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Gothic 3 interview, part I

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Gothic 3 interview, part I

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Wed 3 May 2006, 01:56:12

Tags: Gothic III; Piranha Bytes

1. Let's start at the beginning. How do you evaluate the first two Gothic games and the expansion? What do you see as strengths to build on and what as weaknesses to improve?

Kai Rosenkranz: The Gothic series has evolved. Since we started in 1997, we have constantly improved the Gothic games and eliminated many of the weak points from the first instalment. The original Gothic 1 established a certain atmosphere which became the typical "look and feel" of the series. Even though all the previous Gothic titles were very different in terms of mood and setting, we tried to maintain the fresh roughness and coolness of the world and its inhabitants. One of the most important features of all Gothic games is the lifelike gaming world and the realistic behaviour of both humans and creatures.

In order to be able to wipe out the weaknesses, we had to be very aware of what the players liked or disliked. In close cooperation with the community we identified the worst faux-pas (such as the incomprehensible interface or the gradual loss of tension in the later chapters) and passed them on to a major overhaul. Of course any of the Gothic games has its own strengths and weaknesses, and with each new instalment new boobs wormed their way into the design ;). But on the other hand, innovative features and the lifelike gaming world make up for these minor nuisances and the overall gaming experience pleased the majority of players.

2. It looks like Piranha Bytes is developing and evolving the once light RPG elements of Gothic 1 further with every game. Why the focus on role-playing?

Actually we haven't changed the depth of the RPG elements all that much. In some cases we had to add new numerical values in order to be able to realize new gameplay elements, but all in all the easy accessibility and the emphasis on the characters (not the numbers) remained unchanged. The level of difficulty was admittedly subject to heavy fluctuation throughout the series so far, but this was not achieved through adding weight to the RPG aspects of the games.

The opposite is the case. We have made the Gothic games easier to handle so as to make them accessible even for inexperienced RPG-players. In fact, we don't see the Gothic games as RPG games in the narrower sense. We rather consider them fantasy action adventures with certain role-playing enrichments.

3. Speaking of role-playing, how do you understand the term RPG? What features or design elements are important to you in an RPG and why?

"Role playing" actually means slipping into the role of another character and acting and behaving accordingly. A game that is focused on role playing has to be able to make the game players think "If I were him, what would I do next and how would I solve this problem?" and – of course - offer the freedom to realize their ideas. Most RPGs come with a character generation which allows to design and shape the protagonist to a certain degree. On that score, we go our own way and nail the players down on one character, our nameless hero. Thus we are able to tell his story and put great effort into the way our hero is presented. Still, the players have great freedom to do exactly what they want and influence his character development in the course of the adventure. Apart from this enormous degree of freedom, an RPG needs a captivating story to come to life. In a first person shooter, for example, an NPC doesn't need a background and a sophisticated simulation of human relations since his screen-time is usually smaller than ten seconds. An RPG needs all this to an extend greater than in any other genre.

4. So, the Orcs have won, and now you have a choice: to help the humans, to side with the Orcs, or to stay in the middle. Are we talking about a few separate quests or can one really play a large portion of the game enforcing the Orcish rule, for example?

Yes, that’s one of the things the player can do once he has allied with the Orcs. The first necessary step is to rise in their estimation. In some besieged enclaves the Orcs conduct arena fights for their amusement. The game player can take this opportunity to prove he's worth becoming one of them, and there are special missions he can accomplish for the Orcs.

7. Speaking of saving worlds, any chance for alternative endings, depending on the actions & choices of my characters.

We don't want to give too much away, so I hope a "yes" will do. If not, here comes an "absolutely". ;)

13. How does Gothic 3 handle choices & consequences? How important are choices and what would they affect? Would my character (not the player!) ever get a reason to regret a previously made choice?

Gothic 3 is all about choices in the first place. Yes, there are great sword fights, powerful magic, a lifelike gaming world... but yet choices are the main gameplay element. The player can literally shape the world and influence the story through the way he's handling things. Most decisions have to be made in the field of human relations. The way the player is treating others influences their attitude towards him, and thus their cooperativeness depends on the right choice of words. With a dexterous tongue the hero can even talk a whole city into a revolution. This can also backfire on him, of course. If he falls out of favour with someone, he will most likely not get useful hints or lucrative quests. And yes, if the whole world wants him dead, he might at last regret his choices.

The second part of the interview will be posted a week after E3 as per Piranha Bytes' wishes. You can expect a lot of new info about the game to be released shortly.

There are 33 comments on Gothic 3 interview, part I

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