Tim Cain (Fallout, Carbine Studios MMO)
There were so many good RPG’s released in the last decade that it is hard to choose the “RPG of the Decade”. I am embarrassed to say that I haven’t played some of them, and I only want to nominate a game that I have played. And that list is still large: Baldur’s Gate 2, Icewind Dale 2, Neverwinter Nights, Dragon Age (Bioware is on a roll in my list, you can see), Fable, Deus Ex, Fallout 3, Geneforge. So I am going with a game that captured my imagination and that I played for many many hours, and that I think about when designing my own games. And that game is…
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
There are so many things about this game that I loved. It was an open sandbox world, where I was free to go where I wanted and act how I wanted, and I had to live with the consequences of my actions. I became a vampire (and got cured later), I joined every guild and reached leadership status in them (and I loved the Dark Brotherhood the most), I did every Daedric shrine quest, and I explored most of the continent. In fact, I ignored the main storyline for most of my playing of this game, and I had more fun with the guild storylines and with trying to get every house in the game. The huge combination of skills, stats, spells and items, and the detailed character customization at the beginning of the game, really made me feel that I could play roleplay anyone I wanted. The game is not without its flaws (the auto-leveling of monsters springs to mind), but overall, this game was everything I wanted in an RPG: open-ended, re-playable, good-looking and downright fun.
However, an honorable mention must go to Blorp Zingwag: Elf Detective. With a name like that, you know it has to be good.