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Answering Community Questions on the Obsidian Blog


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Hey Everyone,

 

I'm Nathaniel, the lead designer on Dungeon Siege III. If you guys have any questions about Dungeon Siege III, Neverwinter Nights 2, Obsidian in general, Game Design, the industry, whatever - that you'd like me to answer, please post them in this thread!

 

Some notes:

 

  • I will pick the questions I answer and I don't have unlimited time, so I'm more inclined to pick interesting ones!
  • You're not going to hurt my feelings, so feel free to ask tough questions, but I won't likely pick flamebait/trolling :lol:
  • Let me know your first name and location in the question post if you want me to give you a shout out for the question, otherwise I'll just use your forum name.
  • I'm fine with answering questions on non-DSIII topics :)

 

I'll be wrapping up the questions on Thursday and try to get the blog post up shortly thereafter, so get 'em in!

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- Considering that the Dragon Age franchise (not to mention the Knights of the Old Republic games) have shown that party-based role-playing games can be financially successful and Dungeon Siege III already uses a top-down perspective anyway, is there any particular reason you didn't build on the previous iteration's mechanics and instead went with an action-RPG/brawler hybrid?

 

- On that matter, how do you feel about the game's reception? DSIII's debatable implementation of multiplayer and lack of customization have been the main points of criticism, but almost every element of the game has been divisive. Do you think that a lower price point would have lead to a better reception? Was that even feasible?

 

- Now, that's a personal consideration (though I'd be surprised if many disagreed with me) but dungeons in the game are a little.. barren and simplistic in design. Was that intentional, to avoid slowing down the gameplay, or do you feel you could have done more with traps/puzzles/secret passages/alternative routes/etc.?

 

That's about all I can think on DSIII now, will probably try to think something on Obsidian in general later.

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(though I'd be surprised if many disagreed with me)

 

Theres actually several here that praised the dungeons. It was one of the more present positive points I encountered. And actually I found them to be on the better side of Obsidian dungeons (at least far above NWN2s horrible designs (No offense @ Obsidian)

 

Just sayin'

 

For me:

 

What parts of the game did John Gonzalez and Travis Stout write ( I know Ziets wrote the vast majority). Did Gonzalez write something in Stonebridge? Theres some stuff that reminded me of his style.

 

Is the DLC still in production?

 

And a completly standard question. Why did you decide to enter the game industry in the first place?

Edited by C2B
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Rafoca:

 

- Any plans on developing Dungeon Siege IV; also what about Neverwinter Nights 2 for consoles?

- You guys seem to know a lot of how co-op works and DS3 is a proof of that, but why the decision on the shared screen?

 

Thanks!

Edited by rafoca
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Well then here's my questions.

 

- DLC? Can we expect any? If so, can you give us ANY details? Dates? Type? Size?

 

- It's early but are you guys at Obsidian talking to SquareEnix about DS4 yet? If no, why in the heck not?

 

- DS3 is/was great, but without New Game +, the game loses replayability after the first few go throughs. As an industry standard for games like this, why was this feature left out? Can we expect it in the future. And... you do know it's one of the top 3 requests right?

 

- Camera Angle. It's probably the top complaint since you fixed the "keybinding" issue... or rather lack thereof, so can we expect any camera improvements? A few more zooms and angles maybe?

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What parts of the game did John Gonzalez and Travis Stout write ( I know Ziets wrote the vast majority). Did Gonzalez write something in Stonebridge? Theres some stuff that reminded me of his style.

 

I can answer this one. :aiee:

 

John G. wrote a good part of Anjali's dialogue, and he did an overall polish pass on many of the side-quest NPCs in the game.

 

Travis wrote most of Reinhart's dialogue and about half of Katarina. He also wrote a lot of side-quest NPCs like Leona, the Gunderics, Drakomir, Fitch, etc.

 

The remainder of the side quest dialogue was written by the respective area designers.

 

I wrote the main plotline dialogues (Marten and Odo, Dapper Gent, Meisters, Jeyne, archons, etc.), plus most of Lucas and some of Katarina.

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-Obsidian's interesting to me in that they've done a wide variety of types of RPGs. KOTOR 2 and Neverwinter Nights 2 were the more traditional party based affairs. Alpha Protocol was a solo cinematic style. New Vegas is open world and sandbox. Dungeon Siege 3 was more hack and slash. Does each style of RPG provide a unique challenge in comparison? If so, what new challenges did Dungeon Siege 3 present?

 

-When will I get to eat another god?

"Show me a man who "plays fair" and I'll show you a very talented cheater."
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What parts of the game did John Gonzalez and Travis Stout write ( I know Ziets wrote the vast majority). Did Gonzalez write something in Stonebridge? Theres some stuff that reminded me of his style.

 

I can answer this one. :aiee:

 

John G. wrote a good part of Anjali's dialogue, and he did an overall polish pass on many of the side-quest NPCs in the game.

 

Travis wrote most of Reinhart's dialogue and about half of Katarina. He also wrote a lot of side-quest NPCs like Leona, the Gunderics, Drakomir, Fitch, etc.

 

The remainder of the side quest dialogue was written by the respective area designers.

 

I wrote the main plotline dialogues (Marten and Odo, Dapper Gent, Meisters, Jeyne, archons, etc.), plus most of Lucas and some of Katarina.

 

 

Ahhh, I got at least Travis Stout on Reinhart right. Though it makes sense this way. I really liked Travis contributions so props to him for that.

 

By the way, will we see Travis Stout (and Fenstermaker) in a Lead Writing Role in the future in a Obsidian game? Because these guys do a lot and are both promising writers.

Edited by C2B
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Was Lukas modelled off of Kyle MacLachlan in dune.

 

What would be the ideal intellectual property you would like to work with.

 

Both Dungeon Siege 3 and the Witcher 2 mix the players skill and in game character skills in their combat systems, which do you prefer as players and designers.

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Dungeon Siege III specific:

 

-The length of the DSIII campaign seemed shorter than most RPGs/ARPGs, was that a design decision to keep the flow of the story that you wanted, or was it a development time consideration?

 

-Party interaction. Was there ever plans to expand on it? Most RPGs that allow companions/party members tend to have the ability to talk to those party members, to either learn their backstories or to open up a companion-specific sidequest or both. Was there a reason that kind of thing wasn't available in DS?

 

-Sidequests seemed kind of slim. Again, was it a design decision to keep the story flow a certain way, or was it more time constraints?

 

Obsidian in general:

 

-What new game(s) have you guys got under way, and when will we learn about them? :)

"Console exclusive is such a harsh word." - Darque

"Console exclusive is two words Darque." - Nartwak (in response to Darque's observation)

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I'm hoping you haven't already selected the questions, because this is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT AND I DEMAND AN ANSWER:

 

- Who decided that calling Jeyne Kassynder "JEYNE KASSYNDEEEERR" in an incredibly dramatic tone every time she was mentioned was a good idea?

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What's your opinion on Cliffracers?

 

What possessed the team on New Vegas to make the beast known as "cazadores"? They are large numbers, highly resistant to most forms of damage, poisonous and spawn rather often. I learned the best way to kill them is using a rapid fire SMG but those weapons chewed through ammo.

 

If you could change one minor thing to Dungeon Siege 3; what would it be? (Minor being that it wouldn't largely effect the story or how the game plays/game mechanics)

Edited by Chasted
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I'd love to hear about the big calls where you felt you (or others) could have gone a different way and why.

 

On Manx - he is disarmingly geeky (which has its appeal). He could have been deep-voiced Count Doku (spelling?) type, or a wizened old Gandalf type.

 

What discussions went on around the personalities of those 4 characters? Were there other characters considered?

 

Tough question:

I play the game on PC, and really like it there (the keybinding helped me, though I only made very minor changes from default). Did you talk about simply not doing the game for PC? This forum suggests to me that PC gamers were always going to be angsty about a game on PC and console, particularly if the game was going to go for such a streamlined skills tree (no complaints from me there). PC folks were always going to yell "consolitis" because it offends their deep and complicated dignities about their mode of entertainment. I almost hate to ask, but is PC still worth it?

 

Finally:

Is there any chance of some DLC??

A quick and dirty (but very cool) would be higher difficulty new game+ in which you: open up the 1st-tier proficiencies of all characters for upgrade (i.e. lucas can go for the anjali/manx will boost, and the latter 2 could get lucas' will-to-dps), perhaps - add 2nd tier of mastery - if you use an empowered ability enough times perhaps the regular use of the ability becomes empowered (even if only a % of the time) and the empowered ability increases in effect, etc.

Edited by greenpeas
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-- Why gunslinger girl instead of a minigunner ? DS1 had miniguns working without warding staff present.

-- Why did obscure/non-existent/scrapped from dev_test features such as archons and some "creator gods" got the focus when you had Seck, Zaramoth's Army, Shard Souls, krug and morden, familiars, and many many more were estabilished as enemies from the original universe?

-- Why the narrow maps, restrictive camera angles and distance, blurry graphics that make my eyes water, and lack of a party?

-- Why couch co-op when most pc gamers lack the couch?

-- Why the shared screen?

-- Why is Anjali naked in archon form?

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1. Will you be able to improve documentation for some of the stats particularly the chaos stats since its somewhat unclear? And why we should go with 1 chaos damage stat over another. Am also curious about whether some damage stats stack over the others. Hopefully even updating the in-game help screen.

 

2. What influenced the decision to make the game go towards being more of a beat em up rather than a straight RTWP style RPG?

I read somewhere that for a good action RPG you have to take solid action game mechanics and wrap it in an RPG exterior. Is this the case with this title? Essentially underlining and showcasing the ACTION in ARPG?

 

3. Did this do well enough to justify a sequel and DLCs?

Slightly related to this, was creating the entire game on this engine relatively quick and not requiring too many resources (compared to other engines you've worked with)? If so how do you feel about making free (quest) DLCs?

Edited by 3mka
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