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-   -   Gothic 3 - Translated Interview @ Official Forums (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1107)

Dhruin January 12th, 2007 10:43

Gothic 3 - Translated Interview @ Official Forums
You may recall a German Gothic 3 interview at World of Gothic with KaiRo just before Christmas (story). JoWood forum mod Glockenbeat has put together a translation for those of us linguistically challenged with the original German. It's an interesting read and here's an excerpt:

Gothic 3's technology is based on a simple idea but which is part in every section of development: The player should have a maximum of freedom and the world should traceably react dynamically on every action he takes. We had the same goal in the other parts of the series, but our way to achieve it was another. We feigned the player's freedom with some tricks and simulated and programmed every single reaction of the world. This needs much time and effort and was the main cause of Gothic 1 being very linear after the first chapter. In Gothic 2 we invested even more work, but all in all there was a natural limit. In Gothic 3 we tried to implement the player's freedom directly as a gameplay feature and wanted the engine to react on every way of playing automatically. Special reactions on particular decisions still exist, but the majority of the consequences is calculated through algorithms in the engine instead of being alleged by us.

This new attempt brings some problems.
More information.

Thaurin January 12th, 2007 10:43

This reads like an automated translation. Some information new to me in there, though. What's interesting is that he actually admits that Gothic 3 was released in an unfinished state. In fact, he talks very negatively about Gothic 3 overall! Very honest interview.

rasmuslarsen January 12th, 2007 13:00

It's very hard to understand some of the text passages. Not a very good translation. I gave up after the first two questions.

Wulf January 12th, 2007 13:11

Thanks for the translation link which was more than eagerly awaited.

[[ How can we tell a story without a narrator ? We didn't meet our own claims in this point. The story is great, but it's sleeping under the surface and can't break through, because it's missing a speaking tube. ]]

You can say that again! - over the past several weeks i have had great difficulty overcoming the 'simplified logic' of the G3 "figurative" or suggested storyline which i know is there (and confirmed through previous gothic series personal experience!) but cannot be lazily revealed as it is in fact "the" solution. I do agree and sense that it is/will be great (if we ever find it).

How indeed can you tell of a secret without revealing it? - simplified logic must be available so as to reason and work-out the storyline - it must not be variable per player, it has to be actual. Even on a discussion forum it's hard but not impossible to exchange game info's when each players in-game hints are *dynamic* as found in the books (apart from the in-game dialogue).

On this point it could be argued then "that the experience is a personal thing and comes from within ones-self" - on that i submit and agree and give-in……..and almost give up.
PS. "simple logic" as in taking the acute english grammatical reasoning as in 'human' terms and not in 'fantasy' terms, otherwise the meanings will be forced through each players own thinking filter and come out differently…..intentionally clever i do admit.;)

Gorath January 12th, 2007 13:28

The machine translation is not as bad as expected. The original interview was quite complicated. I immediately decided *I* didn´t want to translate it. ;)

aries100 January 12th, 2007 13:31

Here's what I wrote about this on http://www.rpg.codex

I don't really know if such a game as PB wants to make can be achieved. I fully understand Gothic's devs. vision and choice behind making G3 so the player has freedom & and can do whatever he or she likes when he or she chooses to do so.

Personally, to me, it seems like PB is trying to compete with Bethsoft (& other rpg devs./publishers) by making the game's engine (if that is the correct term?) react exactly or nearly exactly the same as Oblivion's engine does. The soul of the Gothic series that has gone away by this choice is, imo, the deep storylling, the depht in the characters and the deep interaction between the characters, which (maybe) is what Kai meant by
'narrative depht.'

To me, at least, you can't have full freedom for the player without this taking its toll at the narrative depth of the story. As well as you can't have a game in which there is narrative depth and not have this choice affect the freeform play of the character. (avatar etc. ) in the game.

Actually, I strongly disagree with Kai about the freeform gameplay being the future of (singleplayer) rpgs. If rpg players want freeform gameplay, the will play an MMOrpg instead, imo. Bioware has had succes in the past, the present and will also have in the future, imo, by letting story-telling be the focus in their games.

My best guess is that the Gothic series got so popular because it was something people have never seen before, the ideas were innovative etc. etc. Making Gothic more of a mainstreet product is, imo, a shame.
I don't know if I would say that this it was has happened to G3.

Kai talks about 'the overarchhing meaning'. It was (and still is) my understanding that G3 provides the player, the pc and the NPCs following, the pc, with an opportunity to find this meaning for themselves.
This is, imo, one of the strongpoints in G3 (while I find the meaning in Oblivion, or the 'overarching' a bit dull).
In Gothic 3 you are dumped onto a shore, and after this, it is just 'hey man, you're on your own'.

Actually, I kind of liked this idea:

You are left to your own devices, you have to find or
figure a meaning out for yourself as wll as shape your own destirny in this world. To do this, you can either side with humans or their enemies. To find out what went on during the time you were away, you would need to talk to people. And kind of figure out the plot (in the game) for yourself. To me, this is so much better than Oblivion's bland way of doing things.

As a closing note, let me just state that I too find it refreshing that dev. is this honest about a game.

txa1265 January 12th, 2007 15:12

I think the balance between freedom and a story driven experience is very tricky to begin with … too much freedom and the game feels empty and meandering, too much and it is like a jRPG leading you by the nose …

Thaurin January 12th, 2007 15:22

But when you have a fully functioning world, you can tell any story you like in it, whether you chose to play it or not. It doesn't mean that the main story has to be hard to find or too thin; it's there somewhere and the world reacts according to its progression.

Personally, I don't see why PB couldn't have used G1/G2-like tricks in addition to the fully "no-tricks" world brain approach. If you want to tell a good story, sometimes you have to manipulate the world a bit to push it forward…

JDR13 January 13th, 2007 08:31

I just hope it's not going to be a very long time before the next patch.

Corwin January 13th, 2007 09:53

There's our new definition for an eternal optimist!! A person who waits expectantly for another patch!! :biggrin:

JDR13 January 13th, 2007 11:25

I can't help it. I've put G3 on the shelf for the time being. I was encountering some pretty bad sound corruption that was ruining the experience for me.

aries100 January 13th, 2007 12:27

HI :)

The Gothic team has just announced a new patch which fixes the ambient sound bug.

Thaurin January 13th, 2007 13:07

Huh? You mean the 1.12 patch that was released last month?

mudsling3 January 14th, 2007 23:17

Freedom VS. narrative? On one end you have MMOG, on the other you have Adventure game. I thought G1,2 found a happy middle hunting ground. G3 is trying to be something else…or follows some game development "trend".

Alrik Fassbauer January 15th, 2007 13:31

In the German section of the Larian board we are currently discussing an German-language interview with the devs of Gothic 3. This one, in fact : http://www.worldofgothic.de/gothic3/…go=interview16

What seemes us strange is the way the devs look upon their own work.

It's a bit like someone put it into an imaginary response : "we did it for the casual player, now we do it for the community". This sheds some light on the way the game was possibly developed : With having the casual gamer in mind rather than the hardcore RPG player. They seemingly didn't even take the stories of Gothic 1-2 into account !

One saying that annoys several of us discussing there is Mike Hoge calling the whole thing "this Gothic-shit". This clearly degregates the whole product.

And by the way, an add-on is very likely, this interview says.

titus January 15th, 2007 13:54

I have to agree with aries100 about liking the idea being dropped in and then left behind with a feeling like someone dropped you in the middle of nowhere and says: goodbey take care of yourself and try to get out of the mess yourself. :-d

Geist January 16th, 2007 11:02

Thanks for posting the link to that interview Alrik - another very interesting read that sheds some light on the complexities they had to face during the development process.


To me, at least, you can't have full freedom for the player without this taking its toll at the narrative depth of the story….Actually, I strongly disagree with Kai about the freeform gameplay being the future of (singleplayer) rpgs.
Mike Hoge actually directly addresses this point in the interview when he says:
"Ein linearerer Aufbau der Story insgesamt wäre wünschenswert. Also totale Freiheit ist glaub ich der falsche Weg gewesen." (All in all, a more linear build-up of the story would be desirable. So total freedom was, in my opinion, the wrong way to go).
Basically, the devs are promising to take a couple of steps backwards in their subsequent projects by giving the story more structure, and they also admit it was a mistake to use the randomized distribution system for chests.

Acleacius January 16th, 2007 14:03

Some execellent info here thanks to everyone contributing. :)

Even though I too miss a more indept story, I do think it was a remarkable achievement to create a game where the player makes his own story.

I imagine even if somethings didn't work as well or weren't as well recieved as expected by the team, they proabably learned an incretible amout from this experience.
Not to mention how much more accepted the game would have been, not only by fans but the new fans it could have drawn to the series was mostly jowood's terrible decisions about release.

As far as resposnsiblity I would say 90% jowood and maybe 10% at most the new concepts by PB, so it almost seems PB is accepting to much responsiblity for the problems.
I thnik the many German fans felt similar as well, it was not as much PB's fault especially after hearing the fans giving PB the well deserved awards at the GDA.

aries100 January 16th, 2007 14:06

The qoute from Mike Hoge, and the other qoutes from the cited interview, just proves my point about not catering to your core, market or niche audience or market.

To me, somehow anyway, it is Obvious that the Gothic team somehow tried to compete ? (if that's even the correct for it) with Oblivion's way of doing things
in the hope that it would sell (even) more copies in the US (than the gothic series did previously). Thus, they made the Gothic 3 game, similar (sort of) to Oblivion in
many ways; freeform gameplay, vast open-ended-world, the player can do anything he likes at any given time and such things which are also present in Oblivion - to some extent.

By doing that, the Gothic team forgot that their product (or rather their game or brand) catered to a unique market (or community). And by developing the game for the more casual gamer, they ran the risk of alienating the hardcore Gothic 3 fanbase. (which basically would have bought the game anyway, since PB has a strong brand and a strong backlist). By alienating the hardcore Gothic 3 gamers,
they run the risk that the more casual gamers will not like G3 as well, simply beacuse the casual gamers drawn into G3 will be drawn into G3 because of the first
two games succes, thus expecting G3 to be more like G1+G2 than maybe it really is.
(does this even makes any sense ??)

What I mean is this: By developing a game for the casual gamer, pb needed to realize than it probably loose some of its fanbase, without attracting enough of the casual gamers to make up for the lost fanbase. These casual gamers would probably have bought G3 - on the merits of g1+g2, and thusly would then be disappointed when they discovered or found out that g3 wasn't as good as g1+g2.
(since their hardcore rpg fans probably told them about how unique these games, g1+g2 were, then of course, the casual gamers buying g3 expected the same unique experience, but this experience just wasn't there….).

All in all this makes the point I've always stress in these situations even more clearer:

Make the best (…) game you can. Make a game you would like to play yourself. And don't try secondguessing what the market wants. The market (and focus groups) is very shifty, and people don't really know what they want. They just think they do.

The old saying: you can't please everyone, so you gotta please yourself

is still valid, both when you're making computer games,
and when you're dealing with life in general.

I do also think that the many mant things wrong with this game, i.e. bugs & all, do stem from Jowood's pressure to release the game way to early.
If the devs. at PB had been 6-12 months more to make the game, well then…
(while I certainly can understand the decision to release the game shortly before Christmas to get the boost in sales from that release date, I don't really think it applies anymore. People nowadays tend to buy computergames all the year, not just at Christmas or special seasons in the year).

Acleacius January 16th, 2007 17:18

Right, I think I understand what your saying and its hard for me to know much other than what is offered and translated by our good German speaking members, the English interviews and the rather poorly done translations by google.

I really believe PB has done more right than they are giving themselves credit for, PB seems to be absorbing the frustrations of fans due to all the problems and taking equal responsibility for the design, which I believe is wrong.

Sure I am disappointed by some things, but for the most part I see 90% of the problems due to the rushed state of the game, i.e. jowood's fault.

I don't really see them as competing with oblivion since PB is has a superior product, talent and skills, which I also believe its unfair to PB since they create masterpieces with a team of 19 and bethseda's team of 100 pushes out generic drivel with the exception of their Editor and Character Gen.
Maybe what’s confusing some fans is the natural state of development, like getting ride-able animals in the game.
Just because oblivion got them in first doesn’t mean really much since they have 5 times the staff and a massive budget and just because PB wants to get ride-able animals in the game doesn’t mean they are competing it’s only natural evolution of games, at least imo. :)

Like I say I am certainly not more than an avid fan outsider (since I can’t speak or understand German), so its hard for me to know what PB really intended the final G3 to be like, actually given another 6 months I think it could/would have been one of the best ever made.
Had they been given the time they deserve most of this would be a mute point as I believe they could have worked out most existing problems.
Cleary under the circumstances they did the best they could which was damn good considering the jowood factor. ;)

Even if there had been issues that bothered some long time fans if the game had been completed I find it hard to believe the fans would have not bought the game, though maybe I just don't understand what the fans are most upset about.
In the English language game public all the negative is aimed at the bugs and incomplete status, sure there are always rabid style fans but they are usually a small minority whom complain about anything just to be getting attention on boards like trolls.

I think PB took the rejection of the incomplete game as their fault and it's not.
Part of the problem is PB doesn't really talk to English world, so while the English reviews only talk about the problems with the games, they know nothing about PB.

The fairest thing that could be said at this point is its all jowood’s fault and they should be out there apologizing to PB and all the fans across the world.
If the German fans are blaming PB I think they should stop, PB has been working their asses off for going on 10 years now those guys and gals need a good vaction and a pat on the back for a job well done working with a poorly planning publisher.
jowood needs to pull their head out of the butts, they are screwing up a AAA title game because of their shitty decisions.
If they don’t have something in the budget then they need to start asking for help from fans or something thing, if I knew more details I would gladly offer any suggestions.

I can only guess jowood would like to succeed in business so you Don't sell you fans champagne but give them grape juice at the same price cause you didn’t let fermentation work long enough.

Hell they could have had a fund raising dinner, offer something special to preorder fans, sell G3 tee shirts or hell what about a damn bake sale with cute German girls in G3 slave outfits selling cookies, wooohooo! :biggrin:

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