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Chris Avellone talks about cancelled games of the past and possibilities for the future at Eurogamer

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Chris Avellone talks about cancelled games of the past and possibilities for the future at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 27 June 2013, 16:48:42

Tags: Aliens: Crucible; Alpha Protocol; Chris Avellone; Dwarfs; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

There's an eclectic interview with Obsidian Entertainment's Chris Avellone at Eurogamer today. In the first part of the interview, Chris goes over some of the cancelled RPGs Obsidian has worked on over the years. His description of Aliens: Crucible is particularly detailed:

The Aliens: Crucible RPG that Obsidian was building for Sega was a kind of survival game that allowed you to build a base and improve it over time.​

"It was third-person, obviously over-the-shoulder [perspective], you create your own avatar in the Aliens universe, you guide a squad of - it's not like a Marine squad, it's a whole mix of different individuals who happen to be in this one location at this one time, which allows for a lot more variety," explained Chris Avellone, Obsidian's creative director, speaking to me at Rezzed 2013.​

"If you're dealing with a ship repair mechanic who may have no combat experience whatsoever, that obviously would serve a vital function in surviving in this predicament. So it's more of a third-person, two companions with you survival game, but it had a lot of the RPG trappings in terms of you could set up your own stronghold and base and build that up over time, explore more of the environment, figure out how you get all of the resources and stuff to survive."​

Chris Avellone reckoned it was "shaping up to be pretty strong", but Sega pulled the plug in 2009, three years after it was first announced.​

[...] "There was a lot of game design being done: obviously the narrative was down, the systems were down for what we wanted to do, all the companions had all the breakdowns for all of their narrative arcs, the concept art followed that."​

A a 13-minute gameplay video of Aliens: Crucible appeared on the internet earlier this year and showed a game that, at a glance, could have been the finished article. But in reality it was a brushed up portion of the game not representative of, but a kind of target for, the whole.​

It may not have been the most up to date video of Aliens: Crucible, either. "There was a vertical slice of it and I don't know if the video that was released was the actual vertical slice that we had," he said. "One of our designers mentioned that it was actually a milestone build from like a month or two before the actual vertical slice.​

"There was a lot done with it," Chris Avellone rued, "and man I'm really sorry that I didn't get a chance to do it, but things just didn't work out."​

Chris also mentions the Snow White RPG, and Project North Carolina, the nature of which sadly remains a secret. Interestingly, he also talks about an "Alpha Protocol 2", implying that it was a game that Obsidian was already in the middle of designing and had to cancel, which is news to me.

In the second part of the interview, Chris talks about Obsidian's future. He mentions that they'd like to make more RPGs set in the "real world", and goes into further detail about his statement at Rezzed this week that publishers had shown interest in funding an oldschool, low budget RPG following Obsidian's Kickstarter success:

"We've been contacted by more than one publisher about doing that style of game because financially it makes sense for them and they realise the interest level from backers and players also works for them," he said. "I couldn't comment on the specific publishers, but it was just gratifying to see that they actually were interested in that style of game, when previously I thought it wouldn't be a good fit for any publisher.​

"But that sort of model did seem interesting to them and it seemed like it would work for them. What's even more gratifying is the publishers we've talked to are ones that aren't afraid of having a very reactive storyline or a deep storyline, or really deep mechanics.​

"They're not interested so much in accessibility because they recognise the people [who] support these games like those kind of mechanics and depth, and like worlds set up like that - that's the market that we would like to cater to. And I think that's admirable and that's awesome."​

Who could he be referring to? That second paragraph sounds like it's meant to be a hint.

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