You were one of the first developers taking the story and setting seriously, and trying to make games looked more like movies.
I think when we were all young, we had a certain envy about the way films could touch so many people and have such mass awareness. But I was more influenced by good storytelling in general, whether it came from a movie or a book and it all starts with clever writing. I was a huge movie fan when I was a kid, and I reads hundreds of books and thousands of comics. I'm very fortunate to be in a creative business making my own mark.
Why do you like post-apocalyptic setting so much?
I'm not sure why I have always been drawn to it, but it seems like most of my favorite comics, books and movies all had some kind of end of world type apocalypse take place. I remember reading "Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth" as a kid and my absolute favorite movies as a kid were "The Planet of the Apes" and "The Omega Man". And of course later I became a HUGE fan of the Mad Max/Road Warrior series. In fact I spent quite a few times with the director George Miller and got very close at several times to make a game based on his series. With books I loved "Swan Song" by Robert McCammon and of course "The Stand" from Stephen King. I think the post-apocalyptic universes seem more plausible for the most part over straight up sci-fi, which makes it approachable as a subject.
In the mid-90 Interplay was home for biggest RPG franchises - Stonekeep, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, Fallout. Do you think it was a golden age for the computer RPGs?
I think you are about to see the golden age of RPGs come rushing back in the next few years, with what I'm seeing from Obsidian, CD Projekt and of course what we are working on. But most certainly there was a purity to the development of RPGs in the 90's in which we were very attuned to our players. You could not make nearly the money on a game back then as you can today, and the budgets were a fraction of today's big spends. The risk factors changed greatly as we left the 90's and the pressure ramped up and created a lot of craziness. But I honestly see that purity and being in sync with the RPG players coming back full circle -- in fact it is even stronger than ever.
How important is Kickstarter for the industry? Is it just a chance to revitalise some genres and series, or it's something more?
I have always believed that the concept of crowd funding is so much bigger than just us and these few games that we are doing. It really is about putting the power and profits into the creator's hands such that we can control our destinies and help others. Already you can see the effects of how the development community has come together in terms of promoting competitive games, sharing technology and even giving money to one another, this is not something you would normally see. The power of us sticking together will allow us to get some control back that has been lost. In addition you are seeing games get made like ours or Obsidian's for example that would have never existed if not for crowd funding and that is a major item in itself.
What would you tell to your critics, saying that it's been a long time since you've created decent game, and that your fundraisers succeeded only because of the sentiments?
Well certainly my experience with the publishers has not been very fruitful but I do my best when I am in control of my development. In fact I think the best creative work that is done in almost any entertainment industry is when someone has the power to make those critical sensibility decisions without needs for committees. But that said, our Bard's Tale game is one of the highest user rated games on Google Play on Android and I feel quite good about the creativity and content we delivered on that. This wasn't a game for core gamers, though, and I know some weren't expecting that. I set out to make a light RPG parody and for that we accomplished the goal superbly. So now with Wasteland and Torment we have a goal of bringing back classic RPG gameplay and that is the sensibility we will deliver on, plus we have our secret weapon of the crowd. Every aspect of development is being vetted by the audience so there will not be some big surprise or disappointment at launch. The vision of the game and the first playable have been shared with hundreds of thousands of people and we are in sync.