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Interview Feargus Urquhart talks Dungeon Siege, Fallout and new IP

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by VentilatorOfDoom, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. VentilatorOfDoom RPG Codex Staff

    VentilatorOfDoom
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    Tags: Obsidian Entertainment

    <p>Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart <a href="http://www.gamestm.co.uk/interviews/obsidians-fergus-urquhart-talks-dungeon-siege-iii-fallout-new-vegas-and-the-developers-planned-new-ip/" target="_blank">gets interviewed</a> by Games. Here's a snippet on dumbing down:</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>Obviously, people are going to compare the game with the likes of Diablo but, at the same time, Dungeon Siege III is available o consoles too. Do you believe, like some, that RPGs should be dumbed down for a console audience?</strong><br /><br />It&rsquo;s an odd thing, I would say. It&rsquo;s almost unfair not to say that RPGs over the course of the years have been dumbed down for consoles. But, I wouldn&rsquo;t say that I would necessarily make a PC role-playing game the same way that I would have made one fifteen years ago either.<br /><br />I think a part of it is that games are evolving, and so a lot of it is looking at it going, &lsquo;So what do role-playing gamers want now?&rsquo; The way that I see it is: I always look at accessibility. Accessibility does not necessarily mean &lsquo;dumbing down&rsquo;, it means that when the player starts the game it has to be accessible to them. It can&rsquo;t depend on the fact that they know how to play the game, that they&rsquo;ve played seventeen role-playing games before this and that we just have all these understood things.<br /><br />A company I used to work for was Black Isle Studios and a PC game I worked on was Icewind Dale, which required you to roll six whole second-edition D&amp;D characters before you could even start playing the game. No one would get through character creation nowadays. You know, people back then loved it, and there are still people that would love that, but I think the thing is when it comes to the console, and maybe all gamers, it has to be accessible, people have to be led into it. And so, my best answer is that the game is easy to get into, and then we ramp up the complexity and sort of add the layers of the RPG system as you play, and that is how we approach things now with the modern console gamer as compared to PC games fifteen years ago.</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>Yeah, character creation. The bane of modern cRPGs.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><em>Thanks to Surf Solar.</em></p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
     
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  2. tindrli Arcane

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    :what:

    this FAG should be assassinated
     
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  3. waywardOne Cipher

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    Well now I'm going to make that Fearghus in Waukeen's Promenade fully romanceable and... accessible to my lovingly crafted party.
     
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  4. Exmit Scholar

    Exmit
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    i said a big FUCK YOU after this.

    Character creation is one of the most fun aspects.
     
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  5. Surf Solar cannot into womynz

    Surf Solar
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    It's interesting, how Icewind Dale as he mentionend was considered too "complicated" at startup, while Neverwinter Nights 2, a game which came out a bit more recent, had way more possibilities, variables and stuff to choose from at character creation. Does he jump each day on another conclusion? And honestly, where exactly was IWD charcreation hard or hard to understand? Even a total D&D noob like me could pull that of, with a small peak into the manual. :retarded:
     
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  6. Angelo85 Liturgist

    Angelo85
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    Accessibility = include pre-made Characters to choose from as an alternative to roll one.
    If a player can't be bothered with Character creation - or if it should proof to be too difficult for him - give him the option to select 6 pre-made Chars from a list. I think Icewind Dale even gave you that option all those years ago.

    Problem solved!
     
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  7. Excidium P. banal

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    Praise Obsidian. :roll:
     
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  8. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    I think Your finger slipped here, VoD.

    As for character creation, removing it is not the best idea out there. Angelo said it well, a few posts above. Ok, make a bunch of pre-made characters for people who don't want to create their own. Hell, even make the premade ones the default choice, if You have to, but with a tiny 'customize character/party' button somewhere on the screen. For some people that may be the whole point to play the game!

    All I'm asking is: BE REASONABLE - DO NOT REMOVE RPG FEATURES FROM RPGS.
     
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  9. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

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    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Obsidian Biowared and Bethesded. Oh well... I had hopes after F:NV.
     
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  10. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    This is such a sensible suggestion, and so frequently brought up, that I'm pretty sure in cases like these the logic amongst the game's creators isn't so much 'Let's create an auto-levelling option to accomodate people who just want to get on and play' and more some primal fear that the market they're aiming for will be turned off by the mere acknowledgement that stats exist at the beginning of the game. So, like an elderly and racist relative, they need to be pushed into a cupboard somewhere so as not to offend anyone.

    Anyway, Feargus is sounding a bit Laidlaw-y, isn't he?
     
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  11. Angthoron Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    So much for that "Obsidian is the last decent RPG company" nonsense then.
     
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  12. the_unshaved_masses Novice

    the_unshaved_masses
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    And this is why we can't have nice things.
     
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  13. thesisko Emissary

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    Storm of Zehir, 2.5 years ago....selling point was full party creation, Feargus forgot Obsidian made that?
     
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  14. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

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    It annoys me that, of all the problems that are encountered in making a game grab the player from the start, the only one that is ever raised by designers is fucking accessibility. Quite apart from the fact that there is obviously a growing number of people yearning for just this kind of challenge; people who are equally turned off by the simplicity of what is presented in modern RPGs, you never seem to see any consideration given to such issues of strength of narrative, or setting.

    This is something that Obsidian titles seem to suffer from more than a lot of others:

    NV dumped the player in a dull town, with little motivation to pursue what ended up being an interesting story. Fails on a narrative level to really grab the player early.

    MotB, despite being one of the best RPGs in recent years, starts the player in a dungeon full of shitty epic level encounters (something that unfortunately persists through a lot of the campaign). Succeeds much better on a narrative level, fails on gameplay. Still, was much better than NV.

    NWN2 fails on all levels. Dull tutorial section, trite overused setting and a story so cliche you'd be embarrassed to use it in a satire.

    AP fails because it has no sense of initial jeopardy, which, in a espionage thriller, is a pretty sore letdown. Also, gameplay sucked.

    Notice how none of these early failures can be attributed to difficulty or lack of accessibility.
     
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  15. Regdar Cipher

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    "Role-playing gamers" don't want accessibility. "Role-playing gamers" want a role-playing game, for fuck's sake. There is not a single genre of game, book, movie or music that can benefit from accessibility. Because GENRES ARE CHARACTERIZED BY CERTAIN KEY CONCEPTS, MOTIFS AND FEATURES WHICH ATTRACT PEOPLE WHO ARE ATTRACTED BY THOSE CONCEPTS, MOTIFS AND FEATURES, DERP.

    If you're worried about some poor fuck never getting into what may become the best years of his life playing RPGs because the first one he plays has character creation and a steep learning curve, then the decline is complete.
     
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  16. thesisko Emissary

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    It annoys me that he states: "No one would get through character creation nowadays.", just as if the same type of gamers who loved MotB would have collectively developed ADD in just 3 years.

    What he really means is: "We used to sell games for a niche audience that appreciated deep mechanics, but nowadays we want to sell millions of copies to gamers who like a simpler experience and THEY WOULD NOT GET THROUGH CHARACTER GENERATION".
     
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  17. Excommunicator Arcane

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    Well, he is obviously talking about the broader population, and the reality is, few of them would get through character creation I think. Or at least, get through it without a degree of diminished interest and attention right from the beginning. People/kids are inadvertently trained to have short attention spans these days; that is the reality of it, and most of them do suffer from it because patience and discipline needs to be trained into someone early on, and that isn't happening. We can't ignore the fact that this is the broad audience they all aim for these days. They shouldn't be producing RPGs with that target, but given that premise, he is quite right.

    The solution in terms of accessibility, as others have already said, is providing the means for these people to get past those sections without harm (i.e. pre-made characters), and obviously not taking character creation out of the game altogether. I am very reluctant to even consider a game without any form of character creation an RPG at all - it really is the most elementary of means to implement overarching player choice into a game. If your game has not got it, then you need to be able to show fluidity of identity throughout the course of the game, otherwise you will find you are just aiming for a glorified story-adventure.
     
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  18. thesisko Emissary

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    I know that's what he means, but he's expressing it in a retarded way: "Oh, in the old days the gamers loved character creation, but modern gamers can't get through it"...when it's really about games for a niche audience vs. general public.
     
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  19. Shannow Waster of Time

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    Well, pre-made characters, auto-leveling and recent games with "complicated" character creation similar to IWD (3.5 ed might have more options, but its rules also make more sense than 2nd ed, so I'd say "similar" complexity) have already been mentioned. He's also factually wrong with "No one would get through [IWD's] character creation nowadays." and he obviously knows it.
    BUT, nowhere does he state that he likes this "development". (Disclaimer: Couldn't be assed to read the whole article. He doesn't state it in the quote.) If you are spoonfed nonsense by marketing morons and stupid suits day in day out even a halfway intelligent person might start believing it. (Disclaimer: Not saying that Feargus is "even halfway intelligent".)

    The sad thing for me, apart from not being offered any games of interest, is that they deny young gamers the chance of using their heads and finding out what kind of games they like.
     
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  20. Humanophage Arcane

    Humanophage
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    Up until the late 90s character generation was the only thing that interested me in RPGs. Say, I didn't even play the actual Ravenloft, but generated a ton of characters with great pleasure. I did not have a particularly refined taste and was in my early teens.
     
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  21. commie The Last Marxist Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
    You fuckers should love Skyrim then...now with 80% more beards to choose from!
     
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  22. Spectacle Arcane

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    I hate how in modern games the the first half of the game is essentially one huge tutorial as they introduce "layers of complexity".
     
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  23. Morgoth Arcane

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    People who only enjoy character creation in a CRPG should shoot themselves right now into the head.

    Seriously, get the fuck out.
     
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  24. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    I wonder how the Wizardry series sold all those millions of copies with its inaccessible character creation and wall of stats, I mean a "PIE" stat, what is up with that?

    And yes never mind that NWN2 had a ton of pre-rolled characters to choose from in addition to a "recommend" button in each step of the process that seemed to make reasonably sensible options (not the best possible options, but they don't deserve them if that's what they're doing). It also did an all right job of explaining what attributes/skills/feats/spells do (especially compared to DS3 which hides most of its info in the help section), but then you hit the "I DON'T WANT TO READ ALL THIS" barrier...

    Also I'm sure Buck from GameBanshee is probably seething that his big interview from way back in... February? is still being held up while everyone else gets to publish theirs. Unless he's already stopped caring.
     
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  25. Zarniwoop Destiny Cleanser Patron

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    Exactly! I knew I wouldn't like RPGs today if I grew up with dumbed-down crap like Dungeon Siege III. I might also have come stumbling blindly into the world of gaming thinking that Mass Effect 2 is the fucking epitome of deep, rewarding RPG gameplay.

    Thinking and planning out your character, deciding which stats to focus on and which not, sets the tone for things to come. It's definitely not the most important part of the game, but leaving it out completely is just plain retarded. I didn't know a damn thing about D&D rules and what all the spells and whatnot did when I started playing NWN, but everything is pretty well explained and of course there is the option to pick a pre-made character. What do they have against that now?

    Finally why this trend to try and make everything "accessible"? Why should everything be made easier and cushion you into the simplest of things? It's a game. If you do something wrong, just learn from it, load and do it differently, jeez it's not the end of the world. Games these days are like American schools where all the kids have to get trophies and be told they're special no matter how much they fail at everything. Life won't scale down and make everything easy for you kid, you have to adapt and just deal with it.

    The point is if you can't even make a character in a game you should remove yourself from the gene pool, wtf are you even doing playing games if that's too hard for you?
     
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