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Mike Laidlaw on GTA:San Andreas

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Mike Laidlaw on GTA:San Andreas

Interview - posted by DarkUnderlord on Sat 31 October 2009, 16:53:18

Tags: BioWare

Ausir interviewed Mike Laidlaw at the recent Wardens Quest / Dragon Age event thingo in London. Here's some stuff:
Recently there's been a shift towards merging action games and RPGs. Do you think it's inevitable, or will there be also place for more traditional RPGs?

I think there's place for all kinds of games and when we think we're getting action in our RPGs, all it takes is to look at something like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and look at all the RPG that got into a game that's supposed to be just about driving and shooting. You could level up your driving skills, your sex-appeal, your muscle mass. San Andreas got a lot of RPG in there and it's actually my favorite entry in the franchise. So I don't think you have to look at it as an opposition. When people actually look at the old-school RPGs, I don't think anyone wants to go back to really obscure interfaces, really hard to use things or typing in text commands again. I think what people are really looking forward is a grand experience and a story that is reactive. But I don't think that in any way you have to look at some of the improvements that we got from the action games like the interface and say "oh, we don't want those".
How does the design process look at BioWare? Do you write extensive design documents, or maybe just have a very basic outline and add stuff as you go along?

I think it's a hybrid between those two. You can't just shoot from the hip, you can't develop based on faith. The budgets are far too big to just create whatever and see if it works. You need to have a basic design, I think that more importantly what you need to have is a vision. You need to have a goal and something you're trying to create, whether it's something like a spiritual successor to Baldur's Gate 2, or an experience that makes you feel like Jack Bauer in space, commanding a team of badass commandos. And one person cannot do it all so you have to convey that idea, that vision. But generally you have to be flexible, you can't get locked down with the design and go "Well, we wrote that four years ago, back when all kinds of new technology haven't come out yet". You don't want to get stalemated by that.

Levlling up shit in San Andreas blew massive chunks.

Thanks Ausir!

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