Loot Drop RPG Interview

05 Oct 2012

Gamasutra is offering an article-style interview with Brenda Brathwaite centered around the old-school RPG she and Tom Hall would work on if their Kickstarter campaign is successful. Here's an excerpt:
Part of Brathwaite's passion for making old-fashioned RPGs comes from her deep love of systems -- and how attached older formats used to make her feel to characters. There are "like 90 things" she loves about traditional RPGs, but there's one thing she misses most.

"I loved how when you would create your character or characters, it would sometimes take a long time," she reflects. "There was this incredible investment in creating the characters, and in helping those poor bastards survive, especially in party-based games where a lot of times your party would get wiped out. It'd take a lot of time and effort to build a party from nothing to a strong group, and many games had permanent death."

"But you had such an investment in your characters that when you won the game, you loved those guys," adds Brathwaite. The evidence of the power and meaning in those kinds of constructs is still alive among her own belongings: "I still have my original disk of characters from Wizardry, from 1981," she says. "I don't even have an Apple II; I'm sure there's no way it can run, but I can't bring myself to throw it away."

Like fellow RPG traditionalists Obsidian, who also recently launched a Kickstarter for an older-styled RPG, Brathwaite agrees to some extent with the idea that abstraction -- the simple graphics and systems-focused perspectives that were the only option in a bygone day -- can help inspire emotion and imagination to an extent more lifelike games cannot.

She cites Scott McCloud's example in his book, Understanding Comics: "If we look at a plug, we can see a face in that plug, and that face could be anybody," she suggests. "But the more detail I add, the less it could be just anybody; the more mine it becomes, from a design perspective, and the less yours it can be."

Brathwaite and Hall's game will have a focus on graphical style, however: "It's going to have the modern things people expect," she says, enthusiastic about the rich art concepts that are already underway for the game thus far. "But the old-school RPGs tended to be really rich in story... so we are making sure we have a tremendous attention to detail in terms of character, story and the struggle in the world."