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Page 2 of 3GB: Now, how does the causeway system fit into Ehb and the existing game world? How were you able to make this pathway of portals make sense, particularly since it didn't exist in the first two games?
George: One of the things that we did - remember, this is a slight reboot of the earlier stuff, right? We have a lot more lore, and we've expanded some of the regions that they had in the game. And one of the things that we expanded on a lot was the Legion. The Legion was sort of there, but it was very much in the back-story in Dungeon Siege I - you just kind of come across a few legionnaires at one point and they say something to you, and give you a quest and you keep going. They're not front and center in that game.
We put them front and center in this game and we expanded their lore a lot. And we made them into special knights, templar-y, in fact there's a knight's templar book on my shelf right here [and, yes, there was]. So we expanded their fiction a lot and one of the things that we did is we made them cooler, and much more interesting. We gave them more powers. All of the players in this game are descended from Legion bloodlines, well, except for Anjali, but she's got a special story. So the causeways are something that we added to the Legion fiction. And the back-story of the causeway, I probably can't get into a lot of what they are, I'm just assuming because they didn't say I could talk about that so I probably can't
GB: You probably can. [laughter]
George: [laughter] The causeways are something that the Legion created, and so imagine if you're a military force that is tasked with protecting this country, one thing that would be very advantageous is to be able to take a very large force and move it quickly from one part of the country to another, right? As opposed to marching for five days to get to the border. Well, now you can get half your forces to the border [snaps finger], just like that, right? So that is what they were using the causeways for.
Now that the Legion's been wiped out, nobody really remembers how to open the causeways or how to use them, and that's one of the things that the players get to find out about as you go through the game.
GB: It seems like you've really elaborated on the existing lore, while also adding in quite a bit of new material. Did you run into any roadblocks when fleshing out the story, perhaps from Square Enix, Gas Powered Games, or even Chris Taylor himself?
George: No, actually - I've worked on a lot of IP games. I've worked on The Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Neverwinter Nights - all sorts of different IPs I've worked with. There have been other situations where it was quite difficult to get things over the wall. This was really easy, and I'm not just saying that. This was actually a very nice situation.
About a year and a half ago, in 2009, I wrote this sucker [pointing to a hefty lore booklet], which is in fact, this isn't even all of it, but this is 100-some pages of expanded lore, and we sent that off to Chris Taylor. I will say that when I work on a license, I'm not a fan of going into a license and being like, (I'm going to completely change everything.) I really like to get to know the license and not violate any of the original stuff. Just expand on what's there. So I did that on Dungeon Siege III, and I wrote this very long document, it went off to Chris Taylor, and it's like, (Oh God. Please don't make me rewrite that whole thing.) And the comments that came back were very minor.
He liked it. The guys at Gas Powered Games liked it. They were easy to please. They had a few comments and they kind of guided us a little bit, but other than that, I think it was great. So no, not really. Not really a lot of problems in that regard.
GB: With such a large amount of additional lore, how many quests did you create for the game? Is this going to be a very, very quest-driven game, such that I'll have ten quests in my journal at any given time?
George: It is a quest-driven game. There will never be a point in the game where you don't have the main story either telling you to do something or branching off and letting you do any of these different things. Typically you won't have ten quests in your journal before you get to a region. Usually, a couple of quests will be sending you to a new region and once you get there, then you'll be opening up a bunch of side quests.
You probably didn't get too far into the Rukkenvahl for the sample that you played, but there are a good number of quests in that region. You won't necessarily get them where you show up in town and see something like 15 exclamation points. Typically, you're going about your business doing whatever it is that you need to do for the main quest, and things pop up as you go along. So because of things that you're doing, something happens and then someone has a quest for you.
There's a wide range of quests. There are quests that are fairly complicated - main storyline stuff and some of the side quests are pretty big deals, there are decisions at the end of them, and they're fairly long. And then there's the quick one-off quests, like sending the player over here to do something relatively brief and come back. And we did that to make sure that the player has a good stream of rewards and quest offers coming in throughout the play experience. I'm finally doing my massive play through right now. I feel like it's a pretty good balance.