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Interview Keeping the RPG in ARPG... with books!

DarkUnderlord

Professional Throne Sitter
Staff Member
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Jun 18, 2002
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28,318
Tags: Diablo III; Leonard Boyarsky

GameBanshee's disgruntled NMA staffie Brother None <a href="http://www.gamebanshee.com/interviews/diabloiii1.php">scored himself a chat with Blizzard's Leonard Boyarsky</a>:
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<blockquote>GB: Tell us about a few of the more important ways you intend to expand Diablo III's RPG elements compared to the previous iterations. How do you ensure that expanding on the RPG aspect of Diablo III won't interfere with the core hack & slash experience?
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Leonard: The RPG elements we're focusing on developing more this time around are in the areas of story and character development. We really want you to feel like you can have an effect on the world -- and that the world can affect your character in turn. In the past, action-RPGs have either come down on the side of action or RPG, and we don't think that's a choice that necessarily has to be made. Our goal is to make the RPG-style story elements more engaging than they previously have been in the action-RPG genre. The main way we do this without interfering with the hack-and-slash gameplay is by making it opt-in -- if you don't care about the story, or if you’re replaying the game and have already seen the story elements, the game will still be fun, but if you do care about it, the story will bring a whole extra level of involvement to the game experience.
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A central feature of this philosophy is making as few quests as possible mandatory, but having a wide variety of interesting side quests and random quests to play through if you want to. We are also doing a lot with scripted sequences and books that you can read in the game, but once again, you can completely avoid these things if they don't interest you.</blockquote>
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Reading books = RPG element. Please explain?
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Thanks <b>PennyAnte</b> (who beat Brother None to the contact us form)!
 

uhjghvt

Scholar
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Aug 7, 2008
Messages
463
well developing the backstory is important to making the player care about the world and therefore the plot, books are one way of doing that. it was one of the few things morrowind got right I'd say
 

Bluebottle

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Dead State Wasteland 2
To be fair he has talked before about the importance of story telling within the world by actively showing things to the player, rather than letting them only read about it in books or hear about it through lengthy NPC exposition. It's somewhat safe to assume that books are only going to be one tool used.

And yes, this doesn't necessarily make it an RPG, but then I was under the impression that he was in charge of world creation, not game mechnaics.
 

elander_

Arbiter
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Oct 7, 2005
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When you separate world creation from game mechanics you get things like Fatman mini-nukes, drinking from toilets and flame swords in Fallout 3. So no, game mechanics and world setting must be compatible.
 

PennyAnte

Liturgist
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Dec 10, 2004
Messages
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Here instead of playing an RPG.
I will need to hear about in-game choices and consequences before I start to think of it as an RPG. So far it sounds like there's a non-interactive backstory I can't shape. Randomly generated quests and pre-set light quests are good, but not enough to also claim a strong RPG aspect, IMO.
 

Brother None

inXile Entertainment
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5,673
PennyAnte said:
I will need to hear about in-game choices and consequences before I start to think of it as an RPG.

I doubt there will be many significant ones. It's a hack 'n slash game, not an RPG.

Kingston said:
BN must've creamed himself when he scored that interview.

I don't cream. Leonard was easy enough to convince, it just took a while to get PR to cooperate. Still, considering GB isn't that big compared to GameSpot or IGN, they were pretty helpful and didn't have a lot of problems with a relatively smaller independent site getting an interview (we did have to wait until a few weeks after release to let the bigger sites go first, tho', but that's normal).

Bluebottle said:
To be fair he has talked before about the importance of story telling within the world by actively showing things to the player, rather than letting them only read about it in books or hear about it through lengthy NPC exposition. It's somewhat safe to assume that books are only going to be one tool used.

And yes, this doesn't necessarily make it an RPG, but then I was under the impression that he was in charge of world creation, not game mechnaics.

More or less, but he's one of the leads so it's not like the mechanics don't interact with what he's doing.

DU kind of snipped things out of context there, Leonard also talks about making Diablo III utilize dialogue instead of monologue, which to me is a more important step. Regardless, I don't think the claim is that DIII will be an RPG, it's still a hack 'n slash (as Leonard repeats multiple times), just with more narrative and some more RPG elements.
 

kris

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Oct 27, 2004
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Lulea, Sweden
uhjghvt said:
well developing the backstory is important to making the player care about the world and therefore the plot, books are one way of doing that. it was one of the few things morrowind got right I'd say

A story or backstory is not a RPG-element. It is something that is potentially present in any kind of game.
 

Ryuken

Liturgist
Joined
Feb 28, 2005
Messages
606
Location
Belgium
Even if it would only set the tone it wouldn't be bad. Diablo I and II both did a great job with those 'books' narrated by Paul Eiding. Those were short blurbs but it just felt... 'heavy' with Eiding's voice. I love to see how Boyarsky is gonna try to expand that.
 

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