Gamasutra had a chat with Matt Findley, inXile entertainment's president, about the company's latest project Hunted: The Demon's Forge. The reason they decided to make the title, the design decisions and the blurring boundaries of the RPG genre are all subjects discussed in it. Here's a sampling:
It's interesting to hear someone with an Interplay background say, "Really, what we always wanted to do was make an action game."
I'm not saying you're lying or anything. It's a little bit of a surprise.
Look back at the history of fantasy action. There's not that many representations of it. You play games like Hexen and Heretic, which were essentially Doom shooter games that hinted at fantasy, but they didn't really fully deliver on that experience.
We just think you can have these rich worlds, tell deep, meaningful stories, and have all these elements of exploration, and wandering through dungeons, finding loot and going on quests for enchanted weapons -- all of these paradigms that would be in those other types of fantasy games work equally well in an action game.
There's kind of this convergence across all games where the genres are really getting blurred. Like, I don't think people playing BioShock realize they're playing an RPG. Or even in Grand Theft Auto, you go into the weight room and pump up your character. There are all these elements of your character getting better. That's what those games are really about. It lends itself to the action genre just as well. You're starting off with really weak weapons. You're finding better ones, better pieces of armor. You're getting more hit points on your character. You're getting the ability to store more mana.
You know, that phrase "RPG elements", it's become beyond trite. It's almost like saying "game elements".
Exactly. It's the simple principle of your character starts off weak, and they become more powerful. And that's really what it's all about, whether it's, you know in the weapons you use, the magic you're using, and just the characters' strength itself. You start off, and you're weak, and you find things that make you stronger throughout the course of the game.