Obsidian Entertainment - MCA Interview @ Lightspeed
Lightspeed Magazine has a profile interview with Chris Avellone. On writing Planescape: Torment-
Planescape: Torment shows up on several best-game-of-all-time lists. Many standard mechanics of video game RPGs (like repeatedly dying and leveling up) are incorporated into the narrative of the game so that each death and level up is part of the protagonist’s story. Take us through the development of Planescape. How did you set out to make this game different from other D&D games?
I had a long list of things I wanted to do with an RPG and a long list of things I hated about RPGs when Planescape rolled around, so that all added fuel to the fire. I started with all the elements I hated, cut those out (no halflings, dwarves, elves, evil wizards, no saving the kingdom, no swords, no attempt to make the undead scary, re-loading after death, regimented class system, and pre-determined alignment) and added stuff I’d always wanted to do (puritan succubus, making the dead more sympathetic, dungeons-in-a-pocket, selfish main quest, fragmented personality of main character, pregnant alleys).
The fact that it was set in the Planescape universe was a plus, because Planescape consciously disregarded D&D conventions in favor of the setting, and that allowed a lot more breathing room for adventure and character ideas than a normal D&D campaign.