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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Adam Brennecke on Project Eternity

Crooked Bee

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Tags: Adam Brennecke; Kickstarter; Obsidian Entertainment; Project Eternity

As most of you know, the folks over at Obsidian Entertainment are currently running a Kickstarter campaign for an isometric party-based CRPG provisionally entitled "Project Eternity," with over $2 million already collected and 18 days still to go. For this interview, we reached out to Adam Brennecke, Project Eternity's project director, to ask him about his job, the Kickstarter campaign, and the game itself. Have a snippet:

RPG Codex: When did you start preparing for the Kickstarter campaign, and what were the main points of debate and the major challenges involved in coming up with the campaign's concept? Were there any strong alternative ideas for this Kickstarter?

AB: We started working on the Kickstarter pitch a few months ago. Initially we had a brainstorming meeting with Chris Avellone, Feargus, Tim Cain, Darren Monahan, and Josh Sawyer, to toss around ideas on what we wanted to move forward with. We had a few different ideas, but one that we all were really excited about was revisiting the top-down isometric RPG, and we felt it would be a great fit for a Kickstarter too. After the meeting, I got working on the logistics of doing the Kickstarter, assembled a team, and started to prepare the pitch presentation.

There were long discussions and meetings about the name, the concept of the world, and how to pitch the game - It's been an unusual (and sometimes scary) process, since these decisions are typically made during pre-production, but we had to go public with our ideas immediately.

RPG Codex: When you say you're the point man on the project, does that mean you also oversee all systems design decisions and get to decide on the mechanics that designers suggest? What are the guidelines you have in mind when approving or rejecting the ideas that flow your way?

AB: My philosophy is to let the designers design because they are much better at it and I trust their decisions. My role is to make sure that they are staying true to the overall vision and plan. As a project director, I have a high-level view of the project across disciplines of art, design, and programming, and it's my job to make sure that all the departments are working well together. It's always a team effort though, and games are never designed by one person. It's a large collaboration from everyone on the team, and we are in constant discussion and debate to make sure we make the best game possible.

RPG Codex: Do you think it's a risk going with a "project name" rather than the game's actual name? You're getting all this publicity for "Project: Eternity" and all the google links, and then you're going to change the name. Why not just come up with the name first and get as much publicity for it as possible?

AB: Project Eternity is the best name for the game right now, and I think it's a perfect fit for the type of game we are making. It's fantasy, IE-like, and has a connection to our world. The team went through a process of trying to name the game with an actual name. However we felt that it was too difficult creatively, because the story and themes of the game are in such early stages of development. We don't want to be stuck with a name that doesn't fit the game. We put "Project" in the title to make sure people don't confuse the title with something that's final.

RPG Codex: How much of the project can we reasonably expect to see before the Kickstarter campaign is over? Do you plan on sharing anything like screenshots, tech videos, or design documents with the community, or will it be too early for that?

AB: We have more things in store for you before the Kickstarter is over, and even afterwards we plan on keeping everyone updated regularly on what we are up to on our website and forums. This is something new to us, so please give us feedback on how we are doing our updates on the Project Eternity forums. (Most of us lurk on the Codex too).​

Read the full interview: RPG Codex Interview: Adam Brennecke on Project Eternity
 

Mrowak

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Project: Eternity
Codex staff strikes again! :bro:

Very good, detailed questions - some (most?) of them did not appear anywhere else. Shame Adam was so vague about them.
 

ghostdog

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Nice interview !

:thumbsup:

So, when are the MCA, TC and JS intreviews coming ? :troll:
 

Zed

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So, when are the MCA, TC and JS intreviews coming ? :troll:
ask them, r00fles

To be honest, I would rather wait with their interviews a bit. It feels like they're wrapping up design choices with every KS update.
 

Darth Roxor

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Tbh, I don't think there's been much new stuff said here, but still :brodex: to all parties involved
 

Jaesun

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Honestly any interviews with them for quite a while are going to be vague and just full of market speech. I'm sure they have the basics of what they want to do with the game, but now just need the KS fund to end and then they can see thier buget and then decide what they can do from there.
 

Dorateen

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This Brennecke fellow, I'm not sure if I turst him... yet. Kind of sounds like he should be chairman of a federal reserve.

I'm of the opinion that most of the early information Obsidian is telegraphing at this point to gain the attention and interest of the widest audience. They are in a public relations and fundraising mentality right now. What the final version of the game will look like might surprise some of the initial backers.

Harumph!
 

Grunker

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Good interview, but the market speech is as strong in this one as in other mainstream companies. For instance:

We can create the game around a real-time system that fits our world, and it's great that we have experienced designers like Tim and Josh to tackle creating our game system from scratch. It can be very difficult to convert pen and paper rules over to a computer game, and things get lost in the translation, or the rules detract from gameplay. We don't have to make those concessions moving forward.

Why do they always give this bullshit answer? It's literally nonsense.

Also, Jaesun, this is a question that didn't need market speech for "defendable" purposes. I.e. this answer doesn't come from the standpoint of "we haven't decided on this feature/detailed this feature yet", it comes only from ignorance, or worse yet, conscious lying.

My knowledge on the subject of making games is pretty mediocre, but the fact is that ToEE and KotC both featured flawless renditions of D&D without any problems, KotC was a fucking single dude in his basement doing some shit.

Why precisely Project Eternity avoids using a pre-prepared system (something with tons more design thoughts in it than any random programmer or video game designer can make) I can only guess, but the fact is that Adam's answer is straight up untrue, and it is the same bullshit answer Bioware and similar RPG developers have been giving for years. I have a niggling fear that it is because PE's character system will be much, much simpler than 3.5E or Pathfinder. At least this has been the case every other time someone has said "It can be very difficult to convert pen and paper rules over to a computer game, and things get lost in the translation, or the rules detract from gameplay."

I fucking throw up a little in my mouth each time I re-read that line of text.
 

Infinitron

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Good interview, but the market speech is as strong in this one as in other mainstream companies. For instance:

We can create the game around a real-time system that fits our world, and it's great that we have experienced designers like Tim and Josh to tackle creating our game system from scratch. It can be very difficult to convert pen and paper rules over to a computer game, and things get lost in the translation, or the rules detract from gameplay. We don't have to make those concessions moving forward.

Why do they always give this bullshit answer? It's literally nonsense.

Also, Jaesun, this is a question that didn't need market speech for "defendable" purposes. I.e. this answer doesn't come from the standpoint of "we haven't decided on this feature/detailed this feature yet", it comes only from ignorance, or worse yet, conscious lying.

My knowledge on the subject of making games is pretty mediocre, but the fact is that ToEE and KotC both featured flawless renditions of D&D without any problems, KotC was a fucking single dude in his basement doing some shit.

Why precisely Project Eternity avoids using a pre-prepared system (something with tons more design thoughts in it than any random programmer or video game designer can make) I can only guess, but the fact is that Adam's answer straight up untrue, and it is the same bullshit answer Bioware and similar RPG developers have been giving for years. I have a niggling fear that it is because PE's character system will be much, much simpler than 3.5E or Pathfinder. At least this has been the case every other time someone has said "It can be very difficult to convert pen and paper rules over to a computer game, and things get lost in the translation, or the rules detract from gameplay."

I fucking throw up a little in my mouth each time I re-read that line of text.

:retarded:

This isn't marketing speak. In fact he's probably parroting things that he read on the Codex in the past couple of weeks. Some distinguished posters in the big RTwP vs TB thread have spoken about how a system built for RTwP would work much better than a TB system converted to RTwP.
 

Volourn

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"but the fact is that ToEE and KotC both featured flawless renditions of D&D without any problems,"

HAHAHAHA! FLAWLESS? Your definition of flawless is very flawed.

P.S. Boring interview as it is just plain repetive stuff that is covered in other interviews. And, you lied. There was basically nothing about the actual game except vast boring generlaities already covered.


INTERVIEW RATING: 2/10 (bonuis point b/c i'm pro codex)
 

Grunker

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Infinitron: I could just quote your beautiful retarded smiley, but let me instead pinpoint the gigantic, logical flaw in your argument. Frankly I'm a bit miffed that you're not capable of seeing it yourself:

The entire Kickstarter surrounding PE can't walk an inch without name-dropping an Infinity Engine game. These games are what PE aspires to, the peak of what the stated vision aims to achieve. There's room for improvement, of course, and no one is saying they shouldn't move an already perfected system so it fits better with RtwP (as, indeed, the IE games did). But flat-out stating that their character systems "detracted from game-play" seems like a pretty dubious statement in the light of the vision.

But let's finish this before it starts: We wait for the character system. If it is indeed as complex as 3.5E or Pathfinder, I will yield without comment and you shall be vindicated. And then I'm even nice enough to not even include in this statement the fact that video game designers are nowhere near as capable of making good character systems as system designers whose systems have been exposed to public scrunity for nearly a decade and has been perfected through-out this duration.
 

Infinitron

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Infinitron: I could just quote your beautiful retarded smiley, but let me instead pinpoint the gigantic, logical flaw in your argument. Frankly I'm a bit miffed that you're not capable of seeing it yourself:

What argument? I didn't make an argument. I said that you misunderstood what Adam was saying.

Again, we have a big thread in GRPG where several hardcore Codexers were talking about how the IE implementation of D&D kind of sucked because D&D is inherently TB (for the record, I certainly don't agree with them, I fucking love the IE games)

Adam was trying to pander to the hardcore Codexers and you're accusing him of dumbing down :lol:
 

Grunker

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Infinitron said:
several hardcore Codexers were talking about how the IE implementation of D&D kind of sucked because D&D is inherently TB

They would be wrong, and if you agree with me on that it follows naturally that you should agree that Brennecke is at the very least talking out of ignorance.


Infitron said:
Adam was trying to pander to the hardcore Codexers and you're accusing him of dumbing down :lol:

Well, if the shoe fits...

Hilarious as it might be, that's what it entails. I would also like to ask you, and the Codexers in question, how it has constituted dumbing down with every RTwP game we've seen since IE without a P&P-system, but now suddenly it doesn't?

Anyway, as I said, should the system actually be on 3.5E or Pathfinder level complexity, I will take back what I said. I very, very strongly doubt it, however.



my man, Grunker, as the elves say... "chillax"


Why? Because it's a game made by some of the bros?

The Codex isn't the place for relaxation, and the character system is one of, if not the, most important elements of an RPG for me. Naturally it concerns me when a designer throws up a weak and vague answer like that to one of the questions I was most curious about.
 

Infinitron

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I'll admit that I have a slight preference for an existing system, but I'm just as curious to see what system Obsidian can come up with by themselves.
 
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No wonder Codex is full of RTwP cocksuckers. A lot of you cannot even maintain a critical look on things any longer and you cum all over yourself upon a lame fanservice reference by a cocksucker giving us a generic and ignorant market speech, saying nothing of value.

It will be amusing when the character system will turn out to be another simplified SP MMO wannabe.
 

Grunker

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I'll admit that I have a slight preference for an existing system, but I'm just as curious to see what system Obsidian can come up with by themselves.


It's not about being curious, it's about whether you actually believe there's a chance their system will be anywhere near the complexity, depth and balance of tested systems developed by system designers.

No wonder Codex is full of RTwP cocksuckers.

Ironic that you brofisted me considering I have no problem with RTwP. I had a problem with his response to the question of the character system.

There's nothing hindering an RTwP game from having a complex system.
 

Infinitron

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What's wrong with being curious? Obsidian's objective here is to finally develop their own successful IP, and having their own system is part of that. I'd like to see if they can pull it off.
 

Grunker

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What's wrong with being curious?

arrr ye daft boyo?!

Nothing's wrong with being curious, I'm just as curious as you. That doesn't have anything to do with my fear of the facts, and the fact is I've never seen a character system developed by a video game designer that comes even close to tested systems. In other words, you can be curious while having this in mind:

Grunker said:
it's about whether you actually believe there's a chance their system will be anywhere near the complexity, depth and balance of tested systems developed by system designers.

I really don't know how to put it any clearer... You're basically saying we should ignore critical thinking because we're exited. Not an opinion that goes far with me, or indeed should on the Codex.
 

Infinitron

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It's not that I'm excited. I just recognize what this game is...and I'm okay with it.

But hey, maybe Obsidian's talks with WOTC will go somewhere and we'll get another D&D game too, someday?
 

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