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Interview with Nathaniel Chapman, Lead Designer of Dungeon Siege III

GO: What sets Dungeon Siege III apart from other franchises in the RPG genre?

Nathaniel: A lot of games like this are on PC, and one of the major things is we are bringing this to the consoles. Along with bringing it to the consoles we kinda adopted certain aspects of console action RPG gameplay and we wanted to bring that to the PC, too. So it feels very much like a meeting of console and PC action RPG.

GO: Has it been difficult developing for the PC and consoles at the same time?

Nathaniel: Actually no it hasn't, it's been really easy. I think every day we have a build that we can run on PC and console at the same time, most of our data and even most of our code is the same for all the different versions. So actually we've done a lot of stuff to make it easier for us. So that's been a positive experience for us.

GO: What has been your main focus for Dungeon Siege III?

Nathaniel: I would say there's been three main focuses. One is bringing a deep story and conversation, the kind of thing Obsidian games are usually known for, like Alpha Protocol and Neverwinter Nights. Bringing those things to the Dungeon Siege franchise. The next is getting the action gameplay that feels fresh and natural and all the stances and controls and how the abilities work. Getting all that core action gameplay that feels really nice and crisp.

The final thing is co-operative play. A lot of co-op multiplayer action RPGs like this don't feel like your playing the game together, just jumping in and getting loot and the other guy just happens to be there towing guys alongside you. We really wanted to focus the game on four people playing through the story, experiencing the story together in a coop setting. And they can save their characters with the hosts game - it really is focused on a group of people deciding to go through the game together.

GO: Is there one particular feature you are most pleased with?

Nathaniel: That's a tricky one. I think the way that we've hit a really fine balance between console action gameplay and action RPG gameplay, it makes me really happy. I feel like on this game it really does feel like a nice moulding of those two type of game together. So I'm really happy how we done that. Then we have the Onyx engine. We are very proud of the engine, we're really happy with the graphics and how we've been able to create the environment.

GO: Is there anything you've not been able to realise or implement in Dungeon Siege III?

Nathaniel: Probably the trickiest thing is bringing a series to the console. There's so many ideas how you can do that and like anything in games you try 10 things that don't work before you find something that does. I'm really happy with our controls and we're really happy with where that's at now, but it took us a while to get there. And so that's been the trickiest part. Because what we didn't want to do, and this would have been the easiest thing to do, is just say 'well OK we're going to make it for the consoles and the PC, but since we're entering it on the consoles we'll just make it really simple so its easy to use on a console controller'. We didn't want to do that, we really wanted to keep the depth of the PC game while moving it onto the consoles.

GO: How much input has Chris Taylor while advising on the game?

Nathaniel: He's described it very well as a 'U-Shape' involvement. When we very first started out we sent him all our design documents and all our fiction and lore and everything we could send. And he would give us a ton of feedback, like this fits, this doesn't fit, this is awesome keep going in this direction and he gave a lot of really good feedback. And then when we entered production and we're making like a ton of stuff. That period where your making a lot of documentation, its really easy to read the documentation and give feedback. Then you get into production and it takes a while before you can play it, so he wasn't able to give so much feedback during that phase.

But then now that we're really starting to get the game built, he can play the game and say like 'oh hey this is really cool'. And that's what's really cool as Chris as a developer giving feedback, is that he understands making games, so a lot of the feedback we get from him is really great gameplay feedback, like 'this move doesn't feel satisfying for this reason.' and were like 'oh yeah that's a really good point.'

GO: How will DS3 compare in size to the previous Dungeon Siege? Are you focusing more on depth and quality of quests rather than number?

Nathaniel: Yeah, I mean that really is a focus, on depth and quality. Instead of focusing on an hour number we're really trying to make everything really good and we'll worry about hour time at testing. We're really confident you'll get a great game experience.

Thank you Nathaniel for taking the time to talk to GameOn at Gamescom. A GameOn preview of Dungeon Siege III from GamescomĀ 2010 can be foundĀ here.

POBmaestro | 24th August, 2010
Rasher's picture
I so wish i could of been there for this interview
nice job with it Pob
POBmaestro's picture
Originally Posted by Rasher View Post
I so wish i could of been there for this interview
nice job with it Pob
I wish you could have been there too! It was originally a group interview but I got to have a one on one, which is great but I've never played DS 1 & 2 and didn't have many questions prepared! Glad you liked it though
Angelfromabove's picture
Ahh a 1 on 1 interview which you wasnt expecting must have been awkward for you!
You did a great job though POB, I know I would just go to pieces if that were me! lol

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