Russian website C.O.R.E. (Center of RPG Ecstasy) recently shot off a batch of questions to Iron Tower's Vince D. Weller about the design approach they're taking with The Age of Decadence and the state of CRPG development as a whole. Thankfully, the interview is available in both English and Russian, so we can do some quoting for you:
How does AoD '˜treat' various paths of character development? Will it '˜punish' for a '˜wrong' choice of stats (like Oblivion did for non-combat skills)? Or will the walkthrough turn out to be a pleasant stroll in the park for characters of some certain type?
There are many different ways to go through the game and many different ways to fail. Our job is to provide multiple ways and make different builds viable, not to make sure that you'll succeed no matter what you do.
Are there plans for issuing post-release patches? Additional content?
Patches? Obviously. If the setting is well received, we can do an expansion or two.
What do you think about the contemporary situation in the genre? Is it as bad as some old-school gamers put it, claiming that modern RPGs are commercialised, lack creativity, atmosphere and soul?
I think that skyrocketing development costs (from $100,000 to 50-80 mil in 15 years) have pushed (more like kicked, really) the RPG genre into a corner and created an atmosphere where you can't take any risks whatsoever. If I were given a 50 mil budget, I too would be more concerned with (how do we sell enough copies to cover the investment and generate a nice return), then with trying something interesting and see if it works.