Bitmob: Mask of the Betrayer's story drew a great deal of praise. What was different between the story development of the original campaign and the first expansion?
George Zeits: For one thing, MOTB was a lot shorter, and we had a much better sense of how much work we could actually get done in the time that we had. I wasn't at Obsidian during the initial story development for NWN2, but I think the game suffered a great deal from overambition -- the original storyline was massive, and a huge amount of material had to be cut from the final game. As a result, the final product was less polished and the storyline was messier than they should have been.
By the time we started MOTB, though, we were veterans. In fact, three of the four core content designers on MOTB -- Jeff Husges, Eric Fenstermaker, and me -- were NWN2's Act 2 team, and we'd all worked in the same office. I was able to write a story for MOTB that had a much more realistic scope, given our schedule and rate of content creation.
We still had to cut some content, but not so much that the core storyline had to be gutted or rewritten.
RT: In Mask of the Betrayer, we had a dedicated story writer on the team. He took ownership over the story and the major characters, taking care to write a lot of their dialogues and review the dialogues written by others to make sure that the characters were consistently portrayed.
On the original campaign, the responsibility for the overall story was just one of many responsibilities resting on the shoulders of the lead designer, which meant that it didnít get as much focused attention as we were able to give it on Mask of the Betrayer. We were happy with [how] having a dedicated story designer worked out on Mask of the Betrayer.