Obsidian Entertainment - Feargus Interview @ GameBanshee
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, that’s 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. It’s 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 we’re doing it because when we show the game it’s 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, it’s going to look too much like a PC game – and I’m not saying I hate PC games - but it’s going to look too much like a last-gen game. And that means we’re screwed. We’re 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 didn’t play as many hours as Ray did, but I put like 150 hours into Baldur’s Gate II. I loved it. The games were awesome, and it's strange because it’s not like the sales on them went like this [makes a downward slope with his hand]. We just stopped making them. It wasn’t like, "Oh, no one’s buying them anymore, let’s stop making them." It wasn’t that consumers weren’t interested, it was the publishers that weren’t interested.