Obsidian's Cancelled Dwarfs Project Detailed
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Many regrets about Seven Dwarfes?
No, in the sense that I think its cancellation was completely out of our control. But I do regret that Dwarfs (that's what we called it internally) was never made I was the lead designer and it involved some of my best creative work. I wrote the backstory for the Snow White/Dwarfs world and the overall story outline for the prequel how cool of an opportunity is that? =) I felt very lucky.
This wasn't a happy-go-lucky Disney game. Disney's Buena Vista Games wanted dark and I gave them dark. In the opening sequence, for example, you, as a teenage prince, awake in your bed to haunting sounds. Exploring the dark castle, you come across a terrifying shadowy creature that you kill in a desperate struggle its cries shifting from a supernatural shriek to that of a human woman's bloodcurdling cry of death. The illusion is then dispelled, and your mother, the Queen, lays dead before you, the bloody knife that killed her in your hand. This wasn't a cinematic it was all a gameplay sequence that you'd actually play out.
For the creative lead, I hired Brian Mitsoda, of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines fame. (He's now working on his creation Dead State, which looks very promising!) He took the skeletal story I had written and was developing it into a true masterpiece. That's also when Obsidian hired Josh Sawyer and he was the systems/combat lead for the project he's an awesome designer and project lead and you can only imagine what he comes up with when focused on a specific component. His combat system combined action gameplay with RPG depth in some very innovative ways.
And Brian Menze's concepts for the dwarfs just amazing! So much personality and character, reminiscent of Disney's classic characters, but weathered by the grim realities of a dark fantasy world. Working on the story and character descriptions in an office with Brian, watching his creations unfold this was one of the most creative and inspiring times in my career as a designer. So I have a lot of good memories about the project. And our producers at Buena Vista Games were great to work with. They gave us good guidelines, a lot of creative freedom, and loved the direction we were heading.
The game had a lot of potential and it was sad to have it stopped when the team had been gaining so much momentum. But it was a great experience.