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The second part of Richard Garriott's video interview with IGN is now up. This one looks back at the history of gaming and the evolution of technology throughout the years. Some doom and gloom on account of Moore's Law and the general simplification of the underlying systems is present and accounted for. Check it out:
When asked on the latest episode of our interview show IGN Unfiltered where he thinks the RPG genre is heading in the next five or ten years, Garriott replied by discussing where he thinks all genres are headed. "One of my pessimisms about the gaming industry is a problem that is created by the success of the increase in CPU power due to Moore's Law," he said.
He then reflected back on how technology has evolved over the years, citing the progression from floppy discs to CD-ROM and revolutionizing creations like hard drives and the internet as breakthroughs that don't necessarily result in deeper games. "What happens is that every time there's a new breakthrough... the very best-selling games that exist during those radical moments of increase of power are simple first-person shooters that have really great bells and whistles that no one has ever seen before in gaming."
It's only between those moments of technological breakthrough that we see games become deeper, so that they can "compete with the most recent giant first-person shooter," Garriott explained. He highlighted gameplay additions like portals, med packs, conversation options and character attributes as ways in which depth has been added during these in-between moments. However, it isn't long before gameplay returns to being simplified, as another technological jump always follows shortly thereafter.
"But then as soon as we get over another big heap, gameplay simplifies again to not being very deep," he added. "That's my interpretation so far of the total history of games and I see no reason for that to change, as long as Moore's Law keeps making the bells and whistles so powerful every few years." As such, Garriott said he thinks "the majority of best-selling games are going to remain the thinly… light role-playing placed on top of heavy first-person shooter technology."
While this isn't the type of game Garriott said he's interested in making, he explained why it's so difficult to make an RPG that has the kind of depth he wants out of a game. "If you're going to try and do something where each plot point is a unique piece of code, it's no longer one system that gets harder. It's now 20 unique pieces of code and the cost goes way up. So, making deeper role-playing is more expensive and does not result in a lot of new bells and whistles." As such, Garriott said, "it's difficult I think for it to emerge with the same oomph as first-person shooter technology variants do."
And in case you've missed it, here's the first part of the interview that's more of a general nature.