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Shroud of the Avatar - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Couchpotato, 2014-06-13 05:18:03

PC Gamer interviewed Lord British at this years E3 to talk about Shroud of the Avatar.

PCG: What’s day-to-day like for you guys working on the game?

Garriott: Two things have made this development cycle really special. One is the crowdfunding, which is what we’ve been talking about. The other is Unity. I feel a huge debt to Unity. I think we’re finally to the era as a game industry where we don’t have to rebuild the camera from scratch every game. And there were render pipelines that have been very good, like Unreal or Crytek, but the thing to my mind about Unity is, all of the developer tools, which are incredibly well integrated and the UI is completely standardized, and the asset stores and the community that’s built around it. Unity is phenomenal. It literally is a game changer, not just for us, but it’s a harbinger for what’s to come in the industry.

What those two things have allowed us to do is, while most MMOs would take four years and $40 million minimum, we’re going to be able to do this in two years, head to tail. Because we’re not building the engine from scratch. Not only that, but because of all of the asset stores and community pieces that we've been able to glom in, we've been able to reduce our team size down to 30. So for a quarter of the cost, we are able to produce at a level that would have taken us much more trouble or time or money in any previous iteration. And the value of being at a small 30 person team is that everyone knows what’s happening. No one’s just hanging out. And it means the people like us that have been in the management business for the past 20 years, meaning we do no game design and no work in the trenches, both of us are now back in the trenches completely.

Ultima 7 was the last Ultima that I designed the story and every character and pretty much every word they said. But I did that in concert with Warren Spector, who was kind of my partner in the writing of that game. Now with Tracy Hickman in this case, equally well qualified writer, I’ve re-drafted the story three full times, written out every NPC and every line of dialogue, up until it goes to the real writer, who will wordsmith it. But I know the story intimately, and I’m very happy with the story personally, because I wrote the damn story. Which in those bigger teams was just not possible.

So for people who liked Ultima 4 - 7, in particular, or Ultima Online, we’re doing that work again ourselves. It will very much be like what people hopefully remember fondly. Because it’s being done the way it was done in those days.

Information about

Shroud of the Avatar

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Platform: PC
Release: In development