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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: George Ziets on Eternity, Torment, and crafting worlds

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Zed, May 7, 2013.

  1. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Zed
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    Codex USB, 2014
    Tags: Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn; Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal; Baldur's Gate III; Dungeon Siege III; Fallout: New Vegas; Game design; George Ziets; King of Dragon Pass; Obsidian Entertainment; Project Eternity; The Elder Scrolls Online; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Writing

    [​IMG]

    We are lucky George Ziets managed to leave a strong mark on the world of CRPGs during his adventures at Obsidian Entertainment. Were it not for his phenomenal work on Mask of the Betrayer, perhaps we would not have seen him as a double Kickstarter stretch-goal superstar. Regardless, here we are with Ziets taking on both Project Eternity and the world of Numenera, and we couldn't be happier.

    Mr Ziets, being no stranger to taking questions from random people, was the perfect candidate for an RPG Codex feature. In this interview, we ask him about his approach to game design, his influences, ideas, writing, and of course the games he has been involved with in the past (including NWN2: Mask of the Betrayer and the upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online) and present (Project Eternity and Torment: Tides of Numenera) -- and perhaps future.

    Have an excerpt:

    You've mentioned that you were hoping to get a chance to work on some of Project Eternity's area design in addition to your various writing duties. Has that come about? Did you have any personal design philosophies or ideas you were hoping to bring to that particular arena?

    PE is still in preproduction, so that hasn’t happened yet. I’ve mainly been contributing to world and story design.

    I think of area design as another form of storytelling. So the first thing I do is determine the central narrative of the area. What story (or stories) are we trying to tell? And what kind of setting or atmosphere are we trying to convey? Once those questions are answered, I have a context, and everything – main quest, side quests, NPC chatter, etc. – should arise from that. Even the smallest details can (and should) be used to communicate story and setting, so that the area feels like a unified whole.

    Baldur’s Gate 2 generally did this well. When I traveled to each of the major areas (Umar Hills, De’arnise Keep, etc.), I felt like I was entering a coherent side story – a self-contained D&D module - where all the dialogues and quests were focused on telling the area’s story and/or the player’s own. That’s what we tried to do on MotB, too.

    I look at quests through a similar lens. Every quest is an opportunity to explore another facet of the narrative. We should use them to deepen the player’s experience of the area’s story and setting and explore how different people/factions would react to the same events. I don’t think we should ever have to resort to “generic” quests in a well-designed RPG.

    Is your creative process in any way affected by simultaneously writing for both Eternity and Torment? Have you had any problems managing your ideas? For instance, that one project bleeds into another? Are there things that would work in Eternity, but that would absolutely not work in Torment (or vice versa)?

    Not really. The two worlds are very different from one another. Despite its exotic nature, Torment feels closer to science fiction or post-apocalyptic fiction to me, especially to Gene Wolfe’s New Sun series. Eternity, on the other hand, is firmly rooted in fantasy and historical traditions, and in my opinion, it feels closer to the Forgotten Realms or the Malazan Books of the Fallen (with some notable differences).

    I tend to base my designs heavily on setting and story context, so I haven’t had any trouble with overlap so far.​

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: George Ziets on Eternity, Torment, and crafting worlds
     
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  2. evdk comrade troglodyte :M Patron

    evdk
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    Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    "When Obsidian was (briefly) working on Baldur’s Gate 3"
    Say what?
     
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  3. Helly Translating for brofists Patron

    Helly
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    変態の地獄、Rance様と
    Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    A mix of Fallout & King of the dragon pass :love::love::love:
     
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  4. oldmanpaco Master of Siestas

    oldmanpaco
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    You know this was probably the only chance for someone to ask him when he was going to get a normal haircut and cut out the hipster crap. Thanks a lot Zed.
     
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  5. Occasionally Fatal Prophet

    Occasionally Fatal
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    :lol: Article worth it for this alone. (game related stuff is neat too, I suppose)
     
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  6. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
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  7. winterraptor Savant

    winterraptor
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    Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Indeed. This article did not reach it's full potential.
     
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  8. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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  9. Drowed Arcane

    Drowed
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    Wow, I want to play this.


    And great job on this interview! :bro:
     
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  10. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Very nice interview, I like how he wants to move away from regular europen fantasy.
     
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  11. AstroZombie Arcane

    AstroZombie
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    Divinity: Original Sin
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  12. Sensuki Arcane Cuck

    Sensuki
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    Codex 2014 Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    Great interview (y)
     
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  13. winterraptor Savant

    winterraptor
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    Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
    :salute:

    I too found pouring creativity into GMing a corrupting influence (so to speak) - interactivity is generally more exciting, engaging, motivating, rewarding, etc.
     
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  14. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Jasede
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    If MCA is our one and only true God, is then Ziets a saint?

    Or are we polytheistic?
     
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  15. Bluebottle Erudite Patron

    Bluebottle
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    Great questions, and a bunch of nice lengthy answers.
    I like Ziets exactly because he seems like a proper game writer whose roots were in an interactive medium, and not some hack writer that would rather be doing something else. Having a healthy disdain for bland high fantasy doesn't do him any harm either. I'm really hoping that at some point in the future he gets the chance to approach the lead on a project without any constraints.
     
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  16. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Jasede
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    I wonder what their supported alignments and domains are...

    Edit:

    Chris Avellone

    :mca:

    MCA, the Emperor

    Symbol: a bottle of booze
    Home Plane: plane of bars
    Alignment: Chaotic Good
    Portfolio: Conflict, Dualism, Inversion of Tropes, Deception, Ambiguity, Alcoholism
    Worshipers: storyfags, Codexites, shut-ins
    Favored Weapon: "Wellspring of Ideas" (bottle of beer)
    Cleric Alignments: NG, CG, LN


    George Ziets

    [​IMG]

    George, hipster-hair, who?

    Symbol: a keyboard and a quill, crossed over
    Home Plane: the lands of dreams and musings
    Alignment: Neutral Good
    Portfolio: Melancholy, Determinism, Futility, Hope, Despair, Struggle, Growth, Wisdom, Love
    Worshipers: storyfags, Codexites, shut-ins, the depressed
    Favored Weapon: "Hairdo of the Muse" (entangling hair)
    Cleric Alignments: LG, NG, CG, N
     
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  17. Broseph Filthy Degenerate Dumbfuck

    Self-Ejected
    Andhaira
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    ZIETS!
     
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  18. tuluse Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    tuluse
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Fucking fantastic article. :salute:

    Loves turn based combat :bro:
    Mentions KotDP multiple times :bro:
    Likes the beginning of stories to be interesting :bro:

    Ziets needs to be the creative lead on a kickstarter.
     
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  19. TwinkieGorilla does a good job. Patron

    TwinkieGorilla
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Zed, I mean you no offense but I cannot brofist you unless you are somewhat responsible for this interview. Tell me true.

    Also, fucking hell. Reading this:

    And fucking knowing we're going to get this instead:

    :hearnoevil: :balance:

    What a joke the franchise has become.
     
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  20. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Torment: Tides of Numenera Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    This interview was Zed's idea.
     
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  21. TwinkieGorilla does a good job. Patron

    TwinkieGorilla
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    Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech
    Then I brofist Zed.
     
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  22. LeJosh Savant

    LeJosh
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    A post-apoc King of Dragon Pass would be glorious.

    Fantastic interview.
     
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  23. Balor Arcane

    Balor
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    The apotheosis of bro.
    This is all that could be said, really.
     
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  24. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

    DwarvenFood
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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Congrats on the interview, can't wait to read it at work fuck out of the office the whole day, well tonight then.

    Great job in putting the prestigious back into prestigious magazine.
     
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  25. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    Even with MCA buffing this personally, still only 500 views?
     
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