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Chris Avellone Interview

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Chris Avellone Interview

Interview - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 8 July 2011, 10:12:37

Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

Another MCA interview hit the web, this time Codex' favorite developer answers questions to Nightmare Mode.

Recently there has been a lot of commotion over Matt Findley’s (Hunted: The Demon’s  Forge–and also hailing from Interplay) comments regarding older fantasy games–typically RPGs–”always wanted to be action games at their heart.” Do you agree with that statement? Would you, as someone who also worked at Interplay, say that some of the games you’ve worked on in the past actually wanted to be action games at heart?

I think Stonekeep definitely wanted to be an action RPG (Ultima Underworld was out around that time). I don’t think Baldur’s Gate could have been and still been Baldur’s Gate (or at least had as many party members), same with Torment and Icewind Dale. That said, however, at points in development at Interplay there were action RPG versions of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape (not Torment, but an action title like King’s Field in the same universe) all in the works, although only the ARPG BG title came out (Dark Alliance).
The dialogue wheel vs. traditional lines of text. Do you think choosing one or the other for an RPG has significant consequences? Does the former make role-playing easier since you are choosing based on a general principle, or harder since you don’t know exactly what you are choosing to say?

I prefer choosing text lines because I want to know exactly what I am going to say, not the “gist” of what I’m going to say and then passively watching to see what I say. This may sound strange coming from the narrative designer of the title, but I didn’t like the emotion adjectives in Alpha Protocol, even though there were parts of that system that I thought were great.
Also, I don’t usually care for games that give my character a voice – that’s my only comment. I think it works sometimes (Mass Effect), other times I feel it ends up being extraneous and a waste of time… although it all depends what type of “role-playing” you’re doing. If you’re role-playing a specific character (which may sound strange in the context of “role-playing”), then voice is fine and great. If you’re allowed to build and customize your character, I prefer no voice.
Then again, my approach with that may be Old School, so take that with a grain of salt.
What a coincidence, I also thought AP's dialogue wheel sucked.
Spotted at: Gamebanshee

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