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Interview Feargus talks TVG ear off

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Vault Dweller, Apr 7, 2006.

  1. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Tags: Feargus Urquhart; Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment

    And another <a href=http://www.totalvideogames.com/articles/Neverwinter_Nights_2_QA_Feature_9679_3995_0_0_0_0_20.htm>Feargus interview</a>, spanning across 7 pages, and revealing the most intimate secrets and dreams of the Obsidian folks (which mostly revolve around making KOTOR 3):
    <br>
    <br>
    <blockquote>You learn the most when you go through a full production cycle, so if you make a game over forty-eight months then you you're only learning every forty-eight months. Not exactly, but I think you can learn more if you ship a game every eighteen months.</blockquote>KOTOR 2 is a fine example of what Feargus & Co have learned from the IWD blitzkrieg.
    <br>
    <br>
    <blockquote>But when you can be persuaded that, "Right, there's a thing in me, and these guys want it out" it gives you more reason to move forward more through the story. The thing also gives you powers as well...</blockquote>Of course. You can't have a game without powahz. Btw, isn't it kinda sucks that the only motivation Obsidian could come up with is: "Uh, you have...uh, a piece of a sword inside of you. So, uh, you might wanna see someone about it. It's a magical sword. I think it gives you, uh, like, powers and stuff. Pretty cool, huh?"?
    <br>
    <br>
    <blockquote>I think initially with the first part of the game, as you're learning how to play, there's not a situation where an arrow's going to hit you in the skull and you die. In a lot of other previous D&D games, you could die pretty quickly, and whenever you die and you have to go back to a save, or you forget to save and you have to go back to the start, people who experience that a few times aren't going to continue with the game because they keep on dying. </blockquote>How awful! Please stop telling us these horrible stories! You are scaring the children.
    <br>
    <br>
    <blockquote>We have been in talks with LucasArts to do KOTOR3 since August 2004 and we'd had hopes to start on it after KOTOR2. LucasArts are currently thinking about it, but we'd be really happy to do KOTOR3 if that's what LucasArts wants. </blockquote>Can't be someone's bitch forever, Feargie
    <br>
    <br>
    And finally...
    <br>
    <blockquote>The reason at the time, because I would have loved to have made a Fallout MMO, was that I believed that Interplay was just not in a situation where they had the resources to do it. When you go off to do an MMO it's going to cost $100 million before you get it on the shelf; you've gotta buy servers and you've gotta have service people, and you have to have Game Masters. It's an undertaking, and on top of that, it means that you do have to do all that stuff so what else are you going to focus on? What other games are you going to be able to make? </blockquote>Well, it's nice to know that only the lack of resources, and not the fact that it's a really stupid idea, had stopped Feargus from making a Fallout MMO. Very comforting.
    <br>
    <br>
    <br>
    Thanks, Stephen
    <br>
     
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  2. DarkUnderlord Bringing that old Raptor magic.

    DarkUnderlord
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    Doesn't he just mean this for "the first part of the game" like he says? If that's just a small section, then that's not too bad. If however, it's an extended section or it's hish design philosophy for the entire game, then he's making some pretty boring games which lack any decent challenge.

    :shock: No, really. :shock:
     
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  3. Screaming_life Liturgist

    Screaming_life
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    Yes, i believe so... the quote would continue:

    Basically there is a tutorial bit at the beginning.
     
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  4. Section8 Erudite

    Section8
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    The poor Fallout license. It has so many enemies.
     
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  5. z3r'0' Liturgist

    z3r'0'
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    Fallout kinda reminds me of the Holy Grail.

    Something everyone is after, but for all the wrong reasons.

    *slamdunk*
     
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  6. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    So are you forced to go through the idiot, child-proof period if you're not a complete fuckwit?

    Well. As long as it gives you powers... Gah. Feargus, this isn't a story. This is a lame ass sub-plot thats worth maybe a footnote in a design doc. If the story is 'Player is an adventurer, with a sword fragment in him, people keep attacking player to get fragment. Player eventually gets it out, and {reunites it with other fragments for uber-artifact/destroys the last piece of the Horcrux... I mean, Artifact/plays twiddlewinks with the Githyanki}' you've got a shitty story. One that actually manages to sound worse than NWN's OC.

    Yes, it doesn't across as the epic only YOU can save the world crap, but couldn't try for a engrossing story that pulls the player in on its own merits? Not the woo, people are popping up out of no where to attack me for reasons that won't be clear until chapter 2! But perhaps a 'what's influencing a major political figure into making strange decisions; why are bandits/monsters/ mercenaries gathering in the wilderness' or any number of reasonable plots.

    People buy games to have fun playing them. You don't have to resort to a lame-ass gimmick to convince them to continue playing it. The game just has to not suck.


    And for the record, an exploding sword fragment entering a baby = dead baby.
     
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  7. Old Scratch Liturgist

    Old Scratch
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    I know he was referring to the initial part of the game, but I have to wonder where developers have gotten this idea in recent years that game must automatically be easy in parts to keep people playing them. I don't think I've ever seen anyone say that a game was too hard to the point that they were forced to quit out of frustration. Games by their nature are supposed to be challenging. Besides, if someone makes a shitty character, it's best they find out before they get too far into it.

    His comments about churning out games like a factory assembly line remind me of why Feargus seems totally out of touch. It's better to release one, deep and highly polished game than three rushed, flimsy pieces of mediocre crap. Is he totally fucking unaware of the practices of other successful developers or what? Do Blizzard, BioWare, Valve, or Bungie try to crank out a half-assed game every 18 months? No. They spend ages polishing one title and rake in a shitload of cash and consumer respect for it. You also risk flooding the market and creating too much competition for yourself by releasing too many titles over a small period of time.

    That whole philosophy of cranking out rushed games seems like one of the main factors why Black Isle went under in the end, and from some of his statements, Feargus still seems totally oblivious to that fact. Hell, Obsidian already took heat for not really finishing KOTOR 2. Trying to rush releases and meet constrictive deadlines is one of the things that destroyed Troika too.

    I hope Chris Parker and Avellone are making some of the business decisions, because it seems to me that with just Feargus in charge, Obsidian is likely doomed to failure.
     
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  8. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    "I hope Chris Parker and Avellone are making some of the business decisions, because it seems to me that with just Feargus in charge, Obsidian is likely doomed to failure."

    you people is nuts... as is par for the course. a brand new crpg development company manages to land sequels to:

    1) a pc crpg that sold over 2 million copies

    2) one of the top 3 selling xbox crpgs

    yeah, fergie is running obsidian into the ground.

    fergie and Gromnir do not see eye to eye on much, and we still blame him for the untimely death of BG3 and the inexplicablly pregnant period of time it took to finally start developing fo3, (and who were the person responsible for getting lithtech anyways?) but fergie has managed to land two plum gigs that will get his new company considerable exposure and probably a good bit of cash... depending on the deal he worked out with lucas and atari.

    btw, iwd were black isle's most profitable development. yeah, fergie went back to the well too many times, but there is no little evidence to suggest that the only reason bis stayed in business as long as it did is 'cause of quick-fix trash. which is not to say that we is advocating a continuation of the trend now that fergie is running obsidian, but some o' you clowns should really learn what you is talking 'bout before you shares your dubious insights with the rest of the class.

    ...

    nevertheless, it is always fun to see just how big an arse vd can make of himself as he editorializes his news drops. is kinda like reading the onion... if the onion writers didn't realize that they were making funny.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  9. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Now if only you'd follow your own advice...
     
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  10. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    ah... pretty much what we expected from vd. "i know you are, but what am i?" kinda responses is no doubt the bread and butter of the average codexian (or 6 year old,) but they rarely merit much consideration from adults... or Gromnir.

    oh well.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  11. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    And pretty much what I expected from you. What else is new?

    Wow. One minute you are attacking & insulting, but when I applied your own comment to you, you quickly climbed on that high horse and stated that such responses won't get any consideration from you. No siree.

    As usual, your strong belief in and worship of your own righteousness is amusing.
     
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  12. bryce777 Erudite

    bryce777
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    I am sure the star wars license had nothing to do with those sales.

    Those games are also pretty questionable games - I had NO desire to play them after reading up on them, and after hearing people's complaints I feel I was totally justified.

    Churning out mediocre crap without light sabers involved won't get you too far.

    Of course, this is yet another big license so all you have to do is not be a total fuckwit and you can make money, but if you put a game out there people really wanted then you could make it big - bioware didn't get big with baldur's gate by putting out a halfassed game in under two years. It was absolutely a full-assed game, Heh.
     
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  13. Saint_Proverbius Arcane Patron

    Saint_Proverbius
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    I still say that KotOR2's story kicked the shit out of KotOR's.
     
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  14. Lady Armageddona Liturgist

    Lady Armageddona
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    Blah, NWN sounds more and more like crap as well as anything Obsidian are or would be cooking up. The only thing that I might give a chance them for, would be a newIcewind Dale. At least I have some fond memories of those games.
     
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  15. Claw Erudite Patron

    Claw
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    Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I am so looking forward to Battlefield 2142.
     
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  16. themadhatter114 Liturgist Patron

    themadhatter114
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    Why would you say that it's only the lack of resources that made him not want to do an MMO, when he has a second reason right after that explaining why he doesn't want to do one, a reason which he elaborates on for 2 paragraphs? Perhaps the money situation was his argument when he discussed it with Brian Fargo, but he has his own personal reasons beyond that why he personally didn't want to do one.
     
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  17. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    ...

    you is nuts... honest.

    your response to Gromnir's post were:

    "Now if only you'd follow your own advice..."

    now, pray tell, what point of any substance did you make which Gromnir could or should have responded to? you said, "i know you are, but what am i?" and just as with battling 6 year olds, such comments leads us nowhere.

    oddly enough,(but predictably 'nuff,) when Gromnir points out the aforementioed fact you simply does it again... and so we continues the downward spiral of the inane.

    how quaint.


    "I am sure the star wars license had nothing to do with those sales.

    "Those games are also pretty questionable games - I had NO desire to play them after reading up on them, and after hearing people's complaints I feel I was totally justified.

    "Churning out mediocre crap without light sabers involved won't get you too far."

    of course the fact that the game were star wars were a big part of the success. duh. the fact that the game were a sequel to a popular title were also part of its success. again, duh. and as for making mediocre games with lightsabres and how far that can get you... apparantly it can get you million game sellers.

    ...

    as for your lack o' anticipation for nwn2... who the heck cares? codexians obviousy ain't the target audience. point is that the original nwn sold over 2 million copies, and whatever dope managed to get the sequel were probably gonna be able to sell a bunch of units simply 'cause nwn2 is a sequel to a very popular game.

    again, duh.

    fergie's business choices for a developer that just opened its doors a short time ago seems nothing short of amazing... whether you likes the games obsidian is making or not is inconsequential. how many "total fuckwit(s)" would have killed for a chance to get nwn2 or kotor2 as their company's initial releases? like fergie or hate him, but question his business accumen 'cause his first two games is kotor2 and nwn2? insane.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  18. Stephen Amber Novice

    Stephen Amber
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    I think it's sort of funny he even considered the idea. Wasteland has pretty strong connotations of emptiness, which would'nt mean a whole lot if you have a few thousand people playing mutants/humans/ghouls/deathclaws crisscrossing the wastes going to and fro in search of what? special system is'nt really conducive to the mmo environment, in which people expect to reach a lofty level of 60 or so... you'd have to completely revamp that. And they would really have to stretch to come up with quests to satisfy masses persistently... stuff beyond what was in Tactics even, which turned into robo wars. It would have been a mess.

    But it was never made. That's the important thing.
     
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  19. Voss Erudite

    Voss
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    Let's all remember the difference between calling a game shit, and saying that a game won't sell.

    Essentially, there is little relation at this point between a game's shittiness factor and how well it sells. Often, its an inverse relationship, sadly. So, viewed from a sales aspect (which is the only real factor in business decisions) Feargie's crank 'em out in a few months philosophy works. Especially when attached to big licenses.

    Now for those of us with a bit more critical and discerning nature, we can quickly call 'shit game' on 99% of the crap that spews forth from the industry. But,
    1) the publishers/devs/games don't care about a tiny minority of anonymous opinions on the internet.
    2) We're mostly just venting so we don't choke on our own bile. (We're bitter fucks, and shiny graphics aren't enough to eat at the fucking dog bowl anymore)
    3) a good portion of us aren't actually that discerning and buy the fucking things anyway;
    and finally
    4) we know they don't care. We're commenting for our own amusement, not to pretend we're making some difference in the industry.

    So, to wind to something of a point, I'm not saying NWN2's story is crap out of some sense of it making some sort of difference. I'm just saying it would be nice if they put some fucking effort into the story of an rpg. A nice quite moment to vent, as it were.

    But I just wanted to say that I know it will sell regardless of how I feel about it, and remind people that no one has any fucking standards anymore.


    Was that pretentious enough for everyone? :)
     
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  20. Old Scratch Liturgist

    Old Scratch
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    There's no doubt Feargus may be a somewhat likeable guy that has managed to create some strong ties in the past; it's how he managed to land those BioWare hand-me-downs. I was the first to say I thought it was great business move that they got the KOTOR and NWN licenses to bring in some capital. Anyone can garner some decent sales off sequels to someone elses successful game though, but that can't last forever.

    Consumer and critical opinion does count for something in the game industry. As a new studio, they can't just crank out shoddy, relatively unfinished licensed titles and expect people to keep buying them, or develop any kind of loyalty to the company like some of those big name developers I listed enjoy. Again, look at Troika. Rushed games may work financially as a temporary band-aid fix, but eventually everyone people will stop buying your trash, license or no license.

    Aside from scraping by on a few licensed pieces of crap, BIS seemed to primarily stay in business as long as they did by pawning licenses and liquidating other assets left and right, genius. Obsidian doesn't have that luxury. Do you think people bought IWD because it was a superb example of the genre? Hell no, they bought it because there are a lot of D&D fiends out there and naive people like me thought it might bear some similarity in quality and scope to Baldur's Gate, Fallout, or PS:T. Yet it ended up being a completely hum-drum, generic feeling, party-based hack & slash. Don't pull some bullshit like saying that's just my opinion either, because it's the general perception of that game and you know it.

    Reputation also counts in the eyes of publishers as well. You can't get rights to a big license or decent financial backing if people have begun to conclude you make rushed, mediocre, cash-cow titles. It's bad in the long run not only for the license, but the publisher too.

    My point was that they've got a fresh start now, a chance to be hugely successful...but with comments like the one I was referring too, Feargus still seems to be stuck in mediocre fast-food mode. It may very well have contributed somewhat to the delay of BIS' death in the past, but it will doom Obsidian to the same failure in the long-term if they adopt that policy of rushed games as a business model.

    HA! Gromnir likes Oblivion horses!
     
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  21. Gromnir Liturgist

    Gromnir
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    "Do you think people bought IWD because it was a superb example of the genre? Hell no, they bought it because there are a lot of D&D fiends out there and naive people like me thought it might bear some similarity in quality and scope to Baldur's Gate, Fallout, or PS:T. Yet it ended up being a completely hum-drum, generic feeling, party-based hack & slash. Don't pull some bullshit like saying that's just my opinion either, because it's the general perception of that game and you know it. "

    people bought iwd 'cause they were waiting for bg2, and iwd were seeming like a nice snack... but as for your opinion 'bout how it turned out... iwd had better writing and better design than did bg1... better art and music too. so yeah, we thinks your opinion is bullshit. given how little the bis developers had to work with in terms of time and resources, they did a fantastic job with iwd. (the troika clowns coulda' learned a thing or two from the bis folks 'bout making a game on a tight schedule.) some of the best ie locales were in iwd... likes severed hand and upper dorn. the problem is that bis were too succesful with iwd. took so little to make and it were so profitable by comparisson. you thinks fo made iwd kinda money for Interplay?

    "Reputation also counts in the eyes of publishers as well. You can't get rights to a big license or decent financial backing if people have begun to conclude you make rushed, mediocre, cash-cow titles. It's bad in the long run not only for the license, but the publisher too."

    talk 'bout bass akwards. obsidian, unlike troika, gots probably a fantastic reputation with publishers. lucas arts gave obsidian X months to complete kotor2... then halfway through development they tells obsidian that they is gonna get X-3 months to complete. unlikes troika, obsidian did not bitch and moan and fail to meet deadlines. obsidian folks made some hard choices and got a product out on schedule and made lucas a bunch o' money in the process. the fact that obsidian were able to gets kotor2 out given the obstacles hurt their reputation with publishers?

    HA!

    ...

    you think fergie wants to make games in less than a year? don't be ridiculous. unfortunately, fergieco is a small independent developer with very little leverage with publishers. after a few succesful games maybe he gets leverage, but he ain't dictating policy to publishers. "give us 3 years to make bg3." fergie tried that at bis and he couldn't pull it off when he the weight o' interplay behind him. how likely is he to be able to pull something like that off right now?

    start up co. gots all kinds of expenses... forget making profit. for the first couple of years you is typically simply trying to pay rent and workman's comp, etc. lots of sleepless nights. but fergie managed to get kotor2 and nwn2 for obsidian right out of the gate. try to twist that into something negative? insane. if you is one of the handful of folks that fergie convinced to come work for him at obsidian, do you suppose that they is relieved or dissappointed that they can rely on regular paychecks for the forseeable future?

    as to oblivion horses, we is still trying to figure out why anybody would be enthusiastic or impressed with oblivion horses, but Gromnirconcedes that his taste in such things is not always aligning with the majority.

    HA! Good Fun!
     
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  22. aboyd Liturgist

    aboyd
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    You know, I'm not really worried about NWN2. I think it's going to be decent. And that's coming from someone who pretty much hated the original NWN. I remember reading about NWN2 back when they were doing KotOR2. They had split teams. I think the fiasco with the KotOR2 ending caused them to re-evaluate the schedule for NWN2. The idea that KOTOR2 & NWN2 come from the same period of time, but that NWN2 has been in development for that much longer, gives me hope that -- despite Feargus -- they're giving this game the attention it needs to come out OK.

    Of course, calling NWN2 potentially "decent" and "OK" isn't exactly lauding praise on it. But here's all I'm after: better graphics than the tileset system, but no need for Oblivion quality; more refined & responsive interface; decent story with actual branching dialogues; and combat that is challenging but does not contain unfair insta-kill moments. I think NWN2 might hit those points (and the Witcher might, too).

    And I think Feargus might actually be onto something in terms of combat. I don't mind a hard challenge -- I'm willing to spend 3 hours on a single confrontation (hit & run tactics, lots of patience), but that's assuming that my character can get in and hit and run. If I die twice in the first 10 minutes, then my 3 hours of patience is lost. I feel that's a huge balance issue. I want a challenge, but I also want the interface to cue me when my character takes damage faster than I expected. The BG2 pause options were OK for this. The crimson flash that the Sacred interface used was OK too. Turn-based obviously moots the point. If Feargus can deliver challenges and decent story, I'll buy it and give it a good chance.

    -Tony
     
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  23. Avin Liturgist

    Avin
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    kotor 2 > kotor

    except for the ending
     
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  24. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    No response was necessary. I would have been lovely if you stopped acting like a dick. Every time you show up, you do a predictable thing involving trashing the Codex, the members, and me in particular. It gets lamer, and lamer with every visit, and you've been here plenty of times.

    If you are looking for an actual conversation, sure, let's have one.

    Not really. The success of a startup depends on the business ties of the owner. Does it really come as a surprise that Feargus, who had always worked closely with Bio, managed to land two Bio-started franchises? Are we talking about superior business sense or about some people he knew? Does anyone really think that Feargus could have landed those two whales of games without Bio help and a good word?

    The real question and the real test of Feargie's abilities as a businessman and a developer is what he did with what Bio handed to him. KOTOR 2 was hardly impressive. The ending was horrible. You can praise Feargus' touch choices that delivered the game, but they also ruined the game, and if he isn't lying about Lucas Arts, it doesn't look like LA is willing to give him a second chance. One down, one to go.

    Now, NWN2. Changing a lead designer rarely foretell good things for a project and implies mismanagement - Black Isle's trademark. If we really have to collect the pieces of that damn sword, and it sure looks that way, then the story is unimaginative as that of KOTOR 2. MCA's writing may or may not save the game, but again, they didn't save KOTOR 2. So, time will tell.

    I think that his Black Isle days are a better source for that sort of conclusions.
     
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  25. Spazmo Erudite

    Spazmo
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    I don't think there can be any doubt that Feargus is a skilled businessperson (leveraging connections to get deals is what business is all about anyways), but I don't really give a shit if Obsidian makes a nice profit. I want good games to play. If all Obsidian is after is paychecks, there's probably a far more reliable source of income out there than video games. If they want to make interesting RPGs, well, KOTOR2 sure as shit wasn't one.
     
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