Gaming Irresponsibly caught up with Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker for a brief Q&A about his decision to pursue an indie development career with the Eschalon series, why classic RPGs appeal to him more than modern ones, the direction he'd like to take Eschalon: Book III, and more.
What made you choose this style over a more [modern] take on the RPG?
It's just so much more enjoyable to me. For example, when I start a game of Ultima 5, there is a tremendous sense of how much explorable world there is around me. And it's all open, just waiting for me to tackle it! The storyline unfolds only as I talk to NPCs, at my pace. This gives a player the sensation of feeling part of a living, virtual world, not just that they are clicking through a digital movie with limited interaction. That is what I wanted to capture with Eschalon- this unique gameplay style of golden-age CRPGs that is not being produced by mainstream developers anymore.
There hasn't been any news regarding Book III lately. Without any spoilers, what are some of the concepts that you think will go into its development?
With Book III, we are looking at what made the first two games successful and build upon those elements. While that seems like an obvious response, the truth is that it's often difficult for developers to acknowledge this and give current fans (more of what they want) instead of pushing the gameplay in a new direction, looking to acquire a larger audience.
I've always said that Eschalon is not intended to be a ground-breaking reinvention of the role-playing genre. On the contrary, we want to make a solid, memorable, and thoroughly enjoyable game built on the established fundamentals of what made those classic RPGs so fun.
Book III will feature more of everything our fans love- hundreds of additional items, more quests, more puzzles, and more story. We will further balance character stats and skills using feedback gathered from Book II. Players can expect a multitude of hidden areas and secrets that will take months to uncover. Book III is the final game in the trilogy and we want this to be a fulfilling ending for everyone who has gone on this journey with us.
And finally, we will be releasing some of our development tools as well, so that players can work on their own maps and share them with the community. This, more than anything, is what I am looking forward to: playing maps made by other people!