Why, Robot: No Plans for Orcs Must Die 2 Mod Support

By Nathan Grayson on April 4th, 2012 at 11:11 pm.

Well, we ALL must die eventually.

After Orcs Must Die made an oh-so-straightforward name for itself with a multiplatform release, it was bit odd – though certainly not unappreciated – to see the second of its orc-slaying lineage go PC-only. But then I began to imagine the possibilities afforded by legally binding, exploding-collar-enforced commitment to our benevolent platform of choice. Custom levels, all sorts of off-the-wall player created traps, genre-twisting overhauls like Orcs Must Meticulously Manage A Small Business For Some Reason. So, giddy with thoughts of pie-in-the-sky promise (and my custom map that’s a lot like BioShock Infinite, except set on a giant pie), I asked Robot Entertainment if mod support was a lock for Orcs Must Die 2. Then I got really sad.

“We won’t be supporting Steam Workshop or similar modding for OMD2,” said a Robot Entertainment rep.

So that’s pretty cut-and-dry. But, on the bright side, Robot’s hedging every last one of its bets on PC. Consoles, somewhat amazingly, aren’t even on the radar. The rep explained:

“When looking at our communities, we were really happy with how enthusiastic our Xbox community was, but they were very small, especially when compared to our PC community of players. Ultimately, we chose to focus all of our resources on one platform this time around and we went with the platform where we had the largest community. We currently have no plans to bring OMD2 to consoles.”

So then, win some, lose some. In the meantime, fingers crossed for mod support in Orcs Must Di3, which I really hope won’t actually be called that.

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60 Comments »

  1. Flukie says:

    They should…

    But its up to them I guess.

    • Amun says:

      You wouldn’t say that if it was a mother was hurting her child. “No Timmy, you can’t go out and get fresh air with the other boys, you have to stay chained in the basement!”

      I believe we need a games protective service just as we have a child protective service. If you don’t treat your game with the love and attention it deserves, it should get taken away from you! Hah!

      • lphsaud says:

        This is certainly the cheapest Tablet PC! http://t.cn/zOKU7lZ

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        I realize your just making some good natured chuckles with your point, but I feel I should point out that Game Abuse is not equivicol with Child Abuse, for the less intelligent in the audience.

      • pipman3000 says:

        what does making a game and raising children have in common?

        both would take gabe newell 18 years :)

  2. amorpheous says:

    I have the first game sitting in my Steam account and have yet to install it. Damn you Steam sales and gaming backlog!

    • Shuck says:

      Yep, same here. That and about 90 other yet-to-be-installed games.

      • Askeladd says:

        Anybody else having problems with HDD capacity since you are using steam?
        It’s not steams fault but the other day I had a little problem: my firefox began to lag and I only got 2 kB/s in steam downloading TW:FotS. Turned out I had like 2MB’s left on my main HDD. It would be nice if Steam warned me that the download would never fit on my HDD.
        On the next PC I’ll take that into consideration when I plan it. SPAAAAAAAAAACE.

        • Fierce says:

          Steam does warn you if your install won’t fit… when the install begins. Space Required and Space Available remember?

          What must have happened is you started the download when you had the space to install it, used Firefox to do whatever, and then went under that threshold of necessary space while Steam was in mid-download.

          At that point, it isn’t Steam’s responsibility to constantly monitor your HDD to ensure you still have space while it downloads (I’d actually arch all of my eyebrows if it did that), it is your OS. Assuming your OS warned you you were running out of space, Steam did nothing wrong and all worked as it should have.

    • Carra says:

      My list is also way too big.

      OMD is great though, put it somewhere on the top of your list.

  3. Sillywhiteguy32 says:

    Orcs Must Die 3; The Revengening?

  4. Choca says:

    If they don’t allow mods then I hope this time we’ll get an additional game mode where you can pick a map, customize the monster waves and go nuts.

    • tungstenHead says:

      Every wave should be 5 frost ogres, 10 armored ogres, 20 regular ogres and a single kobold just to keep you on your toes.

    • Sillywhiteguy32 says:

      Not sure how that would work, i mean eventually it would get to the point where you would just kill everything with out even trying and it would become an AFK-fest. I think that having challenge maps instead of infinite waves keeps the game balanced.

      • Mistabashi says:

        Yeah, I don’t think infinite waves would work well, however I would like to see more waves with less breaks, a lot of the levels felt like they were over too quickly in the first one. Nightmare mode was also a bit of a disappointment to me, removing all the breaks just made it frustrating rather than challenging in a fun way. A level editor or at least some sort of challenge editor for the existing maps would be even better, but I’ll definitely be picking this one up regardless as I still had tons of fun with the first.

  5. Shivoa says:

    It would be cool if all games shipped with mod tools, but I have no idea if vForge can be distributed (which would be the editor they use to build the game, assuming this uses the same engine as the first game) or what their workflow is like (if it would take a lot to allow anyone else access to anything cool without requiring them to release source code or completely redesign their internal flow to allow external users to add content, rework features, or so on).

    Oh, and I’m sure they’re looking at healthy DLC sales and thinking that might not be quite so profitable if the community could work for free to build great new maps and work out some way of letting the cream of the crop rise to the surface for free. Or maybe that would give their game a 10 year life of endless sales and community support and upgrades.

    • Shuck says:

      “I’m sure they’re looking at healthy DLC sales”
      Yeah, this is the problem with the new sell-games-cheaply-and-make-money-on-DLC model (SGCAMMODLC?). It highly discourages modding, since that cuts into the revenue model – developers don’t want the basic game to be playable as-is for ten years. Much better to have continued interest due to (paid) DLC releases over time. Consumers frequently don’t think about how changing revenue models necessarily impacts game design.
      (Plus, yeah, games made in shorter production cycles in general are less likely to have had the time to make the production tools user friendly. I’ve worked on AAA projects where the production tools were still too ghastly to be released to the general public.)

    • Askeladd says:

      Yeah, there’s an awful list of games that I could think of that you get the feeling:

      “They don’t care, all they want are sales. Why did I even buy that game if I knew it beforehand? It’s such a great game but it’s held back by some horrible design decision, which you could fix by modding it.”

      I have no problem if they restrict modding for a game. It’s their decision that all they want us to eat is Vanilla with a bit of poo. But I’m getting older and I grow more tired of eating poo in my vanilla.
      Makes me throw up.

      Anyway let’s go away from that analogy.
      If a dev responds to the communitys needs and gives them what they really want it’s fine (How often do you see a Dev ask what we want?). But nowadays it’s all mediocre stuff that most of the time doesn’t add more depth and only fluff. I see games that need fixing asap and all they do is adding fluff, it’s making me angry at myself for purchasing it.

  6. trjp says:

    Interesting that they found so much more love in the PC because this is classic XBOX Arcade stuff really.

    Problem is that XBOX Arcade has – with the exception of a small handful of games of which this is one – become home to a massive amount of SHIT over the last year-or-so. MS have been turning away developers and yet what they’re accepting and putting out is often GARBAGE.

    Just under 2 years ago I bought a 360 because it had just enough ‘exclusive’ content to make that worthwhile – and I think the only games which remain ‘exclusive’ to 360 about which I care are Forza, Toy Soldiers and erm… I’ll get back to you if I think of another…

    Oh – Ridge Racer 6 gets some welly from me – and erm…

    • malkav11 says:

      I used to merely be mostly disinterested in XBLA, but there’s two factors that will likely contribute to my never again purchasing anything on the Xbox Marketplace, XBLA or otherwise. 1) Microsoft’s frankly infuriating policy of deliberately paying people NOT to make a PC version, at least for a time limited window. 2) My Xbox Live account was hacked some months ago, with all of my points balance spent by the hacker, and Microsoft’s response to the affair was extraordinarily unhelpful and unflexible. (And many many other people have had similar experiences.) I simply don’t feel safe having my credit card info attached to my account (which, thankfully, I didn’t at the time) or having any level of unspent point balance. And since I’m already rarely moved to play games on any of my consoles, it’s no real hardship to simply skip XBLA altogether.

      • trjp says:

        My XBOX account was hacked also – points stolen and MS refused to refund them – so I’m unlikely to spend money with them

        FORTUNATELY they make it easy to avoid doing so by releasing pap :)

        • Groove says:

          Also had my xbox account hacked.

          And yeah, the amount of guff is awful. I tried looking online for lists of the best 360 games and it was laughable. I often found top 25s that featured all three gears of war games as seperate entries and a couple of call of duties. Searching these lists found me the wonderful Shadow Complex, and a realisation that I didn’t really need to own a 360.

          Also, how they all pay a subscription for access to multiplayer games just blows my mind.

    • Barnox says:

      The only Xbox exclusives I got into were Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts and the Crackdown games.

      Definitely veered away from consoles now due to smaller resolutions making it harder to focus, the lack of customisation in most games (even down to control schemes) and the fact that I can get most of the games on PC on the cheap.

    • Kaese says:

      Toy Soldiers is coming to PC, to Steam even.

    • InternetBatman says:

      There’s Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

    • frightlever says:

      Fable 2, Red Dead Redemption, Crackdown and Deadly Premonition are all I’ve bought for the 360, but I haven’t been using it all that long and I’m trying to avoid the sort of backlog I have on my PC.

      It is curious that a few years ago everyone thought the only way to make money was on consoles or iOS and now the PC is having something of a resurgence.

  7. wu wei says:

    I’d say they were pretty satisfied with their sell-the-base-game, finish-it-with-DLC approach, given it worked so well for them last time.

    • Shuck says:

      It’s increasingly the way game developers have to work if they aren’t part of a large studio or publisher-backed. Get a bare-bones product out the door quickly, sell it for little or nothing, and then flesh out the game and make the revenue on the DLC.

    • bfandreas says:

      The OMD DLC was kind of nifty. First we got more toys and then we got a new playground.

      I imagine polishing their level building tools for general use is quite a lot of effort. I wouldn’t blame them for actually selling the fruit of their labours after a bit. At the usual OMD price point you can hardly argue with that.

      Sooo, this is 2012: Torchlight 2, Grimrock and OMD2. Not too shabby a lineup of indie titles. It makes me wonder why I should spend money on AAA offerings. Apart from Diablo3. Which suddenly has become quite a lot less of a priority.

      I have to say these last years have been quite good to PC gamers. Digital distribution benefitted the indies a lot more than the Big ActiUbiEAs. Beats the snot out of sharing sharware floppies and sending in for the full game.

      • sneetch says:

        The thing is I don’t think they made their own tools for OMD, I seem to recall that one of the reasons they don’t directly support modding is that they used 3rd party off the shelf tools for creating the levels and models and whatnot so the were licensing issues with any modding tools.

  8. soldant says:

    Why does every game have to have modding support? Unfortunately this isn’t the 90s, mods have dropped off quite a bit except for only a few specific titles (like Mount and Blade), unlike the glory days of Doom, Quake and the first Half Life when modding was extremely common. If people can mod, most of them can use Unity or UDK and make a game on their own.

    • Kent says:

      Because being able to create user generated content is ALWAYS a good thing, regardless of what time period you’re making mods in. The reasons that the creators of Orcs Must Die! choose PC is entirely financial and not at all based on what our platform can do relative to consoles. This is always a bad thing and poison to the computer game industry. The reason why we haven’t seen any Gears of War 2 is because of this mindset. It’s nonsense! It’s bollocks! It’s bullshit!

      • Zhou says:

        While I appreciate, and at some level agree with your angst here, saying that “entirely financial” decisions are “poison to the computer game industry” is more than a little silly. Money is very rarely the poison of industry.

        Yes, perhaps for our liking money takes too high a precedence over creative talent or community interaction, but its kind of important. What with it being an industry and all.

    • Vorphalack says:

      Modding and building a game from the ground up are worlds apart. Developers who activly support modding will often release a seperate dedicated mod kit, not the tools the game was built with.

      Not every game needs modding support, but when it is officially supported it can massivly extend the life span of a title, as well as enhance the customers experiance well beyond anything the developers could have delivered. Warcraft 3 kept selling years after the last official content update largely thanks to the DOTA mod. All of the Elder Scrolls games have been optimised by modders, in the case of Oblivion this made a barely tolerable stutter-fest actually playable. Total War is another example, the community behind those games has a long history of tweaking the CA code to provide a more realistic, less buggy war simulator.

      Whenever you see a PC specific release blocking mod support, it isn’t unfair to assume that they intend to favour DLC sales over user created content. Personally i’ve never seen that as a good move for customers, as providing some competition in the form of fan made content forces devs to keep the standard of DLC high. When the devs have the monopoly they tend to get lazy (see Dragon Age, Mass Effect 2, CoD).

      (edit: ME2 Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker were actually quite good, but the rest kinda stank of lazy.)

      • malkav11 says:

        There’s a difference between blocking mod support, and merely not supporting mods. That is to say, the former means active discouragement of mods and possibly security features put in place, the latter just means not providing tools or official modding functionality. Most games don’t actively support mods, but that’s not necessarily a barrier to mods existing. Just look at the Infinity Engine games. I can’t currently think of any games that are deliberately banning mods except Diablo III, but I imagine there must be others.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      @soldant, making a game with all assets from the ground up (all art from textures to models to (especially) animation, all audio etc etc ) is a MASSIVE amount of work, that’s why we really don’t see that many quality games made by people in their free time scattered all over the world. Making something like maps, reskins, new weapons, a new player model &c is reasonable thing to do even by a knowledgeable individual – so that’s what we’ll really be missing by lack of modding support.
      P.S. @Vorphalack got here first :)

    • DrGonzo says:

      Not everything needs mod support, but it would have been very cool in a game like this that seems perfectly suited to them. Extra turrets, weapons, enemies or big ole’ total conversions.

  9. DK says:

    I’m not miffed about no mods, since the number one thing that distinguished Orcs Must Die from all the other Tower Defense games out there, wasn’t the actiony part. Or even the Rube Goldbergy trap interactions.

    It was the fact that it was utterly polished, and finished. There was absolutely nothing wonky about it, the polar opposite (to it’s credit and success) of stuff like Dungeon Defenders, which was a pile of interesting ideas mushed together into an incoherent rambly mess.

    • dreadpirateryu says:

      Hey now, Dungeon Defenders is incredibly fun. It’s the only game I’m currently actively playing, and actively avoiding at times for productivity reasons, due to the fact that I start playing it and it’s suddenly 3am.

      I will admit that it’s not the best put together by any stretch of the imagination, especially network code and whatnot, but it’s incredible fun when played with a few friends.

  10. frenz0rz says:

    Am I the only person who occasional felt a twinge of sadness when killing an orc? These poor things are clearly being mind controlled for the twisted amusement of their ‘mistress’, and amid the roar of the horde you can sometimes hear cries of “Why are we here?” and “I want to go home!”. Poor orcs. Pity them.

    Then kill some more.

  11. tungstenHead says:

    The first game really was much poorer for the lack of a nude mod. Shame it won’t happen for the second game, either. I know most of us simply want a level editor, but a man can dream (i.e. have incredibly terrible nightmares), can’t he?

  12. BatmanBaggins says:

    Couldn’t care less that it doesn’t have mod support. Honestly, it’s not even something I had remotely thought about until I read this article.

    I’ll be there just for the well executed orc-slaughtering hijinks.

    • Martel says:

      I’ll have to agree with that, I don’t recall ever thinking I needed mods during the first one. It was a clean, solid experience that I really enjoyed. Got it during a Steam sale, almost by accident (damn Steam sales) and it was one of my favorite purchases from the last holiday.

      • DrGonzo says:

        Really? I enjoyed it but was left feeling that it needed more. That feeling of ‘wouldn’t this be brilliant if…’.

        Still a fantastic game though.

        • Martel says:

          Thinking back on it, that’s about the time I started playing Dungeon Defenders as well. Which is a real fun game, but I spend half my time in Dungeon Defenders saying “I wish this was here, or I wish this worked this way”. So maybe the fact that OMD was a polished experience was just so refreshing that I didn’t do it with that game.

  13. Net_Bastard says:

    Why should they? If you want to mod it, then you should just go nuts with the game’s files. It’s harder, sure, but look at Minecraft. That game had so many mods made for it, even though official mod support didn’t come for a while. You don’t need mod tools for every single PC game.

    • dreadpirateryu says:

      Minecraft was made in a programming language which can be decompiled pretty easily, allowing for much easier reverse-engineering of how the game works than something like Orcs Must Die. Most games are compiled down to the assembly code level, which is almost impossible to mod anything complicated into, let alone understand the full game logic.

      You might be able to change the models for things (Smash Bros has this done all the time), but that’s probably the extent to which “mods” will happen until some kind of official tools are released, possibly in some future release of the game.

  14. Prime says:

    Forget the lack of Mod support. I think the bigger headline is the fact that the franchise is focusing on PC over consoletoy. For too long we’ve been seen/portrayed as the poor relation, the afterthought. It’s great to finally hear of at least one title going the other way. :)

    • Dominic White says:

      It’s because Microsoft have driven Xbox Live Arcade into the ground. Even big EA-published, high-budget games struggle to break 10k sales in their first month, and unlike Steam, there’s no ‘long tail’ sales – after that first month, you’re lucky if you break 500 sales a week.

      A lot of developers are jumping ship back to PC, because it’s just a much safer bet.

      • AndrewC says:

        This I want a story on, as Xbox live seemed a real selling point earlier in the generation, with real excitement being generated over all sorts of games.

        Tangentally related to PCs I suppose, but it is about DD, and the future strategy of one of the big boys, and this effects the landscape that games, including PC games, will be made in for the next half decade.

  15. sneetch says:

    Far and away the most important piece of information in this story is this: there are Arrow Wall traps on the ceiling in that screenshot! On. The. Ceiling.

    That is all, carry on.

  16. MattM says:

    Mod support is great, but I judge games based on what they have not all the things they could have had but didn’t chose to include. When people get mad that a SP game doesn’t have co-op or multi it seems like they really just should have bought a different game or an additional game to satisfy their needs. The developers chose to focus on SP for the first game and it paid off with well balanced levels that challenged the player. If they tacked on co-op, most levels would have become trivially easy. They could have designed a whole other co-op mode, but now people are asking them to make a fundamentally different game.

  17. Malibu Stacey says:

    Non-story is a non-story.

    This sort of thing one would expect from the so called “Red Tops”, making stories out of nothing which the RPS hivemind are quick enough to denounce when others do it.

    If you had any idea how much effort is involved in making something like Orcs Must Die in the first place you’d see why a small self-publishing indie studio like Robot Entertainment wouldn’t be putting any development resources towards mod support.

    Just because you ‘play’ games, doesn’t make you an authority on how to make games.