Today, RPG Codex brings us another retrospective interview, this time with Guido Henkel of Realms of Arkania fame. It's an interesting read for those who are into old-school titles, whether you played them back in the day or have got into the series retroactively thanks to it being featured on GOG.com.
1. What's your definition of RPG and how did it evolve over the years?
To me, there are a few factors that make up role-playing. First and foremost, I think, it should be an adventure, in the sense of that it creates an exciting world and story that pulls the player in on some kind of quest. Exploration is a big factor also, along with critical decision making, which leads to certain character developments. And then there is combat, of course. While not necessarily integral, I think combat is always fun and should be part of a good RPG.
The key, however, is that fun should always trump the mechanics. A game that is tedious is missing the point, I think. The game should captivate the player, entertain and challenge him in his actions and thinking.
2. Blade of Destiny and Star Trail were fairly unique RPGs that stood out even in the Golden Age of games. How did they come to be? What were the goals? What influenced the design decisions?
The genesis of these games was quite intriguing, actually. We had just completed Spirit of Adventure at the time, the first role-playing game that attic did, and it was published by Starbyte, a German publisher. As it turned out, Starbyte told us that they had the rights to the Pen&Paper game that the Realms of Arkania series is based on [editors note: Das Schwarze Auge, The Dark Eye in english] and asked us if we would like to do a product for them using the license.