RPS: To what extent have you got the design already, you said you had these documents you almost shelved three weeks ago, how complete were they, or are you still making it up as you go along?
Brian Fargo: We worked on it at InXile for nearly a year, and so we worked through the storyline, what the life of the ranger is, dialogue structure, social skills, party influence, character stats. We worked through quite a lot of things so we’re not starting at ground zero. We pretty much know the templates, the next step after that was to bring all the writers in, and bring the artists in, and really fill out the meat of the world. That’s the costly part and where we didn’t get anywhere.
RPS: So potentially it could happen a bit sooner than people expect I guess if you do have the nuts and bolts of the design already nailed down?
Brian Fargo: It’s still going to take a while, we’re going to spend a good five months…it’s not that it’s no money, a million dollars is a lot of money. And by the way we’re lowering it to $900, 000, and I’m going to kick in the last $100, 000 just to make sure this thing happens. That said, in order to do this and be super efficient you have to design everything up front. We’ll have a pile [of paper] a phone book high, we’ll sit around in a conference room and we’ll step through the game over, over and over again.
It kind of works like, sometimes science fiction authors all collaborate on a book, and say ‘look in my book or in your scene, make sure a plane crashes, I don’t care what else you do after that’ and so there’s a little bit of that where we will have these constant threads and let some creativity happen within the areas that we assign off to the designers. But we’ll bring that all together and step it through, and then it becomes a matter of getting it all in a.s.a.p and we’ll repeat the same monster picture a hundred times but at least we’re now playing the game, and we’ll start to fill in the assets, and that way we’re polishing, or balancing, as we go.
It’s the cause and effect that makes a true role playing game so there’s a lot of ‘what ifs’ and then we want to keep ‘hey, what happens if you walk up to this encounter and this NPC’s with you, ‘oh that’s a good one, let’s deviate that way’, or ‘how about if they’re all wearing guard costumes?’ So coming up with all these ‘what-if’s’, that’s what makes these things shine.