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Game News Gamasutra Interview with Chris Avellone Part 2

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Jaesun, Aug 18, 2011.

  1. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Gamasutra has Part 2 of their <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WillOoi/20110815/8206/An_Interview_with_Chris_Avellone__game_designer_writer_and_former_unlucky_schlep__Part_2.php">interview with Chris Avellone</a>. A brief summary:</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <blockquote>
    <p><strong>This edition of "Unmasking the Gamers" features part 2 of an interview with Chris Avellone. Having spoken previously about RPG design, this time round we had a look at the development and eventual reception for the espionage-RPG Alpha Protocol, the relationship between developers and publishers, the process of casting voice actors to suit written characters, as well as a bit more about Chris himself</strong></p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>One aspect that we did want to include for AP2 was a system proposed by our Systems Designer, Matt MacLean - I've heard it called "honeycomb" mission structure, but that makes me think of cereal, so I'll just describe it instead (note that I'm quoting my answer in Vince Weller's Iron Tower interview below):</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Honeycomb Mission Structure: It applies to a mission design where the player is given an overarching objective (to put it in Fallout New Vegas terms: "force the New California Republic to sign the treaty with the Jacobstown super mutants") and then given about 5-6 "satellite quests" orbiting the main quest, all of which can affect the set-up or success of the central mission. The player can choose which of those 5-6 missions he wants to undertake, and they all react to each other and cause a reaction in the central objective as well.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>We did this to an extent in AP (optional missions, missions affecting other missions for each hub), but a lot more we could have done with this system, and all other things being equal, it's my goal that it be a focus for at least one of our titles in the future, as it's a really interesting idea.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>The disadvantage is it can get extremely complex if done improperly (special casing events), the advantage is that it's a better means of giving the player reactivity without a linear quest progression... and more importantly, it gives the player choices in how they want to complete the objective. They wouldn't need to do all 5-6 missions at all, and they could accomplish these satellite missions in any order they wanted. A speech character may simply target 3 missions that cater to diplomacy (say, sowing gossip or convincing soldiers or officers that the main capital is going to be attacked), and suddenly the garrison gets a high-level order to move its troops to the capital to defend the monarch.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>There are things I think we did do well in Alpha Protocol, and I'm proud of them. There's a lot of branching, there's a lot of consequences to your choices, you can outwit the bad guy just by being clever and doing your homework, you can persuade almost all your adversaries that you'd make a better boss, the fact we didn't use speech or dialogue skills in conversations as an "insta-win" button, the character had no moral barometer, but everyone's perception of him was different was good, and I liked the fact that having negative reputation gave bonuses, so if you felt like being a jackass, the game recognized you were in a role-playing game and playing a role and didn't cut you off from content to punish you, it gave you different content and abilities. I like that I could pick and choose the personality of the weapons, Matt MacLean wrote great emails, and I did like the fact that there was a pacifistic path... and having the voice actor who did Winnie the Pooh be one of our major adversaries was a nice, bizarre little touch.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><strong>WO: Is there any character that you&rsquo;ve written which has been based on you, or shared aspects of your own personality?&nbsp;</strong></p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>MCA: There's a little bit of my take on religion with Kaelyn the Dove in Mask of the Betrayer. I don't generally try to write based on my personal views outside of gaming or based on anyone I know, I feel it muddies the point of the character and doesn't help the narrative. Plus, I'd feel weird about incorporating elements of someone I knew into a character, since I feel it ends up being distracting to your evaluation of the character as you're implementing it and can sometimes feel "off" to someone who encounters the character in game.&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>There are a few exceptions, and these were all done in the context of questioning their world or questioning game mechanics: One is Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic 2, who captures a lot of the questions about the Force and Star Wars, another is Elijah in FNV DLC1: Dead Money, who is speaking about my frustration with hand-holding in RPGs, but considering both are franchise and/or game mechanic opinions directly related to the universes they are trapped in, I feel they get a pass.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    </blockquote>
    <p>The first part can be found <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WillOoi/20110623/7848/An_Interview_with_Chris_Avellone__game_designer_writer_and_former_unlucky_schlep.php">here</a>.</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p><em>Thanks Surf Solar!</em></p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>&nbsp;</p>
    <p>Spotted at: <a href="http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/WillOoi/20110815/8206/An_Interview_with_Chris_Avellone__game_designer_writer_and_former_unlucky_schlep__Part_2.php">Gamasutra</a></p>
     
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  2. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    I'm glad to see he identifies the unambiguously good bits about AP and they correlate with my thoughts. This will probably ensure that MCA implements these things again in a future title. Don't know about the pacifist route though in AP, it's brutal and near impossible at times.
     
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  3. Xor Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Xor
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Divinity: Original Sin 2
    The stuff about AP is interesting. Especially his explanation of the delay:

    I remember people bitching about that, so there's your answer. It was mandated by Sega, and they didn't do any development during the delay.


    Edit:
    It's official: not blowing the VA budget on one actor is a new concept for Bethesda.
     
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  4. Vaarna_Aarne Notorious Internet Vandal Patron

    Vaarna_Aarne
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    Danny Trejo was an excellent choice as well. His voice adds a lot to Raul's stories.
     
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  5. villain of the story Arcane

    villain of the story
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    Raul frequently reminded me of Cloaked Figure.
     
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  6. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Jaesun, you accidentally linked to part 1 instead.

    :lol:
    I would pay good money to see Cleve work at Obsidian. He could provide a definitive answer regarding whether or not Avellone is a closet case with a lot of beards and I hear they have quite a few gay, lesbian, and California Crazies working there too. It'd be an interesting experience for everyone involved.


    Depends on how you define pacifist. Using tranq darts and pistols with chain shot, the invisibility spell, and brilliance make it one of the easiest paths ever. Nothing brutal or near impossible at all about AP unless you're being dumb and think that martial arts should be the equal of gun skills and not taking any gun skills in what's clearly supposed to be a third person shooter.
     
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  7. commie The Last Marxist Patron

    commie
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    Yeah? You managed to get past Brayko picking Moscow as your first choice area by just wailing on him with a pistol and not needing to worry about the goons? How'd you manage to get enough darts for the whole mission? I kept running out. Admittedly I didn't have the benefit of a walkthrough to get the right character build from the start and so I put about 2-3 skill points into things that would be useless but still I don't see how an extra couple points in pistol would have helped against Brayko at the time. Shit, even Sis was annoying to take down as I had to be creative with my few darts to get rid of the goons while avoiding her long enough.
     
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  8. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Link fixed. Thanks.
     
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  9. Volourn Pretty Princess Pretty Princess

    Volourn
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    AP2? WTF? Crappy sequel to crappy game.
     
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  10. villain of the story Arcane

    villain of the story
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    I must admit, I'd rather play AP and any of its sequels than another DERP AGE game again.
     
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  11. Menckenstein Lunacy of Caen: Todd Reaver

    Menckenstein
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    They're both so awful I wouldn't be surprised if Thornton confesses that he wants to be a dragon during the interview sequences.
     
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  12. J1M Arcane

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    Considering my only playthrough I did the entire game using only (lethal) melee attacks except for that tank you need to use RPGs on, I think you are being a pussy.
     
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  13. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Yep. Two-shotted him with chain shot. Maybe it took three, I don't remember.
    Don't use tranqs on bosses, use steel core rounds. Tranqs are for the trash mobs you don't feel like sneaking up on and silently knocking out.
    I didn't use a walkthrough either, but I read all the skill descriptions in the beginning and decided that the power that freezes time and lets you shoot a fucker in the head up to six times at once is definitely the skill to get. Also you can respec your character once you leave Saudi Arabia, you should have figured out by then whether or not those skills you chose were to your benefit.
    Once again, don't use darts on bosses. Shoot them full of holes and they're perfectly fine in the follow-up cutscene where you can kill them for real.
     
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  14. DwarvenFood Arcane Patron

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    Wow this game actually sounds good.. must check up on some LP or old reviews.
     
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  15. Menckenstein Lunacy of Caen: Todd Reaver

    Menckenstein
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    Pros: Obsidian logo splash screen

    Cons: Bad controls, awful combat, linear levels, retarded enemy AI, bad story, Shenmue character animations. Pretty much a shit game.
     
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  16. Davaris Arcane

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    Pros: This game can be bought brand new for $8.
     
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