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Interview J.E. Sawyer on RPGs at NWN2News

Spazmo

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Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Neverwinter Nights 2; Obsidian Entertainment

Everyone's favourite design apologist J.E. Sawyer has been interviewed by <a href=http://www.nwn2news.net>Neverwinter Nights 2 News</a>. He discusses RPGs and the industry in general rather than answering stuff like "Are there maces in NWN2? How many?"<blockquote>When do you feel we will ever see another Fallout, Planescape or BG2 type epic, deep story driven game?
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I really believe that developing games with stories like Fallout and Planescape, where the player has a lot of freedom, requires designers to re-focus their attention. You can't build a linear RPG for twelve months and just decide, out of the blue, to transform it into a non-linear, "do what you want" RPG. That has to be the focus from the beginning. Plot critical characters have to be rare in the extreme, plot critical events also have to be rare in the extreme. It requires planning and it requires focus, but I don't honestly believe it's tremendously difficult. It's only hard because designers often want to have it both ways - telling a super tight, super controlled story and allowing some sort of lip-service to non-linearity. Something's got to give, guys.
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When will designers decide to do that in an RPG again? Beats me.</blockquote>And when will Obsidian decide to do that in an RPG at all? Don't hold your breath.
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Spotted at: <A HREF="http://www.bluesnews.com">Blue's News</A>
 

LlamaGod

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they like to talk tough until the publishers come around.

grow balls.
 

suibhne

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LlamaGod said:
they like to talk tough until the publishers come around.

grow balls.

Well, he pointedly didn't identify himself as one of those story-based, non-linear developers. :wink:
 

Volourn

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When did FO become a 'deep storyd riven game'. It never had a deep story, and it surely wasn't story driven at least nowhere near the level of PST. It was character driven. FO's story was solid; but it wasn't 'OMG! THA STORY IS AWESOME!" I mean it boiled down to 'STOP THE MUTANTS!" or join them like a retard. LOL
 

obediah

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i think he's got a pretty good handle on the reality of the industry. I'd personally like to see more RPG developers throw a fit and head to the low-production indie hills, but I can't fault anyone for staying in the brave new AAA world. Especially when they don't wrap their decision up in PR bullshit.
 
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Fallout was neither Epic nor was it story driven.
The interviewer is obviously a retard for saying shit like that, and Sawyer for not correcting him.
 

Volourn

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No. They're not retarded. Just mistaken or forgetful. YOU are the retard.
 

sleepy

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from the interview said:
In the big picture where do you see CRPG's going 5 years from now? 10 years?

I think most of them are going to move in the direction of Oblivion, into systems where player skill is just as (if not more) important than character statistics. I think the systems will become more and more streamlined as publishers attempt to broaden the appeal of RPGs to casual gamers while still retaining some of the core RPG players. Transparent mechanics are easier to comprehend and generally have a shallower learning curve, so I honestly believe that's the direction the games will go in.
Sawyer says pretty much the same that has been echoed here for quite some time now. Except here it has been brought up with curses and/or sarcasm, Sawyer was more diplomatic about it. It is mainstreaming, not evolving, and as such is a 'progress' I detest. Yay, we're all going to Oblivion!
But yadda yadda, same old complaint around these parts I know.
 

Major_Blackhart

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Zing. Anywho, gotta agreee with volly wolly here on the story for FO. What made it great was the immersiveness of the story, that you could get so wrapped up in it you became the Vault Dweller. You cant do that in a story that's told to you via a book or something. Well, you can, but not as well. In FO, you decided on how the story unfolded, etc. etc. PST and Arcanum had both very good stories, and arcanum was simply amazing because of the world's massive size and the characters being well drawn out, etc. But PST had the best linear story of them all.
 

Volourn

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It's well known (or should be) unlike the Codex lovechild Spiderweb that Mr. Sawyer is not a big fan of Bioware games, and he hates me times 100... only Mr. Gaider hates me more. :D

Yet, Troika no matter what they actually think of me, are always nice to me.... like a genius is to the barbarian down the street kind of nice; but still... it's the thought that counts. :P
 

Jora

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Yeah, Sawyer has always said quite negative things about Bioware's games. He didn't like how BG1 didn't follow D&D rules closely, he doesn't like Minsc, Boo or Jaheira, he dislikes the the combat system in Jade Empire and the way they write dialogue etc.
 

Neverwhere

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Major_Blackhart said:
But PST had the best linear story of them all.

True. Now, I wouldn't answer a question like "When do you feel we will ever see another Fallout, Planescape or BG2 type epic, deep story driven game?" quite like Mr. Sawyer:

JESt said:
Plot critical characters have to be rare in the extreme, plot critical events also have to be rare in the extreme.

That definately was the key to PST, yes it was...
 
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Neverwhere said:
Major_Blackhart said:
But PST had the best linear story of them all.

True. Now, I wouldn't answer a question like "When do you feel we will ever see another Fallout, Planescape or BG2 type epic, deep story driven game?" quite like Mr. Sawyer:

JESt said:
Plot critical characters have to be rare in the extreme, plot critical events also have to be rare in the extreme.

That definately was the key to PST, yes it was...

Sawyers answer is a bit misleading, but hes generaly right.
He makes this statement in regards toNon-linear Stories And in this context hes completly right. If you want to have a nonlinear and reasonably infuancalbe story, you have to make a minimum number of plot critical moments and characters.

Sawyers mistake is to categorize Torment as a game with nonlinear story in his answer, which certainly isn't true and makes his answer a bit confusing.
 

Drakron

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Well FO, PS:T and BG have diferent directions ... he decided to not talk about those games and talk about linear and non linear games.
 

Sammael

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Torment had nonlinear character development, and the story was indeed slightly different depending on character choices. If you did not, for example, pick up the Bronze Sphere from Pharod's corpse, the ending was different than if you did. The ultimate ending is always the same, of course, but the devil is in the details.
 

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