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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » RPGWatch Feature - Interview with Brian Mitsoda on Dead State & VtMB

Default RPGWatch Feature - Interview with Brian Mitsoda on Dead State & VtMB

August 25th, 2014, 09:16
Fluent talked to Brian Mitsoda on why a sequel to Vampires: The Masquerade - Bloodlines never happened and Dead State.

RPGWatch: For me (and hopefully some of my readers! ), deep RPG systems are the most important thing in an RPG, and the more complex the system, the better! What type of RPG stats, skills and perks can we expect to find in Dead State? Can you give us some examples of their design?

Brian: All of our stats and skills are fairly straightforward and have been cut down to be as useful as possible so that you don't feel like you put points in a useless option. Melee and Ranged are straightforward combat skills, while Mechanical, Medical, and Science have combat and Shelter applications, specifically building upgrades, healing allies faster, and building new armor or items. Survival is all about getting around the map quicker and more safely while also opening up potential wild sources of food. Leadership has dialogue applications, but can also be used to issue commands that can change your odds in combat. Negotiation helps you keep order at the shelter, but also allows you to more successfully deal with the demands of enemies and allies. Each skill has a choice of perks at levels 3 and 6, with a very useful perk unlocked at level 10. Pretty much whatever skill you pick is going to give you better odds of survival, but your specialties and perks will change your game experience quite a bit.
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August 25th, 2014, 09:16
meh, I have little interest in DS.

But saying you need resources for a VtMB?, how come? Who said make it 3d?, who said making it open world?

There are tons of possibilities, and Unity and all the assets currently out there from the flow of RPGs should make it viable.

I consider their project a poor marketing decision, hopefully they will make some profit, and move on to better things.
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August 25th, 2014, 09:41
Nice and thorough interview. Thanks to Fluent and also Brian.
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August 25th, 2014, 10:02
After reading this interview I'll definitely buy and play this game.
The ingredients for a real good game are all there, hopefully the mix will taste good

Thank You very much Fluent & Brian!

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August 25th, 2014, 12:49
Good interview. It sure sparked my interest in the game.

I didn't back the KS, though to be honest I have no idea why at the moment.

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August 25th, 2014, 13:30
I recently had much fun with the more action oriented survival game State of Decay.
Survival games with scarce resources and end-of-the-world scenarios are somewhat trendy.

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August 25th, 2014, 14:07
While the interview is great, it's still no Dead State for me.
And I remember why I didn't back it in the first place:
- randomized events that unfold over months of in-game time
- Scavenging mechanics that require players to find supplies, weapons, armor, and other items to keep their allies fed and alive
- Random encounters can be added based on in-game time or from decisions you've made, but since the game is based on real locations, named areas will always be in the same place. While loot is random, enemies are pre-determined, but zombies can always be attracted to the map if you make too much noise.

They could just replace this with one word. Grinding.

If however someone mods probably endless respawns out of the game, I'll buy it. Because it has no multiplayer and DLC, if happens, will be free.
I'd be a shame if I skip a possibly great game just because of nonexisting in reality perpetuum mobile.

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August 25th, 2014, 14:17
Grinding = doing superfluous stuff that don't add to the game experience and fun.

IMHO in a survival game hunting for resources is THE essential game mechanic, it is not superfluous and so it's not grinding.

Randomize events in a sandbox game adds a surprise element and enhance the replay-value of the game. This works really good for example in the games State of Decay or S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

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August 25th, 2014, 14:28
Hunting for resources also exists in Expeditions:Conquistador, yet it's designed in a way no mobs respawn endlessly. It's not a survival game, but survival is a very important part in it!
Miasmata is a survival game (I didn't buy it in the end because I expect savegame system on PC) and there are no endless respawns.

Getting endless respawns always turns into grinding.
There is no excuse for that apart from developers being lazy or untalented to make more different content, but instead you're forced into doing the same thing over and over again.

Using neutral words (sandbox and etc) to mask grinding won't help. Sorry.
If something is a grinder, it's a grinder. I'll just wait for remove_grinding mod. Got it for Zenimaxengine based Fallouts (you don't need it for old Fallouts) and for Skyrim, so hopefully I'll get one also here.
The only thing that can help persuading me into buying it is an ingame item that stops "random encounters". Such items exist in some default grinders so you can grind if you like that, but if you hate it, you equip an item and follow all other nonrepetitive aspects of the game. Examples of such games with grinding stop item are Chaos Rings 2 and Legend of Heroes: TitS.

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August 25th, 2014, 14:44
If respawning feels like grinding or like a natural way to implement constant danger depends much on the balancing and setting of the game.

With respawning a smaller studio has the possibility to re-use the same map with new (randomized) events more than once.

Without respawning they would have to create many more maps to keep things interesting - a huge cost factor.

Joxer, don't get me wrong, I'm not a great fan of respawning in CRPGs. But in survival games respawning can work and this has already been proofed.

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August 25th, 2014, 14:55
I'm not a fan of respawning (though not neraly as obsessed over it as Joxer) - but in a Zombie game such as this, the endless horde of Zombies is an essential part of the setup. And after all - how many of those endless respawns you trigger (per mission) is up to you - stay quiet, and no more will come. Throw around hand grenades… you have been warned.
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; August 25th, 2014 at 17:01.
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August 25th, 2014, 17:28
Joxer, that's a bit like calling the old Xcoms grinders, because you have to repeatedly go out in the world to battle and gather resources. Same mechanic here.
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August 25th, 2014, 18:01
In the first week of play there seems to be no respawn of zombies on a map unless you exceed a noise threshold, the longer you exceed it the more Z's show up.
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August 25th, 2014, 18:56
It's not "grinding" because you don't get any xp from killing zombies. They're an environmental hazard and if you end up surrounded by a hundred of them you're not doing it right.

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August 25th, 2014, 19:18
I don't know how this slid under my radar — I'd seen the title and knew it was zombies, but had no idea it was a Troika connection.

Minus the zombies, this kind of RPG-town-sim hybrid is a game type I've noodled around designing myself, so I'll be very curious.

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August 25th, 2014, 21:30
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Hunting for resources also exists in Expeditions:Conquistador, yet it's designed in a way no mobs respawn endlessly. It's not a survival game, but survival is a very important part in it!
Miasmata is a survival game (I didn't buy it in the end because I expect savegame system on PC) and there are no endless respawns.

Getting endless respawns always turns into grinding.
There is no excuse for that apart from developers being lazy or untalented to make more different content, but instead you're forced into doing the same thing over and over again.

Using neutral words (sandbox and etc) to mask grinding won't help. Sorry.
If something is a grinder, it's a grinder. I'll just wait for remove_grinding mod. Got it for Zenimaxengine based Fallouts (you don't need it for old Fallouts) and for Skyrim, so hopefully I'll get one also here.
The only thing that can help persuading me into buying it is an ingame item that stops "random encounters". Such items exist in some default grinders so you can grind if you like that, but if you hate it, you equip an item and follow all other nonrepetitive aspects of the game. Examples of such games with grinding stop item are Chaos Rings 2 and Legend of Heroes: TitS.
It does not work that way.

One skill or talent determines the speed on the strategical map. And the rate of random encounters.
You can evade a random encounter once you are on the tactical map.

Usually, random encounters field human beings. Fights between human beings are noisy because they involve fire arms.
Zombies are attracted to noise and might join the fray.

There could be no respawn system behind it, they could have set the pool of zombies to draw from to 2 millions.

Project zomboid has a fixed number of zombies at start, that are attracted to noise.
Once NPCs are in, since fight will be based on fire arms, same will happen.
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August 25th, 2014, 21:59
I think they would have no problem making a game inspired by VTMB. People are trying to move the original game to the Unity engine so that would be a good starting place for a new game. Also they probably could get $3-4 million from Kickstarter making a VTMB inspired game with the original developers involved. It is one of the best games ever and it is pretty obvious why it didn't do well when you couldn't even play through the whole game originally.
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August 25th, 2014, 23:36
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
I think they would have no problem making a game inspired by VTMB. People are trying to move the original game to the Unity engine so that would be a good starting place for a new game. Also they probably could get $3-4 million from Kickstarter making a VTMB inspired game with the original developers involved. It is one of the best games ever and it is pretty obvious why it didn't do well when you couldn't even play through the whole game originally.
The original Vampire basically had the staff working in crunch mode for nearly 4 years from the development reports I have read. I am not sure they want to risk something like this again. Expansive 3D environments and professional voice acting does not come cheap either, and the underlying game logic gets much more complicated to implement, especially for something like a non-linear RPGs with quests that encompass multiple options. It would take far more than what Brian's company will be able to make on its own, they would need to find a partner like Obsidian to begin to have a chance, though I'm not sure he'd ever want to work for them again. He probably prefers to do only games with IPs that he will own and which he can complete with meager means.

The early version they have release is good, but it is kind of repetitive. I hope the dynamics events they are talking about will spice up gameplay and that it will be more than mere survival, with quests that ressemble what can be found in a typical CRPG. There's no denying though that they have nailed down the atmosphere.
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August 26th, 2014, 00:59
Great interview, can't wait for the game to be released!

Joxer you made that up, there is nothing that says anything about respawning, much less constant respawning.

HiddenX I couldn't agree more, it's flawed gem. Now that Nexus has several mods for State of Decay, it's even better! I highly recommend QMJS Extended Functions Mod-V1.3 for a full package mod! SoD has been on sale several times at 50% to 75% off Steam sales.

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Last edited by Acleacius; August 26th, 2014 at 01:10.
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August 26th, 2014, 04:13
A zombie survival game that ran out of zombies would not make for a good game at all. Would it be better to put in a number of zombies roughly equal to the population of the setting that never respawned or a few zombies that respawned? If they did the former, would it be a better game because "Yay no respawn" even if no one would actually see the difference.
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