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June 19th, 2022, 17:51
Lucky Day spotted a Techradar interview with Trent Oster founder and CEO of Beamdog, once the director of Neverwinter Nights:

After 20 years, Neverwinter Nights' director would like 'to take another run at it'

"I'm an optimizer," says Trent Oster, now founder and CEO of Beamdog, once the director of Neverwinter Nights, Bioware's landmark RPG which launched 20 years ago today. "When I look at something, I'm like, 'I think I can do that better'. And the problem I'm trying to solve is that it takes years to create content, and it takes minutes to play it."

This was the problem Bioware encountered during the development of Baldur's Gate, a game which, it has been estimated, took 90 years' worth of working hours to build. Baldur's Gate is a sprawling and highly flexible RPG, frequently regarded as one of the greatest ever made. But it is ultimately designed to tell one story. A very big story, but a single one regardless.

After wrapping up Baldur's Gate, Bioware decided it wanted the player to enjoy not just one story, but thousands. "The democratization of game design," Oster says. "Allowing people to go in and build their own adventures and share them with their friend group." The result would pioneer many of the concepts that power some of today's biggest games, combining the community-driven creation that would make Skyrim and Minecraft such enduring phenomena, with the curated shared-world experience that attracts thousands of players to Destiny and GTA Online. Neverwinter Nights was wildly ambitious, and it would push Bioware to the limit, with long-lasting effects for both the studio and Oster personally.

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June 19th, 2022, 18:05
Like I said on discord given Trent's track record with Beamdog and it's various failure's to make a new original RPG. I doubt he could make a sequel to NWN.

He's welcome to prove me wrong but I doubt he will.
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June 19th, 2022, 19:55
Perhaps he had enough after BG and NWN (and revisiting them again as Enhanced Editions).

But 90 yr-man to make Baldur's Gate? That's a lot.
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June 19th, 2022, 20:09
Yesterday was Neverwinter Nights 20th anniversary of it's release.

He's basically talking about what it took and what it would take to do it over. I'm curious to why he thinks sticking to his 5 year plan would have taken 5 years when his 3 year plan didn't work out. For one thing, there was the huge problem with getting ripped off by, then losing his publisher completely changing the dynamic of development (lack of revenue coming in, resources allocated to legal instead of development, etc.). That would have happened in regardless of planning.

But fans of the game and developers have always dreamed of a NWN3 and what it would take given what we know now about 1 and 2. eg. Niv, a former developer of NWN:EE at Beamdog would scrap the toolset and put it in the game itself - something he was clearly working at during his last months there.

That Trent doesn't understand why there weren't clones is confusing - NWN as a game doesn't fit any known model and even confused some early reviewers who all but ignored the toolset. At one point, it was a toolset without a game and when marketing told them they needed one, they slapped it together in 6 months.
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June 20th, 2022, 03:56
Perhaps Trent Oster could function in an advisory position. Thing with RPGs are that they exist in a continuum influencing each other over time within the technical limitations of their medium. I remember being impressed by Baldurs Gate and liking the romance options in NWN, things which now would be perceived as pedestrian. Still creativity is something to be respected and if Oster has a vision still, I hope he gets to communicate that.
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June 20th, 2022, 06:47
There have been a few games over the last twenty years that tried to be the next NWN but they failed sale wise. I wonder if that has something to do with no publisher interest.

Which is silly as the RPGMaker engine proves you can just release a toolset, and be successful. Just look at all the free and paid games made over the last 15 years.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; June 20th, 2022 at 07:14. Reason: Minor correction.
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June 20th, 2022, 08:38
We would need to know how much more money they'd make thanks to a toolset. I'm not convinced it's worth the development time, in comparison to saving that time to make a new game.

The toolset developers are using are often provided by Unreal or Unity, except some home-made scripts and tools. It's too complicated for end-users in general, so they would have to make that toolset only for the customers, they wouldn't benefit from it. Worse, they would have to test it thoroughly.

So I can see why they don't provide any toolset in modern games, except maybe when they have proprietary engines. But often, their tools are updated along with the engine and are a mess, even more complicated to use than commercial engines; it's been mentioned multiple times in interviews and tweets.
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June 20th, 2022, 08:53
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post

But 90 yr-man to make Baldur's Gate? That's a lot.
Not really. Not by today's standards. Cyberpunk 2077 took, what, easily 800 years of collective labor and counting? It's just saying that it took 30 people three years to make it or whatever.
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June 20th, 2022, 09:46
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
Not really. Not by today's standards. Cyberpunk 2077 took, what, easily 800 years of collective labor and counting? It's just saying that it took 30 people three years to make it or whatever.
It's hard to compare BG with CP2077, different scope, different company size.

I just thought there were fewer people working on this game, or even at BioWare. Since that took about 4 years, that's 22 people full time minimum, and it was not the only ongoing development since they were already working on NWN (at least according to BioWare's biography book, where it was more like 5 years and not 3).

Seeing the game, it seems a lot too. But yeah, they probably had to upgrade their Infinity Engine, and it's a MP game, so that must have taken some time.
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June 20th, 2022, 10:22
Originally Posted by JFarrell71 View Post
Not really. Not by today's standards. Cyberpunk 2077 took, what, easily 800 years of collective labor and counting? It's just saying that it took 30 people three years to make it or whatever.
And games like Starfield/Fallout 4/Skyrim/Witcher 3 and most other AAA cRPG's would all be closer to that Cyberpunk number rather than the BG2 number. It is Art and Content/World building that takes the time now. In BG2 the 2D art would have taken a long time but it was a small team. These days the art (textures etc) take just as long except there is FAR more. The only parts that probably take a similar amount of time is the writing/quest design.
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June 21st, 2022, 07:18
Plus there's already Baldur's Gate 3…
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June 21st, 2022, 08:43
Talking of BG, if you'd like a retrospective/review on BG2, from the (only) guy who made an accurate video on BioWare's history and BG1:

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June 21st, 2022, 08:49
Originally Posted by Pappy View Post
Plus there's already Baldur's Gate 3…¦
Your point as BG3 is not NWN. It might not even get a tool-set to create mods.
Originally Posted by Redglyph View Post
Talking of BG, if you'd like a retrospective/review on BG2, from the (only) guy who made an accurate video on BioWare's history and BG1:
Thanks for the video the ending about BG2's expansion was interesting. Though I don't agree with some of his points about it being the beginning of modern BioWare.
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