger issues arise when it's not just "a little more time." 

It can in fact be a lot of time. Way too much time in fact, to the point where a game is virtually unplayable as a free player.

Enter Dungeon Keeper. The original strategy game by Bullfrog Productions was released by EA in 1997 for the PC, to critical acclaim, and spawned a second Dungeon Keeper 2. A third installment was planned but eventually scrapped, as well as an Asia-only MMORPG. Since then, the franchise has lain essentially dormant until recently when EA brought it back to life, cartoonified and updated for playing on the go. 

Fans of the original game were highly unimpressed. Fans of playing free-to-play games for free... were also unimpressed. 

While many of the game mechanics may not be clear right away from the screenshot above, note that the time to advance one space in building your dungeon will take almost 24 hours real time in one direction, or 3.5 in the other.

Or you could pay.

One space.

While other critics have deemed the Dungeon Keeper mobile game an insult to the Dungeon Keeper franchise, I would go further to say this is an insult to basic human intelligence.

This is not "fun," even in a mindless sense. It is a straight money-grab and no one, absolutely no one, should be able to argue otherwise.

The funny part is that EA certainly tried to, when a UK watchdog called them out before the Advertising Standards Authority, citing their Dungeon Keeper advert was "misleading because it omitted significant information."

The gaming giant responded by saying it had not misled or omitted information from the ad, stating "in-game content is available to all players, whether or not they make in-app purchases", and that "gameplay without in-app purchasing is not severely limited".

In fact, EA made quite a compelling case, showing proof that it was certainly possible to acquire all three types of in-game currency, that all content and activities are achievable without paying, and data that showed non-spenders were well represented in the number of players who reached the middle and end of the game, even that non-spenders did not reach these points "substantially slower" than spenders.

Upon investigating, the ASA found the ad breached its code, since banning it from the UK... and this is why:

"We understood that several mechanisms within the game took a significant amount of time to be completed, and that these would only be speeded up by using the premium gem currency," the ASA said.

"We noted that, although some of these actions could be done simultaneously, there was a limit to how many actions could happen at the same time and that the length of the countdown timers increased according to how far the player had progressed in aspects of the game.

"We therefore regarded it as extremely likely that players would reach a position where they would be unable to take any further meaningful or progressive action in the game until a timer had finished or been skipped, and that these periods would become longer and more significant, and the cost of skipping increasingly higher, as the player progressed."

"From the information available in the ad, players would expect the gameplay progression and their ability to advance to be unhindered by unexpected and excessively onerous delays, and we therefore considered that the length and frequency of these countdown events was beyond that which would be reasonably expected by players," the ASA declared.

"We consequently considered it likely that many players would regard the gameplay experience as unexpectedly curtailed and as a result would need to spend gems in order to achieve the form of gameplay anticipated."

With this end result comes with a great sense of relief. At the very least, EA can't simply get away with pawning off this terrible excuse of a game as a game - and a free game at that.

However we are still a long, long way from seeing the end of mercenary micro-transactions for the sake of slowing down player progression. And it will take a lot of people noticing it and opposing it for this model to change.

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Dungeon Keeper Free On GOG.com https://www.gameskinny.com/645is/dungeon-keeper-free-on-gogcom https://www.gameskinny.com/645is/dungeon-keeper-free-on-gogcom Fri, 14 Feb 2014 07:59:51 -0500 Samuel Franklin

Are you still sour over the release of the mobile version of Dungeon Keeper that came out earlier this month? GOG.com has the perfect recipe to wash that bad taste out of your mouth by offering up the original Dungeon Keeper game for free.

For those that want more dungeon management you can also pick up the sequel at a 80% discount ($1.49). As an avid fan of Bullfrog's popular dark strategy series I naturally already own both games but if this past week left you wondering what all the fuss was about, you can find out for a bargain price.

GOG didn't stop there though with plenty of other games being slashed with two bundles; the 'Multiplayer Games' promo has 31 great games on sale for 2 days and a 'Dungeons & Dragons' pack with 10 games which is available for just over 3 days.

The savings on these packs are insane with savings of over $280 and $80 respectively, something that is becoming standard on GOG.com

Just like previous sales, you don't have to buy the entire bundle--you can pick and choose the games you want (although you'll sacrifice some of your discount percentage to do so).

With sales like this on both GOG and Steam becoming the norm, it's definitely getting harder and harder to justify physical PC game purchases. Especially as GOG continues to rise up as one of the top online stores with its upcoming expansion of GOG Galaxy.

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Even Peter Molyneux Thinks EA's Dungeon Keeper Reboot is "Ridiculous" https://www.gameskinny.com/dwuxg/even-peter-molyneux-thinks-eas-dungeon-keeper-reboot-is-ridiculous https://www.gameskinny.com/dwuxg/even-peter-molyneux-thinks-eas-dungeon-keeper-reboot-is-ridiculous Mon, 10 Feb 2014 05:37:48 -0500 Wokendreamer

Free to play games have gotten a bad reputation, and it is deserved.  Dozens of 'free' games are at best un-fun and at worse entirely unplayable without spending money within the game, and the companies behind the games are shameless about it.  They must be because they keep making them, as the remake of Dungeon Keeper on Android proves.  Just in case there is any doubt, however, the original game's creator has seen this remake and agrees that it is absurd:

I felt myself turning round saying, 'What? This is ridiculous. I just want to make a dungeon. I don't want to schedule it on my alarm clock for six days to come back for a block to be chipped...

EA's remake is in the category of free to play that takes hours and hours and hours longer than anyone would consider fun if players don't spend money to speed things up.  It might seem a bit extreme to call upon a figure like Molyneux to comment on such a blatant example of digital exploitation, but this remake in particular needs a bit of attention drawn to it since it redirects negative reviews.

Seriously.

If someone gives this mobile Dungeon Keeper a 5-star review, they are sent to the Google Play page to post it, as per usual.  If they instead select from 1-4 stars, they are sent to EA's feedback submission page.  While the company claims this is so they can "collect valuable feedback from players who don't feel the game is worth a top rating," it is a little too obvious of a feedback control mechanism for a game with such obvious for-profit mechanics.

Nostalgia is a powerful tool to sell to long-time gamers, but publishers should be aware it is also a double-edged sword.  The types of gamers who remember the original Dungeon Keeper fondly (like me) are also the types of gamers who will remember such blatantly exploitive efforts for a long time.  Nostalgia wouldn't work without that kind of memory, and everyone who was looking forward to a new Dungeon Keeper can be counted on to remember not to trust EA with future remakes or reboots, with or without Molyneux to tell us it's garbage.

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Searches For Alternatives To Dungeon Keeper Up 1000% After Smartphone Game Flops https://www.gameskinny.com/0ridj/searches-for-alternatives-to-dungeon-keeper-up-1000-after-smartphone-game-flops https://www.gameskinny.com/0ridj/searches-for-alternatives-to-dungeon-keeper-up-1000-after-smartphone-game-flops Fri, 07 Feb 2014 08:44:33 -0500 Samuel Franklin

The release of a smartphone (iOS/Android) version of Dungeon Keeper was meant to bring the franchise back from the dead, but all it's done is destroy hope for countless fans that have waited nearly 15 years for this day.

The original Dungeon Keeper (1997)  was the first taste of video gaming I ever had, so I'm naturally an avid fan of the franchise. Of course I'm disappointed with the game that was produced and the greed of EA , which has undoubtedly destroyed this franchise forever.

I decided to wipe my tears aside, and started playing some of my favourite games like Dungeon Keeper instead to drown my sorrows. With a 0.3 score on Metacritic, I knew that I wasn't alone in my hate, so I decided to jump across to Google Trends for further analysis.

I was surprised to find that searches for "games like Dungeon Keeper" were up 500%:

I wasn't happy to stop there, though, as Google Trends only catches a single search term and I knew there was more angry gamers then that around.

At this point, I realised I had a unique connection in the industry* and sent an email to the administrator of Games Finder, a website that connects gamers with similar games (or similar stores through Stores Like Finderto see if I was alone in my quest to wash the bad taste of this Dungeon Keeper instalment out of my mouth.

After some back and forth emails, I was able to find out that their games like Dungeon Keeper page was "up 1000% from the period of January 30th to February 5th", so I guess a flop by EA isn't necessarily bad news for everyone.

If you're one of those people who have driven up the search by 1000% or are about to perform the search yourself, I strongly recommend the resource I linked above. I'll also add that War for the Overworld, a game attempting to capture what DK3 should have, is in an early access stage and is great. If you'd rather play the original Dungeon Keeper games then head over to GOG.com to make a purchase. 

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