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Gothic 3 interview, part II

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Gothic 3 interview, part II

Interview - posted by Vault Dweller on Sat 20 May 2006, 06:11:07

Tags: Gothic III; Piranha Bytes

5. The skills have been replaced with "huge amount" of mini-talents that we can use to form our own talents, whatever that means. How does that work? Can you give us some examples? Also, why mini-talents instead of more traditional skills? What's the advantage?

As gets obvious in the answers above, freedom of action is one of the key-features in all the Gothic games. Yet, concerning the skills, the only freedom the game player had so far was to pick a handful of them and make their numerical value rise to 100% (or higher). The freedom in Gothic 3 goes far beyond that point. In order to achieve a greater diversity, we have introduced the mini-talents, so-called perks. Instead of watching a number rise with each invested learning point, the player can actually decide upon what exactly he wants to learn. One-handed sword fighting is the basic perk he needs to be able to carry a sword without killing himself by mistake. This talent can then be upgraded with perks like quick attack, extra-damage against Orcs, power attack, two swords at once, pierce attack, agile movement, etc.! The chosen combination of perks forms the individual fighting style. As you can see, it all boils down to the term freedom. Funny enough, freedom is not a pervasive element in the game's postwar story.

6. In the first game you were one of the prisoners, in the second game your role drifted more toward being "The Chosen One", how would the third game handle it? Should I expect to save the world all by my lonely self or is the influence of my character on the gameworld less important this time?

Actually, the drift towards the chosen One started in Gothic 1 when the nameless hero became "He who defeated the sleeper", an honour which was left to the One according to Orcish prophecies. Apart from some dialogue lines and a dramatic showdown, we didn't quite pick that theme up again in Gothic 2. We liked the idea that the hero's supernatural qualities are subtle story elements that never really break through to the surface. The game player has as slight notion that there's something big-time going on while he's dealing with rather secular things such as a kingdom shattered by way. In Gothic 3, the focus is on the latter. Even though the nameless hero is a central character which in the end makes the story roll on, the world lives (or dies, rather) without him and even without any noticeable presence of the Gods.

In every respect Gothic 3 is not a one-man-show. Finding fellow combatants and forming temporary parties is a gameplay element we put more emphasis on, mainly because we wanted to feature the friends of the nameless hero.

8. It's been mentioned that Gothic 3 is very non-linear. Considering the story-driven nature of the first two games, how does that concept work in Gothic 3?

Blending the story-driven nature of the series with a non-linear gameplay is a challenge indeed. Our first attempts in Gothic 1 & 2 already provided three different paths with special quests for each character class. In Gothic 3, we're taking this to the next level. The nameless hero can tackle most of the quests out of sequence and the world reacts to it, but still the game has a certain logical chronology. Figuratively speaking, in theory the game player can walk straight to the big red button which ends the game. Question is, where is this button? To find it, the hero needs one of the magic red-button-seeking-gizmos. To get a gizmo, he has to talk to someone who... and so on. This leads to a natural sequence of events, admittedly a linear development of the story, but it won't seem artificial for the player after all. Apart from this central thread, there are many side-stories and smaller quests which are absolutely non-linear.

9. Tell us about factions. It's been mentioned that you can join more than one faction, and that you can leave a faction. Can you explain how that works? Also, why did you decide to move away from the "join one faction and stick with it" model? Any Orcish factions/clans?

We have increased the degree of freedom in most aspects of the game. To create a coherent gameplay, the guild-concept needed a little more freedom, too. The general idea is to turn limits into options. In the predecessors, joining a guild meant being forced into only one third of the game. So in fact one would have to play the game at least three times to get the big picture. In Gothic 3, the hero can pick out the plum jobs and sympathize with more than one guild, or with none. Whether or not a guild offers him a quest does no longer depend on his affiliation to the guild, but on its attitude towards the player.

10. It seems to me that many features are being tweaked and improved. What about dialogues? Is there any room for diplomatic skills in the Gothic world?

Diplomacy is always an option if violence failed. No, just kidding. Other RPGs add new dialogue options such as "I don't want to kill you. I'll give you 100 gold pieces if you kill yourself instead (smile convincingly)" on condition that your charisma value is above 50 percent and you have learned the talkativeness skill. We don't have something like that, we just add the diplomatic dialogue options right from the beginning. The nameless hero has an innate sense of diplomacy, so to speak.

11. When diplomacy fails, combat prevails. Any changes to the combat system? Is there any reason, other than cosmetic, to choose an axe instead of a sword, for example?

Yes, the combat system has been redesigned. We wanted it to be easily accessible and versatile at the same time, and judging by the first reactions from test players, it turned out well. Since the new interface somewhat differs from Gothic 2, we were worried about if we had in a way neglected the strong points of the original combat system. Fortunately, our test players reinforced our confidence in the new design with statements like "To hell with Gothic 2, this rocks!"

Axe and sword have always been different in terms of the damage they cause and the possibility to parry a strike. In Gothic 3 there is another significant difference: You can fight with two swords simultaneously, but you can't do that with two axes. On the other hand an axe has some fancy moves like a sweeping attack against encircling enemies.

12. Any chance of seeing multiple quests solutions? What's Piranha Bytes' position on that design element?

Did I mention we have put great emphasis on the freedom of action? ;) Of course, this applies for quests in particular. All that matters is the result, and if all the necessary conditions are fulfilled, the quest will be considered successful regardless of how it has been achieved.

We'd like to thank Kai for his time and dedication.

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