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Chris Avellone Interviewed at GamesIndustry

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Chris Avellone Interviewed at GamesIndustry

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 25 July 2012, 09:42:18

Tags: Chris Avellone; inXile Entertainment; Obsidian Entertainment; Planescape: Torment; South Park: The Stick of Truth; Wasteland 2

GamesIndustry.biz has interviewed Obsidian's Chris Avellone, focusing on the usual list of topics including Wasteland 2, Kickstarter, South Park, and Planescape: Torment. Have some tidbits:

You've said that you're really enjoying the project, and that you're a big fan of Wasteland and know Brian pretty well - I presume you've got a fairly collaborative ethos when it comes to working?

Chris Avellone: That's pretty much how it's panned out so far. It's been pretty free-form with the story design, the area division, the flow of the adventure. Everyone's in a very collaborative mood - we just bounce ideas off each other, there's not much "we don't like this."

Brian knows Wasteland better than anybody, so I do defer to him on direction and feel of things if there ever is any doubt - he knows the product better than I do. I'm a huge fan and I enjoy designing for it, but at the end of the day it's Brian's original vision for Wasteland that made it so well received so I listen.

It must be odd working on Wasteland 2 after the modern Fallout - how do you keep Fallout ideas from cross-contaminating?

Chris Avellone: I actually discovered that Fallout was much more limiting than working on Wasteland, for a number of reasons. One is that the production pipeline is much more limiting now, in terms of what you can do, the second is that Fallout comes with a number of genre limitations. It's very important, for example to maintain that '50s sci-fi vibe. You can't lose that or you lose Fallout. In Wasteland, that's one of the parameters that's removed, you can do a fun post-apocalyptic game and have a lot more freedom with what you want to do. Wasteland 1 was full of crazy, fun stuff to do. I don't know if you can do that in Fallout and get away with it.

One last thing. Tempted by a Planescape Kickstarter?

Chris Avellone: Yes! Very tempted.

It seems like a prime target...

Chris Avellone: Yeah - I think the challenges we've spoken about would all have to be considered and to be honest I don't know if I'd want to do it as a Planescape game - I think a better approach would be to ignore the D&D mechanics and respect what Planescape was trying to do and what the game did and see if you can do what Fallout did when it became the spiritual successor to Wasteland.

I think if you made a game using some of the concepts of Planescape, the metaphysical ideas and the plane travel, without using the D&D mechanics, you could actually come up with a much better game. With Torment, I'd argue that the D&D base actually, in places, got in the way of the experience. It was a lot harder to make a game with those ideas in it with D&D mechanics. So much that we had to break a lot of them. We had to ignore certain spells, change up the class mechanic so that you can switch at any time you like by remembering abilities.

That was stuff that D&D didn't allow for, it was to restraining in some respects. If we did do a spiritual successor, then I don't know if we'd use the Planescape licence or attach the mechanics, perhaps something that has a different feel to Torment.​

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