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Interview Destructoid's Full Session With Avellone

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Tags: Alpha Protocol; Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

The <a href="http://www.destructoid.com/interview-chris-avellone-on-alpha-protocol-142906.phtml">full Alpha Protocol focused interview with Chris Avellone</a>, hinted at in a previous news-posted item, is now up on Destructoid.<blockquote>Destructoid: Alpha Protocol, from the looks of things, is a dyed-in-the-wool spy game, complete with gadgets, intrigue, and cheeky sexual liaisons. What drove the decision to make a spy-themed RPG, and has it been more challenging to create a roleplaying game around spies rather than aliens or knights, as is the usual case?
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Avellone: The idea came from our CEO, Feargus Urquhart, and our tech director, Chris Jones. Both of them wanted to do an espionage shooter-style role-playing game, and the team took those parameters, and then carried the vision into the creation of the Alpha Protocol you're seeing trailers for now. We ended up adding some more visually compelling elements to the initial direction (Alpha Protocol takes place in the real world, but we've embellished the world and its inhabitants to give it more of a Kill Bill style as opposed to "super gritty and realistic"). We also played around with the character and his role in the adventure more, but ultimately, it's not far from the initial proposal.
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[...]
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Destructoid: Considering the wealth of potential that spy games have, there doesn't seem to be that many games out there exploiting the theme. Why do you think the developers have yet to create their own original spy games?
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Avellone: It might be blasphemy to praise other titles, but I think Metal Gear and Splinter Cell do a great job with the spy genre, actually. And I really thought the 24 game had some good elements as well.
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[...]
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Destructoid: The game obviously draws many comparisons with Mass Effect. Outside of the genre themes, what are the key differences between the two properties, and where do you aim to improve upon the dialog and choices that Mass Effect presents players?
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Avellone: The route through dialogs is different -- there's little to no loops in conversations in the game (much like the real world), and there is a timer present in the conversations to add urgency and immersion in what's taking place -- we felt that this complemented the espionage genre.</blockquote>Kill Bill style? MGS mentioned as a good spy game, but no NOLF? Timers adding immersion? Not so sure I'm with him this time...
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Spotted at: <A HREF="http://gamebanshee.com/">Gamebanshee</A>
 

Forest Dweller

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So Mitsoda had it "super gritty and realistic" until Avellone came over and changed it to "Kill Bill style."

This game has been gradually souring in my mind. Damn you, Codex.
 

Lord Sudaca

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Chris Jones and Alec Jones should join effort to make the ultimate crpg: the conspiracy themed rpg, in many ways inspired but Ultima 7 and Elizabeth and Abraham.
 

denizsi

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MGS mentioned as a good spy game, but no NOLF? Timers adding immersion? Not so sure I'm with him this time...

Just another reminder that Chris Avellone we once knew for PST is long dead. The "the same people who made X and Y" argument no longer has any merit. If Tim Cain, L. Boyarsky etc., the leads of Troika got together tomorrow, I'd be worried what kind of next-gen atrocities they would commit under the name CRPGs with the full backing of RPG communities like Codex, NMA etc, just because, you know, they are the same people who made this and that and didn't ever change since then. PLEASE REUNITE!! =(
 

Hoaxmetal

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It's like masturbating to old pictures of Pamela Anderson although she gets uglier by every year.
 

Lockkaliber

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Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
This smells of Sega. They probably didn't like what Mitsoda had produced, perhaps it was too gritty for them or something, and Obsidian had to scrap it all. Just a theory but I have a hard time thinking Avellone and gang would disapprove of something like that.
 

MetalCraze

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Of course it's SEGA. They didn't like the part Mitsoda as a mere writer has produced and decided to scrap the whole game. Right. It's not like Avellone said they had this idea right from the start and was lead designer there from the start.
Fanboy logic is killing me.

I like how he mentions Metal Gear Solid because that's exactly like ME: Alpha Protocol looks.

Destructoid: The game obviously draws many comparisons with Mass Effect. Outside of the genre themes, what are the key differences between the two properties, and where do you aim to improve upon the dialog and choices that Mass Effect presents players?

Avellone: The route through dialogs is different -- there's little to no loops in conversations in the game (much like the real world), and there is a timer present in the conversations to add urgency and immersion in what's taking place -- we felt that this complemented the espionage genre.

So these are all differences? (it's not like ME had loops too)
Bioware Jr. indeed.
 

Lockkaliber

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Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
MetalCraze said:
Of course it's SEGA. They didn't like the part Mitsoda as a mere writer has produced and decided to scrap the whole game. Right. It's not like Avellone said they had this idea right from the start and was lead designer there from the start.
Fanboy logic is killing me.

I wasn't aware the whole game was scrapped. I only read that what Mitsoda and Carlson produced, i.e. the writing, was scrapped. Perhaps you could present some sources of this? And if Avellone was lead designer from the start, and it was his idea to scrap it, why didn't he do it earlier in the development process, since he must have had access to everything they did from the start? It seems weird for him to just flip-flop and scrap everything a couple of years into the the process.
 

MetalCraze

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Reread again. You were putting it like the whole style depended on Mitsoda there, not like there are many writers besides him. So evil Sega somehow changed it into a not "gritty" pop-corn fest by forcing Obsidian to scrap only Mitsoda's thing.

BTW the game looking like a cheese-fest/clone of ME+MGS and being an idea of Feargus explains it all - or actually only proves yet again that Feargus desperately tries to make his studio clone the moneybag studios.

denizsi said:
If Tim Cain, L. Boyarsky etc., the leads of Troika got together tomorrow, I'd be worried what kind of next-gen atrocities they would commit

Next Arcanum installment was going to be a source-engine shooter. Troika went belly up just in time to become a nerd-legend.
 

denizsi

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How so? Link me. Also, what about the Mystery! project? Wouldn't have they gone straight to the next shooter without ever losing time (and credibility with big-time publishers) with isometric 3D?
 

MetalCraze

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Check Wiki page for Arcanum

In September 2006, one of Arcanum's lead programmers and tri-founder of Troika, Leonard Boyarsky, divulged that the studio had originally commenced work on a sequel, going by the working title of Journey to the Centre of Arcanum, which would use Valve's Source Engine. Development was curtailed by disputes between Sierra and Valve, resulting ultimately in the project being shelved

After Bloodlines I'm not sure if it was going to be good. Source engine surely isn't suitable for huge worlds and you know that Source combat is always a Source combat.

Mystery! project was another thing of theirs back in 2004, probably Fallout 3 - if you remember they were trying to buy rights to it from Interplay at the same time when the video showing PA setting in '50s USA was made.
 

Radisshu

Prophet
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MetalCraze said:
Check Wiki page for Arcanum

In September 2006, one of Arcanum's lead programmers and tri-founder of Troika, Leonard Boyarsky, divulged that the studio had originally commenced work on a sequel, going by the working title of Journey to the Centre of Arcanum, which would use Valve's Source Engine. Development was curtailed by disputes between Sierra and Valve, resulting ultimately in the project being shelved

After Bloodlines I'm not sure if it was going to be good. Source engine surely isn't suitable for huge worlds and you know that Source combat is always a Source combat.

You're right, Bloodlines' (many) positive aspects definitely weren't positive because of Source. Something about that engine makes it feel like I'm just sliding around rather than walking, and the physics involved were redundant and kind of crap.
 

Jora

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IIRC They were going to make the Arcanum sequel before they started working on Bloodlines.
 

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