Dungeon Siege III Preview

The editors at MMGN Australia were able to go hands-on with Obsidian Entertainment's Dungeon Siege III, and they've returned with a commentary-laden preview that should make for some good weekend reading. Associate producer Nathan Davis is the developer chiming in:
Davis says that Obsidian has (a number of people working on Fallout DLC as well as some unannounced projects. The DS3 team was the largest team though. It's an interesting time because we're at a cool point where we can try out a number of different things.)

As far as the console versions are concerned, Davis points out that they (allow a lot more visceral action. We took that and ran with it. The moment-to-moment action gameplay in Dungeon Siege is pretty exciting.)

The game retains its sense of RPG-ness in spite of this though. (If you're not paying attention to the stats and not doing the number-crunching things, you'll find yourself doing less damage,) Davis says. From my hands-on time with the game, the aspect appears to be have been fine-tuned to give the player as much quick access to these functions as possible. Stat screens, item collection and weapon selection are all press-of-a-button simple, and each new ability is fired with a one-button maneuver corresponding to the ability's position and colour on the HUD. Little touches like a left-thumbstick click collecting all nearby gold and health (whilst neglecting potentially unwanted items) help bring the experience together, keeping the action and RPG blend seamless and unconscious the way it ought to be.

A few new processes drive the combat experience this time around. The characters gain experience and level-up as per normal, but also gain up to three abilities per 'stance' which are each one button-press away. So if you're in your melee attack stance, you've got your unlocked abilities there, switching to the ranged or defensive stance will switch them out automatically for the corresponding stance's abilities. Typical attacks gain focus (it only takes a few hits to fill the focus meter), and the focus is spent on the ability attacks. Each ability attack then goes on to have its own 'mastery' (read: experience) metre which, when filled, unlocks that ability's 'enhanced attack'. It's a totally new system for a totally new Dungeon Siege experience.