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Interview Matt Chat 440: Annie VanderMeer on Taxi Driver and Her Early Days at Obsidian

Infinitron

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Tags: Annie VanderMeer; Dwarfs; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment

Matt Barton has been running his interview with Annie VanderMeer (formerly Mitsoda, formerly Carlson) on YouTube since last week. The first episode of the interview was entirely about Annie's recent work on visual novels, and thus of little interest to the Codex. So are the first 14 minutes of the latest episode, but the rest of it is more interesting. Did you know that Annie got her start in the industry at Majesco working on a cancelled GTA clone based on Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver? It sounds like it was a total mess, and so was her next job at Obsidian where the game she was hired to work on, the Snow White-based RPG Dwarfs, was cancelled two months afterwards.



Annie also mentions working on Alpha Protocol and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir, which she had to finish in nine months. Unfortunately the interview doesn't dwell long on any of these games. Too much time spent on visual novels, Matt! Hopefully the next episode will have a bit more.
 

Andhaira

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Wait, she got divorced from Biran Mitsoda?? No moar Doublebear?

Guess that Zombie game really took a toll on the marriage. :(

edit: She also got plus sized.
 

Zombra

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Wait, she got divorced from Biran Mitsoda?? No moar Doublebear?
Guess that Zombie game really took a toll on the marriage. :(
Maybe, but I'm not so sure that that's where things went wrong for Doublebear.

I like Annie and wish her well - there is room in this world for wacky blondes - and I hope she and Brian are okay or whatever.
 

Tacgnol

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Literally who da fook

She used to post here occasionally back in the day, that was before she went all crazy and became a full blown SJW.

Edit: Zombra, not sure which part you are disagreeing with, that she used to post here or that she seemed relatively sane when she did.
 
Last edited:

hexer

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The Dwarves game sounds interesting.
I read about it a bit here and it's a mystery why Obsidian pushed for a lighter version when Disney wanted a darker game.
Weird!
 

Trojan_generic

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The Dwarves game sounds interesting.
I read about it a bit here and it's a mystery why Obsidian pushed for a lighter version when Disney wanted a darker game.
Weird!

The actual character you played was going to be more of a typical RPG character, called the Prince [or Princess, presumably], a young man or young girl, and you would end up bumping into those dwarves and going on this adventure and solving all of these things."

The ultimate faggotry.
 

hexer

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The Dwarves game sounds interesting.
I read about it a bit here and it's a mystery why Obsidian pushed for a lighter version when Disney wanted a darker game.
Weird!

The actual character you played was going to be more of a typical RPG character, called the Prince [or Princess, presumably], a young man or young girl, and you would end up bumping into those dwarves and going on this adventure and solving all of these things."

The ultimate faggotry.

There's more info here: http://www.gamebanshee.com/news/110385-obsidians-cancelled-dwarves-project-detailed.html

Many regrets about Seven Dwarfes?

No, in the sense that I think its cancellation was completely out of our control. But I do regret that Dwarfs (that's what we called it internally) was never made I was the lead designer and it involved some of my best creative work. I wrote the backstory for the Snow White/Dwarfs world and the overall story outline for the prequel how cool of an opportunity is that? =) I felt very lucky.

This wasn't a happy-go-lucky Disney game. Disney's Buena Vista Games wanted dark and I gave them dark. In the opening sequence, for example, you, as a teenage prince, awake in your bed to haunting sounds. Exploring the dark castle, you come across a terrifying shadowy creature that you kill in a desperate struggle its cries shifting from a supernatural shriek to that of a human woman's bloodcurdling cry of death. The illusion is then dispelled, and your mother, the Queen, lays dead before you, the bloody knife that killed her in your hand. This wasn't a cinematic it was all a gameplay sequence that you'd actually play out.

For the creative lead, I hired Brian Mitsoda, of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines fame. (He's now working on his creation Dead State, which looks very promising!) He took the skeletal story I had written and was developing it into a true masterpiece. That's also when Obsidian hired Josh Sawyer and he was the systems/combat lead for the project he's an awesome designer and project lead and you can only imagine what he comes up with when focused on a specific component. His combat system combined action gameplay with RPG depth in some very innovative ways.

And Brian Menze's concepts for the dwarfs just amazing! So much personality and character, reminiscent of Disney's classic characters, but weathered by the grim realities of a dark fantasy world. Working on the story and character descriptions in an office with Brian, watching his creations unfold this was one of the most creative and inspiring times in my career as a designer. So I have a lot of good memories about the project. And our producers at Buena Vista Games were great to work with. They gave us good guidelines, a lot of creative freedom, and loved the direction we were heading.

The game had a lot of potential and it was sad to have it stopped when the team had been gaining so much momentum. But it was a great experience.
 

Eli_Havelock

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Eh, knowing Obsidian it was a great idea but had one element that made the IP holders recoil in horror, like when they showed the Red Spess Aunts for Aliens RPG and gave everyone flashbacks to the worst part of the comics and so SEGA went with Toolbox's Colostomy Marines.
 

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