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Interview Matt Chat 454: Brian Heins on South Park: The Stick of Truth and his Early Career

Infinitron

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Tags: Brian Heins; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment; South Park: The Stick of Truth; Tyranny

It ended up taking Matt Barton two weeks to upload the third and final episode of his interview with Obsidian's Brian Heins. The episode begins with some additional discussion about Tyranny, specifically Brian's decision to use a different sort of character system for it. Brian likes skill-based character systems, but he says that if he could go back he would have removed improve-by-use because the team didn't have time to balance it. He is however very proud of the game's spell crafting system.

After a brief discussion of the advantages and challenges of crowdfunding, the interview moves on to South Park: The Stick of Truth, which Brian worked on as an area and system designer. We've heard before that Trey Parker and Matt Stone were difficult to work with, and Brian provides some concrete examples of this. Every piece of content in the game had to be approved by them, which became a problem when they disappeared for months at a time to work on their show. When they returned, they would often declare that certain jokes had become old and throw out content that had already been created. Sometimes they actually took jokes that they'd created for the game and used them on the show, which meant they had to be replaced.



The final question of the interview is again contributed by George Ziets, who worked with Brian on Westwood's cancelled MMO Earth & Beyond. It's a game that Brian believes could have been a success if EA had been willing to invest in it. He would work in the MMO industry for another decade before joining Obsidian for good in 2012. Brian got his start in the industry working on text-based MUDs at Simutronics, a job he managed to score right out of high school thanks to his heavy activity on the company's forums. He says it was a good way to learn the ropes because of how easy it was to make and test changes. For those looking to break into the industry today, Brian recommends getting into modding and building a portfolio.
 

Diggfinger

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Wonder if the 'difficulties' made Matt and Trey ditch Obsidian for the sequel?
 
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I got the impression that was Ubisoft's decision, not theirs.
 

Flou

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Wonder if the 'difficulties' made Matt and Trey ditch Obsidian for the sequel?

Ubisoft bought the release rights for South Park and it's sequels from THQ. Ubisoft doesn't really use external teams on their games as they have multiple studios to use that they own themselves.
 

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