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RockPaperShotgun Wasteland 2 Interview with Chris Avellone
Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 7 April 2012, 14:30:26Tags: Chris Avellone; Kickstarter; Wasteland 2
Now that the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter is well over $2.1mil in funding and Obsidian's Chris Avellone is confirmed to be on board for the game's development, RockPaperShotgun have reached out to him for an interview, and he said some pretty exciting things to them. Have a few snippets:
Chris Avellone: It’s up to the goals of the project. Brian’s leading the charge on that. I’ll be the one from Obsidian contributing, and as such, most likely in area/narrative design capacity. In addition, we’d be sharing our knowledge of conversation tree mechanics and layouts with InXile to make conversations in the game as good as they can be. We’ve had a lot of victories over the years that we’ve incorporated into our designs, and we’re eager to share them to make Wasteland 2 even better.
Furthermore, if there’s elements of the tools or other functionality that might help with Wasteland, we’d be looking into those aspects and sharing that knowledge as well (Here’s how we structure dialogue systems, here’s how we’ve set up the tools and editors to do X, Y, and Z, here’s some things that aid with script tracking reactivity, etc, etc).
RPS: The whole “getting Black Isle back together” news story set off a chain reaction of nostalgic comments, tweets, Facebook posts, and probably a few extremely meme-able YouTube videos. Meanwhile, Baldur’s Gate is coming back via Beamdog. There’s this giant contingent of RPG fans who constantly pine for the “golden age” to return, and now they’re getting their wish. Is that a good thing, though? Or is there a risk of pushing the genre backward — looking back without moving forward?
Chris Avellone: It depends what you mean by “backwards.” I still consider a lot of innovations that occurred with Fallout 1 and Wasteland to be unmatched in today’s RPGs. I feel true innovation often gets lost beyond features that require new engine tech and the latest video card when we can achieve more interesting game mechanics in tighter constraints.
I don’t think anything involving Kickstarter would stop future RPG iteration across the major franchises in the slightest. There’s still a market for those huge budget RPGs that people want, and they’re fun to play, so no harm there. I also don’t see the harm in the industry going “backwards” and forwards – again, I think there’s a lot of gameplay elements that can be learned from working on “old school” titles that are just as applicable in current titles and can push both genres forward.
RPS: I’ve seen an interesting trend in fan responses to the Wasteland-Obsidian probable partnership: “YES, IT’LL BE JUST LIKE FALLOUT 2.” Except that Wasteland and Fallout 2 are very different games — especially in terms of battle system, etc. How do you cater to Wasteland fans and Fallout fans while also making something that gamers who’ve never experienced either will dig?
Chris Avellone: I don’t think “modern gamers” want Wasteland 2. I think the people that remember and played these games want the Fallout 2/Wasteland experience which is a different target audience. [...] Lastly, this is my opinion: it’s Wasteland 2. It should be a Wasteland game. While there were differences between F2 and WL, there’s a lot of similarities as well: open world, open exploration, skill-based solutions, stat-based solutions, enemy types, coping with radiation, etc. I’ll be honest, we worked at playing around with Wasteland elements in Old World Blues, and people never felt the difference – they loved it all the more for those elements.
RPS: Speaking of that, will you still go forward with your own Kickstarter if the Wasteland Kickstarter passes $2.1 million? Do you have a planned start date for it yet? Or is it just an idea right now?
Chris Avellone: Yep, always in the cards. [...] We also plan to learn from Brian’s efforts. Brian positioned himself strongly in the Kickstarter model, made a lot of smart decisions, and he’s going further, by advocating it not just as a model for his game, but working to make it more industry standard. I want to support this, be involved with this, and learn from it. Wasteland 1 is in my top 10 games of all time. If I could travel back in time and tell younger Chris he’d have a shot at it, I probably wouldn’t be here today because he would be dead of a heart attack.
Also, Brian’s been really supportive of other Kickstarter projects, and he’s been great with us on this. My hope is that when we toss our hat in the ring, Brian would be willing to help us out, and I don’t doubt he will based on his actions with the community already.
The full interview can be found here. Enjoy.