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George Ziets Now on Formspring, Answering Your Questions
People News - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 15 April 2012, 22:20:18Tags: George Ziets; Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer; Obsidian Entertainment
Want to ask George Ziets (ex-Obsidian, narrative design on Mask of the Betrayer) a question? Why not visit his Formspring page, then? He's only recently started one and answered some questions there already, such as:
Sure - I’ve always wanted to develop a new IP, and it’s a rare opportunity in the industry. With the right team, I would consider an indie project (or starting a studio).
One of the standout moments in MotB was the scene between the spirit eater and Myrkul. Who wrote that scene?
I wrote the Myrkul scene (except for the Gann and Kaelyn lines, which were written by Chris Avellone).
A side note: Games are not always written sequentially, but MotB was. I started with the spirit barrow and worked my way through all the main plot dialogues, gradually building tension and unanswered questions until I reached the scene with Myrkul. It felt a lot like working my way through the plot of a novel. I think that sense of momentum really helped the Myrkul scene to work, like the big reveal in a Sherlock Holmes story. I doubt it would have turned out as well if I hadn't written that way.
Inspirations (Books, Movies) for Mask of the Betrayer?
No specific inspirations for the game as whole, but I am a Miyazaki fan, and you will find some homage moments to his movies. For example, the opening scenes of Spirited Away were an initial inspiration for the Slumbering Coven sequence, though that may or may not be evident. Certainly Okku and the animal spirits were partly inspired by Princess Mononoke, but also by animism and Japanese mythology more generally. (Plus I really just wanted a giant bear as a companion.) Additionally, I read a lot of Slavic mythology that informed the general tone of Rashemen.
One thing I tried to do was to figure out the overall influences on the setting (Japanese and Slavic mythos) and then delve into those mythologies to find further inspiration. I don’t think I would have drawn much from Miyazaki, for example, if the setting did not already evoke those cultural elements.
What lead to the choice of setting MoTB Rashemen? I loved it compared to the various Sword Coast uses.
Mostly, it was my frustration with the fact that EVERY D&D CRPG was set on the Sword Coast. That's a little bit of an exaggeration... but not much.
I literally sat down with the Forgotten Realms map and sourcebook and looked around for a setting that 1) I personally thought was cool, so that I would be inspired, and 2) had never appeared in a CRPG before.
Rashemen and Thay turned out to be perfect. They were close together, so the player could conceivably visit both in the same game, and Rashemen had roots in Japanese and Slavic mythologies (according to my reading, anyway), both of which I found interesting.
Anything else you want to know about MotB and other Obsidian titles George worked on? Then what are you waiting for? Get over there now.
Spotted at Gamebanshee and MCA's twitter