Interview Arx Fatalis  0

RECENSIONE di La Redazione  —   28/02/2002

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RPG: Arx's multiplayer mode has been somehow a mystery, could you tell us something more particular about this? Will it be similar to another fantasy game like "The wheel of time"? I also read something about an Evil Lord of the Dungeon and 15 players... Will be there only deathmatch related modes or something more deep and story-driven like in the single-player?

AS: As you might know, the multiplayer mode has been canceled, which is a shame, because I'm really sure it would have been a really fun game. Unfortunately, the more we progressed down the development, the more we became aware that it would have taken way too much time to do it as we initially wanted it to be. So, instead of making a poor multiplayer just for the 'marketing' sake of it, Fishtank and Arkane both agreed that it was best to remove it for now. Maybe multiplayer could be a whole game on it's own ...

RPGP: Arx is a game with first-person perspective and this really helps the player to become one with his character! There're some very creepy monsters ( and there is also this Black Thing...): we know this is going to be a very good crpg/adventure, and... Perhaps even a somehow frightening game? Are there situations of fear, horror, strain like in other kinds of titles (Half-Life,System Shock 1-2,Alien vs Predator 1-2)?

AS: Absolutely ! well, I hope you'll jump out of your chair in some situations :) There are some missions and places which are supposed to be very tensed, and so far, it worked on our testers :) I bet you won't like our nasty lich ;)

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RPGP: Press-Beta hadn't any kind of interactive conversation, but I've unterstood there's a large amount of dialogue in Arx ... Will player be able to spontaneously ask something, having also an active part during conversations with people (for instance using classic dialogue tree structure and selecting questions and answers)?

AS: As part of a long reflection, we've removed all dialogue boxes, popups, etc... Actually, back in time when we were in the gamedesign process debating about multichoice dialogues, we came up with the following conclusion: if you let 3 choices (for example) to the players (something like 'Name', 'Job', and 'about the murder'), most players will surely click on each choice to listen to the entire conversation with the NPC, most of all because they wouldn't want to miss a conversation that would trigger a quest or something like this. Therefore, why not doing this automatically for him ? Then you will say: "Ok, but what about the choices like 'yes' or 'no' ?", we always bring a solution to let the player choose what he wants to do by combining objects, or other means. For example, in Arx, a NPC could tell you 'give me 1 coin and I'll give you a drink', in this case, the player combines his money on the NPC, and he will receive his drink. In other games, you could have the NPC telling you 'Do you want a drink for 1 coin ?' and then bring up a yes/no pop up on the screen. well... this is only an example, but it fits in our will to keep the game imersive and accessible.


RPGP: Sound in the beta was undoubtedly very good, but what about Arx's soundtrack? It's going to be orchestral (like in Outcast, for example), or instead more ambient related with shorter contextual tracks?

AS: Here again, by choice, we decided to do very few tunes, and do more atmospheric contexual ambients. One of the main reason is that in most cases, players end up turning the musics off in games, because musics are too repetitive. So we worked with Kemal Amarasingham (who did some ambient work for Thief 1 / 2), as we felt his talent would fit well with the kind of result we wanted.

RPGP: We know ... Feeding is a necessity if we are likely to survive in the world of Arx, but will we have to worry even about other apects? For instance, sleeping during our adventure (perhaps taking a bedroll with us)?

AS: No bedroll ;) We had one at first, then people started to say that it was a constraint rather than being fun, so we simply removed it. Feeding is necessary but it also give you some health, so we managed to fit an obvious interest in eating food, that we couldn't find with sleeping. So, basically we tried to keep this philosophy for every features in the game: if it's realistic but not fun, it's out of the game.

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RPGP: Would you like to tell us about any aspect of the game that you are particularly pleased with, and why?

A: I think we can be proud of the equilibrium of the gameplay: it was a hard task to bring together so many types of gameplay and so much variety into one non linear game. So far, we're very pleased with the result, I think we've managed to offer a lot of freedom to the player without having him feeling lost in terms of 'what should I do next ?'

RPGP: Are you planning to develop anything else after Arx Fatalis? Do you already have any idea of what could be your next game?

AS: We'd like to develop another 1st person game, maybe in the present times... I can't tell much more... obviously Arx2 could be cool too... we have many ideas, but as usual, ideas are easy to find, money to produce not as easy ;) Depends on the publishers' will...

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RPGP: What kind of titles do you like playing most? I guess you're fans of Looking Glass :-)... So what about any other game that you appreciated, and perhaps that had any influence on Arx developing?

AS: Yes, big fan of looking Glass and Ion Storm Austin, but also, big fan of Richard Garriott's games, and I liked Fallout very much. Sometimes I like to play some Nintendo games as well: Zelda, Mario...

RPGP: Thanks for taking the time and your answers!

AS: Thanks you for yours questions and interest in Arx!

RPGPlayer: First of all, let's talk about Arkane-Developers: when and why you decided to develop games and in particular when and why you chose to make a CRPG like Arx?

Arkane Studios: The question of why making a CRPG like Arx is a very good question indeed, most of all nowadays when the gaming industry is going towards more and more impressive effects, forgetting about the content. The answer is very simple: passion for games and nostalgy of real deep games such as Ultima 7 or Underworld. When we started on Arx, we didn't think through the usual scheme of how to approach the market, what does sale and what not, etc... We simply wanted to make the ultimate game that we would like to play, hoping that it will please enough players so that we can make a living out of it. Obvisously, we knew that we would have to make it within the graphics and effects standards of a AAA game in order to catch the eye of the public. That was a very 'unconcious' and 'naive' approach, but now we see we were right when we made that decision, right and lucky :) because back in time, we didn't know how hard it would be !!!

RPGP: What did inspire you into giving the name Arx Fatalis to the main town in the game? Perhaps the solemn "latin language sound" of the words?

AS: The answer will please you: In fact, as you could guess by the sound of my surname, my parents are italian, and they are from a little city next to Roma which is called 'Arce'. I go there once a year to spend some holliday, one day, a friend of mine there told me that in latin, 'Arce' is 'Arx' (Fortress) and that it would sound cool for the name of our medieval game... now you know :) Fatalis was added a bit later...