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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Obsidian Entertainment - Interview with Chris Avellone @ Gameranx

Default Obsidian Entertainment - Interview with Chris Avellone @ Gameranx

July 9th, 2013, 07:54
There's a new interview with Obsidian's Chris Avellone at GameRanx. Topics include his opinions on narrative mechanics and RPG design.

[Geraldo]10 years of Obsidian Entertainment, I noticed the anniversary. So what were your expectations when you founded it, what were you guys looking for?

[Chris] Our expectations were to carry on the type of roleplaying games that were done at Black Isle and sort of break away from the larger studio that was having difficulties at that time. I think Obsidian did a good job with that in terms of being able to do a wide range of RPGs including doing Dungeons & Dragons' games which we'd been doing at Black Isle at any event.

I think, however, with Eternity and Kickstarter, that's allowed us to return to our absolutely purest roots so I feel that things have come full circle in an absolutely wonderful way.

[Geraldo] For the future, it's Eternity, what do you see beyond Eternity?

[Chris] We'd like to do more games in the Eternity universe. We have the expansion plan, we'd also like to be able to do sequels to the franchise if the initial one sells well enough.

Also we'd like to branch the Eternity world to books and comics and other forms of media as well. That's worked really well for BioWare and a lot of other companies including inXile.

We'd like to, we still talk to publishers, we still do games for publishers, we wouldn't want to necessarily be exclusive to Kickstarter but if we can make our own funding and finance ourselves that's kinda the route we'd like to go down.

[Geraldo] You already touched on this on some of the sessions but how have been the experiences contributing to three different games, more or less at the same time, so Wasteland 2, Torment: Tides of Numenera and Project Eternity?

[Chris] The way it was structured was Wasteland 2 came first and I actually finished the design work for that late last year, so I was able to roll on to Eternity full time for that. And then with Torment the workload is much lighter than it is on either Eternity or Wasteland 2, and I've been able to do that at night and during weekends on my off time.
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July 9th, 2013, 07:54
If I see one more interview with Chris Avellone…
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July 9th, 2013, 08:09
Originally Posted by Donkerman View Post
If I see one more interview with Chris Avellone…
What will you do? I'm curious.

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July 9th, 2013, 10:59
Someone needs to keep track of how many times Avellone uses a particular name for Project Eternity.

I'm p. sure I have seen him call it Eternity a few times now.

One thing that's a bit weird though, is the goal of using Eternity for more games, books etc. When the design lead, Sawyer, has already said he's not v. excited about making traditional fantasy games… but I guess that's the state of the industry.

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July 9th, 2013, 11:38
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
What will you do? I'm curious.
If I catch you being this curious one more time…
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July 9th, 2013, 12:04
Originally Posted by enm View Post
If I catch you being this curious one more time…
As I said to the other person that is/wasn't you. You will do what?

To get back on topic I wonder were he gets the time and energy. He is developing multiple games, and still manages 5-10 interviews a week.

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July 9th, 2013, 12:59
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
As I said to the other person that is/wasn't you. You will do what?

To get back on topic I wonder were he gets the time and energy. He is developing multiple games, and still manages 5-10 interviews a week.
Possibly he has Tani as his secretary and the girl helps him answering the questions.
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July 9th, 2013, 15:50
I've seen Chris Avellone say that he's tired of fantasy and wants to do other settings. Such as a high school RPG. Don't know what interview it was, there are thousands of them…

I must say I was a little surprised that they went with such a traditional fantasy setting with PE considering that they've said they're tired of fantasy. Obsidian was scared people wouldn't back a different setting?
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July 9th, 2013, 16:01
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
I must say I was a little surprised that they went with such a traditional fantasy setting with PE considering that they've said they're tired of fantasy.
Muskets and gunpowder doesn't fit in my concept of traditional fantasy setting.
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July 9th, 2013, 16:05
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Muskets and gunpowder doesn't fit in my concept of traditional fantasy setting.
Ok and that's just about the only thing about PE that's not traditional fantasy. Throw in a musket and it's something completely different? Not in my book.
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July 9th, 2013, 16:37
I'm guessing that the Eternity series will last 4-5 years.
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July 9th, 2013, 16:41
Originally Posted by Lemonhead View Post
I've seen Chris Avellone say that he's tired of fantasy and wants to do other settings. Such as a high school RPG. Don't know what interview it was, there are thousands of them…

I must say I was a little surprised that they went with such a traditional fantasy setting with PE considering that they've said they're tired of fantasy. Obsidian was scared people wouldn't back a different setting?
I think they were, sort of - or rather, I think it's their bid to gain some independence, and they know full well that for all die hard's like us say, classic fantasy still sells best. As does nostalgia, hence the heavy Infinity Engine game related ptich.
I don't know, but I consider it likely that they invest some of what little liquidity they have into this game as well, or are likely to go into debt if they are not super fast with development. They may become more daring if PE succeeds and they have some funds of their own.
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July 9th, 2013, 18:15
Originally Posted by azarhal View Post
Muskets and gunpowder doesn't fit in my concept of traditional fantasy setting.
Muskets and gunpowder exist in Faerun, which anyone would be hard-pressed to argue isn't a traditional fantasy setting and is the nostalgic basis for the P:E universe.
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July 9th, 2013, 21:20
I got the impression that there was some sentiment expressed that _playing_ traditional fantasy games may have been getting old, but from Obsidian's perspective creating them shouldn't be old because they really done many of them. Look at their IP catalog:

Star Wars
Neverwinter Nights (there's one)
Fallout
Alpha Protocol
South Park

I know that most of these guys made it big in the industry with traditional fantasy in the Baldur's Gate universe, but I actually think this is a case where traditional fantasy is actually a bit of a change-up for them at this point in time. Plus there's this feeling of "getting the band back together" and going back to their fantasy roots, which is kind of exciting.

And besides, they also appear to be looking forward to turning some of the traditional fantasy tropes on their head (wild dwarves running through the woods with bows and arrows) or at least revisiting them and applying some logic (Paladins not necessarily focused on religion, but rather on a specific cause for any particular faction).

I, for one, am stoked to see what all they come up with when they focus their creative energies on a brand new fantasy world.
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July 9th, 2013, 22:10
Originally Posted by Fantasm View Post
I got the impression that there was some sentiment expressed that _playing_ traditional fantasy games may have been getting old, but from Obsidian's perspective creating them shouldn't be old because they really done many of them.
Nop. For Sawyer, I can confirm that he has said creating traditional fantasy RPGs isn't exciting for him. He then went on to give examples of what types of RPGs he'd rather do, including weird stuff like one set in the American Civil War involving ghosts.
He may have been trolling, but I doubt it. He has also expressed several times that he's somewhat emotionally detached from Project: Eternity, viewing it not as "his" game.

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July 10th, 2013, 00:52
Like I have said before they should do a Cthulhu old west rpg.
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July 10th, 2013, 17:28
Found the interview i was talking about where Chris talks about his dream RPG. It's from 2010.

You’ve written for some of the most beloved franchises in video games, from Fallout to Star Wars and Dungeons & Dragons. Is there a dream project you would love to work on someday? Or an original idea you’ve always wanted to try?


The Wire RPG, a Harry Dresden-style RPG, an ’80s High School RPG (although Bully covered a lot of this already, so I’m less enamored of this idea than I was), and Alpha Protocol II (which would be an original idea with where we want to take it, IMO). I’d be interested to work on a Shadowrun game as long as there was less dice-rolling in the system. I’d also like to lead a Fallout title, just once.
http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/no…out-new-vegas/
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