Philippe Boulle is back by Relic as narrative lead. DoW3 Story was really awful, bad news for AoE4?

#1

Philippe Boulle is back by Relic as narrative lead. DoW3 Story was really awful, bad news for AoE4 ?

Seems like Philippe Boulle “lead designer DoW3” is back by Relic and will also work on AoE4.
https://twitter.com/philboulle
Happy to announce that today was my first day back at @relicgames as the new narrative lead for @AgeOfEmpires IV.

Its odd becouse as narrative lead was there Bonnie Jean Mah
https://twitter.com/bonniejeanmah
Franchise Narrative Lead, Gears of War @ The Coalition. Prev. Narrative Lead, Age of Empires IV; Narr. Producer, Gears 4; writer, Space Marine.

Dawn of War III was extremely bad designed. Has over 8000 Negative Reviews on steam.

The Story of DoW3 was one of the worst I did ever see by RTS game.

All missions are start point A , go point B.
Almost no resources to buy units, units die fast, so you have to wait to summon the Hero units. So each mission you wait like 10 or 15 minutes, till you have the heroes to play them.

And you switch all time factions and do follow no story arc. Play mission 1 as Human, that missions 2 as Orc that mission 3 as Elf and so on.
Missions are not connected to each other and things do happen rather randomly.

The end boss was copy pasted from Diablo 3. The end boss was not introduced during the story. There was once demon shown in middle of the game but he was much larger and did look differently, but in the end you did fight a completely another demon. Again things did happen randomly, without connection, what is bad for a story design.

The abilities of the heroes were not working, that were supposed to activate next missions parts! Like your Hero have jump over a cliff, but for some reasons in middle of the mission you can’t do it, because it was messed up and can’t be activated, so you had to restart the mission. Happened like 4 times.

That doesn’t sound good, so let me guess you play Carthage, switch next missions to Rome, than play some weird mission for Greece ? And there is no plot, factions simply fight randomly for no reason or cause ? And you have to restart missions, because they have a bad, bugged and rushed script ?

Story is the most important part of any game. A narrative is a report of connected events, something DoW3 just did not have due to a confusing design.

You did show us in the past, not the best support games can get.
You did show us in the past, not the best choices you can do for your games.
Dear Microsoft and Relic, I am extremely concerned about the situation around AoE4.

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#2

Philippe Boulle worked as Game Director on Dawn of War 3, position that belongs to Quinn Duffy when it comes to Age of Empires 4.

I have to admit it is quite unexpected to have Phill Boulle back, especially as narrative lead, position I’m not sure he worked as before.

When it comes to Down of War 3, you can listen to P. Boulle’s questionable vision in the following 2 videos as interviewed by Luetin09, from the critical point of view of Warhammer universe enthusiast ArchWarhammer:

#3

Don’t waste your time.

#4

I wouldn’t worry too much for a couple of reasons.

  1. People have some very specific yet wildly varying takes on what makes a “Good” Warhammer 40,000 story to begin with. Some people love it to be all super serious, while others like the tongue-in-cheek black comedic approach. It’s a much harder narrative to really nail, so slips like DOW 3’s approach are not unexpected. (Note that I am not defending DOW 3… heck no, that package was a slap in the face of anyone who stuck with that series from the originals…).

  2. Story/ Narration has never really been such a huge focus of the AOE titles that a weak narrative would actually ruin the game. Heck, I’d argue that the only “good” story we ever got was in AOM, with all the others being campaigns that you could honestly skip entirely (I still never touched AOE 2’s campaigns beyond mild curiosity as a kid). Which is to say; even if the narrative lead proves that DOW 3’s low standard was not a fluke miss, it wont really be a massive strike on the overall package. Unless, of course, Relic tries to push the campaign as the major focus of the game…which would be a confusing move.

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#5

nice. they bring the successful ones back.
some of the issues that you mentioned about dow3 was probably responsibility of the mission designer too i guess. relic still looks for a mission designer as they say here https://boards.greenhouse.io/relic/jobs/1515227

#6

Reading into hiring decisions is only slightly better at predicting how much you will enjoy the game than reading the entrails of sacrificial hens.

4 Likes
#7

The entrails from my hen said that Philippe Boulle working on AoE IV is going to bring back the BAWK in BAWKBAWKBOOM.

2 Likes
#8

Its still odd, that so late in production, there are still no people for key positions.
Story is the important part, people do first check it out before buy a game.

Even if they did not get the time and money to make DoW3 and test the game, it still should be possible to figure out the missions were boring. There was a easy way to fix just by give people more resources or units to play the missions,
but that game was basically abandoned after release.

So basically so late in development,
AoE4 team has still no idea how to design the story.
Because they still did not hire the person for it.
I see a big problem if story would take shape in last moments, with zero tests.

1 Like
#9

To be honest i don’t think a lot of us care about the single player campaign of aoe4. I care more about who makes and designs the gameplay, the civs, the units and the balance.

My main questions would be:

  • Will it be grind/ pay to win, like aoe online or aoe3 (you needed to grind to get all the cards)?
    -Are the civs almost 100% the same like in aoe2? I hate that.
    -Will the game launch unfinished like aoeo?
    -Will it have microtransactions ore massive amounts of dlc’s?

"So basically so late in development,
AoE4 team has still no idea how to design the story.
Because they still did not hire the person for it.
I see a big problem if story would take shape in last moments, with zero tests."

I do think that they are doing the singleplayer last. So: first the design of all civs, then after the game is finished they make some singleplayer stuff, that nobody really cares about (at least that i know of).

1 Like
#10

well… yes… let’s hope that they just look for extra staff to get the work done faster.

#11

I really hope they don’t repeat the same mistake here. It’s clear that people don’t want this, since in both AoE3 (through XPMOD) and in AoEO (through Sparta standard gear) the grinds ultimately had to be removed. Fair multiplayer experience by default, please.

#12

I doubt that there will be any grind or leveling up, they can’t possibly make the same mistake again.