Age of Decadence - Interview @ Forbes
Vince has been interviewed by Forbes on Age of Decadence and went into some detail when answering these questions.
Age of Decadence is a turn-based RPG with real-time adventure and many text-based choices. Tell me about your design decisions for the game. What inspired the game? How does it compare to other RPGs?
Old games like Darklands, for example, used text-based choices quite liberally. They add a lot to the atmosphere and immersion (assuming one likes reading) by greatly increasing the number of possible actions at any given moment and enriching a game.
I remember playing Planescape: Torment, a classic Black Isle’s RPG – don’t forget to check Brian Fargo’s Kickstarter for Torment’s spiritual successor – and there was a moment early in the beginning, when you had to deal with giant skeletons, animated as guardians of the Mortuary.
You could simply fight them or you could study them, study the armor and spells on it, and then try to dispel the enchantments (which would cause the skeletons to collapse). You needed either very high Intelligence to figure it out or a dusty old tome you could consult for help. You can’t do such things without text-based options and detailed descriptions. I think I fell in love with the game at that very moment and Torment was certainly one of the inspirations – not the setting or story, but the way they used writing to enrich the game.
Another design aspect that’s worth mentioning is combat difficulty. It’s a hard game.
Combat difficulty is integrated into the setting. You can’t say that the world is harsh and unforgiving and then allow the player to kill everyone who looks at him or her funny. The game has to be hard, dying should be easy, and you should have reasons to pick your fights.
You aren’t a powerful hero who can defeat anyone and save the world and it is the difficulty that reinforces this notion. Make the game easier and we’re back to the powerful hero setup.
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