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July 6th, 2010, 02:39
The next E3 article at GameBanshee is a fantastic conversation with Feargus Urquhart, chief of Obsidian. The conversation covers the response to Alpha Protocol, a little on Alien: Crucible and Dungeon Siege III, the current status of Wheel of Time, those Icewind Dale assets they bought all those years ago and a little about the general market:
GB: Why does nobody want to go for the zoomed-out perspective anymore, or even chase the original Ultima Online format in the MMO space? To me, thatís what the industry needs. Going after the EverQuest/World of Warcraft format costs $150 million or whatever, but if it's something like Ultima Online with a modernized graphical engine, I'm betting that asset creation would be a lot cheaper.

Feargus: Absolutely. Itís interesting, because even if you look at Dungeon Siege III, the reason we have a close-up camera, not the super close-up camera, but the more close-up camera is because people want a closer up view. And, when we started working on Dungeon Siege III it was a *huge* fight. Everyone wanted it far away, and were saying, "Why are we doing that?" And I'd say weíre doing it because when we show the game itís going to look really cool in that mode And along with it looking good, it will play really well as well. Now it did take a while to have that actually happen, but it has and the game plays great with a closer view.

My main issue with that direction was that if we show a little character on the screen, itís going to look too much like a PC game Ė and Iím not saying I hate PC games - but itís going to look too much like a last-gen game. And that means weíre screwed. Weíre just screwed. With modern games, you have to have people say how pretty the game is and it is one a real expectation. That probably sounds bad to say, but it's what even most of us expect.

GB: See, as a PC gamer myself, a zoomed-out viewpoint is my first choice. The Infinity Engine had about the perfect perspective for me.

Feargus: Infinity Engine games, I love them. I didnít play as many hours as Ray did, but I put like 150 hours into Baldurís Gate II. I loved it. The games were awesome, and it's strange because itís not like the sales on them went like this [makes a downward slope with his hand]. We just stopped making them. It wasnít like, "Oh, no oneís buying them anymore, letís stop making them." It wasnít that consumers werenít interested, it was the publishers that werenít interested.
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July 6th, 2010, 02:39
this is one amazing interview. I've never seen so much depth from a developer before about the trials and pitfalls of development.

One commentator on that thread complains about Feargus issues with pleasing console publishers and even buyers with his comments on isometric, but sorry pal, what can you do?

The info on the Icewind Dale was a public confirmation to an open secret and its disappointing. Its clearly too late to use those assets but the interviewer gives some hopeful suggestions using the OGL license (which Lucasarts got away with we find out with KotOR) which Feargus likes. He also thinks he could do more infinity engine stuff, and y'know, with some of the casual stuff spewed out on the Wii I can't see that it would be a bad idea. The costs would certainly be low and they could crank a lot of content out.

Finally on Wheel of Time, I hope Feargus realizes that Red Eagle may want to publish but since they are stiffing their comic artist on royalties they don't have any money. It tells you something when one of Robert Jordan's last statements to the public involved telling the public that Red Eagle has lost their rights.
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July 6th, 2010, 04:12
Pretty straightforward interview,I liked how he didn't start with the "we're not allowed to talk about this and that" stuff that most developers use.
I wasn't even aware that they were working on Dungeon Siege 3,weren't the other two boring Diablo-brought-to-3D attempts?I thought Obsidian's forte was the plot.

It's nice to see how he still sounds open to ideas and willing to develop cRPGs.
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