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Codex Interview Wasteland 2 RPG Codex Interview - Part 2: Michael A. Stackpole

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. Sitra Achara Arcane Patron

    Sitra Achara
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    Codex 2012 Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015
    I don't like his answers. -20dB will to donate.
     
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  2. Castanova Prophet

    Castanova
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    Unfortunately, this interview could have benefited from one more round of e-mail back-and-forth where you could have asked follow-up questions based on his first set of answers. As it reads now, it's giving me a "the road to hell is paved with good intentions" kind of vibe.
     
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  3. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Yeah, he drops some of the wrong keywords. But this can't come as a surprise to anyone. I mean, you knew it wasn't going to be a *carbon copy*, right? Wasteland had a ton of challenges by design, and a lot that were simply artificial barriers in the way games worked. Do you want to recreate that carbon-wise?

    No, I'm not talking about simplification, but the opposite. There's core concepts you've got to stick to, but that doesn't leave zero room for change. The real question is not if Wasteland 2 will attempt that balance, it's whether or not it'll succeed.
     
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  4. Morkar illiterate

    Morkar
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    I was a lot emotionally engaged when I finally started to kick some pirates and dominators ass in Space Rangers 2 and managed to get promoted. And I think this was a design decision and not an accident by the developers.

    But I see your point anyway. You want good gameplay mechanics to have such an effect. And I agree here. But Stackpole seems to be the writing guy firsthand and is talking about his perspective foremost. And it's a great addition to have good writing, too. But I will not be emotionally engaged by hot gay elves sex porn cutscenes (or here: voiceover moaning for robotmutant porn). And I think Stackpole won't either.
     
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  5. Stabwound Arcane

    Stabwound
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    The reference to a literal "GPS" is funny because that's exactly what I refer to the typical "quest compass" as. It's just a GPS that points you toward your goal. Even reading the word "quest markers" brings stomach bile hurtling up my esophagus, but I suppose it's possible to incorporate them WITHOUT dumbing down the game to retard levels which no modern dev seems to understand.

    Why not design the game and quests so that they can be completed entirely without any quest markers for players that want to play that way? Then have optional quest markers for people that want them. Games like Skyrim make the quest compass optional, but then it's almost impossible to complete any quest because they designed the entire game around the assumption that you'd be following the quest markers around the map. A random quest telling you "Go get my sword from Derp cave." is basically what a Skyrim quest looks like. If it was instead "Get my sword from Derp cave, which is south east of town near Decline Lake." you could play without the compass at all.

    The Wasteland 2 guys obviously will need to make some compromises. If they have to have quest markers or shit like that, I hope they design the game with them being secondary and not entirely based on the assumption that every person that plays the game needs to wear a helmet when they go outside like Bethesda does.

    I would also prefer no voice acting, and don't see why they would want to commit a large amount of budget to something superfluous. If they have to do it, having it very sparingly like the Baldur's Gate games do it would be best. Have everything with text, and LOTS of it, and then get voice actors to voice the few important lines from quests and that sort of thing. I'm imagining that there are so many downsides as a game developer if you have to use voice acting for every line like many modern games. Every time you write a line of text, you have to have the cost of having it voice acted in mind. Not to mention it makes it impossible to go back and edit or expand upon things after they've had the voice acting recorded.

    I think games like Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment make the perfect use of voice acting because you can still have as much text as you want and go back and revise most of it if you want to.
     
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  6. Cenobyte Tacticular Staff

    Cenobyte
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    Interesting read. And as someone who has read a lot of Stackpole's BattleTech novels I'm intrigued in what he will come up for Wasteland 2. Haven't played the 80ties Wasteland, though, so I've no idea about the writing and plot of the original game.
     
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  7. Country_Gravy Arcane Patron

    Country_Gravy
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    When he was talking about the voice overs I thought he was referring to just the narrator. I think that could work really well. I think he meant that by using a VO narrator that it can convey a lot more than just a description of the area. They do something like that in DDO and it works OK. The budget would be the only thing that would make this tough, but if you just have one voice actor doing descriptions of some major areas in the game, it shouldn't cost too much.
     
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  8. Jasede Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Nothing wrong with a narrator reading area descriptions, if he's a very good one.
    Nobody wants full voice acting. They won't have the money for that anyway.
     
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  9. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Magister

    MMXI
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    This didn't look possible given the circumstances. There was a large enough delay already for Part 2 as inXile are incredibly busy right now setting things up for the Kickstarter.
     
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  10. MisterStone Arcane

    MisterStone
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    Er, no, I think it's the puzzles I remember. I don't think emotion played a big part in the Wasteland universe for me. Of course, I was 12 and thought that blowing shit up was cool. Does anyone else have an opinion about this?

    Anyway, sounds like they've got most of their priorities straight... I sure hope it works out! Thanks for taking this project on, inExile!
     
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  11. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Hell, I'm impressed Codex got this one through at all, and thought of doing so. Great job guys.
     
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  12. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Rereading this...

    To me, it sounds like they want to go for something like Bastion's narrator, which would be cool imho and would only require 1 voice actor. But I may be wrong, of course.

    EDIT: Beaten by Country_Gravy. :salute:

    Literally any interview on any website could benefit from more back-and-forth, but really, we've taken too much of their time already -- they're really swamped with stuff to do currently -- and it was cool of Michael to answer ALL those questions for us (there were quite a few of them already, as you'll surely agree). The questions were pretty detailed and tough, you know, and his answers were for the most part pretty on-topic if sometimes evasive (for obvious reasons).

    But most importantly, I believe his vision and preferences are in general perfectly clear from the interview. We couldn't ask for more, that would've been both pointless and impolite.

    We do hope for another interview in the future, though. Definitely. And rest assured, we're going to ask some tough questions -- once we have more specifics about the project.

    No need to get too ridiculous. As Stabwound has already pointed out, a game CAN be designed for the quest compass to be optional. Whether they'll do it right or wrong, is up to them entirely.

    It may come as a surprise to you as a Codexer, but many people who grew up on Wasteland and similar titles (and still love them and are willing to donate towards the sequel) are now perfectly enjoying stuff like Oblivion and Skyrim and generally consider contemporary CRPGs an evolution of and continuous with the old school ones. They are potential Kickstarter contributors as much as we are (and there are more of them!), and therefore finding balance is a VERY delicate task. I just hope they don't ponder exclusively to that kind of people.

    And as you pointed out, TB and top down are risky enough indeed. It's good they don't consider that "suicide", in contrast to what today's publishers believe.

    That's a lot. Like, a whole lot. RPG Codex has less than 10k members in total, and how many out of those are going to donate? 1/4 tops (being optimistic here). Then there's NMA. And that's it -- no more niche hardcore CRPG websites. Where do they get the remaining 25k? Besides, 34$ average is already quite optimistic; most peeps will only donate $10-20, I think.
     
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  13. Monolith Cipher Patron

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    Thanks. To be honest, we were quite afraid you'd beat us to it.
     
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  14. MMXI Prestigious Gentleman Magister

    MMXI
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    Yeah. Like the CRPG Addict.
     
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  15. almondblight Arcane

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    I wonder if this is why the kickstarter is going to be one million. RPG's cost a lot more to make than adventure games. Especially if they have lots of voice acting, you know.

    I'm also curious as to what lessons they learned from MMORPG's.

    It's funny how we've gone from "they aren't bad developers, the publishers made them do it!" to "they aren't bad developers, the casual audience is making them do it!". Eh, fine. But there are people right now working on the kind of games I want. And they'd be doing a lot better if they got the kind of support Fargo is asking for.

    Still hope this will be good. I am starting to wonder, though, if "Turn-Based" is going to turn into some kind of RTwP ("they're taking turns shooting at each other").
     
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  16. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    I find that hard to believe. Wouldn't they rather consider recent games like NWN2, Dragon Age or Drakensang to be the evolution of older top-down party-based games?

    I think it's pretty far-fetched to assume that a majority of people who played Fallout 1/2 are in love with Skyrim for the same reasons they liked those games. Perhaps they also enjoy Skyrim, but they'd pretty much have to have forgotten everything about the older games if they think it's an evolution, considering the only thing they have in common is a genre description on the back of the box.

    As for pandering to the masses, Piranha Bytes keeps quest compasses and level scaling away from their games just to target a niche that aren't satisfied with the likes of Skyrim - I'd say that this project needs to target an even smaller niche. It makes no sense to contribute to a game like this if you're already satisfied with current "AAA" RPG's and it would be pointless to try to cater to those gamers.
     
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  17. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Nah, I'm easy to beat, I really never think of doing interviews or hurry along, plus I know InXile was busy. Will probably do more once the Kickstarter thing is successful, there's not that much of a point of doing more interviews until it is. NMA's interview got a ton of coverage all over the place (Eurogamer, RPS, etc), so we did our bit to spread the word. Until we can actually talk development, it's a bit wait and see.

    DF averaged $34, which I would guess is why Kraszu brought up that number. I'd actually expect this to average more than DF did. There's a more starved, less casual audience.

    Also, let's not pretend NMA and the Codex really represent the whole of this audience. There's plenty of people with interest who aren't going to register on forums or who simply want nothing to do with us and our shitty reputation. How many? I dunno.
     
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  18. Monolith Cipher Patron

    Monolith
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    Fargo let me share his comment on some of the reactions here
    I made the last part stick out.
     
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  19. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    You'd be surprised, really. MMXI has already pointed out CRPGAddict, which is the most famous examples. I'm not really talking about Fallout 1&2 fans; no idea about what the most of them have grown up into. Rather, I only have two words to add: Ultima fans. A whole LOT of Ultima fans are mad about Skyrim. Heck, just look at the guy who runs Ultima Aiera: he loves both Skyrim AND Mass Effect 3. And he's really passionate about the Ultima series at the same time. Wasteland had a lot of common with Ultima (turn-based, top-down, exploration-focused, etc.), and their fans tend to overlap to some extent. Many of them would definitely donate to Wasteland 2, I believe.
     
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  20. Elwro Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
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  21. Monolith Cipher Patron

    Monolith
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    :thumbsup:
     
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  22. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Yeah, we (well, mostly I) had this in-joke after coming up with the interview idea: oh no, they still haven't replied, they must be too busy replying to Brother None's interviews. :P

    I sure hope so.
     
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  23. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    I can understand liking different types of games, but if someone truly think that Skyrim is the evolution of those games, why would they pay for a low-budget version of the same? I thought this whole Kickstarter thing was about resurrecting genres that wouldn't be funded otherwise - not making a lo-fi version of mainstream games. Those guys would probably be satisfied with "Wasteland 2: Bethesda Edition", no need for a Kickstarter campaign.
     
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  24. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I'm speculating here, but I'd say mostly because they fondly remember Wasteland. I mean "hey, the game of my childhood! I'll donate!", or something along those lines. And they do love old CRPGs, no mistake there, and replay them from time to time; they just like both, surprisingly enough.

    But maybe I've got it all wrong. I mean, there definitely are those kind of peeps all over the place, but maybe they wouldn't donate. I can't really tell. Nostalgia is a mighty factor for them too, though, no doubt about that.
     
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  25. Elwro Arcane Patron

    Elwro
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    Somehow I'm fully confident Wasteland 2 will not be "a low-budget version of Skyrim". For starters, Bethesda's worlds are almost devoid of any reaction of the world to the character's actions.
     
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