Feargus Urquhart Interview

GamesTM is hosting an interesting three-page interview with Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, which tackles a variety of subjects, from Obsidian's treatment of the Dungeon Siege IP to his opinion on Interplay's Fallout Online, touching upon things like Obsidian's proprietary engine, Onyx, their tragically unsuccessful first original IP, Alpha Protocol, and how Obsidian is pitching a new IP to publishers and is hoping to work on it soon, in between. Here's a sampling:
Obviously, people are going to compare the game with the likes of Diablo but, at the same time, Dungeon Siege III is available on consoles too. Do you believe, like some, that RPGs should be dumbed down for a console audience?

It's an odd thing, I would say. It's almost unfair not to say that RPGs over the course of the years have been dumbed down for consoles. But, I wouldn't say that I would necessarily make a PC role-playing game the same way that I would have made one fifteen years ago either.

I think a part of it is that games are evolving, and so a lot of it is looking at it going, '˜So what do role-playing gamers want now?' The way that I see it is: I always look at accessibility. Accessibility does not necessarily mean '˜dumbing down', it means that when the player starts the game it has to be accessible to them. It can't depend on the fact that they know how to play the game, that they've played seventeen role-playing games before this and that we just have all these understood things.

A company I used to work for was Black Isle Studios and a PC game I worked on was Icewind Dale, which required you to roll six whole second-edition D&D characters before you could even start playing the game. No one would get through character creation nowadays. You know, people back then loved it, and there are still people that would love that, but I think the thing is when it comes to the console, and maybe all gamers, it has to be accessible, people have to be led into it. And so, my best answer is that the game is easy to get into, and then we ramp up the complexity and sort of add the layers of the RPG system as you play, and that is how we approach things now with the modern console gamer as compared to PC games fifteen years ago.

I personally think that it's pretty disheartening to hear this kind of answer come from one of the protagonists of some of the most prolific years for the cRPG genre.