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Titan Quest - Developer Comments

by Dhruin, 2011-08-06 11:32:30

Crate Entertainment (Grim Dawn) designer 'Medierra' has made some fascinating comments about the publisher interference in the design of Titan Quest in a thread about the recent Rock, Paper, Shotgun interview. Here's an excerpt:

One example of this would be the mandate that enemies not use language or build anything that would make them seem like they had more than animal intelligence. It was felt by one of the higher-ups that people might feel wrong killing enemies that displayed any obvious intelligence. I guess somehow it is wrong to fight intelligent enemies but okay to slaughter dumb animals? We also weren't originally allowed to have humans die, ever, in the game and no human corpses.

One area where this handicapped us was in the creation of environmental assets that visually demonstrated the enemy's war against humanity. We originally wanted to create enemy siege-works outside Athens but were told that would make the enemies seem too intelligent. It was a struggle just to monster camp assets. All of the ruins were also removed from Greece at one point because someone was afraid that players might not understand why, if the game took place in ancient times, that there would still be ruins... I had to fight for both of these things. Without them, Greece would have just been a featureless expanse of wilderness with occasional human towns that never really appeared to be in any serious danger.

At the same time, we were told that enemies should seem like noble adversaries, not evil or demonic creatures. It was highly controversial when the designs for the Limos and Arachnids were first presented. I had to personally fight to get those approved because they were considered too grotesque and scary looking even though they were based on actually mythology. Undead and the Spirit Mastery were also a struggle to get in the game. I was told that Spirit Mastery was too "Necromancery and evil". We managed to push a few more things like that through over the course of development but it was always frowned upon.

Basically, my belief is that Titan Quest never had as much style and character as it could have because we were afraid to do anything even remotely controversial. When I first designed the skill masteries, they were all based on Olympian gods, with skills modeled after the powers or attributes associated with different gods in mythology. This was rejected because it was potentially too religious and people might not want to feel like they were worshiping mythological gods to receive their powers.

We ended up with a game set in Greek mythology that barely contained any actual mythology other than the inspiration for some of the monsters and dialog on peripheral story-teller NPCs stuck off to the side in the towns. The first quest I put in the game, when we were prototyping it for THQ was modeled after one of the 12 labors of Heracles. The Erymanthian Board was terrorizing a town and the hunters they sent after it hadn't returned. You had to ascend mount Erymanthos, discover the wreckage of the hunter's camp, and then continue on to the snow-capped summit to battle the monstrous board. Of course, I was told we couldn't have snow on the summit because people might not realize it snowed in Greece and then later the whole quest vanished and was replaced by generic crap like retrieving a dowry ring so some chick can get married while monsters are overrunning the world.

Information about

Titan Quest

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: Released