Project Eternity Interview

The one and only Chris Avellone from Obsidian Entertainment has addressed a fistful of new questions about their Kickstarted RPG Project Eternity, and the answers come to us this evening courtesy of the editors at Strategy Informer.
Strategy Informer: Is there anything about the Kickstarter or the Project Eternity experience so far that has surprised you?

Chris Avellone: Just the fact that we can share so much that I was trained never to share. Things like when we did the Wasteland 2 Vision Document [provided to backers of the game], when we put that out there I was terrified about that. Screenshots, early gameplay, terrified about them. You're trained over time to not share those things and make them perfect before the public ever sees them otherwise there's a huge amount of uproar, damage will be done somehow, but I haven't got any of that. Players are excited about that, they like seeing the framework. Like I said before, it's just liberating.


Strategy Informer: Why do you feel like the isometric RPG kind of fell out of popularity?

Chris Avellone: I'm not sure that it did. I think that at some point people realised that the controller schemes for consoles don't lend themselves to controlling a party of multiple people. They have to either be two people flanking you or an AI set, but you can't have a party of six people all going on an adventure with the controller setups that they had. I think that was enough of an obstacle to knock the idea of (well, if we can't do isometric RPGs on these particular systems then we shouldn't do those types of RPGs). I think things became more consolized after that.


Strategy Informer: For me personally, even though I'm an old-school gamer I never really got into the Infinity Engine RPGs at the time for numerous reasons, such as not getting on with the interface or the frankly unforgiving level of difficulty.

Chris Avellone: Yeah, they can be pretty brutal, especially with some of the boss and mage battles that occur in Baldur's Gate. I think one issue that still bothers me about Planescape: Torment was that although it's a text-heavy game I found that there's so much text at the outset it actually makes it harder to get into the game. Even though it's giving you an example of what to expect I think the transition into the game could've been a little bit easier.
I'm not sure I would consider the Infinity Engine series as having an "unforgiving" level of difficulty. They were certainly challenging, particularly when played through with a solo character, but doesn't that seem like a bit of an overstatement?