Dungeon Siege II Interviews

Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor has addressed a series of questions about Dungeon Siege II in new interviews at both Globetechnology and PC Gamer Podcast. The interview at PC Gamer Podcast is in MP3 format, but the one at Globetechnology is just standard text:
Q: What were some of the lessons you learned from Dungeon Siege, and how did you implement them in Dungeon Siege II?

A: In the first Dungeon Siege you almost forget that there's a story in the game. We wanted a deeper narrative. There's a lot of dialogue in Dungeon Siege II. You can skip it, but if you read it you'll get a sense of the world and a greater sense of the characters and how they fit into the world. There are both cinematic sequences and in-game sequences that use the game's engine, that propel you through the story arc.

We also worked very hard on the navigation and the map. It has yellow stars for your goals and an arrow that points in the general direction of where you should go so that people don't get lost or confused about what to do next. The new journal ties into that, providing task details for each quest.

One area we were criticized on in the first Dungeon Siege was that the game would play itself, that you didn't always need to be clicking or doing something. We've worked really hard on that. The characters in Dungeon Siege II will not fight on their own; you have to engage monsters to fight them, and that brings players closer to the game.

We also added a forked skill tree for each class with powers that tie into the skills that can be triggered in combat and combined in sequence. And we have item sets, so if you collect a set you get set bonuses. You can enchant items with reagents you find throughout the world, creating your own cool, magical weapons and armour.

And our whole special effects system was completely rewritten. We now support shaders for great looking water and great looking fire, and really over-the-top effects in combat where crazy stuff happens. We just ramped the effects system way up.