PC Gamer: I’m curious to know if, going through all those source files, you know just how much writing is in Baldur’s Gate. It must be tens of thousands of lines.
Trent Oster: I’m not sure the exact number of lines, but if I remember correctly, I think there’s close to a million words of dialog.
PCG: Wow, a million? I ask because the other day the Dishonored guys were talking about the number of dialog lines in their game. I thought it was an interesting statistic, because we don’t always think of it in that sense—that these are novel sized or bigger works.
TO: Yeah, the most hilarious example I can think of is when we [BioWare] signed Neverwinter with the Atari guys. So they sent us their localization form and it had three boxes on the form, and it said: “Number of words of dialog: Less than 100; 100 to 1,000; 1,000-plus.”
I made a fourth box on there, checked it off, and wrote “1.2 million words.” I sent the e-mail back to them, and got a call the next morning from the translator saying, “You’re kidding, right?”
And I’m like, “No, I’m dead serious. There’s 1.2 million words of dialog in Neverwinter Nights.”
And they’re like, “Oh my God, oh my God.”
And they hung up on me and I didn’t hear from them for a week. Apparently they had a big meltdown in their localization department as they realized the volume of what they committed to.