Jeff Vogel - Interview with Avernum's Developer
PCGmedia has an interview with Jeff Vogel CEO of Spiderweb Software.
What, in your view, are the biggest challenges in making a very classic turn-based RPG in this day and age? Do you have to make any compromises, or are you appealing to a niche you’ve nurtured and respected?
Jeff: I think the hardest part is the same for any small indie title: getting exposure. It really takes a lot of time and effort to get any traction with a low-budget title, no matter what the genre.
As for compromises, we compromise all the time. We have limited time and limited budget, and so much of what we do is just improvisation and making do.
There’s a story for almost every NPC I meet in AvernumHD – and even his surroundings, home, and past are accounted for. How do you guys come up with such exquisite and eloquent detail for characters that you may never meet again?
Jeff: That’s the fun part, actually. I spend months and months working on storyline, characters, etc. It really is the focus of what we do. Glad you like them!
Do you feel it would be possible to create a game like AvernumHD with the same depth, scale, and amount of dialogue, with the same graphical style or fidelity, including all voice acting, as a game like Skyrim? What do you think the cost would be? Is it something you’d ever like to do?
Jeff: I absolutely feel it’s possible. Heck, I loved Skyrim, and I would love to see what would happen with my sort of game design implemented with a real budget. Don’t think it’d ever happen, though. When a company spends that much bread to write a game, they’ll turn to either an in-house or big name designer. Oh, well. I’m really happy doing what I’m doing.
Do you – to any degree – lament the downfall of classical turn-based RPGs in favor of smaller, highly polished action RPG titles?
Jeff: I don’t mind the polish. I mind the action. I miss slower-paced, more cerebral games. I loved the recent X-Com reboot to death. I think it really shows you can have success writing that sort of game here and now.