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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. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    I think there's quite a few. I personally know several PC gamers who never read forums and they are all dissatisfied with the post-Oblivion trend of hand-holding and simplification in RPGs. Let's not forget that it is a rather recent trend and one that strongly correlates with the migration of RPG developers to consoles. I don't think many Codexers would say that "Mask of the Betrayer" had too much hand holding for instance.
     
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  2. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    Well, if someone contributes due to nostalgia alone and actually prefers modern games then there's not really any need to cater to them. If this is going to be more than a one-shot affair then it needs to focus on nurturing its own niche.
     
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  3. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
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    Let's face it - Wasteland 2 will require a major modernization. Whether this modernization will mean deepening the elements that were good about the original, by making them accessible (through e.g. neat interface) and meaningful, or dumbing everything down remains to be seen.

    Still, I am a little bit sceptical about the whole affair. As someone remarked here earlier - it's the keywords that rub me the wrong way. For example, if someone talks about "emotional engagement" you can be sure as hell he doesn't know what he is talking about. For that reason, while the first interview got my hopes high, this one leaves me cold.

    This doesn't change the fact that both articles were very well written.
     
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  4. Kraszu Prophet

    Kraszu
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    People will donate more if donating more grants you the game, as it is standard on kickstarter.

    http://www.adventuregamers.com/forums/
    Members: 41,676

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/66710809/double-fine-adventure
    70,098
    Average 34$

    Now the documentary, and Tim Schafe humor attracts more people for sure, but still there is plenty of people who could be interested in top down TB crpg but who didn't register on codex or NMA, but that might visit other gaming websites, or have friends that do.
     
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  5. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2
    I'm willing to bet that there are far, far more gamers who feel that RPGs in general have gotten too simplified and "streamlined" than there are Skyrim fans who fondly remember Wasteland. Hell, I don't even know anyone who's played the game. Fargo needs to target the first group.
     
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  6. St. Toxic Arcane

    St. Toxic
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    So they're nostalgic about old-school rpgs, they replay them from time to time, they love em' -- but they would never financially back an rpg that's trying to stay true to classic rpg mechanics? I find it odd that anyone would actually prefer or try to excuse a watered down mix of a proper crpg and modern garbage, a game that obviously doesn't deliver on either front and neither sells nor entertains.
     
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  7. 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 agree, but the people I have in mind, their reasoning is a bit different: they want an "old school" CRPG, yet updated. Naturally, it's as vague as it can get, and they don't really know what they want either. Just look at the (sometimes quite ridiculous) scores the CRPGAddict handles out to older games -- he enjoys them well enough, but the problem seems to be, they're not quite Skyrim. Basically, those peeps say: "yeah, I'd love to play a new old school CRPG, and I don't really care about Skyrim's level of graphics, but let's face it: features A, B, C are outdated and their contemporary equivalents A', B', C' are basically the same yet more up to current 21st century standards, so let's have our cake and eat it too".
     
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  8. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Voice-overs cost money. Considering that it's a low budget game, no matter how much money it's going to get, it's a very questionable decision.

    As for the target audience, I believe that it HAS to be the "bring back the 80s" audience, because nothing else will give Brian Fargo the money he needs. There are very specific reasons why Schafer's project did so well and none of them apply to Fargo & Co. It doesn't mean that he will fail by default, but hitting the target won't be as easy as some think.
     
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  9. Beautiful Clown Painting Arcane

    Beautiful Clown Painting
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    It depends upon what kind of elements are updated. I couldn't play a blobber without an automap these days, I can't get myself to break out the graph paper so this kind of update is all right for me. But like everyone said: if the compass mechanic becomes a core component of the design, it dumbs it down as a whole. Practical updates, yes, of course. But not updates that totally change the "philosophy" of the design. For exemple, taking the skills into account, I'd hate for the game to have a pop-up menu saying: "[Explosions]: you can try to blow the drawer open". In the original Wasteland you had to guess that a skill could work. If some players find it too frustrating, they can go play other games, they're well catered for.
     
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  10. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
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    Bethesda have always been Ultima fans, for the wrong reasons, but seems that many others, like them, enjoyed baking bread, furnishing their houses etc.
    Exactly how they liked fallout for the whacky humor, are you sure guys that the vast majority of players liked Wasteland for the game mechanics and not because was a lulzfest?
     
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  11. Awor Szurkrarz Arcane In My Safe Space

    Awor Szurkrarz
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    I'm afraid they'll make another Fallout with isometric view, turn-based combat and dialogue trees instead of a true sequel:troll: .

    Except that PST is practically the only cRPG that I have played that I could be legitimately called emotionally engaging. Stuff like that is very hard to pull off in computer games.
    And Wasteland wasn't emotionally engaging. It was just amusing and interesting.
     
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  12. Clockwork Knight Arcane

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    Emotionally engaging = makes you care. People remember the rabid dog, so they obviously care. That doesn't mean they cry when they remember there was no other solution to the quest, like the buzzword usage makes you think - just that it wasn't forgettable.
     
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  13. Kz3r0 Arcane

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    Bee-chan already posted an article mentioning that dungeons as a challenge to navigate don't exist anymore, and from what you say even the hardcore fans wouldn't like a return to that, but what could replace such a thing?
    Easy answer, nothing, it's gone forever.
    The real problem is how many of the old things were just technical constraints and how you can meaningfully recreate them nowadays, the industry has already given its response, the fact that true Codexers don't like it is another question.
     
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  14. St. Toxic Arcane

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    Yes, please design a game for these people. It will be money well spent and it's the least we rational human beings can do; fund a game to lighten their burden of existence. All my sympathies go out to them. :eek:

    Yeah, that's a major problem that I hope Fargo and Stackpole have the balls to address. It's not enough that all the mainstream developers do their best to emulate the brilliant and accessible design-doctrine of Bethesda Softworks, nor that Bethesda themselves drop a perfect 10 game in our collective laps every 2 years; it simply does not satisfy my obsessive compulsive disorder. No, I will not sleep, I will not rest, I will not go quietly into the night until every game is at least 8/10 parts Skyrim. :salute:
     
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  15. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

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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
    :eek: indeed.
     
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  16. Gregz Arcane

    Gregz
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    Puzzles, passwords, combinations, hidden chests, etc. All of that is history.

    The biggest obstacle to RPGs these days is the internet, and I don't mean torrents, I mean spoilers/maps/walkthroughs etc.

    Portal 1&2 are exceptions because the puzzles are just easy enough for the player to solve the puzzle quickly and move on to the next one before hitting alt-tab.
     
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  17. Awor Szurkrarz Arcane In My Safe Space

    Awor Szurkrarz
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    It's not a problem unless they want to make moneyu
    Back then there were complete solutions in magazines. Especially for adventure games.

    "When I do book signings, now 24 years after Wasteland came out, I still get folks wanting to know what the "correct" solution was to dealing with the rabid dog. Why? Because they felt like hell killing the dog. The dog puzzle, if you will, engaged players on an emotional level."
     
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  18. 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 fail to see how the internet precludes puzzles. If people want to use a walkthrough, it's their (stupid) choice. That doesn't mean the rest of us wouldn't enjoy a good puzzle.

    Also, why should a niche old school CRPG cater to people with such a short attention span that Portal's is the only kind of puzzles they can enjoy?
     
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  19. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    I agree wholeheartedly. Let's not forget that walkthroughs are nothing new, most gaming mags used to publish a full walkthrough for popular games and there was always a hintline to call.

    Why does someone use a walkthrough? Well, either he thinks puzzles are not fun in general, the puzzle is too obscure or he's spent more time on it than he considers to be fun. None of these reasons should cause a developer to conclude that walkthroughs are a problem - unless the puzzle was just intended to frustrate and I don't think that's good game design. If anything, walkthroughs enable more people to enjoy other parts of the game even if they don't care for the puzzles.
     
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  20. Johannes Arcane

    Johannes
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    I know at least 1 pretty succesful Kickstarter game that'll feature a decent amount of puzzles.
     
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  21. thesisko Emissary

    thesisko
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    That's not a good example. I doubt even people who love mapping dungeons by hand would argue that all RPGs with automaps are dumbed down in comparision. They just put their emphasis on different gameplay areas. Like others have pointed out in this thread - it's not the quest compass that is the problem per se, but the insipid gameplay that usually accompanies games that incorporate it.
     
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  22. Mrowak Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Mrowak
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    You don't understand... You see, looking for a walkthrough requires some *effort*. You have to move from your couch, launch your computer, look for a walkthrough, find appropraite fragment, go back to your xbox, forget what you read, go back to the computer, print everything out, go back and play, by which point you forget where you were in the game in the first place.

    However, I must admit, that myself, I am no big fan of arbitrary puzzles of the yesteryears (turn 7 keys in the right order, use a rubber duck on a railway track to get a handkerchief, step on some floor tiles in correct fashion etc.) if only because most of them were so illogical and divorced from what you were actually trying to accomplish.

    If puzzles were to be seriously reintroduced they would have to become more logical and common sense friendly than theu were before.

    That's exactly the problem, and the reason the newspeak in this interview (quest markers, visual cues, minimap, emotional engagement, feeling etc.) is aggreviationg. Those words cater not to people interested in a niche product, but to the denizens of mass market. Sure, if properly implemented all of these could prove of large benefit to the game, but somehow I am certain they are understood as they are now - yet another device to make gameplay more shallow and pointless.
     
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  23. Phelot Arcane

    Phelot
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    Ugh. I can't help but be wary of statements like this. We've all seen what Bioware and Bethesda have done with "emotions" and ethics. I think it can be done, but most examples of attempts of it are pretty bad.
     
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  24. Johannes Arcane

    Johannes
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    Mostly I dislike that quote because he totally avoids the original question about the puzzles. I agree that there should be a memorable context to the gameplay, be it about rabid dogs or cyborg brains, but answer the goddamn question - what kind of gameplay are you planning to make out of those non-combat, skill-use situations?
     
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  25. darkpatriot Arcane

    darkpatriot
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    The definition you are using for emotionally engaging is not a very good one. It is also not the one that I or Michael Stackpole was using.

    That is part of the problem though I suppose. Ever since Bioware has started using it as a buzzword people have gotten some sort of crazy ideas as to what emotional engagement means.

    Any narrative is going to want to engage you emotionally in some way if it wants to keep you interested. Regardless of what medium the narrative is in. Simply making you like or dislike a character a little bit is emotional engagement. It doesn't mean it has to make you fall in love with a character, or weep openly, or even require complex characters. It just has to engage your emotions. Make you feel something. Happy, Sad, Anxious, ect... Any narrative that doesn't make you feel any emotions at all is not a very good narrative.

    Games don't necessarily have to have any narrative. Sometimes a basic narrative that isn't very strong might do just fine. In fact it might be preferred to have a weak/nonexistant narrative if it would distract from the gameplay. Pong(or just about any puzzle game) for example needs no narrative or emotional engagement. Roguelikes usually don't need strong narrative or emotional engagement because the mechanical gameplay is the basic thing to them.

    Some genres can disregard narrative pretty easily but RPGs are one of the genres where narrative can make a big impact. That's not to say that narrative trumps gameplay(it doesn't) but in a good RPG they should complement each other.

    Just because the modern trend is to try and shoehorn some cinematic style narrative into every game of every genre whether it needs it or not doesn't mean that narrative isn't important to some types of games.
     
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