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Planescape: Torment interview at RPG Watch

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Planescape: Torment interview at RPG Watch

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Mon 30 July 2007, 13:56:31

Tags: Black Isle Studios; Chris Avellone; Planescape: Torment

RPG Watch has posted an excellent "Planescape: Torment" interview with Chris Avellone and Colin McComb:

Planescape: Torment was never developed to be a huge hit. How much involvement or interference was there from the suits of the company?

Chris Avellone: As far as being a huge hit, I think everyone wanted Torment to sell very well (it made a profit, but not a huge one, and certainly not anywhere near Baldur's Gate numbers).

Still, there were a number of elements that I think hurt it in the long run:

- Not an accessible setting. It's not a fantasy world that is comfortable for players to settle into, and we did not take pains to make it comfortable (no dwarves, elves, or halflings, as one minor example).

- Story-heavy in the wrong ways. It has a slow start, and while the momentum does pick up in the Hive, there's a lot of reading, and people don't buy games to read, they buy games to play them.

- Marketing. The box of the product reinforces #1 above - it says, "hey, we're strange," rather than promoting it as a role-playing game using the Baldur's Gate engine, which probably would have made it a more interesting target to the game community.

As far as interference-from-above goes, we probably could have used more than we had - like Fallout, Torment was sort of under the radar for a while, and the producer role changed several times over the course of the project. Brian Fargo was mostly hands off, except to complement us on the writing, and give me a pretty stern lecture (deservedly) about the localization costs for the game. Feargus was also concerned about how much it slipped over the course of the development cycle, and those weren't fun discussions.

Colin McComb: As far as I know, a surprisingly small amount compared to the amount of money they spent on us. We had to do a few dog-and-pony shows for game magazines, a couple of presentations for the investors, but from my perspective, the executives didn't get too involved with our development cycle, focused as they were on the big money titles like Fallout 2, Stonekeep 2, and the games on the other side of the building. Chris might have a different story, since he was a step higher on the ladder, and he may simply have performed the valuable service of protecting all his designers from any spatters from above. I certainly never felt that we were being jogged or pushed in any one particular direction especially.
Part 1 comes with TWO ORIGINAL DESIGN DOCUMENTS, so don't miss them. A must read for PST enthusiasts!

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