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Old 04-12-2006, 04:11 AM   #1
Alucard
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Dark Messiah of Might and Magic Interview

Heres a recent interview of the game that all us PC rpg whores have been waiting for MUCH more then Oblivion.


Quote:
1UP: When talking about the philosophy behind Dark Messiah, you say it's about allowing the players to play through the game in their own way, whether it's character customization or having truly dynamic environments due to the Source engine. How did you arrive at this philosophy? How did you know that this is the type of game you wanted to make?

Raphael Colantonio: What we wanted to do was to bring our vision of RPG. There has been a long time where [game developers] have been emulating what people do around a table with a pen-and-paper game, and for us we wanted to make something different and to bring a new idea, which is "let's try to immerse a player as much as we can, to bring a more visceral approach -- and to break the screen between the player and his character. And let him do, by action, the things he wants to do." It's all objective-driven, so we provide the player with a set of tools and things he can play with and different things he can do -- stealth, melee combat, using the environment using magic, tricking enemies by throwing an item, etc. It's actually closer to what would be the ideal RPG for me, which is "just plug it into my brain and that's it," and with my sword I'm having the experience myself, instead of having a character with stats. So that's the idea.

1UP: What are the unique challenges in designing a game like this -- one that's more open-ended, where there are a lot of possibilities in how you play?

Julien Roby: Well, the main challenge is to prevent all the bugs that could happen. Most of the time you get chain reactions...and then you just notice that it triggers something totally unexpected. For instance, one day we decided to be able to freeze the ground and have an NPC slip on it, and then we noticed that on some levels it really unbalanced the gameplay, because [there] was a level along a cliff and the NPC would go and slip off the cliff.

RC: It's also related to game design. We really simulate every agent of our environment, so it's got some really cool effects, but also some side effects which make it harder to control sometimes.

1UP: How did Arkane and Valve come to work together on Dark Messiah?

RC: It was actually an accident, in a way that we met at E3. Some of the Valve guys came to see us -- we were showing Xbox Arx Fatalis back then. One of them handed us a business card and said, "We really liked Arx Fatalis, and we played it," and I was like "Wow, that's cool. Thank you." So that's really how it started. So then after that we were looking for an engine later, for our next game. I thought, "Well, maybe they'll still remember us." So I contacted them, and they were actually thrilled by the idea of helping us with this new game and providing us the new engine before it was actually playable. So it was a cool accident.

1UP: Would it be possible to make Dark Messiah the way you want to make it without using the Source engine, or something equally powerful?

RC: Well, I guess anything is possible...

JR: It's easier because the Source engine has a lot of features that already...like the physics are already well-managed. So it's something less to do for us so we can concentrate on making gameplay around the physics and not coding the physics.

RC: Yeah, the physics are actually well-integrated into the engine. I haven't seen an engine integrated with physics that well before. And it's first-person, so it was really a good fit for the game we wanted to make, [with] next-gen graphics and HDR and all that stuff.

1UP: What made you want to follow Arx Fatalis with a game that was more action-based, rather than a traditional RPG?

RC: I think it's all about accessibility, really. Arx Fatalis was a deep experience, which had such a level of accessibility -- I would say it was more for the hardcore players that are willing to invest more time into learning how the stats work and all those things. And we wanted to deliver the same kind of experience, but in a more immediate and accessible way...we are making all those stats and stuff real transparent for the players, so all you get are the results and again, it's more immediate. You play that guy instead of thinking what stats you should use or what skill.

1UP: What does the Might and Magic license bring to Dark Messiah that you might not otherwise have if you were using an original IP or going ahead with Arx Fatalis II?

RC: Well, Might and Magic is a well-known symbol of the RPG, and it's a very compelling challenge to do the next version of a M&M game. The cool thing is that we got to really rework the entire universe, so we're part of recreating the gaming world with Ubisoft. Both of us worked on that together. And it's an exciting thing to work on a well-known and rich franchise, but adding our vision of it. It's a very strong challenge in the way that we don't want to disappoint traditional fans of M&M. At the same time, we want to revive it and raise the bar and bring a new identity to this brand, so it's a cool and hard thing to work on.

1UP: How do you make a game that's not too much of an RPG, but not too much action?

RC: We tried to make the RPG thing as transparent as we can, so that it becomes a rich layer instead of becoming an obstacle to players who prefer easier-to-access games. We're trying to get the best of both worlds, which is an easy, accessible experience where you really feel you and your character are in phase about what you want to do and how you want to do it. But with this rich layer of RPG, which is kind of invisible so we don't bring any obstacles in the gameplay.

The other thing is that it's objective-driven, which makes it a real RPG really. This game is objective-driven, and it's really about what you do, and not how you do it. Because of that we reward the player not on how many kills you get, but the fact that you reached that point. So if the objective is to get to Room A to get some kind of item, we don't really care as designers if you broke through the door, or killed the NPC and grabbed the key, or if you stole the key, or if you found some beam and climbed on top of it and skipped half the location -- it's totally fine. We want to reward the player on the objective.

1UP: So most of the design of the game is designing objectives that are satisfying and rewarding and entertaining to get to...

RC: ...and then let the player play with the tools we provide and let him express himself the way he wants and play the way he wants.

JR: In some cases if we decide that you can earn an experience point because of the objective -- for instance killing people -- some player will probably find a way we didn't think about to do it...

RC: It's a player-driven experience. We want him to surprise us. We want him to do something us designers didn't even think about. The more people who play that way, the more we'll be glad.







http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3149483

Theres a trailer over at gametrailers.com that you should see if you havent yet. This game is going to totally bring to the table what RPG actually means. Sadly not out till end of the year. It makes me cry. Just remember this is the Source engine from Half life 2. So if your PC can run that game well, itll play this one easily too.
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Old 04-12-2006, 01:34 PM   #2
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LOL! You're such a whore. *All* PC RPG fans waiting on an action game? Well, since you seem to think Oblivious is an amazing RPG, I guess I can see where you could be confused.

Anyway, I'm pretty interested in this one. There hasn't been a quality hack n' slash PC exclusive since Severence. I just wish Arkane didn't nerf the combat system (model damage) out of paranoia. Mainly I'm concerned about the quality and value of the SP campaign. Too much focus on MP could screw everything up.

Once this is done hopefully they'll go back to Arx II...and stay away from consoles.
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Old 04-12-2006, 02:26 PM   #3
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Eh? I just said everyone I know, and most of the feedback on the net, shows people wanting Dark Messiah more then Oblivion. And just because you can slash in realtime, dont change the fact that its an rpg. Unless your version of rpgs is turn based combat. And if looking forward to this game which will no doubt be awesome make me a pc whore, then go for it. Its going to be good and you bloody well know it.
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:18 PM   #4
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It's a level based hack n' slash title, Alucard. Where is the dialogue, quests, world to explore etc? It's no more an RPG than Half-Life is. The game is HL2 in a fantasy realm with a few arbitrary stats thrown in.

Quote:
Eh? I just said everyone I know, and most of the feedback on the net, shows people wanting Dark Messiah more then Oblivion.
No, you just said that there. You said something completely different before.

At this point quality and value is still up in the air. I'm certainly not writing it off, though...but it still ISN'T AN RPG!
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Old 04-12-2006, 04:31 PM   #5
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Its an rpg. You MIGHT get over this little problem of yours in time. Its an rpg with hack and slash combat. You'll see. And quality is up there. Even Gabe put his face in the videos released saying ho wmuch promise thi sgame is showing. Thats all I need. Game will be good. You can take that to the bank. And all your 'we'll see' stuff will just be a waste of time. Say Dark MEssiah to anyone who likes PC rpgs and you'll see them nod in anticipation.
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:09 PM   #6
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Theres a subgenre the defines this game, you know. Its called Action RPG. Oblivion is one too. Wether stats are trasparent or not, if you have hitponts, a mana pool and gain XP and level up after killing stuff, then hey - its a RPG.
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