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Default Baldur's Gate - Memories #2 @ RPG Vault

January 10th, 2009, 15:43
RPG Vault has posted the second part of their Memories of Baldur's Gate retrospective, with James Ohlen recounting some brief thoughts:
I had a lot of fun as lead designer on Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II. Those games were a chance for me to bring everything I love about Dungeons & Dragons to a computer game. I remember trying to cram every creature, setting and class that I could think of into the latter in an attempt to outdo the first game. As much fun as those titles were to make, we did go a little crazy, and built a world that really was just a pastiche of everything that had been done in fantasy. The main city in Baldur's Gate II had a beholder cult, a lich, vampire assassins, a crazy illusionist, etc. While we did try hard to bring it all together into a consistent story, in the end, the world still felt a little like a comic book.
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January 10th, 2009, 15:43
Course it being like a comic book chopped full of everything was all the fun. I went through the BG games (4 counting expansions) many many times. It seemed to have everything - story, combat, exploration, fun characters, variety and things everywhere you turned. I would love another game like that even if it was isometric like the original. 3D is nice but BG had great graphics and so much more meat to it then many of todays games.

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January 10th, 2009, 16:33
Yeah, BG beats hell out of NWN or any other new cRPGs.

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January 10th, 2009, 20:33
It saddens me that the likelihood of Dragon Age actually being what long-time Baldur's Gate fans want… is really slim.

The trend in every game they've released since had been in the wrong directiion, imo. KOTOR, Jade Empire, Mass Effect… while not terrible games by any measure (especially when compared to what's released by most other game companies), have trended toward streamlining and simplicity of gameplay; which is almost always the polar opposite of what fans of Baldur's Gate are looking for.

The secrets and mysteries of geography and plot… that's what I loved about the BG series. Stumbling upon the Kangaxx sub-plot in BG2… there's more there than in some full games.

I fail to see why a single-player game can't come to market, turn a profit, and yet still be successful at being large and complex. Does a large company always have to look at appealing to the largest market? (Rhetorical question.)

Not to compare apples and oranges, but the reason WoW is so overwhelmingly popular, lies in the fact that there is always something else to see and do. It's a world you can get lost in… which is the real reason we all play these games, I think. To be somewhere else.

Streamlining and simplifying the interface and UI? Yes. Streamlining and simplifying the story, content, and actual gameplay? Please no.

Bring back the impossibly deep, 200+ hour, single-player experience, please.
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January 10th, 2009, 23:09
And the choir all said AMEN!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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January 12th, 2009, 14:53
I think there are two reasons that you see so little in terms of story depth and breadth:

1) I read Swords and Circuitry a while back, and the author (granted this is the guy that made Dungeon Siege, but he also made Betrayal at Krondor as well) made the point that a lot of big game companies tend to view writing as just something you slap in after the engine and graphics are done (reminds me of that sprite commercial where they are doing all the marketing for a Gian Slug movie before they even have a script). He put it that a lot of people in the industry view game writers merely as disgruntled novelists.

2) The amount of time and money it goes into making better and better graphics is staggering. A different medium, but I watched the extras on Revenge of The Sith a while back and I was absolutely amazed at how many people it took to make the all the special effects in the Anikan/Obi-wan duel. We're literally talking HUNDREDS of people over months at the end of the day, for a scene that lasted 10 minutes. With the amount of focus put on graphics in computer games, and the time and resources it takes to achieve them, you don't have much budget left for the story guys.

This is one of the reasons I've become much more interested in games that use legacy or existing technologies. Seems like they cut the corners there so that they have more room in the budget for the story.

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January 13th, 2009, 19:58
Originally Posted by blatantninja View Post
made the point that a lot of big game companies tend to view writing as just something you slap in after the engine and graphics are done
This fits quite good into my own perception of it, and yes, it would explain a whole lotta of things …

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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