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The folks at RPGNuke, a Russian RPG-focused website, have recently interviewed Iron Tower Studio's Vince D. Weller. The interview starts with a couple of general questions about the RPG scene and Vince's personal gaming habits; it then moves to the main topic: Iron Tower Studio's upcoming sci-fi RPG The New World. An excerpt:
RPGNuke: How satisfied are you with the results of your first two games - The Age of Decadence and Dungeon Rats? Did the sales allow you to expand the staff? What is the composition of your team at the moment?
Vince: I didn't expect much so I was pleasantly surprised. My best case scenario (i.e. miracle) was 50k copies, worst - 10-15k. AoD is a very unforgiving hardcore RPG made on a shoestring budget and a ‘dawn of 3D’ engine. We took plenty of liberties with the established RPG conventions that were bound to rub many people the wrong way and limit an already small target audience. Despite all that we sold 100,000 copies to-date. While it's a drop in the bucket for bigger studios, in the bottom-dwelling world it's a success story.
We added another programmer and a 3D artist to spice things up.
Are there any studios/developers with whom you would like to work together on some future project? (This Question comes from acolytes of the Troika cult from our forum, who pray for your association with the apostle Avellone and cooperation with the saints of role-playing games from Obsidian).
It's trendy to hire writers/designers with big names, either as Kickstarter stretch goals or as marketing boosters, but there's a huge difference between Chris Avellone writing a character for a game and him actually working on a game and contributing in a meaningful way. We might be able to afford the former but obviously not the latter. So as much as I'd like to benefit from wisdom and experience of the industry's veterans, I don't see it as a viable option in our future.
Let's talk about your new game. It promises to be visually richer, as it is developed on the basis of Unreal Engine 4. Are there any plans for cutscenes or the narration will be conducted only through dialogue means, as in The Age of Decadence?
Only through dialogues. Animating numerous cutscenes would require resources we don't have. Apparently, Bioware doesn't have them either.
What are your inspirations for creating The New World? Aside from Orphans of the Sky, obviously.
Assorted 50's sci-fi from Asimov's Foundation to Van Vogt's The Weapon Shops of Isher and Aldiss' Non-Stop.
How will the faction reputation system work? Basically, in old games, if you were performing a task for a rival force, it would mean that all the NPCs in the location became "red" and started attacking you, which is pretty stupid and primitive. Will The New World use a different approach? Maybe they'll send an assassin for you or try to punish you in some other way?
We’ll continue developing concepts we used in AoD. Working for a faction will slowly reduce your reputation with the rival factions, reducing your employment opportunities and eventually reaching a point demanding actions (attacking your base of operations, sending bounty hunters after you, etc).
In AoD we hesitated to go too far as such actions would mean instant death for non-combat characters but the party setup offers more flexibility when it comes to the “righteous infliction of retribution”.
Thanks, RPG Codex.