Obsidian Entertainment - Leonard Boyarsky Interview
This interview from PCGamesN covers the journey of Leonard Boyarsky from Troika, to Blizzard then working for Obsidian on the secret project.
Obsidian, going home, and what's next
Was it a shame to leave when you did then? It sounds like you weren't enjoying yourself massively for the middle part of your stint at Blizzard but by the end you had found your groove - and then headed off to Obsidian. Was it a difficult decision?
No, it wasn't a difficult decision at all [laughs]. It had nothing to do with Blizzard. When I started talking to Chris Jones and Fergus [Urquhart, co-owner at Obsidian] and Tim [Cain, now co-Game Director at Obsidian] about doing this it was basically like 'hey, come make another game that you create from scratch, a hardcore RPG in the Obsidian/Troika style’. How can you pass that up? It wasn't really even a question.
We had a few different conversations talking about the possibility of it. I think you'd have to ask Fergus and Chris, but I feel like they had decided it was going to happen before I even realised the decision had been made. We slowly drifted into talking about when I was gonna come over and it's almost like the decision was never actually made between us. I started talking to them and it was like 'oh yeah, this is gonna happen’.
They're like 'Leonard's a sure thing, we'll plan on him being here, we'll work everything else out and then we'll go talk to him’.
Kind of, and the thing about Blizzard, as much fun as I was having doing that stuff, I had been working on Diablo for ten years. I think I worked there ten years and two months. I just don't know I could have done any more Diablo, as much fun as I was having. Another two, three years on a project based around Diablo - if we had been able to take it a completely different direction, possibly.
But then it isn't Diablo, right?
That's not Diablo. That's in the column of ideas that goes right next to 'let's make Diablo more of a hardcore RPG’ [laughs]. There's a lot of great stuff about that game that people love and you don't mess with that, you find ways to make that better. But if you look at the other games I've made in my career, it's pretty obvious I'm insane and dedicated to making very, very difficult games that have a lot of choice and consequence.
What's it like being back at Obsidian, is it everything you'd hoped for in that manner, and are you enjoying whatever it is that you're working on now?
Yeah, very much so. There are basic similarities anywhere you go when you're making games but everybody has their own little quirks and ways of doing things. The day I started and began talking to Tim about this, it was like this is my style of game making, this is how I learned how to make games. Because literally it's like we made games a certain way at Interplay, we brought that over to Troika, Obsidian did the same thing after Black Isle, they had the same practices and same mindset about the games they were making. So to go from some place that was completely different back to a place where it's exactly how I remember doing these things, it was really refreshing and it was like coming home in a lot of ways.
It's been great. I love what we're working on, I'm really happy about it, I'm really glad I got this opportunity to do this one more time.