Lionheart - interview with Chris Parker, producer of Black Isle  0

RECENSIONE di La Redazione  —   26/03/2003

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Sito ufficiale: Lionheart
Sviluppatore: Reflexive
Publisher: Black Isle Studios
Distributore italiano: Halifax
Genere: RPG isometrico 2D
Data di uscita: Settembre 2003
Anteprima - Screenshots 1 - Screenshots 2 - Intervista (ITA) - Interview (ENG) - Screenshots 3 - Screenshots 4 - Screenshots IGN

RPGPlayer: How have you come into contact with Reflexive? Did you contacted them or was it the other way around? How have you decided to share the responsabilities of development? What aspects of the development process do you each attend to?
Black Isle Studios: "Feargus Urquhart, the head of Black Isle Studios, and Lars Brubaker, the CEO of Reflexive Entertainment worked together at Interplay many years ago. They kept in touch over the years and eventually decided to do a game together - that game became Lionheart.
Reflexive is responsible for all development and Black Isle Studios is the publisher. However, since Black Isle Studios has years of CRPG creation experience, we have given a lot of input to Reflexive and have tried to share as much of this knowledge as possible with them in order to make the best game."

RPGPlayer: Can you tell us which bibliographical source you have drawn from to realize Lionheart's plot?
Black Isle Studios: "We have drawn from a number of sources. I personally have been on the internet many, many times researching various things in history to be used for the game. I have also purchased several books over the course of development for this purpose.
The actual ideas behind the plot of Lionheart didn't come from any historical research though. We began pre-production on the game with the idea that it would be a high-fantasy world of magic which used the SPECIAL system for all of the rules. After a few months it was decided that an alternate Earth setting for the game would be more interesting than creating our own. After many different ideas and discussions we settled on the current back-story in which magic is released upon the Earth late in the 12th century and the game is set 400 years later."

RPGPlayer: In Lionheart, Will you give importance to thinking/reflective quests? I mean the quests you can solve with dialogs and not only with fights? What do you think of the current rpg trend of creating more action oriented games as opposed to thinking/reflective games oriented towards the solution of puzzles?
Black Isle Studios: "There are a number of quests in Lionheart which you can solve purely through the use of dialogue skills. In fact, this was one of the things the design team was quite keen on during development.
I think there is a market for both action-oriented and the more hard-core types of CRPGs. There are plenty of people that don't want the complexity of an in-depth RPG like a Fallout or Torment just as there are people that cry because Diablo is labeled as an RPG even though you spend so much time fighting. I enjoyed all three of those games quite a bit, but each had their own unique experience to deliver, and so I think each is important in its own way. I think all these types of games will continue to get made, some will be great and some won't. I don't think there is a trend that steers toward action based RPGs. I just don't think there has been an abundance of great story based ones - and to be honest, there never really has been.
I believe that any hard-core RPG should have multiple ways to solve quests. And I don't just mean that there should be a combat and a dialogue solution. There should be at least three if not four solutions to each type of quest depending on the type of rules system that you are using."

RPGPlayer: The dialog system is a most important aspect of an rpg: it appears that Lionheart will have the usual dialog system that we've seen in other previous titles. Have you ever thought about developing a more various and flexible dialog system?
Black Isle Studios: "We didn't consider a different dialogue system for Lionheart, but Black Isle has considered this question in the past. The basic result of all those discussions was that we haven't come up with a solution that is better in our minds, so we have never tried to implement a different one."

RPGPlayer: Sometimes we see that there are rpg's that use a different background from the usual fantasy setting. What do you think about that? Do you believe that fantasy will always be the better backdrop for a crpg?
Black Isle Studios: "The reality of the situation is that consumers complain constantly that too many role-playing games are set in a medieval or fantasy setting, but very few outside of this setting ever sell very well. This makes it very difficult as a game developer to get approval/funding to make a game in a different setting.
Fallout 1 and 2 both sold very well and their setting is about as far from Fantasy as you can get. I know that I personally, and many people in Black Isle, would very much like to make a game set in an alternate setting such as a Fallout 3 or some other completely new world. We'll just have to wait and see though.
As to whether Fantasy is the best setting for a CRPG, I don't think this is the case. I don't mean that I think there is a better setting than fantasy, I just meant that the setting doesn't make a game great. A CRPG is generally as good as the designers who make it and whether they get to see their vision through. In my opinion, anyway."

RPGPlayer: Thinking about Feargus Urquhart's statement about Black Isle decision to use new 3D graphic engines, is it your intention to create a your own new 3D engine or to use an already existing graphic engine with new improvements?
Black Isle Studios: "If we are going to make a game with a new 3D engine, we would create our own. We have looked into using existing/licensed graphic engines to create the kind of games we make and we have never been completely happy with what we were able to find. In creating our own technology, we would be capable of customizing the technology to fit our needs perfectly."

RPGPlayer: What do you think about multiplayer only games or about mmorpg? Have you ever thought about developing a mmorpg? What do you think about the future destiny of singleplayer games?
Black Isle Studios: "I think there is a want for all of these types of games. At various times over last few years we have discussed such a venture in Black Isle, but we haven't announced any work on one, at least not as of yet. I'm sure you understand, though, that would be a massive undertaking.
It is my personal opinion that there will always be a market for single player games. This trend of multiplayer gaming is valid, but it's driven by people, mostly in suits and marketing who don't actually know what *all* gamers want even though they do know what *most* gamers want. But when you approach a market like that it leaves holes, and a current gaping hole is the single player, story driven experience. There just hasn't been one for awhile that was really amazing. Sooner or later, somebody will make one, and it will be really successful, then we'll see a slew of copycats, and everybody will wonder if there's enough room on store shelves for so many single player games."

RPGPlayer: When fans think of Black Isle, they think about two games: Planescape Torment and Fallout (1 & 2). Nobody has succeded yet in matching this two games. What is your opinion of this?
Black Isle Studios: "I think it's great that people have so much admiration for those games. Black Isle worked very hard on those titles as well as its other games and its a tribute to the folks that put in that effort that they are received so well today."