Regarding the Genre change from ARPG to Farthest Frontier

Hey there!
Played alot of grim dawn, and moved on to frontier recently! And i love both because they are unique in their own categories.

I was wondering why there was a sudden change from an online multiplayer ARPG to a single play building/survival + Tower defense!

  1. I’m not criticizing anything, I’m definitely praising it, but it does leave me with the question of why there was a sudden change in genre?

  2. In addition, regarding grim dawn, i was wondering why it’s not a live service game as opposed to a packaged game? (Could it be due to lack of resources)

I can’t find it offhand, but Medierra once wrote a long post about this when asked about the prospects of a Grim Dawn 2. The TL;DR is that some of the Crate devs are Iron Lore refugees who have been working on ARPG’s for over 15 straight years, and they wanted to try something different instead of risking burnout by throwing themselves right into another one.

I’m just going to note for you that GD is an OFFLINE single-player diablo-like that just so happens to have multiplayer. Regardless of the fact that it does have multiplayer it was designed first and foremost for single-player.

Moving on… the reason why (at least partially) is because some of the people in Crate have been making ARPG’s for 2+ decades and there are other things they’d like to do.

Titan Quest released in 2004 (the game some members of Crate cut their teeth on) so if you factor in development time prior to this you can probably safely say they have about 2 decades or more of arpg-building experience.

Thanks alot for your answers it’s a huge help!

I got that due to a risk of burnout they decided to switch to a single player city builder game, but i’m still curious about why they didn’t make a grim dawn a live service game since it is after all a multiplayer arpg, and met exceptionally good reception

A few threads here and on Steam that explains Crate’s reasoning.

And this from Medierra from a now deleted thread way back in 2016:

"We do plan to keep working on Grim Dawn. How many expansions we produce just depends on how well the first expansion sells and how well GD itself continues to sell.

There is also a good a chance we’ll do GD2 at some point but, due to the age of the current engine, we either need to undertake some massive update work on it or start from scratch with a licensed engine, which would mean a massive amount of work writing all new gameplay code.

Given that we’re working on an expansion now, might do a second one and I’ve been working on ARPGs for 14 years now, I feel like I could use a bit of break before jumping right into GD2. Imagining exciting new features, systems and a whole new story arc take a lot of energy and passion. I’m happy continuing to work on and oversee content for GD but I feel like I need to recharge before I can give a whole new ARPG my all.

There are other genres of games I love and have always wanted to work on. I’d also like to work on something lower scope next, that requires less building of content and which won’t take too long to finish. I expect to be releasing this new project 12-18 months from now. Then after that, who knows, maybe it will be time for GD2. I won’t know until I get there. One thing I can say though is, I’d be a lot more excited to work on GD2 if we could get to a point where we had a lot more money to throw at it.

Someone mentioned that Banished / Anno town-builders were overcrowded but that looks like a wide open market compared to ARPG. Not only are there a lot of ARPGs coming out recently but players commit to a single one for much longer than games in other genres and it requires a ton of content and features to be competitive - more than almost any other genre of games. Then think about the fact that the ARPG genre has a franchise that is widely seen as “king” and is developed by one of the biggest, most well funded and widely respected companies in the industry. Everything is compared against Diablo and it’s hard to compete with a team that has virtually unlimited resources. Then Grinding Gear has around 5x the people we do and I doubt competing against a free-to-play game has helped our sales. Then there’s Torchlight (although it looks like their next game isn’t an ARPG), Marvel Heroes, Van Helsing, Victor Vran, maybe a TQ expansion or sequel from Nordic, Lineage Eternal (if that ever finishes), Wolcen and too many others to remember. Since the huge sales of D3, everyone and their mom seems to be making an ARPG these days. About the only thing worse would be deciding to make a MOBA.

Even with all that going on, I wouldn’t say it would prevent us from making GD2 but it certainly makes the level of competition in most other genres look a lot less daunting.

A big factor for working on something else though is that I don’t think it is good to keep all our eggs in one basket, as a studio. Our primary goal is to keep the company alive so we can keep being independent and making games. While it’s certainly possible to focus on one franchise and stay alive for a long time doing it, it’s riskier having all your future dependent on the continued success of one game property in one genre. Diversifying the types of games we can make and the IPs we own is a good way for us to better secure out future.

Beyond just branching out to work on other genres, it has always been a goal of mine to be able to work on concurrent projects. Not only do we not want to be pigeon-holed into one genre but I think it’s important for us to be able to work on multiple projects at time. That way, we’re not just counting on the success of a single big release to keep us alive, where if it under-performs, it could take years to course-correct and finish another project (years we likely wouldn’t have). This also helps to increase the efficiency of the studio, as we can shift people around based on the needs of a project at any give time, instead of having lulls at the beginning and end of a single project, where not everyone is needed at full capacity. Another factor is that people get burnt out working on one thing for too many years. When people get burnt out, they leave and look for something new. I feel like we have a great team and I want to keep them engaged with fresh new projects and not solely grinding away on ARPGs for the next 20 years.

Since we would like to keep making content for GD, we’ve brought on some new people for that, to keep up the level of energy and enthusiasm (or new old people in the case of Grava, aka Josh Glavine). We’ll keep making content for GD as long as it’s financially viable. GD2 is a definite possibility but whether / when that happens depends on how things progress in the ARPG genre and internally for us at Crate over the next year or two. We also have some ideas for GD related games that are set in that universe and will share some mechanics but are not quite ARPGs.

You’ll also be hearing about at least one totally new project in the next year though."

As for GD not being an online service game I would guess a) the old TQ game engine was never designed for that sort of thing and b) yes probably lack of funding back in the very early days of development. But also probably because Medierra realised that many players out there don’t want an always online service game; we prefer being able to play our games even if the servers for them get shut down at some point in the future.

We do know that Crate are working on a new generation of their game engine which will be used for their RTS game which will be set on Cairn in a pre-GD era and probably also for any future GD2.

And no, powbam, TQ didn’t release in 2004; it was in 2006 that the base game came out with Immortal Throne following in 2007.

Again… their focus for Grim Dawn, from the beginning, was always single-player first. Plus as a new company over ten years ago they didn’t have the funds for such an endeavor. Plus, my gut instinct tells me that “live services” don’t necessarily agree with their sensibilities. Which is a plus for Crate, in my book.

You will notice that FF isn’t a “live service” either… nor will it have multiplayer of any kind even.

I likely wouldn’t be playing GD had they chosen that path.

Hmm. Coulda sworn it was 2004. Looks like I was off by two years for release. Ah well still leaves it in the 2 decades area regardless.

I’m loving all these discussions, you guys are absolutely ZE BEST

I mean it’s a preference when it comes to live service games, and since it’s been plagued with all these predatory monetization system i understand that sentiment, i was just more relating to like a consistent update based on seasons where it’ll bring users back for new content! (only in that sense)

But yeah, the burnout compeltely makes sense! In addition to the lack of funding (since it was their first game)

Bear in mind that when they did the Kickstarter in 2012 there were only 2 full time employees at Crate and both were living off their savings, not taking any salary. The KS got enough backers that they were able to hire more full time staff and then when the game went into early access on Steam continued sales kept development going. But there was no way they’d have been able to afford dedicated servers for an online only game.

GD’s focus was and always has been as a single player offline game. This also allows the game to be modded which is another popular feature for many players.

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Makes sense, is it safe to assume that they would be open to expanding the studio?

You probably should have lead with that :wink: cuz in my world (and most peoples) “live service” means always online and all the trappings that tend to go with it. Alot of us that love GD love it for not being that.

hahah yeah my bad on that part, defo should’ve mentioned it.

My point was live service game with updates (So we can keep playing it with new content) without any predator monetary schemes!

To answer your question on that count tho they could easily have kept on churning out expansions, sure… but then that poses some issues… With bloat. With the rising costs of a game for new users to be “feature complete” and so on.

Before FG was even fully released they explicitly told us that it would be the last expansion. So this path had already been set long ago.

Oh yeah defo, was aware that it was the last expansion, was referring to future games :slight_smile: (POSSIBLE GD 2 POSSIBLE!)

I do wonder if they are aiming to expand their studio especially since i read that they’re working on 2 unannounced projects

If you look at Crate’s website they do have a few job openings, but Medierra isn’t looking to become a mega corp.

As for any future expansions:

From the GD FB page 16.06.20

"Wait, when did we say we didn’t like the idea of a GD2? We will likely work on a sequel at some point but we need to take a break and recharge. We’re working on some other games currently but will probably get back to GD at some point, once we’ve had some time away to generate new ideas.

We’d continue to create expansions for GD but we’ve gotten to a point where there are so many dependencies and limitations based on what already exists, that needs to be carried forward and supported, that it becomes increasingly complicated for each additional expansion. This is why we’ve stopped with expansions and really need to move on to GD2, where we can start fresh."

Was also mentioned in the post above that logistics and age make it difficult to do more expansions for the game. They didn’t do an intro cinematic for FG for example because they had such problems incorporating the Ashes one into the game that it made it impossible to do an FG one iirc.

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oh my…i dont know how you’re finding all these information its incredible

I have pages and pages of notes/quotes I can refer to. :upside_down_face:

I’m glad Grim Dawn is not a live service game because I don’t have to worry about investing thousands of hours into the game and then having the service suddenly discontinued … MHO I’m looking at you.

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Honestly Grim Dawn is the best game of the last decade. It is a game that keeps on giving and they seem to always be adding some new little content or expanding the world’s in some way over the last year’s patches. Even if there is only like 300 ft more area they stuff some new thing into there. I think that overall they should add another expansion but without entirely different gear sets maybe just new content and bosses and some new dungeons. I bet you that lots of people would buy this even for $15. Considering how bad the overall genre is right now.
Crucible mode alone is insanely fun and maybe they could look at adding another type of survival mode to the game or adding a different type of Crucible like platform.

At the end of the day I don’t think there is any other arpg that comes close to touching this game and while farthest Frontier is something that I purchased on day one to support crate; it’s not something that I forsee myself playing much of.

The game takes a looooong time and I don’t have that kind of time. GD I can pick up and play for 20 or 30 mins and then go back to life. I’ve been doing it for years. FF just has so much complexity that it takes 30 minutes to get into it.

I think if they did a GD hotseat multi player mode that would also be something I would be willing to pay for as my whole family would sit to play GD together as we have with Gauntlet…