Seed fails to germinate

 Posted by (Visited 6814 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Sep 282006
 

The experimental and quite different MMO Seed is closing its doors.

This is a real shame, as Seed had an aesthetic that was quite different from anything else currently out there. With a cel-shaded comic book look, and a game system heavily premised on non-combat roles and ongoing procedural narratives per character, Seed was definitely outside of the mainstream, but was shooting for mainstream-level production values.

Another one for the timeline, I suppose. 🙁

  19 Responses to “Seed fails to germinate”

  1. Man thats just a real bummer, it looked like a very cool game, likely
    they are ahead of thier time with this.

  2. ’tis a shame.

    Tried the game, and it was very unique for sure. The graphics were very nice, and i reckon it showed some potential…

    When i tried around the launch it suffered from the same troubles that most other MMOs suffered – bad launch-itis.

    Wish never even got that far though 🙁 At least seed did.

    I hope this wont be another nail in the coffin for different gameplay ideas than the typical grind-tastic diku-model.

  3. If, as Cenn claims (I haven’t kept up on Seed myself), the game launched with very bad technical issues, then perhaps what we are witnessing is not a rejection of the gameplay but a rejection of, well, a shoddy product. I’ll always applaud WoW for making it harder to get away with shoddy product in this genre.

  4. launched too early (for GDC 2006) and from all reports had incomplete technology. F13 thread.

  5. […] Comments […]

  6. i was intruiged by SEED. i tried it out as they were doing open beta in the run-up to launch.

    but all the technical problems, as well as just a general lack of anything terribly interesting to do, caused me to stop being too interested in it.

    i was VERY glad to see someone trying something different.
    the cel-shaded look was pretty slick. it was definitely well designed.
    the game mechanics were interesting because they were “different”, but not engaging.
    it seemed like they just replaced “kill 10 rats” with “fix 10 circuit-breakers”. not having to slaughter entire eco-systems was a nice change of pace. but fixing things didn’t really seem any more fun than standard MMO combat (you just sorta stood by the broken “thing” and clicked on it).

    unfortunately i never got to see first-hand the developing storyline. but the ideas they had seemed great.

    it’s a shame they couldn’t continue.

    i REALLY hope this doesn’t hurt the chances of other non-DIKU games in development. that would be an even bigger shame.

  7. Im sure it could be revived by some start up……somewere…….

  8. Really sad to hear this news. While I’ve never had the chance to play it, it looks like a fantastic title that had a lot of love in it from the creators.

  9. Kohs wrote

    i REALLY hope this doesn’t hurt the chances of other non-DIKU games in development. that would be an even bigger shame.

    Not to be too cynical, but are there any non-Diku games in development? (Actually, I think there are a few, but not many.)

    I wonder… Seed’s USPs were:
    – No combat
    – Better AI
    – Cell shading (aka: unique look)
    – Sci-fi setting
    – No women in chainmail bikinnis (not really a marketed selling point, but their screenshots didn’t include the usual teenage-male attractors)
    – No use of the terms, “online”, “war”, “chaos”, “death”, “murder”, etc. in their title.

    Game developers (as an aggregate) seem to use a simple heuristic for determining their next game features: If game A is a best seller, and has features B,C, and D, make sure to include even more of B, C, and D in the next game. Also include new feature, E, that is marketed as “new and revolutionary” but which can be quickly scrapped if it negatively affects B, C, or D.

    One would assume the reverse thinking is true: If game F is a failure, and has features G, H, and I, then avoid those features. (After all, we are talking about simple neural-net training algorithms here. 🙂 It’s all about linear thinking.)

    Which means, Seed’s failure has encouraged the following features in games:
    – Lots and lots of hit-point combat, with really-really big weapons that no could could realistically ever wield.
    – AI that’s practically non-existent. In fact, NPCs don’t even talk or give a backstory; they just dispense a quest when clicked.
    – Shading that looks just like WoW and/or EQ2/FF/Lineage2. (The “and” part is difficult to imagine.)
    – Fantasy
    – Populated by amazon warriors that can only ever wear leather/chainmail/plate bikinnis
    – And called, “killer chaotic amazon wars online”

  10. That’s really sad. I had high hopes for this game. I don’t play many MMOs but I was still rooting for this one big time.

    Oh well, back to good old evolution, instead of revolution, I guess.

  11. Tabula Rasa, Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea are all coming and show barely any resemblence look nor play wise to WoW et al. SEED was intriguing, but it not being a diku is not what I think made it so niche as to be hard to sell to publishers/VC. Almost everything about it narrowed it’s potential in my book. I think they tried to change too many things at once.

    I know the individual people will continue on in the genre though, and wish them well!

  12. Yeah, or theres always the costly standby alternative…

    Got gigs? Eeek!!!

  13. Darianq wrote:

    Tabula Rasa, Age of Conan, Pirates of the Burning Sea are all coming and show barely any resemblence look nor play wise to WoW et al.

    Tabula Rasa – True. It’s not Diku, but online FPS. That’s a nice change.

    Age of Conan – From what I can tell, its not that different from a standard Diku, except… They seem to be trying hit locations instead of hit points alone. Awhile back I thought I read about NPC army combat, which would be different.

    Pirates of the Burning Sea – Not Diku, but it looks to me like Eve Online in the carribean. Still, its a nice change.

    Warhammer, LOTRO, Vanguard, Hero’s Journey, Spellborn, Vanguard, and a plethora of Chinese/Korean – All Diku.

    SEED was intriguing, but it not being a diku is not what I think made it so niche as to be hard to sell to publishers/VC. Almost everything about it narrowed it’s potential in my book.

    Agree. And they also had a particularly bad launch and not enough capital to see them through to a final product.

    But I still think lessons are learned, even if they’re the wrong lessons. After all, how many world-like games in the vein of UO and SWG are coming out? Since SWG failed to meet expectations, major companies don’t seem to want to touch world-like games.

  14. The thing is – those who actually stuck with the game for a month tended to stay. It has a similar issue to Eve, ie the game tends to drive away people who are not interested enough to stick with it for a little while. It had no “instant grab”.

    But the RP community tended to be very “sticky”.

    The lesson to be learned from this is not that “non combat non diku” MMOs are bad, but that early incomplete launch is a devestating thing!

    Honestly, when i look at many of the non.MMO games coming out, i’m seeing improvements and simplification in UI (less buttons, less bars etc), deeper gameplay, more options. Why do MMOs seem to be going the other way with more clunky/confusing UI, shallow repetative gameplay and less options?

  15. I never had the chance to try that game, when I heard about it the first time was still a beta or so, so I thought I could give it a try when the first official version would be out. And then I forgot about it until now with these bad news.

    I have a question: Are they going to opensource it now? Since the company is closing (‘bankrupt’), I think it would be better for the game to give it to the community rather than just throw everything to the dustbin. Maybe a GPLed version of Seed would be born again from its ashes in the future. IMHO opensource it would be a nice move towards the community.

  16. I tried it back in June (not sure when it launched). The interface was just flat-out atrocious and non-intuitive, the in-game help and tips difficult to understand and the game had a severe lack of content (aside from fixing broken hatches) and no real persistence (had to keep fixing those same pesky hatches) which was one of their big selling points! I don’t think any commercial game has ever made me really wonder if they had any QA at all.

    Very interesting concept. Very poorly delivered. I’m not at all surprised that it had such a short life.

  17. “killer chaotic amazon wars online”

    where do i sign up for that?! haha.

    Pirates of the Burning Sea – Not Diku, but it looks to me like Eve Online in the carribean. Still, its a nice change.

    that’s probably the MMO i’m most looking forward to.
    by the way, it’s EVE Online, in the caribbean, but with a ground game featuring avatar combat too. (but i’ve read denials that it’s not really like EVE)
    even so, yes please!

  18. I see games like Seed and Wurm, and think they’re trying to capture the ATITD niche. But as Cenn says, there’s no grab to them. I logged onto Seed once, and I really couldn’t tell you how it went. I logged off shortly afterwards, and I just don’t remember any of it.

    Most all of the players of ATITD have been caught up in one scandal or another. Most players of Puzzle Pirates join a crew mere seconds after logging on.

    It woulda been cool if you logged onto Seed, and you were instantly on a ship, and suddenly someone said “We need a level-1 engineer in corridor B or we’re ALL DEAD!” And lo and behold, you’re standing in front of an elevator with “TO CORRIDOR B” flashing atop it.

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