BG&E2 art assets to be partially crowdsourced

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BG&E2 art assets to be partially crowdsourced

Alexa
IRIS Chief
Alexa
IRIS Chief
Joined: Aug 24 2005, 05:54 PM

Jun 15 2018, 03:35 PM #1

https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/11/1745 ... 18-ubisoft

okay, that is absolute bullshit.

looking at how they've been trying to get fans involved with polls and fanart features, at first I thought that they're just gauging the market to make production easier for them. it looks like though that this is quite a clever scheme to get cheaper workers for the promise of "making your dream game". that right there is effing despicable. being in the creative professional field myself and having gone through the same "working for exposure" bs, I cannot support this game anymore if they do that. they might claim that yeah sure, we're gonna pay and you are gonna keep rights to your work - that's the bare legal minimum they're required to do. what they mean by that is "we're gonna save a shitton of money by hiring excited newbies instead of super expensive seasoned professionals". and you can't fuckin lose authorship rights, unless you explicitly give them away yourself. you sure can lose the rights to decide how your work is gonna be profited from though, which is what creative work contracts usually limit most of the time.

I knew there was something up with how they've been trying to campaign the game, and if that's how it's gonna be, I can't support that sequel anymore, even if it's gonna turn out good. sorry.

edit: also just gonna get personal here cause I'm so frustrated at this - BG&E's artistry was what made me wanna take up a professional art career. seeing this thing happen is just heartbreaking as hell. what made the first game so good was the talent behind it and I think that talent should be treated with uttermost respect and gratitude. I hate how businesses treat talent as disposable, and in my career I got the taste of that myself. that's why I wanna level with you guys - please treat people who make your entertainment right. I may not convince you guys to stop being excited for the sequel you've been waiting for for over a damn decade and that's fine. you choose what to do with your time and money. after all, if you tried to be super fair about it you probably wouldn't be able to spend a single dime on any entertainment or service, cause there's always someone somewhere out there being exploited. hell, I watch movies made by underpaid CG artists and I too get anal about the quality of the work I see sometimes. but I ask you of this - next time you see a thing and find at least one thing you like about it, find out who was the person responsible for that, then learn about them and try to support them if you can. if it really made a personal connection with you, then it would be pretty great, at least for your own good, to enrich yourself with knowledge about the person behind the thing you like.

ok, I'm done with my tirade. sorry to bother you guys.
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G.A.Pster
IRIS Chief
G.A.Pster
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Joined: May 11 2005, 03:00 AM

Jun 16 2018, 03:13 AM #2

I was planning on buying BG&E 2 used if that makes you feel better.

It's only a matter of time now.
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Alexa
IRIS Chief
Alexa
IRIS Chief
Joined: Aug 24 2005, 05:54 PM

Jun 18 2018, 01:18 AM #3

thanks for your consideration, G.A.Pster.

there's been extra stuff concerning HITRECORD recently and I wanna go over this so you guys would at least have a better idea how harmful including an outsourcing company like this is to the market and the overall quality of the product itself.


this is the statement released by the CEO of HITRECORD, released in response to all the accusations. in it, he claims several things, like this one for example:
In particular, some folks have raised concerns that HITRECORD and Ubisoft are asking people to do spec work. If you haven’t heard the term before, “spec” stands for speculative, and spec work is when professionals work for free in hopes of getting paid later. In this digital age of crowd-sourcing, there’s been a wave of corner-cutting by way of spec work, and freelancers have often been left feeling exploited.
he claims this sort of practice won't happen here. but you know how spec work usually occurs? yep, by claiming to the freelancer that they will get paid, then either delaying payment or avoiding it altogether. in order to protect themself from a situation like this, a freelancer usually attempts to ask for a percentage of the payment upfront, so that a potential exploiting client would at least pay something before running away with the work. in a crowdsourced work scenario though, a freelancer is just unable to discuss their contract before their work is taken - they have to blindly submit it and are left expecting for the payment without any security. also, I see absolutely no info about how a contract for a work like this is planned to work, so I have to assume it is formed after work is already done. now, let's go over the list of facts that their CEO provided:
HITRECORD pays artists. Some people seem to think we don’t. We do. Since we launched as a production company in 2010, we’ve paid our community $2,776,728.50.
this sounds like a good sum of money until you take into consideration his statement from the beginning of the article:
If you don’t know what HITRECORD is (I’ll admit, most people don’t), it’s a creative community of roughly 650,000 people working together on all kinds of art and media
so, let us just do a little basic math to get an estimate of how much money that is per person and... it's 4 dollars. 4 measly dollars. adding that to the fact that all that money was spread across 8 years of this company's existence, that equals 50 cents of profit for a single person per year. but okay, that estimate assumes there had to be 650000 people in this community from the very beginning. so, imagining there was a moving pool of people coming and going through the community, that means an even lower estimate. also, if this is taken to be true:
That said, we don’t just pay scraps. Some people make hundreds, some people make thousands, a few people have made tens of thousands. Oftentimes a finished product will include a large number of tiny contributions, and those contributors can receive tiny paychecks. And we pride ourselves on being very upfront and transparent about all of this.
then true. tiny paychecks. as in, nonexistent for many, many contributors. plus, you can make hundreds in much more secure ways. here's the next statement from the bullet list:
We’re not soliciting complete works. People on our platform work together by contributing bits and pieces, layering remix on top of remix. Finished projects are usually touched by a great many collaborators. We don’t think of it as a contest.
that means you are very likely not to be able to contribute a thing in the way you would like to. actually, I had a look at their submission system (which you can find here https://hitrecord.org/productions/3502858 ) and it looks very much like your typical production notes. it means you will be executing a vision of the main exec team and if your version is not good enough, someone will take it and redo it until it fits what they expect. that is very much against the "spirit of fan collaboration" they claim they're trying to do. you're basically doing cheap workforce stuff and, if you're coming into this with any attachment to ideas you want to submit, forget it. besides, they say that's not a contest but looking at the overall number of submissions from the link I posted up there, they will have to pick & choose the best ones. so yep, if the sumbissions have to be picked, that's technically a contest; unless they use every single one, which is probably undoable, looking at the sheer number and varying quality of works submitted through their system. nnnext point:
Contributors retain rights to their work, whether it’s used or not. When you upload original content to HITRECORD, you grant our company a non-exclusive license to monetize and therefor pay you for it. You’re always free to do whatever you want with it elsewhere.
as I said earlier, authorship rights cannot be lost through a contract like this, unless they're explicitly transferred. monetization rights mean that you are going to get paid, but you surrender all control of that payment to the company, so you won't be able to dispute anything in that regard. and I have a sneaking suspicion about that last sentence - no company would soundly just go and give the author all the rights to do anything with the work they did for a project. for example, let's say I submitted an artwork and it went through. if I were truly free to do anything with it afterwards, that would mean I could potentially use the artwork for unsavory stuff, like slandering a company, putting it in pornographic material etc. no company would EVER give this much freedom to an artist, so there must be a handful of asterisks to that one in the contract.
Ubisoft is not cutting any corners. HITRECORD’s contribution to Beyond Good & Evil 2 has not resulted in a single job lost. They’re not doing this to save time and money. They’re doing it to allow fans who love playing games to get involved in making the game.
this I think is the most blatant one. they claimed that the planned budget for fan submissions is $50,000, which sounds like a lot but again, looking at the amount of submissions they accumulated right now, is not all that much. I mean, funny how they're claiming that while producing a game that's been tanking ubisoft for nearly 15 years 🤔 companies tend to take more risks once they either accumulate a big enough budget or know the project they're doing is going to return a profit. to me, this reads as an attempt to cover insecurity behind their executive decisions for an obviously risky project by trying to make it look marketable. in actuality, they found a way to weasel out of paying more for expensive professionals and are not concerned with quality enough. and if the game tanks then there'd be a lynchpin for the gaming media to blame it on the involvement of the community itself. this isn't an act of gratitude and kindness for the community, just a calculated executive decision.

I'm tired from reading up on all this bs and I wish I didn't have to. I really wanted to trust ubi and ancel that they'd just chill and do their own vision, without trying to pander and cut corners in such a stupid way. I know they wanted the first game to be expansive and have many worlds; they worked around that limitation by working on making the game's story as engaging as possible. you can always make something greater than the sum of its' parts if you put enough love and care into what you do. I really hoped to see that again and I don't see it anymore.

if you're thinking about submitting, please also watch this first:
this guy goes further into the issues and reasons why you shouldn't, also gives the submission system a more thorough look. as for me, I think it'd be just better to invest that precious time into doing your own piece of work. it'll be much more worth it in the long run.
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JerichoMccoy
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JerichoMccoy
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Joined: Jan 13 2005, 04:21 PM

Jun 19 2018, 04:01 AM #4

Totally dig the reporting you did for this endeavor, Alexa. Much like Jade, you got through to find those facts and information that substantiates the feelings of the practice being involved here. With this information, I came out a bit more informative than I did before.

A part of me wants to believe that this fiasco is due to not deliberate exploitation but lacking hindsight; a good idea but not developed to a point where it makes sense. From my knowledge, I do not believe another company has done something like this in this scale so with the backlash and input that has been surrounding this point, I hope they do recognize and listen to the fan (and artist) feedback to rectify the situation (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided received backlash for its pre-order debacle as well as EA for its infamous 'Loot Box' situation so companies do listen to the consumers when their voice is loud enough). 

Watching that video you linked, there was a comment I agreed with on my whole view:

"Gregory House 5 days ago

I agree at points and I don't agree at points.

Things I agree with: They absolutely should have been more firm about what they wanted, so the artist know what to work on with what style that was needed. The most they went into was 'we're looking for what space pirates are looking to listen to" music wise and didn't really touch up on the graffiti submissions. $50,000 is... not a lot of money in retrospect. I'm not entirely sure how many submissions they'll be using, because if they use 100 or so that's only... $500 per person. If it was a least $100,000 then this would be an easier pill to swallow.

Things I disagree on: Is this worth while in anyway...? Yeah. Getting paid in "exposure" sucks a lot, but putting "-Insert song or Illustration- I put in Beyond Good and Evil 2" on a resume would be an eye catcher. And it's not like it was to be a magnum opus of a piece, even a 2 minute loop would work well as long as it's not completely half assed.

 Is this a scam.... I don't think so. Is this low-balling anyone who submits something, oh totally. They should have had a higher budget and a more concrete explanation of what they wanted, but at the same time it would let some people just go nuts with something they been wanting to try, but haven't had the creative push to do so."
 The part that gets me, personally, is that I have waited a long, long time (we all have) for this game to come out. This game brought us together, brought our own creative juices flowing. Dabbling in video editing and media was not even in my mind until I began playing this game and wanting to share my feelings with others about it. To contribute to its development, even as a fan for something mundane as street art or a song in-game that many probably will not even listen to, would be a gift in my eyes.

However, I will have to give it some thought. Yes, there probably is some Ubisoft executive(s) rubbing their hands maliciously, looking at how much money they will save (probably not that much), but I look at the development of BG&E2 itself: I listen to the development, I look at what they have made so far, what they desire to bring to the table. Michel Ancel had to make the rabbids exist in order for him to make this sequel come out. 

For myself, as a fan, I respect the artists on both sides. I will do what I can to ensure that people are aware of the HitRecord contribution model and ask those questions and get those answers that are needed. Maybe I will hold off on putting any submissions till this issue is resolved. But as it stands, I will support Michel Ancel and his team that brought the game this far.
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