Hunted: The Demon's Forge Interview

inXile Entertainment CEO Brian Fargo took some time out of his day to address a handful of questions about Hunted: The Demon's Forge over at Joystiq. Here's how we went from The Bard's Tale and Wizardry to a third-person action dungeon crawler:
You talked a little bit about the genesis of loving games like The Bard's Tale and Wizardry, which are iconic. How did you go from those to Hunted?

Here's kind of how it started really. I am at home. I'm watching TV. I'm watching movies. I'm watching the Abyss. Whatever I'm watching, and I didn't feel like anybody had done what it felt like to be in a dungeon with today's graphic standards. Let's just start with that. What would that be like, right? And it's funny seeing that onscreen now. That's what I wanted. When you go back and play with Bard's Tale, you are wandering around in the dungeons and you've got the feeling, down there, and going down below, and being lost, and finding secret doors, visually it was never what things look like now.

And so I just wanted it to where you actually felt like you are in a dungeon. That was how it started. So we started to focus on that. Then it became, "OK, well look, we are not going to roll up your characters and have a party at six." Yes. I love that kind of stuff, too, but that's not ... the modern gamer, they don't even know those things. Well, the other part, let me backup for a second. We also wanted to do a game where we weren't fighting the technology at all. I said let's do a product that the technology does exactly what it's supposed to do. And we already intimately familiar with Unreal. With that said, we looked at other technologies, but if you want to go with this kind of perspective, it does this in spades. If you want to make a flight simulator, or an open based, open world driving game, that would be an issue. But for this kind of thing it was perfect. So that was number two.

Mark Rain came down. We were kicking it around, and I was telling him what we were going to do. And he said, nobody is really doing anything with Gears of War. Nobody is doing derivatives of Gears of War, or anything else. But we were searching for what would be the combat system. So it just made sense for us at that point to take that metaphor for today's gamer and mix it but get those elements. And if you've never heard of those games before and never played them before, we still think it's cool. We still think they'll enjoy it. And the way I structured it, I was telling him, is that I think in many ways games have been dumbed down over the years. And I think it's wrong. Even when I used to do those games early on, Bard's Tale, Wasteland, there actually was a younger audience back then. People think our audience is young, but it's not true. But it really was back then. And we always aimed very high, and they always figured it out. We always gave their intelligence the benefit of the doubt. But because of the narrow structure of design, you can't let people get stuck where it's a sin.

But because we put all of this stuff off of critical path, I now have the latitude to get as deep, and as intellectual, interesting, with puzzles and riddles, as I want. Because, you don't have to do it. Nobody can complain. And so, that's why. But I think that said, most of the people are going to go do it anyway. And they are going to have fun, and they are going to solve it, and they are going to compare notes. And how did you find this? Or how did you get that? Or do all sorts of cool clever stuff.

So I guess I answered your question in a roundabout way on where it came from ... right?