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J.E. Sawyer Interview By Grupo97

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J.E. Sawyer Interview By Grupo97

Interview - posted by Edward_R_Murrow on Tue 23 June 2009, 02:01:09

Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment

Gaming site Grupo97 has an interview with J.E. Sawyer up (in English), that asks some interesting questions about his views on gaming in general. Anyone looking for New Vegas information will be slightly disappointed, but it's a good read itself. Here's a few juicy quotes.

The threshold of simplicity that a hardcore gamer will accept is a lot lower than the threshold of difficulty that a mainstream gamer will accept.

A hardcore gamer may accept an automapping tool but scoff that in "the old days", he or she had to write things out on graph paper. A mainstream gamer will probably not accept the absence of an automapping tool. He or she will stop playing the game and tell everyone they know that it is terrible.
- Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment... Great games were developed at Black Isle, kind of games not easy to see today on the shelves. Some of them sold great, as Baldur's Gate. Do you believe would it be still possible to develop similar games to those today?

I guess it depends on how similar they need to be. In terms of mechanics, I think a lot of gamers wouldn't accept the controls or conventions of those old games. In terms of content, I believe it's still possible to do, but it's harder now.
The current gaming market doesn't typically support big budget games that deal with intellectually mature issues. Mature content is equated with sex and violence. Video games have not often been used as a theme-based or didactic medium, but that's not entirely the publisher's or developer's fault. As with films and books, most gaming audiences simply don't care as much about issues and themes as they do about visceral feedback.
I only did a bit of design work on the Dark Alliance games, but I think it was good for Interplay and Black Isle to work with Snowblind on those projects. Black Isle consisted almost entirely of PC RPG developers and it gave us a narrow focus. I think working on console titles helped open up some of the developers (myself included) to look at other input systems and gameplay styles.​
Go check it out. It's a nice interview.

Thanks Santiago!

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