Is Keen not a profitable series?

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Lava89
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Is Keen not a profitable series?

Post by Lava89 »

Why do you guys think that there has been no attempt to revive the Keen series? Keen GBC was in no way an attempt to start the series up again and no professional game developer has seemingly made an attempt to bring it back. Also, I highly doubt ID's refusal to make another Keen game is simply emotional-- if there was something they wanted out of the franchise, they'd farm it out to other studios (like Quake). I would also like to leave out the lack of a new game being amounted to pure obscurity of the series as a whole.

So that's my question, is there something that deters companies from thinking that Keen could make revenue? Is it the story? Gameplay? Do developers just feel the series is too old?

And I'm mostly referring to any developer but Tom Hall, Romero or any potential Keen fans. Being that their main motivation would not be financially driven. Developers with no emotional ties to the series would only make a new Keen to gain from it.

I'd like to hear the community's thoughts, just long as your answer has an explanation (so we can see your reasoning)-- because that's part of the fun!

Please discuss :)

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Post by Gridlock »

Hmm, well I think Keen could be profitable, but making that happen would take a lot of careful planning in design. Keen himself is a bit of an odd character. I doubt many people would buy a game with an albino skinned-kid wearing a Packer's helmet and a pink t-shirt. The character would like have to undergo a lot of changes that might make Keen almost unrecognizable. Look at Keen GBC. Keen's shirt and skin color were changed to look more realistic, yet I doubt anyone here really accepts that look. Marketing Keen would certainly require changes like that if the game was to be profitable. It would have to be marketed to a very large audience, few of whom even know about Keen. With technology these days, a very high amount of work would have to be put into the game to make it look professional, and that could require a large budget. The game would have to largely marketed for the developer to make any money.

Second, developers probably wouldn't have a good place to start in trying to revive Keen. They can't jump straight in TUIT because few people know anything about Keen. Either an entire new story would have to be thought up or remakes of the original games would have to be made. I could see them selling each of the trilogies as a seperate game with 3 episodes in each game.

The problem with remaking the original games is that some of them, especially Vorticons, probably wouldn't work too well in the modern game format. Part of this depends on the game style, such as what kind of perspective is used. I just can't imagine trying to turn something like Keen 1 into a modern game without completely losing the original's feel. Ideally, combining cartoon elements with realistic elements (such as Mars's backgrounds) would work well with Keen, but it's hard to imagine. A developer remaking these games would be taking a gamble trying to get the right feel. Also, completely original music would have to be composed that would fit Keen's style for Vorticons The galaxy series, on the other hand, could work well with remakes because it has more detailed and expansive settings.

Sorry to say this, but Keen has a lot of similarities to Mario, who I unfortunately think would always beat out Keen in sales. Keen would have to find his niche in the gaming world, and that's not easy these days. You also have to think about target audience. Keen games would probably apeal more to younger children. This could have limiting factors on what the overall feel of the game can be. As much as I want to see Keen get rebooted, there are just a lot of little things that make it difficult. :dead2

I know you talked about this relating more to Keen fans/creators, but these are reasons why it wouldn't work commercially. I doubt people like Tom Hall can afford to spend their free time working on a massive Keen game. Since your working on Keen 64, you should know how much work a fangame really is.

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Post by PandoricaShark »

I maintain keen could be profitable if successful in another medium first. Familiarity with the product through say, comics or cartoons would lead to a new audience while giving something for the old to salivate/compain over, and some gaming sites would no doubt comment on the activity too.

Keen comics would be the way to go I think. The country the comics are written in will affect how they turn out though. Better just choose Canada/America/Australia/New Zealand. Hell, maybe Europe.

A Commander Keen manga in Japan would be A) impossible and B) if successful, the best hope of reviving Keen. Everything is merchandised in Japan, and if a comic survives long enough in the monthly/weekly comic magazines, they eventually get games. If it becomes common knowledge that the Keen manga was based off a game, you could expect re-releases, remakes, possibly even TUIT. This would be awesome if it wasn't impossible.

Keen couldn't be a comic sold in newsagents though (although maybe it could). Probably more the graphic novel sold in bookstores.[/b]

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Post by Deltamatic »

The expense of making a new Keen game would be cut by making it in modern well-done 2D a la Braid.

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Post by tulip »

I don't see any problem in making Keen 'modern'. I mean look at New Super Mario Bros. WII. Purely 2D and the graphics haven't changed much compared to the classic titles (Super Mario World was '91 too), except being rendered not hand pixeled. Same thing could easily be done with Keen. What a new Keen would need, to gain more attention is definetly a multiplayer option, get Billy's sister involved or maybe a vorticon kid as a choosable player.
But that's about it.
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Post by guynietoren »

One reason that comes to my mind is company image. They aren't well known for making kids games anymore. And someone looking to buy children's games isn't going to buy one from a company that's known for making violent ones.

But then again Jimmy Neutron might be too similar to go ahead with Keen again.

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Post by PandoricaShark »

guynietoren wrote:One reason that comes to my mind is company image. They aren't well known for making kids games anymore. And someone looking to buy children's games isn't going to buy one from a company that's known for making violent ones.

But then again Jimmy Neutron might be too similar to go ahead with Keen again.
Similarities have never stopped anyone before. In fact in some cases it's encouraged them.

Put simply, nobody at ID/Nobody important at ID is interested in Keen. It'd take outside influences/Company total fucl-a-roo to get it back on the table there.

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Post by kuliwil »

tulip wrote:I don't see any problem in making Keen 'modern'. I mean look at New Super Mario Bros. WII. Purely 2D and the graphics haven't changed much compared to the classic titles (Super Mario World was '91 too), except being rendered not hand pixeled. Same thing could easily be done with Keen. What a new Keen would need, to gain more attention is definetly a multiplayer option, get Billy's sister involved or maybe a vorticon kid as a choosable player.
But that's about it.
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Post by Scarlet »

I don't see keen being a successful thing - at least on the computer. Such games are not big on the computer.


It would have to be on the console. But since there is shooting it would be too complicated - they do not name 2D console games no more.


In general I view Keen to be something out of a "better era," one which is gone and forever lost to us. :(





But in general, yeah, it can be done. Anything can. It just won't be a big selling product, thus fail.

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Post by Ceilick »

I think I agree with Tulip, that Keen could be succesful if the gameplay was succesfully updated.
Gridlock wrote:Second, developers probably wouldn't have a good place to start in trying to revive Keen.
This is an excellent point. Remaking the original series seems the best option (and the easiest since that means a lot of work is already done). Developers would have to tread carefully in order to reinvent the gameplay in a way that is 'keenish' and relatively consistent with the originals.
Gridlock wrote:Sorry to say this, but Keen has a lot of similarities to Mario, who I unfortunately think would always beat out Keen in sales. Keen would have to find his niche in the gaming world, and that's not easy these days. You also have to think about target audience. Keen games would probably apeal more to younger children.
If a new Keen continued to take the form of a platformer, it would be imperative to expand on the factors that differentiate Keen from Mario. For instance, it seems to me that Mario platformers are oriented around linear levels and speed. The original Keens use non-linear levels which encourage exploration over speed. It would be imperative for a new keen game to capitalize on these differences so that is not just another Mario.
guynietoren wrote:One reason that comes to my mind is company image. They aren't well known for making kids games anymore. And someone looking to buy children's games isn't going to buy one from a company that's known for making violent ones.
This, and someone looking to develop this sort of game is probably better off creating their own character and world rather than going through the hassle of obtaining Keen.

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Post by Deltamatic »

If Keen can't be profitable that's okay, we can still make fun Keen games ourselves. I'm having trouble finding reasons why a revived Keen franchise would be good.

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Post by Roobar »

I think if Romero and co make a second game for facebook and it's Keen multiplayer based, they could easy earn another 3-5 million a year. If it's not gonna be multiplayer, it would have much lesser support costs, so it still would be profitable. Right now, his new company is making ~8 million a year from Ravenwood. Part of the Ravenwood revenue they could use for advertising Keen. So yes, Keen could be profitable. Not much at the beginning, but still.

The other thing they could do is making new Keen and distribute it on XBLA, VC, PSN and Steam. Yes, look at Limbo, Braid, Super Meat Boy, Bionic Commando Rearmed etc.. All these game are successful and they are platformers. So Scarlet is not right. I think Keen could be successful even on PC with the right price, distributed on Steam and other similar networks.

Coming to think of the price, I thing for a modern version of the Keen with VGA graphics etc. I would pay around 10-15eu/$. 20 or more would be too much, but if the game is really good, why not?

So in conclusion, they've got a (still) popular franchise, recognized by many, which could make them more richer. But the biggest question is why they are still not taking advantage of it to make more profits?!?

So next time you guys have a chance to talk with Romero, suggest him to buy the Keen rights from id and make a Keen for facebook. Thank you.

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Post by Dynamo »

Keen won't be revived and even if it would it would most likely be of the same quality of keen GBC. (No offense to any developer etc)

End of story. Get over it.

I can name a lot of series that I liked but aren't being worked on anymore, and keen is one of them. But there's little to do so I really don't care at this point, because there are still good games around. Just go play them.

What is still keeping the games, and this community, alive, are the mods. If there were no mods you can be sure a lot of people wouldn't even know about this forum.

So, instead of bringing up this argument that has been discussed over 9000 times, get over it and go back to modding :P

As to WHY keen wouldn't be successful, as I said we discussed this countless times, but:

1) The era of 2d platformers is over, and 3d platformers are pretty much dead as well. The only ones who still do it are Nintendo and Capcom I believe, and some sporadic platformers (which sometimes are pretty good though) coming out every now and then.
2) The gaming industry has changed and now the "big titles" are assassin's creed and call of duty. I for one don't like them.
3) No one would give a damn about commander keen, only chance of it being somewhat acceptable would be to make it an iphone game. Then again, I don't see that happening.

There's a time for everything, and commander keen simply made its time. ID Software is now working on completely different titles (I can't wait to play rage) and they don't care about 2d platformers anymore, just like Epic doesn't care (bulletstorm) and pretty much no one else does. This is the way it is, complaining about it will not have any result, all that needs to be done is to find new games and play them.

This, of course, is just imho.
tulip wrote:I don't see any problem in making Keen 'modern'. I mean look at New Super Mario Bros. WII. Purely 2D and the graphics haven't changed much compared to the classic titles (Super Mario World was '91 too), except being rendered not hand pixeled. Same thing could easily be done with Keen.
Sorry, but I don't agree at all. Saying that keen could be made modern just because modern mario games exist is not true simply because Mario is an icon of videogames while keen is not. There are gadgets, shirts, and a lot of other stuff about mario in every video game store, Mario is the symbol of the Wii itself and of videogames in general. This is why it still exists.

I'm not saying mario is an icon to be worshipped, all I'm saying is that Mario is still alive because it is one of the most well known video games in existence and has been since like 1987. Most of the other platformers are dead and buried. Sorry, but what you said just wouldn't work.

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Post by Roobar »

And I completely disagree with you on this!

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