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Default Piranha Bytes RPB - Interview @ RPG Vault

August 26th, 2007, 03:03
RPG Vault's Jonric caught up with Mike Hoge from Piranha Bytes to discuss Project RPB:
Jonric: What kind of gamer do you regard as your core target audience? In other words, to whom will it most strongly appeal?

Michael Hoge:
It will probably appeal most to the gamers who liked the Gothic series, because those are the games many of the people we employ have been working on for the past few years. And in spite of creating a new gameworld, we still believe in certain design ideas (like not putting to much emphasis on character stats), certain storytelling mechanisms (like using chapters to divide the story and mark the main turning points), and the need to create a living world (to make it a believable one).

In order to achieve this, we have decided to rather create a compact world… to be able to make the setting feel more dense than to try to create a huge world that will feel empty in comparison. So, I think our new game will appeal to gamers who'd rather enjoy a kind of "handmade" adventure RPG with a dense storyline than a "classical" RPG in a vast world with more generic content.
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August 26th, 2007, 03:03
Sounds like they've learned from past misstakes, I'm looking forward to seeing whether they can make it as great as G1/2.
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August 26th, 2007, 03:10
Yes, smaller tigher world and a real publsiher not some hacks, leasons learned.

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August 26th, 2007, 10:49
More compact world: check
Dependable publisher: check
Manageable engine: ????

One issue left from the list of past mistakes: what kind of game engine(s) will they use?

Given that their last mostly home build engine left them with an unpatchable game, required huge compilation times (if you believe in this) and due to a lack of modularity behaved unpredictably on a large scale for every small scale change in the code - among other things - the choice of engine is probably my main concern regarding Project RPB.

On the other hand, it is not likely that they will repeat the same mistake twice.
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August 26th, 2007, 13:45
Yes, but the home-made engine before that worked fairly well. The whole message they are communicating (to me) is : we've our lesson and will control the scale.

I think the Genome problem was a case of over-reaching (too big a project for the team size and experience) and poor project management…remember they started with Gamebryo and apparently threw that out and built up from scratch (there is some disagreement over the exact details and whether any part of GameBryo remains).

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August 26th, 2007, 19:49
Bravo Michael! It was quite amazing to see someone in the industry 've been brave enough to avoid all that advertisement bullshit of "SuperMega AI", "Open world", "Sandbox" etc and speak clearly and to the point.
It requires guts to announce chapters, not-so-open gameplay, linear, but well written, main plot, and smaller game world these days when every RPG tends to be huge, nonlinear & open… and ends up being dull and flat. We need better DIRECTED games with intelligently written quest and storyline, sandbox idea is nonsense, unless perhaps we someday will have true A.I. which I doubt, so… again bravo and keep it that way! Piranhas are back!

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August 26th, 2007, 21:34
Yes, indeed, this sounds promising. I admire a studio that's willing to openly acknowledge where it went wrong and that the steps required to remedy its mistakes will have to take it in not-so-popular directions: smaller gameworld, more linear storyline and less technically-sophisticated (though more enjoyable) AI. Better this, than to over-reach one's capabilities and be left with a huge, lifeless, unplayable mess (which I don't think Gothic 3 was - I'm having a blast with it, but the first two were better. I think I certain "O" game went too far in this direction though!).
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August 28th, 2007, 23:40
I only hope they won't go from one extreme to another. Too much linearity can kill the immersion quite fast. Imo the best part in gothic 1 is chapter 1 and 2 when you have huge ammount of freedom but yet you are thrilled to move on and solve the quests…
Last edited by Dez; August 28th, 2007 at 23:46.
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August 29th, 2007, 00:07
True, exploring the various camps, talking to people, observing the life that goes on in the world and so on is quite possibly the best gaming I've ever done. It is truly special.
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August 29th, 2007, 00:19
20 people sounds like a small team these days, but it could be an advantage I think. The larger the teams, the larger the confusion and diffusion of what the game is about and where it's going. I've only briefly flirted with the last two Gothics, but the first was indeed unforgettable and unique. Best of luck to them in their new incarnation.

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