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Codex Interview Brent Knowles Interview: An Insider's Look at BioWare, 2000-2009

BLOBERT

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BRO COOL INTERVIEWE THANK YOU
 
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Mate said "I don't really remember" so much, that he either bound to have early onset Alzheimer's, or he's still under NDA or something.

Interesting interview nonetheless, thanks. :salute:
 

eremita

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So I googled them up, because obviously they must be geniuses. And turns out one is working as Senior Creative Director at BioWare, was a lead designer on SWTOR, and the other one is lead designer at Blizzard.

So why aren't these people, being in high position, make good games any more? And the other thing, why the fuck did they sell out to those fuck ugly corporations that literally produce shit? And Boyarski is in there somewhere as well. And Tim Cain's ideas are flushed down the drain at Obsidian. No wonder all modern games are shit. Fucking corporations of shit.
I guess they're not young and eager designers anymore, but big managers with families to take care of... I doubt James was designing anything in SWTOR... Azazel is right, these guys think they're getting promoted, but the only thing certain is that they're transitioning from a role they were really good at to something uncertain...
 
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Good job, 'tron! Good questions led to his answers being decently fleshed out.

:thumbsup:

Edit: Mr. Knowles deserves a brofisting for his honesty.

:bro:
 
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Infinitron

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Good job, 'tron! Good questions led to his answers being decently fleshed out.

:thumbsup:

Edit: Mr. Knowles deserves a brofisting for his honesty too.

:bro:

Not everybody liked my questions: https://twitter.com/RPGShack/status/557830037886738432

My answer to Alex of RPGShack is that we're not journalists - we're a site with a mission and an agenda, and occasionally we can't get the answers we want without making that agenda absolutely clear. A non-committal "Neverwinter Nights OC was divisive, not everybody liked it" type of question would not have made it clear to that game's lead designer exactly what it was we needed him to explain.

In any case, Brent was a proper gentleman about it, so it's all good.
 
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Weasel
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I thought you asked excellent questions instead of the soft-touch stuff one often gets in interviews like this. It was great that Brent answered as best he could without running a mile when he saw them (or received the request from the Codex) and the occasional "my memory is not great" is easy to forgive given the nature of the questions.
 

Sensuki

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I agree. Good questions. I think the RPGShack guy might be mad because you got good answers despite the method :P

"fuck you, I can't believe you got away with that" etc
 
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My answer to Alex of RPGShack is that we're not journalists - we're a site with a mission and an agenda, and occasionally we can't get the answers we want without making that agenda absolutely clear. A non-committal "Neverwinter Nights OC was divisive, not everybody liked it" type of question would not have made it clear to that game's lead designer exactly what it was we needed him to explain.

The codex has, in regards to RPGs, its (high and somewhat unique) standards!

Once again, good job to both you and Mr. Knowles.
 

imweasel

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Infinitron was obviously picking Brent's brains for info as to why and how Bioware went down the shitter, which is exactly what I wanted to read. :) Good job Infinitron.

Hordes of the Underdark is an absolute gem and I have very fond memories of it, nice to know that Brent was the lead designer. I approve of Mr. Knowles being a stretch goal or getting a job at HBS or Inxile. ;)

J_C I'd like to see Brent on Matt Chat. Think you can work something out?
 

Infinitron

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Tbh I liked the more opinionated questions more than the subsequent answers.

My only whine is since the interview was done "with the recent release of Dragon Age: Inquisition" in mind I'd have expected at least one question about, you know, Dragon Age Inquisition.

Brent told us ahead of time he had nothing to say about the Dragon Age sequels.
 

Darth Roxor

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My answer to Alex of RPGShack is that we're not journalists - we're a site with a mission and an agenda

Thing is though, it's usually just the game """"journalism"""" that refrains from asking loaded/tough questions or presenting some sort of an opinion in them. You'll find provocative or critical questions in almost all other kinds of journalism out there, and for some reason these don't evoke the uproar of a bunch of crybabies that are just closeted fans who want to do nothing but go 'uguu~' at their childhood/industry idols.
 

cvv

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Brent told us ahead of time he had nothing to say about the Dragon Age sequels.
Cool. Guess there's a wind of change blowing within the bowels of Codex, from what I've gathered the old one was extremely hostile to devs and would've probably trolled BK with a made up answer (Like "What do you think of DAI and Mike Laidlaw?" BK: "Worst game ever, fuck that loser.")

Would read interviews with AAA devs again, an exclusive piece with someone from TToN would be great. There's also a Codexer from a Kingdom Come dev team, maybe others lurking.
 

felipepepe

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Thing is though, it's usually just the game """"journalism"""" that refrains from asking loaded/tough questions or presenting some sort of an opinion in them. You'll find provocative or critical questions in almost all other kinds of journalism out there, and for some reason these don't evoke the uproar of a bunch of crybabies that are just closeted fans who want to do nothing but go 'uguu~' at their childhood/industry idols.
To be fair, both the press and the devs are to blame. For the book I've contacted many developers, and while they were all friendly at first, very, very few replied me when I sent more though questions.

And I'm not talking about edgy stuff. I.e., the toughest question I sent to Jake Solomon of Nu-XCOM was:

"Many of us grew up as kids playing games such as the original X-COM or the Ultima series. Today those games are still considered classics, but there's a strong belief that they are unplayable for modern audiences. What do you think that has changed? And do you think that's something constant, that 15-20 years from now people will claim that XCOM:EU is hard for new players to get into and start working on a updated version?"

All the rest was pretty much standards stuff... I don't know if it was him directly or the PR department that decided to ignore me, but modern gaming industry surely doesn't like hard questions. Especially since the press' retarded concept of playing rough is doing stuff like repeatedly asking Obsidian to apologize for bugs or to push their SJW agenda over character's design...
 

cvv

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"Many of us grew up as kids playing games such as the original X-COM or the Ultima series. Today those games are still considered classics, but there's a strong belief that they are unplayable for modern audiences. What do you think that has changed? And do you think that's something constant, that 15-20 years from now people will claim that XCOM:EU is hard for new players to get into and start working on a updated version?"

That's a pretty good question. Using their logic against them, cool. The fact he didn't answer suggests bad conscience in my book.
 

FeelTheRads

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Well, yeah, gaming "journalism" is mostly fan fiction. Questioning anything (that's not about terrible injustices) marks you as a "hater" and anything you say from then on is invalid.
And of course developers are to blame too. Either because they got used to being pampered with so much ass-kissing or because they're typically more sensitive, I don't know, but it's there.
 

Darth Roxor

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Sure, but the devs ignore tough questions and get away with it just because they know some shmucks will soon contact them with questions much more in-line with the Party's way of thinking. It's this weakness of the journalistic part of the industry that allowed the developers and PR depts to become the untouchable royalty that they are now.

"Why should I answer some braziliero's edgy remarks when IGN is asking me now why is my game so AWESOME!!! ?"
 

Grotesque

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Kevin Martens and Leonard Boyarsky are now at Blizzard, the place where giants go to die. :))

Also James Ohlen,

"Don't be scared about adding voice over and cool cinematic content," he advised his audience, "but do be careful about adding lots of choice with consequence because that adds to QA cost and development cost and makes it hard to design everything."
 

agris

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Also James Ohlen,

"Don't be scared about adding voice over and cool cinematic content," he advised his audience, "but do be careful about adding lots of choice with consequence because that adds to QA cost and development cost and makes it hard to design everything."
That's depressing, is that from a dev panel video?
 

Jaedar

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That's a pretty good question. Using their logic against them, cool. The fact he didn't answer suggests bad conscience in my book.
Would not be surprised if true. Remember that Solomon tried to make a much more faithful revival at first, but was continually shot down by execs and playtesters.

Or he was just afraid the answer would force him to speak out against his employer and decided it was not worth it.
 

eremita

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Kevin Martens and Leonard Boyarsky are now at Blizzard, the place where giants go to die. :))

Also James Ohlen,

"Don't be scared about adding voice over and cool cinematic content," he advised his audience, "but do be careful about adding lots of choice with consequence because that adds to QA cost and development cost and makes it hard to design everything."
But he's right you know. As a developer giving advice to another one, I don't have a problem with that. CC is hard, it's risky, it's expensive, not to mention the player won't see a lot of content. From bussines/managinf point of view, it's just honesty. What kind of approach he would take when designing proper CRPG is a different matter... And we don't know answer to that.
 

Bulba

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Sure, but the devs ignore tough questions and get away with it just because they know some shmucks will soon contact them with questions much more in-line with the Party's way of thinking. It's this weakness of the journalistic part of the industry that allowed the developers and PR depts to become the untouchable royalty that they are now.

"Why should I answer some braziliero's edgy remarks when IGN is asking me now why is my game so AWESOME!!! ?"

I think it has to do with the fact that many readers are too young/retarded to understand that developers do not work for fun and some sort of grand idea of making an awesome game, and they have to keep up the appearances or lose sales/jobs.
 

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