Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition Interview

25 Jun 2012

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Beamdog
Developer:Overhaul Games
Release Date:2012-11-28
Genre:
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Isometric
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
GB: Can you give us a quick rundown of all the ex-BioWare folks who have come on board?

Trent: So, Cam and I both put in some time on BG. I ran multiplayer testing for three months at the end of the project, Cam did some help with code and rendering optimizations. We also have Marcia Tofer, who did environment art on Baldur's Gate and art directed Baldur's Gate 2. Marcia is building the new area content along with another BG2 alumni, Russ Rice. Russ did area art and special effects for BG2 and he's hard at work on area art for us right now. John Gallagher who concepted all of BG1 and BG2 has provided a ton of great area concepts for our new content. Keith Soleski is hard at work on scripting. Keith made a tour through QA, then technical production at Bioware. After Dragon magazine and writing some Forgotten Realms novels, Dave Gross did his time at Bioware, going through the James Ohlen design bootcamp and digging into the Bioware method of writing games. We've had some audio assistance from Dave Chan, former audio lead at Bioware. Mike Sass was there to help us early on with the updates "Enhanced Edition" logo and ongoing work. Mike was responsible for all the BG character portraits and a lot of the original promotional artwork. Since we're a small shop, some people have already completed their work and have moved on. For example, John Gallagher is back doing movie / television concept work. We're trying to plan again to ensure we can pull him back for all out future content needs. We're also in the process of bringing another person on to help who people might recognize from another game, but we'll talk about that later.


GB: Have you ever reached out to Alan Miranda and the other folks at Ossian Studios to collaborate on this or another project? Alan and his team seem to have the old school BioWare mentality that runs parallel to what you’re doing with the Enhanced Editions.

Trent: Ahh, Alan Miranda. I love that guy. Alan was the best producer I ever had, he preserved my sanity during the all the crazy times of Neverwinter Nights. I can't really speculate on what Alan and his gang are up to after "The Shadow Sun", but we'd be very happy to collaborate with them on something awesome.


GB: If Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition and Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition sell well, would you prefer to move on to the remaining Infinity Engine games or pursue an entirely new title in the Baldur’s Gate franchise?

Trent: Regardless of how the game sells, we are committed to making a BG2 Enhanced Edition. We are still discussing the other Infinity Engine games and a potential BG3 with our partners at Wizards of the Coast and Atari. At the moment, we're trying to be flexible and seize the right opportunities. Regardless of the outcome, we will have a team that knows how to make a great RPG and has experience on PC, Mac and iPad, which puts us in a pretty great spot. The recent Kickstarter successes paint a pretty picture for experienced teams executing on the games they love to build, so we're pretty jazzed about the opportunities even if we can't make the other stuff happen.


GB: Hypothetically speaking, where would you take a new Baldur’s Gate title? Would you shoot for a direct continuation to the Bhaalspawn storyline, explore other plot threads that the original story only briefly touched upon, take the prequel route, or do something entirely unexpected?

Trent: I'd have to go with option B or C. The great story has been told, the player character has become a god-like being at the end of Throne of Bhaal. We need to tell another great story. We would however, link as much as possible to the rich story and characters of the BG series. We're excited to do a BG3, but we need to do a deal in order to make that happen, so we've held off on committing any work to the concept.


GB: Do you think the crazy amount of excitement leading up to the announcement of the Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and the enormous success of the many "old school"-inspired Kickstarter projects say something about the current state of the industry? Are modern publishers and developers completely overlooking what appears to be a huge demand out there for another party-based RPG?

Trent: We were blown away by the excitement around the BG announcement. It was great to see all these people with the same enthusiasm for the games as we have. While our announcement was awesome and the Wasteland kickstarter was a great success, I don't think our market is nearly as large as the market for the latest Call of Battlefield 13 game. As a result, I do not see modern publishers chasing after the opportunity. Party-based RPGs also have a very unique series of requirements from an engine and a development team, so there are added challenges to building the games which limit the number of teams willing to chase after them. If the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter had gone to $20 or $30 million, I think the major publishers would have taken note, but as is, I think we've got a beautiful niche where the teams that love the games can deliver great games to the fans who want to buy them. We're ecstatic to be working in the space and we are really looking forward to delivering some great work for the fans.


GB: Thanks for your time, Trent!
 
 

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