Jason Anderson Interview

26 Jun 2012

It seems like we missed the interview earlier, but GameStar.ru has chatted with RPG developer extraordinaire Jason Anderson, now employed at Turtle Rock Studios, for their "Knights of the Roleplaying Table" interview series. The questions asked are more or less the same as their Chris Avellone and Josh Sawyer interviews, although Anderson obviously offers his own, equally interesting insight. Here's a sample:
We are very disappointed that the majority of the developers make us manage a no-name deaf-and-dump Chosen. Should the main character of the role-playing game be a «full-bodied» like Adam Jensen from Deus Ex: Human Revolution? Or it would be harm to identification of the player with the character?

Troika always believed the player should dictate the character they wished to create. This is modeled after traditional PnP RPG’s and we wanted to give the player that experience on the PC. We firmly belived that in order for a game to truly be an RPG, it had to be that way. However, after playing Planescape: Torment, one of my favorite games, I changed my opinion. I think there is room for both models. This all being said I believe pre-defined character’s work best in today's game environment. Contemporary games rely heavily on cinematics and pre-rendered assets making it much easier on production to go with the pre-defined character. It would be very difficult to create the variety of art necessary for someone to create their own character from scratch and also give people the in-depth interactions that they’ve become accustomed to.

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What, in your opinion, is the emotional component of the plot in? Is a not easy choice made by the player, leading to unexpected consequences, the death of the key character that was so loved by the gamer or unexpected turns of the history?

You get a player emotionally involved in a game through other characters. People don’t relate to ideas or concepts. People relate to people. Whether its an idea in the game or history in the game or the plight of a whole people in the game world, to get your player to care about it, it has to be funneled through an NPC that embodies that cause or idea. Commonly, this method used to get the player to care about something or someone in the game world. Once you have the player engaged with these characters you can control their experience.

As for “unexpected consequences”; that’s a dangerous one. You do want to create twists and turns in the plot but you never want to leave the player feeling like they made the wrong decision or had no choice. The player should always feel they have made the best decision for their character considering the circumstances.