Planescape: Torment Interview

Bella Online has a two-part interview with Chris Avellone about Planescape: Torment. Part 1.
Lisa: Planescape: Torment was an incredibly dense, multi-layered experience. Did you have any fear working on it that it would be too much for the average RPGer to handle?

Chris: At the end, yes, not at the beginning, strangely enough. Once it hit Quality Assurance, the reaction we got was "man, this sure is different than the other RPGs that have come through here," and that wasn't necessarily a positive reaction. I think the biggest concern was just the amount of text we were throwing at the character, not the actual content, if that makes sense.

I did have concerns that using the Infinity Engine to create a game that didn't look as accessible as Baldur's Gate would be a chore for our marketing department, though.
(...).Lisa: If you were making Planescape: Torment right now, are there things you would do differently from the original release?

Chris: Probably start off with more combat - the beginning is very slow and exposition-heavy, and I don't think that helps get the player into the mystery of his character. This is something I tried to correct in the future opening levels of Black Isle games (notably IWD2, where you're in trouble the moment you step off the boat in Targos). Also, I would work more extensively in creating more dungeon and exploration areas, and do another pass on the combat mechanics in the game - the story and quest structure in the game ended up becoming the primary focus of design, and I think the game suffered as a whole when it came to combat.
Part 2.

James: Which game was the most fun or most satisfying to work on? Are there any specific characters or events that you preferred in that game? In terms of the games themselves, which was your favorite?

Chris: Torment and Icewind Dale 2 were the two most satisfying titles I worked on at Black Isle. At Obisdian, I think the first Neverwinter expansion: Mask of the Betrayer, was the most satisfying, mostly because the engine and toolset was relatively complete when we started, which allowed everyone to focus more on the content than actually getting the content to work, for example.

For Torment, the answer's up for Lisa's question, for Icewind Dale 2, I enjoyed doing all the quest and goblin attack structure in Targos, mostly because I'm a huge fan of Glen Cook's Black Company, and dumping the players into a mercenary war band scenario was kind of fun. It also allowed me to poke fun at a lot of fetch quests we've done in previous titles.
Thanks Lumpy.