With the original Baldur's Gate celebrating its tenth anniversary (which technically occurred on November 30th), BioWare's Dan Tudge, Ross Gardner, Luke Kristjanson, and Mark Darrah share some of their development memories in a new two-page feature on RPG Vault. A sampling:
Luke KristjansonI find this snip from the article's final paragraph a little controversial, though:
Senior Writer, Dragon Age: Origins
Writer, Baldur's Gate
Ten years? Well now I feel old. Over 12 since I signed on. I was writer zero, the one hired to start it off. Also the one to blame if you didn't like Jaheira. What was it like at the time?
Me: "How do we do this so it really feels like kitchen table D&D?"
Not me: "I don't know, how do you want to do it?"
Me: "Seriously? I get to answer that?"
Not me: "Why not? You gonna eat that 27th kind of pizza we brought in for the sixth month running?"
Some parts of BG seem simple now, and many perceived character relationships were outright imaginary. The players imposed their own perceptions on those tiny sprites and unrecorded text. One forum member didn't realize that you could drag the character portraits to reorder the party. He slip-clicked out of inventory and accidentally swapped Minsc into top position, triggering a sound event: "Magic is impressive, but now Minsc leads! Swords for everyone!" He thought Minsc had spontaneously seized control of the party. Well, he had spent too much time on magic and not enough on kicking evil in the face, so it seemed reasonable. And it would have been awesome.
In an early playthrough, I swore Viconia's magic resistance blocked every beneficial spell I threw at her except healing from Ajantis. They had a whole "forbidden attraction" thing going on, it was so obvious. But I knew the back end. Nothing.
Imoen's popularity was a surprise, mostly because she didn't exist. What's that mean? Her character was a late addition to fill a non-psychotic-thief gap in the early levels. We had no recording budget left, so I assembled her lines by editing voice-over left from a scrapped demo. The original character was a guard named Pique. That's why she has no standalone confrontations / interactions with other party members, which makes her relationship to the player seem closer, and led to making her a half-sister in BG II. Make enough happen, and people see their own patterns. Blunt force content.
As noted, BioWare's RPGs are better now too, partly because a good number of the newbie team that made Baldur's Gate have not only remained at the company but also continued to search for ways to do more.I'm guessing there are plenty of people (like myself) who consider the Baldur's Gate series superior to anything BioWare has developed since. Hopefully someday that will no longer be the case.