RPS offers a nice, extensive interview with InXile CEO Brian Fargo.
RPS: To what extent have you got the design already, you said you had these documents you almost shelved three weeks ago, how complete were they, or are you still making it up as you go along?
Brian Fargo: We worked on it at InXile for nearly a year, and so we worked through the storyline, what the life of the ranger is, dialogue structure, social skills, party influence, character stats. We worked through quite a lot of things so we’re not starting at ground zero. We pretty much know the templates, the next step after that was to bring all the writers in, and bring the artists in, and really fill out the meat of the world. That’s the costly part and where we didn’t get anywhere.
RPS: So potentially it could happen a bit sooner than people expect I guess if you do have the nuts and bolts of the design already nailed down?
Brian Fargo: It’s still going to take a while, we’re going to spend a good five months…it’s not that it’s no money, a million dollars is a lot of money. And by the way we’re lowering it to $900, 000, and I’m going to kick in the last $100, 000 just to make sure this thing happens. That said, in order to do this and be super efficient you have to design everything up front. We’ll have a pile [of paper] a phone book high, we’ll sit around in a conference room and we’ll step through the game over, over and over again.
It kind of works like, sometimes science fiction authors all collaborate on a book, and say ‘look in my book or in your scene, make sure a plane crashes, I don’t care what else you do after that’ and so there’s a little bit of that where we will have these constant threads and let some creativity happen within the areas that we assign off to the designers. But we’ll bring that all together and step it through, and then it becomes a matter of getting it all in a.s.a.p and we’ll repeat the same monster picture a hundred times but at least we’re now playing the game, and we’ll start to fill in the assets, and that way we’re polishing, or balancing, as we go.
It’s the cause and effect that makes a true role playing game so there’s a lot of ‘what ifs’ and then we want to keep ‘hey, what happens if you walk up to this encounter and this NPC’s with you, ‘oh that’s a good one, let’s deviate that way’, or ‘how about if they’re all wearing guard costumes?’ So coming up with all these ‘what-if’s’, that’s what makes these things shine.
RPS: Is there any sense that you’ve got to make up for lost time because there wasn’t a solid continuum of isometric turn based stuff being made, so there’s like ten years of development that didn’t happen, and now you’ve almost got to compensate for the work that wasn’t done to make sure you make a suitably modern game?
Brian Fargo: I don’t think we want to go too far forward from what was last done, because I want people who played those RPGs in the 90s to be able to step seamlessly into this game and get it. I don’t want to try to figure out ‘well, if there had been ten years of iteration, where would we be.’ I think I’d be asking for trouble on that, people need to feel really comfortable getting into this, and we have some things that we can do to take them in some different directions. But if we really nail from a production perspective, visually, and we know so much more that we knew back then, in terms of a good dialogue and again use of audio to create drama and things like that.
If we set the mood, if we really do a great job of setting the mood and tone, that’ll go a long way along with the extremely diverse cause and effect because that is what people want. Our users are on our boards, they are telling us what they want, and we’re going to give them what they want.
RPS: In terms of new people, is there any risk that it could be a hard sell for those for instance who have only played the newer Fallouts and expect something very different?
Brian Fargo: I’m trying to make this game to appeal to people who like the old school roleplaying games from the 90s, not just Wasteland, so it goes beyond that, it’s Wasteland, it’s Fallout, it’s Baldur’s Gate, it’s Icewind Dale, it’s that whole genre of product. Having just party based games, good old party based games with tactical combat, I love that stuff, love that stuff. Icewind Dale was a very simple game but I had such fun with that.
RPS: So you’re launching the Kickstarter [this week], that’s still the plan?
Brian Fargo: Yeah, we think we’re still on track to submit today, and there’s an approval process which takes a couple of days. It’s not like I’ve done this before with them right so we need to find out how long that takes. I would say early [this] week; Monday, Tuesday, something like that. It’s imminent, that’s for sure.