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Page 1 of 2Whenever people talk about AD&D computer gaming, the name SSI will come up sooner or later. SSI made gaming history with its legendary "Gold Box" series. In 1988, SSI released the original Pool of Radiance game. In the seven years following, SSI produced approximately 30 different AD&D games. After a break of five years, SSI is ready to return to the Dungeons & Dragons computer gaming scene.
Luckily, we came into contact with Garrett Graham, producer for Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor, and were able to ask him several questions:
GB: Can you describe for the fans out there what your responsibility is, and what a normal day looks like for you?
Garrett: My job is to coordinate all the departments on the Publisher's side (QA, Marketing, Sales, Localization and Finance), and to be the Publisher's voice when dealing with the Developer (Stormfront). Each of the departments on my side needs a constant flow of information and assets from Stormfront. I spend my day meeting with all these groups to make sure they're getting what they need and make sure that they're not asking for conflicting items or that they're using too much of Stormfront's time. I also mediate between our QA and Stormfront and between TSR/WOTC and Stormfront. I make sure Stormfront gets paid when they make their milestones. A lot of people think that a Producer dictates everything that happens on a game, but that's not true. My job involves finding the middle ground and building a consensus. I am helped in all aspects of my job by my Associate Producer, Chuck Yager.
GB: How far are you in the development process of the game?
Garrett: We are at Alpha. Right now most of the Art and Sound assets are in the game and we are tweaking maps and text.
GB: What do you think is going to make Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor stand out from games such as Arcanum, BG2, and Neverwinter Nights?
Garrett: Well, first off the introduction of the 3rd Edition rules will be a big sell point for many people. Also, the fact that the characters are larger than life and fully 3D rendered, with beautifully done animations for different weapons and attack styles, will draw people into the game play. Our story is, of course, very different than the others, but maintains the standard of an epic quest that most role-playing games include. Lastly, the fact that we have an engaging single player game that differs from the multiplayer hack fest, will appeal give players a strong sense of re-playability and allow them to advance their characters up to the highest levels possible.
GB: What steps have been undertaken to make sure that the game is interesting for completely new gamers to both the CRPG and the P&P role playing genre, experienced role playing gamers, and hardcore D&D fans?
Garrett: We're using the 3rd Edition rules, which are balanced, consistent and easy to learn. The interface is simple and intuitive, and all movement and basic combat can be done with the mouse. Now that most of the game is in, we're fleshing out the encounters and the journal.
GB: If it is accurate that the release date has been moved to spring 2001, does this give you the ability to further polish up the game? Could we potentially see the gnome race enter the game?
Garrett: No new Character Races will be added to the game, as the time and money necessary for that are staggering. What we are doing is pulling together all the story elements and lots and lots of balancing.
GB: Do you think that Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor has the potential to have the same impact on the RPG community as the original Pool of Radiance game?
Garrett: Yes, it will be the first CRPG to introduce the 3rd Edition Rules and its minimal interface and large 3D units are a stark contrast to our competitors.
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