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Current State of Beamdog Contract for Baldur's Gate?

billbiscobillbisco Member Posts: 361
It seems that Atari is out of the picture. What is the current state of the Beamdog Contract for Baldur's Gate? Will there ever be a point where Beamdog can "change existing content"? Did that specification come from Hasbro or Atari?

Thanks,

Bill

Buttercheese

Comments

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,610
    When considering making changes to existing content there is more to consider than just the legalities. Many fans would object to outright changes to base game content in a version of the game that is fast becoming the new “official” version. I certainly would.

    Fan mods are a different story. I feel that modders should feel free to mod in optional content in any way that pleases them and those that they choose to share it with. But asking Beamdog to make changes to that content is a slippery slope. You might like some of the choices they make, but suppose you didn’t like others? You can’t just remove content that you find you don’t like from the EE editions like you can a mod.

    Gallowglassbooinyoureyes
  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    It would be nice to add more options, rather than outright change existing behavior. For example, I would love to complete a real pacifist runthrough of BGEE, which currently requires a minimum of 3 murders, Mulahey, Daevorn and Sarevok. It is conceivable, if there was a will, to add additional scripting options around the first two. Continuity would pretty much demand the final murder though. Changes could be as simple as allowing pickpocketing Daevorn, or the "Tazok sent me" bluff for Mulahey to actually work if you have high enough Charisma, for example.

    A more frequently request is to better support Neutral-aligned PCs in the trials at the end of SoA. You may be playing CN, but the only way to preserve your sanity and alignment at that stage of the game is to play LG, or else!

    There are doubtless other parts of the game that could use a little clean-up to really complete the game experience, without taking away from what current players enjoy. Legal issues aside though, I'm not sure what the financial incentives to support such work would be. Many would expect the changes for free, as bug fixes. I might be happy to throw in a couple of bucks, but (assuming enough customers) would that cover the cost of development and QA? Or are BeamDog's resources better focussed on new projects like SoD, and the more visible bug fixes and engine enhancements that can flow from that into the existing games? I suspect the latter, as much as I would like the former.

    Also, I'm not sure how many folks with real knowledge of the situation would want to comment in a thread with the word 'contract' in the title, that is just asking for trouble with lawyers ;)

    DexterJuliusBorisov
  • FrozenCellsFrozenCells Member Posts: 379
    edited July 2015
    Personally, I would love to Beamdog to go nuts with it. We still have the original games, plus the current "faithful", stable EE versions. What's there to worry about? It's the only opportunity there will ever be for large-scale changes and additions. A modding community for 15+ year old games doesn't compare to a development team with a pay roll and resources.

    However I assume that at this point it's pretty much done regardless of contracts. SoD is the current project. Apart from maybe(/hopefully) more sharing of EE engine features between the individual EEs, I expect they will move on to new games or EEing a couple of others.


    edit @Ravenslight - like @GreenWarlock said, there's also quite a lot of changes that I think are totally uncontroversial such as better handling of neutral alignments in the Hell Trials, or having neutral/evil/your BG1 NPCs in Irenicus's dungeon for better continuity. One of the things that people seem to like about EE is not needing to install mods for stuff that should be already there.

  • MetallomanMetalloman Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,975

    It would be nice to add more options, rather than outright change existing behavior. For example, I would love to complete a real pacifist runthrough of BGEE, which currently requires a minimum of 3 murders, Mulahey, Daevorn and Sarevok. It is conceivable, if there was a will, to add additional scripting options around the first two. Continuity would pretty much demand the final murder though. Changes could be as simple as allowing pickpocketing Daevorn, or the "Tazok sent me" bluff for Mulahey to actually work if you have high enough Charisma, for example.

    A more frequently request is to better support Neutral-aligned PCs in the trials at the end of SoA. You may be playing CN, but the only way to preserve your sanity and alignment at that stage of the game is to play LG, or else!

    [...]

    Completely agree. I would also add a path for real evil CHARNAMEs, which there isn't, to add more meaning to an evil playthrough.

    Dexter
  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,610
    Though I’m sure that your correct in thinking that some people would like some of the changes you suggest, I’m not sure that you can assume that any changes would be totally uncontroversial. The problem is that changes that one person likes very much, may be just the ones that really bother someone else.

    For instance, your suggestion about adding different NPCs to Irenicus dungeon really does not appeal to me, personally. It would require changes to the cannon story. Do they bring all of the possible NPCs into the dungeon? If not, who do they leave behind? What if the ones they didn’t bring forward were the ones that you had wanted them to? Though I might love certain NPCs to be included, not everyone likes the same ones that I do.

    It’s a neat idea to be able to just bring your whole party forward, but I would find them a boring party in BGII if they didn’t have banter written for them once they got there. That would require that Beamdog devote resources to that as well. I doubt they would bother.

    The things that I personally love most about the EE Editions are the many bug fixes and modifications that make the game run better on newer PCs. I really would prefer that they don’t modify the cannon content. I feel that what they are doing with inserting an adventure between BGI and BGII is a much better way to add content than by making any real changes to the original story.

    Please let changes to cannon content remain in the hands of the modders so that I may continue to choose what modifications I do and don’t want to my game. :)

    GallowglassbooinyoureyesSon_of_ImoenJuliusBorisov
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    billbisco said:

    It seems that Atari is out of the picture. What is the current state of the Beamdog Contract for Baldur's Gate? Will there ever be a point where Beamdog can "change existing content"? Did that specification come from Hasbro or Atari?

    A lot of this is a case of "we don't know and they aren't saying". For reasons of commercial confidentiality, I doubt that they'll ever publish exact details of the contracts.

    However, my understanding as an outsider is that the creative rights to the original content belong to Hasbro, and Atari's involvement was only with the distribution rights. If that's so, then any issues about the original content would be a matter for negotiation with Hasbro ... who are, of course, very much still in the picture, regardless of Atari's fate.

  • PekingduckmanPekingduckman Member Posts: 143
    The Icewind Dale EE, which was distributed without Atari's involvement, readded removed plot threads like the Undead Paladin, as well as the content of the Unfinished Business mod. I hope the same happens to BG1 and BG2 EE, I'd love to see the Boo's kidnapping and Haerdalis's arrest quests becoming official.

    Adsodavidj8580
  • ButtercheeseButtercheese Member Posts: 3,768
    I am not so much for changing content, as for adding content. For example, the EE companions always felt kind detached from the original ones, because they have such little stuff going on between each other. Also, the original companions get far less content than the new ones do (quests, areas, etc.)

    Not to mention that a lot of the BG1 companions could go with the BG2 treatment. I love the NPC project, but not all of it's content holds up the the set standards.

    Also, how about restoring cut content such as Haer'Dalis' romance and the likes?

    davidj8580booinyoureyes
  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    @Pekingduckman - IIRC, the situation is different for IWD. I think it saw it explained somewhere that Beamdog actually bought the rights to IWD rather than just licencing, so now they can do whatever they like with that one.

    Buttercheese
  • davidj8580davidj8580 Member Posts: 20
    Yes, if they ever do get the ability to do it, my hopes would be that they restore all of the cut content to both games. It was honestly my main motivation for buying them and I was pretty disappointed when I found out that it didn't happen.

    Yes, there are mods, but I don't think I am alone in hoping for something "official".

    Buttercheesetypo_tilly
  • spacejawsspacejaws Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 340
    In a huge fan of adding more choices to exisitng encounters. Especially skill checked ones than can fail or pass depending on any number of reasons. Better quest resolution for evil mercs rather than kill everyone and allignment dependabt extra choices would be nice :)

    Buttercheese
  • TuthTuth Member Posts: 233
    Still waiting for original BG1 character animations since the release of EE. I hoped for "Enhanced" Baldur's Gate, not BG1 in BG2 engine. Not going to happen most probably.

    That plus the cut content would make the game so much better.

    typo_tilly
  • SertoriusSertorius Member Posts: 172
    edited July 2015
    As much as I would love to see the cut content and other stuff being added, I do not see it happening, except maybe in the form of paid DLC.

    Beamdog has probably already sold as many units as they will likely be able to (there will be some more sales, but probably not anything significant), so spending time and resources on it does not seem feasible to me, as it will not generate any revenue to speak of.

    wubblerorikon
  • AedanAedan Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 8,266
    Unfinished Business DLC for both games? I would buy it at once.

    [Deleted User]
  • Son_of_ImoenSon_of_Imoen Member Posts: 1,764
    billbisco said:

    It seems that Atari is out of the picture.

    What is meant by 'Atari is out of the picture'? What kind of development are you referring to? Not everyone will now what you're talking about without providing any background info.

  • AedanAedan Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 8,266
    @Son_of_Imoen Atari is no longer a partner. As a matter of fact, if you launch the EE games, you will notice that its logo is gone (yayyyy!).

  • KamigoroshiKamigoroshi Member Posts: 5,352
    Which makes it even more strange to me that at the very bottom of this site there still remains;
    "Atari and the Atari logo are trademarks owned by Atari Interactive, Inc."

    Wouldn't it be about time to remove this now unnecessary part @Dee? Or is it there because the stand alone launchers of BGEE/BGIIEE are still ornamented with the Atari logo?

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,052

    billbisco said:

    It seems that Atari is out of the picture.

    What is meant by 'Atari is out of the picture'? What kind of development are you referring to? Not everyone will now what you're talking about without providing any background info.
    Was that sarcasm?

  • wubblewubble Member Posts: 3,156
    Atari were only in the picture because they held the DnD licence at the time, now that the licence is back with Wizards of the Coast, Atari has no influence on any DnD releases. Wizards seem to be far more reasonable than Atari were as far as I can tell.

    KamigoroshiShadowdemon
  • Son_of_ImoenSon_of_Imoen Member Posts: 1,764
    deltago said:

    billbisco said:

    It seems that Atari is out of the picture.

    What is meant by 'Atari is out of the picture'? What kind of development are you referring to? Not everyone will now what you're talking about without providing any background info.
    Was that sarcasm?
    No it's not, not everyone is on top of the news of which developer does what. I'm interested in the game and I have a recollection of Beamdog having to struggle to get Bioware, Hasbro, Atari and WotC all agreeing on the way Beamdog releases Baldur's Gate, but I can't remember anything about Atari getting out of the picture.

    I wish people would provide their OP's with links instead of posting things like everyone knows what they're talking about. It's a very annoying internet habit to act like everyone already knows what you know about what you're posting.

    davidj8580
  • cmk24cmk24 Member Posts: 605

    deltago said:

    billbisco said:

    It seems that Atari is out of the picture.

    What is meant by 'Atari is out of the picture'? What kind of development are you referring to? Not everyone will now what you're talking about without providing any background info.
    Was that sarcasm?
    No it's not, not everyone is on top of the news of which developer does what. I'm interested in the game and I have a recollection of Beamdog having to struggle to get Bioware, Hasbro, Atari and WotC all agreeing on the way Beamdog releases Baldur's Gate, but I can't remember anything about Atari getting out of the picture.

    I wish people would provide their OP's with links instead of posting things like everyone knows what they're talking about. It's a very annoying internet habit to act like everyone already knows what you know about what you're posting.

    About 2 years ago Beamdog was asked to stop selling copies of BG:EE, that happened at the same time Atari was going through bankruptcy and it is likely part of the BG:EE IP was changing hands at this time. During this time I assume a new contract was being made between Beamdog and the remaining IP holders. It was never reveled what this new contract allowed in terms of changes to the original content, or if the contract even changed at all.

    Some information about what happened to Atari: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579240054015755022

    My speculation about what happened: I don't think Beamdog gained anything (in terms of what content they can change) in the new contract. I say this because Atari did not own the "story" part of the IP, they only owned the "distribution and publishing" rights. AFAIK BioWare owns the actual "story" and Hasbro/WotC owns the "setting." So it is likely BioWare was the company that said the original content could not be changed.

    Son_of_Imoen
  • cmk24cmk24 Member Posts: 605
    wubble said:
    Thanks for the link, I must have missed that thread when it first came up.

  • GarrusN7GarrusN7 Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 153
    Damn. I wish they kept the original inventory meshes for half orcs. They were beyond legendary.

  • AstroBryGuyAstroBryGuy Member Posts: 3,414

    The Icewind Dale EE, which was distributed without Atari's involvement, readded removed plot threads like the Undead Paladin, as well as the content of the Unfinished Business mod. I hope the same happens to BG1 and BG2 EE, I'd love to see the Boo's kidnapping and Haerdalis's arrest quests becoming official.

    Well, IWD:EE was able to include the content from IWDUB because IWDUB was the work of one modder, Camdawg. Beamdog hired Camdawg and he gave Beamdog the rights to incorporate his work into IWDEE (heck, IWDEE is based on DavidW and Camdawg's IWD-in-BG2 mod).

    BG2UB and BG1UB are more complicated. They are the work of many modders, some of whom have left the modding scene, so incorporating their work into the EEs is problematic from a legal standpoint. However, that doesn't mean they are completely off-limits. Parts of BG1UB are in BGEE (those parts that Beamdog has secured rights to).

    cmk24JuliusBorisov
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