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Interview Matt Chat 430: Trent Oster on Beamdog's Future + George Ziets New Studio Announcement

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Tags: Axis & Allies 1942 Online; Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear; Beamdog; Digimancy Entertainment; George Ziets; Matt Barton; Planescape: Unraveled; Trent Oster

The fifth and final episode of Matt Barton's interview with Trent Oster begins with a couple of pertinent questions from Codex user Micoselva. Regarding Siege of Dragonspear, without going into specifics Trent says the expansion suffered from poor scope management and a lack of oversight. As for Beamdog's mysterious Planescape project discovered by the Codex back in 2017, he confirms the widely held suspicion (also recently confirmed by David Gaider at PAX Australia) that the game was cancelled due to a failure to secure funding. Eventually the interview gets around to the topic of Beamdog's latest project Axis & Allies 1942 Online, though it quickly turns into an extended rumination on Trent's game development philosophy and Beamdog's feature. He aims to keep the company small and also wants to do more multiplayer games going forward. It seems like the era of Edition Enhancing is well and truly over.



As we already know, Matt Barton's next interview is with George Ziets. Coincidentally, we discovered just a few days ago that George quietly left inXile back in July(!). We quickly asked him what he was planning to do next, but Matt beat us to the punch. In a sneak preview of his interview attached at the end of the episode, George reveals that he's opening a new RPG studio in Ohio called Digimancy Entertainment. Here's a transcript courtesy of LESS T_T:

Matt: George, you were just telling me that you are opening a new studio. Wonder if you could tell us a little bit about.

George: Correct. So we are called Digimancy Entertainment.

Matt: Digimancy?

George: Yes, like digital-mancy.

Matt: I see what you did there.

George: Indeed. We're gonna be making RPGs and RPG hybrids, with a focus on great narratives and strong characters. Basically the kind of stuff that we've been doing in the past, for the last 15, 20 years. Something that I've been talking and thinking about for a long time.

Obviously I've worked on a few spiritual successors in my time. I've worked on quite a lot of sequels and franchise games. So I'm really interested in working on some new and original stuff. Original settings, new IPs. We're actually starting on something that we're super excited about. We are also interested in doing existing IPs, but especially stuff that hasn't been done in a long time or maybe that's never been seen in RPGs before. So if you think of like, Wizards of the Coast has all these cool properties laying around that they haven't done anything with for a while. Ravenloft, gosh, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, like, I'd love to work on any of those. So if WotC is listening let us know. We would be we would be very happy to work on that stuff.

Technically we're based in Columbus, Ohio, so we're a Midwestern studio, where it's actually affordable to live which is another really nice thing. We are also embracing the remote model of work so it's more like, I don't really care where you are and as long as you are super excited about RPGs and you really want to work on these games, I am happy to find a way to work with people no matter where they live.​

Matt plans to release the first part of his interview with George Ziets next week, although there might be a delay.
 

Andhaira

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Someone get Matt to interview Guido Henkel. There's been a new The Dark Eye edition out for a few years now, with no games using that ruleset. We could use a Northlands Trilogy II.
 

Lady_Error

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Guido is not working on computer games anymore, not since his Deathfire kickstarter failed. And I doubt he'd want to go back to Realms of Arkania (The Dark Eye) in any case.
 

SniperHF

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We are also embracing the remote model of work so it's more like, I don't really care where you are and as long as you are super excited about RPGs and you really want to work on these games, I am happy to find a way to work with people no matter where they live.

Wasn't this cited as part of the problem with Tides though? One lead in Thailand, one in Michigan, and the studio in Cali. Depends how you do it I guess, but having the key figures distributed seems like a bad idea. Someone making art/icons, scripting, models, whatever a little less critical.
 
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I hope George Ziets goes easy on the drugs, or he will end up burnt out like Chris Avellone.
 

Caconym

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Speaking of Digimancy and never-before IPs, I'd love to see Ziets behind an Unknown Armies CRPG. I don't know, how, but who else could make that beautifully weird-ass shit work?
 

Sentinel

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We are also embracing the remote model of work so it's more like, I don't really care where you are and as long as you are super excited about RPGs and you really want to work on these games, I am happy to find a way to work with people no matter where they live.

Wasn't this cited as part of the problem with Tides though? One lead in Thailand, one in Michigan, and the studio in Cali. Depends how you do it I guess, but having the key figures distributed seems like a bad idea. Someone making art/icons, scripting, models, whatever a little less critical.
That's one bad example, but there's some good experiences with remote studios out there as well. Disco Elysium and Ori and the Blind Forest come to mind.
 

Quillon

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We are also interested in doing existing IPs, but especially stuff that hasn't been done in a long time or maybe that's never been seen in RPGs before. So if you think of like, Wizards of the Coast has all these cool properties laying around that they haven't done anything with for a while. Ravenloft, gosh, Dark Sun, Dragonlance, like, I'd love to work on any of those. So if WotC is listening let us know. We would be we would be very happy to work on that stuff.

Sounds like what Obs needed in the last 6-7 years over the "IP creation" junkies.
 

MicoSelva

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Someone get Matt to interview Guido Henkel. There's been a new The Dark Eye edition out for a few years now, with no games using that ruleset. We could use a Northlands Trilogy II.
George Ziets is currently accepting feedback regarding potential settings for future CRPGs.
(I suggested Warhammer Fantasy on Twitter.)
 
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A Western version of Arcanum/Shadowrun is something I've always wanted to see.

Weird West (no elves, dwarves, wizards, etc) would be okay, but more so as a Disco Elysium type of thing.
 
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