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Interview Codex Interview with MCA

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
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Messages
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Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

Chris Avellone has kindly agreed to answer a few questions (the link will be enabled shortly) and draw a few pictures for people with reading comprehension issues. Chris even decided to turn the interview into a real dialogue, and he was going to comment on my comments - "Oh no way, I'd love to answer these, buckle up. ;)", but LucasArts' people called and said that they want KOTOR 3 out by Christmas, so he had to get back to work.

Part I

Presenting the very first RPG Codex Dialogue - by this, I mean, this ended up not being an interview, but a back and forth question and answer session with Vince, which yielded the answers below, and also allowed me to transcend to Aging Developer Level 33 (34?). I am also pleased to say that as a result of these dialogues, Vince and I are currently dating, and he is quite the handful in the bedroom.

But first, let me share with you a 'true' story. It contains mild profanity, but what good story doesn't, I always say. If your ears are fragile and delicate, go read RPGDot, since they're probably more professional and up-to-date on relevant RPG news anyway... as you well know, RPGCodex is just where you come out of morbid fascination and to watch forum posters get eviscerated.

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The other day, I was talking with one of my 'friends,' when I told him I was doing an interview with RPG Codex. We'll call him Gave Daider.

"Why? RPG Codex is a bunch of whiny aging babies who are allergic to consoles or any RPG made after 1999," my 'friend' replied.

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I was taken aback. What a flippant, unfair characterization. I immediately re-evaluated my friendship with this 'person,' who shall remain nameless and could potentially be imaginary as well.

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Quick in RPG Codex's defense, I replied, "Come on, that's not true. Take Proverbius, for example... he's cool."

My 'friend' laughed. "Prover-bias? Give me a break, that's guy's an ass."

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I got a little irritated, since I don't cotton to that kind of slander about a respected member of the web community, so I kicked him right in his Kilzigs. Now, if he had presented a rational, well-constructed argument as to why Proverbius is an ass, I may have listened to it, but without a critical argument, no, I can't condone idiotic prattle like that.

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Anyway, so here's the dialogue with RPG Codex. BTW, when these were given to me, they were put with the disclaimer that the questions "are neither 'loaded' or hostile." Which immediately put me on my guard, since you know as soon as an interviewer says that, they realize the questions could immediately be construed as hostile and they're probably parked outside your house with a gun waiting for you to open the front door:

VINCE: Here are the questions. They are neither "loaded" nor hostile. I see them as interesting, and even if you disagree with some opinions, you can easily dispute them in your answers.

However, if some questions bother you, I'd be glad to replace or reword them.
Nonsense, I say, and as a result, the questions here are presented uncut and unedited. As it turns out, none of the questions were really very hostile at all, which was disappointing. I tried to bait Vince by asking him some hostile questions, but that didn't work, either.

He had some clarifications, though:

VINCE: The interview is for RPG Codex and questions asked reflect what many folks there think of those games, i.e. that NR doesn't fit, that PST is a top 10 game, and that K2 fell short. So, like I said, feel free to comment or disagree.
Just so you all here at RPG Codex know what you all collectively think. I, for one, am glad for the unified opinion, since groupthink is the way of the future. Still, to be fair, I feel I must respond with the following:

CHRIS: The answers herein are solely my opinion, and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes of Obsidian Entertainment or its design and production staff. If anything here seems like it could be damaging, it's only fair to warn you that this interview was in fact answered by Chris Applehaus, who occasionally impersonates Chris Avellone, and Mr. Applehaus really has no business answering questions for Obsidian Entertainment or anything related to its games or design philosophy.
Oh, and FINALLY, there are a few spoilers here for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords and Planescape Torment, so if you intend to play any of these games (good luck finding Torment), don't read this unless you love spoilers. If you do love spoilers, you are a sicko and better keep your mouth shut around me if you've seen any film before me, even if it was only aired on the sci-fi channel.​

This interview continues in Part II.

We'd like to thank Chris, Obsidian Entertainment, and Lucas Arts for the interview.
 

Fresh

Erudite
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Man, I think I need a good night's sleep before I try digesting that post.
 

HotSnack

Cipher
Joined
Mar 7, 2006
Messages
650
I'm too tired to properly read it, all I can do is just point and giggle at the doodles like a little girl for now. Still from skimming the interview it looks to be quite fantastic. On a related note, why the term "real dialogue," isn't this just an interview? Or has the term interview been forever butchered to actually meaning Q&A?
 

Roqua

Prospernaut
Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space
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Who is Serge? VD or SP? Or someone else? Serge, thats pretty funny. Thats definitily a child molestor name.

The last answer to the last question was gay. "Fun" Fun" Fun". Good questions though, and some good answers, but some were just angering. What is a combat monster?
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
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Messages
27,926
SlavemasterT said:
Could we have the images taken off the front page? I don't know about other folks, but they're making a mess of the page on my browser.
No. The images are part of the interview, as for the front page, few news posts later the problem will be solved automatically.

HotSnack said:
On a related note, why the term "real dialogue," isn't this just an interview? Or has the term interview been forever butchered to actually meaning Q&A?
Interview = one guy emails questions, another guy emails answers that may or may not have something to do with the questions.

Roqua said:
Who is Serge? VD or SP? Or someone else?
That's me. SP's name is Clayton. Chris decided to use my real name, and I didn't want to edit his comments.
 

Elwro

Arcane
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Krakow, Poland
Divinity: Original Sin Wasteland 2
Both the pictures and the interview are damn funny and just fantastic.
The question nr 0 almost sent me to the floor... Great stuff!
 

Zomg

Arbiter
Joined
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Messages
6,984
Pretty funny, but on a scale of one to ten, how satirical is 1. supposed to be?
 

kingcomrade

Kingcomrade
Edgy
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Cognitive Elite HQ
A child molester name? I'm pretty sure Serge is a Frenchish name.

Well, MCA isn't much in tune with my section of the Hive Mind, but overall I liked his attitude. What surprised me a bit was how modest he was about PST. We've been raving about this game on the Codex for as long as I've been here and it's disconcerting to realize he's probably not read a word of it, and what a small crowd we must be, here.

SP's name is Clayton
Really? LoL-ipops, what a coincidence.

edit- this post was supposed to be right after roqua's
 

DarkUnderlord

Professional Throne Sitter
Staff Member
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Messages
27,170
Heheh. Serge. Please don't tip me over. Hah. Gave Daider. I wonder who that is? I reckon it's MSFD. Yep.

Yeah, never played Kotor so most of the interview went pretty much over my head. Some of what he says is interesting but other bits I think are fairly generic no-brainers too. MCA has style though and it's good to see Mitsoda working on their third project. If he's really responsible for the Bloodlines story as much as I'm hoping, it should mean good things.
 

Roqua

Prospernaut
Dumbfuck Repressed Homosexual In My Safe Space
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YES!
It was good to see a developer that worked on some classics be asked questions you really never see asked, and answered truthfully. Some of the answers were fluff, like the last one, and he didn’t seem to address the question I felt you were asking, but he is probably used to the mainstream implication of questions.

It would have been nicer to see him answer the questions of why is combat utter crap in games now, why is TB such a no-no nowadays, and why was the combat in kotor 2 so fucking easy and stupid? Is easy and stupid fun? Does it matter that it’s a light saber battle and those are fun if the actual battle is easy and stupid and bland?

Why is the mainstream such pandering bitches? I would of liked to see that question asked. And I’d still like to know what a combat monster is? Is it the person who painstakingly build a character they love in FO 2 and used that character to good effect with strategic TB combat, or is it the person who thought the boring, stupid, and overly abundant combat in PST was fucking awesome and wanted more of that? Or the person who couldn’t get through the monastery because it wasn’t action packed enough?


But anyway, I think it was a good dialogue or whatever the fuck you want to call it. It is fun like obsidian’s take on licenses.
 

Twinfalls

Erudite
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Messages
3,903
Gah. So many 'it's cool' and 'it's fun' responses and flat-out avoiding of the questions. Why do these guys think they're being iconoclastic and cool by simply acting like dumb jocks? Gaider's interview was far better, at least he was straightforward and avoided unfunny silliness.
 

Seven

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SERGE: This one sounds like generic PR bullshit to me. You just copy-pasted it from somewhere, didn’t you?

I don't think I've ever seen this asked by an interviewer, very interesting technique. This is definitely one of the better interviews that I've read. When do we get more?

Gah. So many 'it's cool' and 'it's fun' responses and flat-out avoiding of the questions. Why do these guys think they're being iconoclastic and cool by simply acting like dumb jocks? Gaider's interview was far better, at least he was straightforward and avoided unfunny silliness.

I don't know what you mean by this, it seemed to me that he answered all of the questions and even expanded on them when prompted to, so what's the problem? I hate to be the defender of Avellone, but it seems to me like you're blowing smoke up his ass.
 

Twinfalls

Erudite
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Messages
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I mean seriously, this:

Its core gameplay should be fun. Aside from our lead designer, Kevin Saunders, our third project has two of the three sub-lead designers (one Josh Sawyer, the other, Brian Heins, who were able to persuade to depart Rockstar) devoted to overseeing the two core game mechanics of the game and making sure they are as fun for the player as possible.

has got to be some kind of fucking stupid joke.
 

Vault Dweller

Commissar, Red Star Studio
Developer
Joined
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Messages
27,926
Seven said:
I don't think I've ever seen this asked by an interviewer, very interesting technique.
*bows*

When do we get more?
5 more interviews coming.
 

Volourn

Pretty Princess
Pretty Princess Glory to Ukraine
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Messages
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As usual the interviewer misses the point,a nd his only goal is to bash the interviewee if they have a different view. This easily told by comments such 'as some posters think' which is a fuckin' lame way to ask a question or'is that bullshit PR speak'? The first one is alme because when someone writes 'some posters think', 'many psoters think', 'some thought' is usually PR bullshit speak for 'I (the writer) believe'. Just say it. Damn it. Stop being a cowardly pussy. The second of 'is that bullshit PR speak?' is a wasted question. Afterall, if someone si feeding you 'PR Bullshit' you think they're gonna reply twos econds later with 'Yeah, that's PR bullshit'. Whatever.

That was a great interview by MCA though.

Anyone who thinks New Reno sucks is no real FO Fan. Period.

New Reno is the greatest thing about FO; because it represents the best thing about the FO series - role-playing that is second to none.

An, as pe rusual, the morons at the Codex overrate PST. PST is no top 10 game. FO2 is, and its MCA's best work to date. PST is a top 20 game. Maybe. It is good; but not top 10. No fuckin' way.

Morons.
 

Section8

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Not a bad read at all. I love an interview that's about discussion rather than product promotion. Interesting questions, and interesting answers, so all in all, good work from both parties.

It's also fun to see developers who actually have a sense of humour about the attitudes of the Codex. :D
 

Gnidrologist

CONDUCTOR
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Very entertainig and fertile interview. A rare occasion in game industry related interviews.
Great job VD and MCA.

Although I have to agree that some questions were just rebuffed by meaningless (witty) responses and the part about dialogues still amazes me. I just can't believe that all time greatest crpg dialogue writer (which MCA is imho) is sincere on that part.
Obsidians have he's wife and family as a hostage I think.
 

Seven

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Volourn said:
As usual the interviewer misses the point,a nd his only goal is to bash the interviewee if they have a different view. This easily told by comments such 'as some posters think' which is a fuckin' lame way to ask a question or'is that bullshit PR speak'? The first one is alme because when someone writes 'some posters think', 'many psoters think', 'some thought' is usually PR bullshit speak for 'I (the writer) believe'. Just say it. Damn it. Stop being a cowardly pussy. The second of 'is that bullshit PR speak?' is a wasted question. Afterall, if someone si feeding you 'PR Bullshit' you think they're gonna reply twos econds later with 'Yeah, that's PR bullshit'. Whatever.

That was a great interview by MCA though.

Anyone who thinks New Reno sucks is no real FO Fan. Period.

New Reno is the greatest thing about FO; because it represents the best thing about the FO series - role-playing that is second to none.

An, as pe rusual, the morons at the Codex overrate PST. PST is no top 10 game. FO2 is, and its MCA's best work to date. PST is a top 20 game. Maybe. It is good; but not top 10. No fuckin' way.

Morons.

You're a jerk.
 

kohla

Educated
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Thank you. It was an interesting read.
When do we get more?
5 more interviews coming.
Any of Bethesda's developer(s) in those interviews ?
 

mindx2

Codex Roaming East Coast Reporter
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Codex 2012 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire RPG Wokedex Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pathfinder: Kingmaker I'm very into cock and ball torture
Most definetely a different kind of interview than the normal "PR swill" usually given by those in the industry today.

I found both the questions (refreshing) and answers (amusing w/ some honesty) fun and informative. Hats off to you VD... this is what keeps people coming back here.
 

Volourn

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With a DM client in use, yeah. But OC vs. OC... no. The OC had role-playing; but not at FO (or FO2's level). There is a reason why both FOs are in my top 5.

As for sig useage, that's what I'm here for!


"Hats off to you VD... this is what keeps people coming back here."

Really? While the interviews are fun and all (even as I rant about them); I'd wager more people are here because of the open rough and tumble discussions more than anything.


"You're a jerk."

I truly am a Codexer!!!!
 

Atrokkus

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Great interview. Kudos to VD.

The blatant evading of questions was quite frustrating though. I mean, hey, he basically left the first Torment question unanswered. During NWN2 DevChat (where MCA was abscent, btw), even other guys like Darrel Monahan were more open, even to pretty loaded questions.

And yeah, damn good to hear that Mitsoda will do stuff in their original project. His wriiting in Bloodlines was superb, almost on a par with that of Torment.
 

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