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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Feargus Urquhart at Digital Dragons 2016

Crooked Bee

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Tags: Dwarfs; Feargus Urquhart; Hidden; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

Two guest speakers were of particular interest to the Codex at the digital entertainment convention Digital Dragons in Cracow earlier this month. Both were related to Obsidian Entertainment, which is, as you know, the second most discussed video game company at the Codex after Bethesda. One of those was the Codex favorite Chris Avellone, who left the company not so long ago under mysterious circumstances. The other was Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart.

Luckily for us, esteemed community member Jedi Master Radek from Poland volunteered to attend the event. We got him the press accreditation, and arranged the interviews. Today, we're posting his conversation with Feargus; Chris Avellone will be next.

Here's a snippet, with Feargus talking about Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, and everyone's favorite RPG feature - romances:

FU: So. What was found out, I don't know how it was found out, but, so we hired Leonard Boyarsky, from Blizzard, and Leonard...[searches for good words] was one of the co-founders... was one of the co-creators of Fallout, and one of the co-founders of Troika. So we hired Leonard and Tim Cain works for us, and Tim Cain and Leonard are not working on Tyranny or Eternity or Armored Warfare, so we might be working on something and they might be the guys that are looking into what we're doing.

JMR: They are not working on Eternity? [I didn't hear Eternity in the previous sentence]

FU: Nope.

JMR: They are working together?

FU: They are working together, yeah.

JMR: How is Leonard Boyarsky doing? Is he working on-site?

FU: [laughs] Yes. So, yeah. Leonard's doing good. It's been interesting... it's funny to... you know, we worked so much together in '96 and '97 and we then... of course, Leonard left and I've talked to him a number of times, but not a ton since they left, I mean because when they left Black Isle, it was... it was complicated, you know. There was... I was... I would say, I was angry to an extent, because it was frustrating. I now had to go make a game, you know, suddenly and Interplay needed the revenue, so I had to get a game done fairly quickly and that was frustrating to me. And while this was all going on they were hiring people away from us... so I was sure some of it with Leonard was that I... I certainly didn't reach out, but you know, we've talked a number of times, you know, since Obsidian started and you know, it was interesting... he actually reached out to Chris Jones, who is one of the founders of Obsidian, who also worked, he worked at Troika and it was about like: Hey, you know what about and he's just really interested in doing single player RPGs again. And hey, we're the spot for single player RPGs. And so it's been easy in a lot of ways because it's like going back to someone you know, like, you worked with so much, so we kinda know each other even though twenty years have gone by. [laughs] You know, and I think it's worked out and I think Leonard's learned an amazing amount of stuff from having to run a company and then working at a big developer like Blizzard and so I think that... no, it's been good. I'm very hopeful that we'll come up with something cool.

JMR: A question you'll like - what does Obsidian think of romances?

FU: [laughs] So I... this is such a weird thing. I play romances in video games. I'm probably getting in trouble for saying this... I play the romances because it gets me experience and I get perks or I get things for doing them, right? So I don't gravitate to doing them. I know that's me personally. And I know, like... because I read a lot of fantasy books and to be honest, I... there's the romance part in the fantasy books and I like that part. Not too much, right? But I like that aspect of fantasy books. I don't read romance, like full romance, but I like that part. So it's interesting, I like it as the part of the book, but I just don't gravitate towards it in a game. But I reckon it is that people really enjoy them, and also what romances are, it's like when we don't talk about them, it's like we're ignoring this whole part of sort of, you know, the human experience. Like people are, people will go out and you know. So it seems like, you know... I think if we were to do them, like I want them to not feel forced. Like I think there's a number of games out there, which I'm not gonna name, that the romances feel forced. It just feels like I'm going through the motions. I feel like I'm just clicking the dialogue. Now I think some people really enjoy them, but still that's what I wouldn't wanna do. If we do them I want them to feel real. I don't know... I can't tell you if that means there needs to be full, you know, CGI sex scenes or not full CGI... I don't even know how would we do it. But apart from... you know, the goal is to have them feel natural.​

For the rest of the interview, be sure to read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart
 

undecaf

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Love the way the Feargus' parts are edited. You can almost hear him motoring it all out. :lol:
 

felipepepe

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But it's that idea, it's a modern setting with sort of that magic, and it was interesting, we had a proposal, that we were working on for a while and it was... Chris did most of the work on it, which was called “Hidden” and it was that idea of having... of that nursery rhymes like, the Old Woman in the Shoe or Old Mother Hubbard and the... all these, the Big Bad Wolf and all these things, they were real. They weren't like, around, like you would just see the Big Bad Wolf right there. They were more, you know, they were more in the shadows? And that was the idea of Hidden, so it was always there, like this world existed and you just didn't see it

Sounds a lot like The Wolf Among Us, which is probably why they never went ahead with it. :/
 

Rahdulan

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Love the way the Feargus' parts are edited. You can almost hear him motoring it all out. :lol:

Yeah, I am amazed how incoherent he is in fully transcribed form. Californian mannerisms, like, totally don't help. He also wiggles out of questions like a lizard but that's just Urquhart for you.

FU: [laughs] So I... this is such a weird thing. I play romances in video games. I'm probably getting in trouble for saying this... I play the romances because it gets me experience and I get perks or I get things for doing them, right?

At least he's honest about it.

I'll probably have to re-read the interview couple of times to get it completely.
 

Fairfax

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Whether it was going to be an MCA game? Most likely it was going to be, that wasn't a definite, but I would say that that was, that was the goal, was to be something that Chris, you know, himself really wanted to make.
So MCA had to leave this game he really wanted to make because of PoE, and 3/4 of what he did on PoE got cut. Ouch.

But it's that idea, it's a modern setting with sort of that magic, and it was interesting, we had a proposal, that we were working on for a while and it was... Chris did most of the work on it, which was called “Hidden” and it was that idea of having... of that nursery rhymes like, the Old Woman in the Shoe or Old Mother Hubbard and the... all these, the Big Bad Wolf and all these things, they were real.

I wonder which one is the setting he let MCA "run wild" with.

FU: Who is the lead writer? So that is Matt MacLean. So Matt was actually here last year, and he was also the lead designer on... he was the lead designer on South Park: The Stick of Truth.
Interesting. He also wrote Hiravias, which was...ok, I guess.

- Very carefully worded response about the Codex. :lol:

- So he's only finished KOTOR2, South Park and Alpha Protocol. Pretty crazy that not even Feargus has finished PoE. Speaks volumes its second half. :M

but there is a point at which they're not excited and they have not been excited for working on a game for let's say like, two years. Like it's been there. At some point we have to have the conversation, and say: Are you excited about being here anymore? Like I know, you could stay here and get a check and all that kind of stuff, but are you excited?
:mca:

So how is the interview? Do you like it? :)
:cainapproves:
 

Athelas

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But it's that idea, it's a modern setting with sort of that magic, and it was interesting, we had a proposal, that we were working on for a while and it was... Chris did most of the work on it, which was called “Hidden” and it was that idea of having... of that nursery rhymes like, the Old Woman in the Shoe or Old Mother Hubbard and the... all these, the Big Bad Wolf and all these things, they were real. They weren't like, around, like you would just see the Big Bad Wolf right there. They were more, you know, they were more in the shadows? And that was the idea of Hidden, so it was always there, like this world existed and you just didn't see it

Sounds a lot like The Wolf Among Us, which is probably why they never went ahead with it. :/
'Hidden' isn't something new, it was pitched to a publisher (and rejected) years ago, long before The Wolf Among Us.
 
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Feargus was a little tired during the interview, that's why his answers are quite chaotic. But I think we got many good information. Experience meeting Feargus was very good. Talking with him, face to face, is enjoyable, easy and fun.
 

Mustawd

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I can't tell you if that means there needs to be full, you know, CGI sex scenes or not full CGI.

part CGI sex scenes and part...what exactly? Traditional 2d art? Hmmm. yes. Yes, I can go for this.
 

Ninjerk

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Feargus Urquhart Interview: Donald Trump Edition
 

CryptRat

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FU: [laughs] So Tim Cain and Josh Sawyer and I don't know... probably... I don't know, how many... a lot of other people at Obsidian would love to make a turn-based game. [declarative] So I'm not against it. What's... sometimes people think I'm against it, but sometimes it's just the opportunity. So, with Eternity, because we were doing Infinity Engine...Infinity Engine's not turn based. And so that was our promise to people. I'm not against it, you know it's funny... Josh would really like to make either a sort of a... a very low magic medieval game. So there's almost or is not any magic, turn-based medieval game. Or a sort of a medieval [sic!] American Civil War RPG, again, with turn-based. So I think if there's any time we'd ever do it is... I even told Josh this, at some point in the future, I don't know, it could be 2 years, it could be 10 years. I want to give Josh that opportunity to go make a turn-based game.
giphy.gif
 

Mustawd

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Trashos

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I wish you had turned speech into proper written word (hope that makes sense).
 

Paul_cz

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I am just glad Boyarsky is interested in making singleplayer RPGs again. Took fucking 12 years but better late than never.
 

Infinitron

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Understand why it took a while to edit now?

This:

you had a conversation system as you were moving with your companions, so it was running from place to place. I can press A, B or, or I could talk with my companions, but I didn't have to stop and talk to them.

is something that Obsidian kept trying to do (I think Aliens: Crucible was supposed to have that kind of system too?) but never got around to. No wonder Chris Avellone is haunted by the idea of it.
 
Self-Ejected

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I can't tell you if that means there needs to be full, you know, CGI sex scenes or not full CGI.

part CGI sex scenes and part...what exactly? Traditional 2d art? Hmmm. yes. Yes, I can go for this.

Maybe he means written erotica.

As long as there's no lore dump.

I have full faith in Fenstermaker's Folly's ability to deliver a concise, tasteful, and extremely explicit romance scene.

I wish you had turned speech into proper written word (hope that makes sense).

This is a heavily edited and highly polished version of the original transcript.
 

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