reply to post by SaturnFX
Actually most of the story writers seek help from external sources or/and bring in specialists. Most dev houses will have a vast array of story
writers, some classified as 'specialists' in various fields, hell some writers I've met actually hold degrees in psychology, music etc which really
helps them with their career. (for the record i do 'freelance' work for some of the development houses in various capacities)
Back semi-onto the topic:
Most development houses will make games that sell, at the present the mass amount of players for say the Call of Duty (CoD) franchise is immense, the
company who owns the original IP (from memory is Activision), this is part you might not see. Once a game is in 'pre-release' state (this is where
digital distribution & retail stores start taking pre-orders) will start the proverbial profit tally, right up until the second week of release.
(This timeline is more based on new IP, established IP will most likely have DLC planned during the dev phase, and that team is spun up after the
figures for the pre-orders within the first week at established)
What happens after that is they look at the profitability of said game, if the profitability exceeds the original forecast (also known as the Budget)
by a certain percentile they will look at spinning up a DLC team, while the project leader (or Project Manager) starts pitching ideas for a second
installment (depending on the IP contract).
In essence everyone knows CoD (Activision), Battlefield (EA) and the war based FPS market sells, and it sells like hotcakes, so everyone is getting in
on it to get a slice of that profit pie. It's exactly the same as the MMORPG race that really kicked into high gear with the release of World of
Warcraft (note, MMO's have been around since the days of MUDs, but was kicked into a mid gear around the popularity in asia for Ragnarok Online &
Ultima Online, and moved into its 'modern era' with platforms like World of Warcraft, which to be honest put MMO's smack bang in the middle face of
pretty much everyone, along with the release of Broadband making these things more accessible).
Back to CoD, it is common knowledge in the gaming arena that Activision is planning CoD releases each year to maximize its profit share while this
'boom' is currently running, and it's doing it quite successfully, as is Blizzard with world of warcraft. I wont get to far into the economy of
the gaming industry as i think most of you will goto sleep
Moving onto Valve, first thing you MUST understand, Physical retail stores (EB Games, Gamestop, kmarts, toys'r'us etc) HATE valve and what they are
doing. Before digital distribution, the physical stores set the prices, if the publishers disagreed or the distributor disagreed with them, the
physical store wouldnt stock their product, thus the dev house, distributors and publishers wouldn't make any money. The advent of digital
distribution and cloud services has pretty much have destroyed their previous standing, a lot of the larger distributors have ended supply
negotiations simply with "we set the prices, you do not. If you don't like it we'll take our AAA title to Steam, and they will see the profit and
you will not.". I'm pretty sure you can imagine execs at these companies having to change their pants after the likes of Blizzard, 2k games,
Activision etc threatened to pull their distribution rights to steam.
So if you want to see a conspiracy the only one in the gaming industry is the physical stores price gouging gamers, however their days are
As for conspiracies in gaming (As in game story lines), have been in existence for years, first one i can recall is Syndicate (1993), branching to a
modern day MMO which is quite literally based on every earthly conspiracy theory discussed on these boards (hollow earth, illuminati & templars the
cover ups etc and so forth (the game itself is called The Secret World).
Food for thought really, no conspiracy for Valve except to make money, and gaming easier (and it saves space in my little apartment due to the lack of
boxes i need to keep hanging around!)