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July 11th, 2007, 20:21
I’m surprised that, while all three of these guys (and the three before them) obviously understand a whole lot about RPG, none of them suitably defined it. Maybe that’s why none of them hit the nail on the head with their ideas for improving it.

RPG is the ultimate game, because it’s played in an alternate universe of sorts. Other games have game worlds, but in an RPG world, a character could sit down and play those other games. RPG is a bigger concept. It’s the biggest game concept of all. That’s the single greatest defining characteristic of RPG.

But you can’t put everything into a single game, the same way you can’t put everything into a single book. You have to preserve that premise but limit the scope in order to make it interesting. I liked what Travis Baldree had to say: “The question really becomes "Is there fun to be had here? And if so, what did I have to wade through to get to it?"

Coming up with the good stuff must not be easy. Look at all the people who try to their hand at writing. Nearly all of them fail. Not all the good ones, thankfully. Myself, I’ve read every fantasy-adventure novel by Steven Erikson that I can get my hands on – thousands of pages. Not once did I ever wonder how much I had to wade through to get to the good stuff.

Today’s CRPGs are influenced too much by programmers and software engineers and not enough by writers. Jeff Vogel is both right and wrong. He’s right that he’s become bored, but he’s wrong about the reason why. It is the writing – it is bad. But it’s not the roles. Top-selling authors still have success with them. Maybe some of those authors should be hired to collaborate on CRPGs.

Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on. But it don't snow here. It stays pretty green. I'm going to make a lot of money, then I'm going to quit this crazy scene. — [Joni Mitchell]
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