Titan Quest Designer on Publisher Interference

Crate Entertainment and former Iron Lore Entertainment designer 'Medierra', has typed a long and interesting post on the developer's official forums on how Titan Quest's publisher (THQ) influenced the game. Taking into account that we're only hearing one side of the story, it certainly does seem like Iron Lore's artistic freedom had been limited a great deal while working on the dungeon crawler. Here's a snippet:
One example of this would be the mandate that enemies not use language or build anything that would make them seem like they had more than animal intelligence. It was felt by one of the higher-ups that people might feel wrong killing enemies that displayed any obvious intelligence. I guess somehow it is wrong to fight intelligent enemies but okay to slaughter dumb animals? We also weren't originally allowed to have humans die, ever, in the game and no human corpses.

One area where this handicapped us was in the creation of environmental assets that visually demonstrated the enemy's war against humanity. We originally wanted to create enemy siege-works outside Athens but were told that would make the enemies seem too intelligent. It was a struggle just to monster camp assets. All of the ruins were also removed from Greece at one point because someone was afraid that players might not understand why, if the game took place in ancient times, that there would still be ruins... I had to fight for both of these things. Without them, Greece would have just been a featureless expanse of wilderness with occasional human towns that never really appeared to be in any serious danger.

At the same time, we were told that enemies should seem like noble adversaries, not evil or demonic creatures. It was highly controversial when the designs for the Limos and Arachnids were first presented. I had to personally fight to get those approved because they were considered too grotesque and scary looking even though they were based on actually mythology. Undead and the Spirit Mastery were also a struggle to get in the game. I was told that Spirit Mastery was too "Necromancery and evil". We managed to push a few more things like that through over the course of development but it was always frowned upon.

Thanks, RPGWatch.