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Post by Steve Farrelly @ 05:03pm 31/08/11 | 9 Comments
At this year's GamesCom, I had a chance to chat with RPG development legend, Ken Rolston, supposedly about his new game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, but instead we got into a heady discussion about RPGs on the whole.

The interview is a lengthy one, but well worth a look for anyone interested in the genre, his previous work (Morrowind, Oblivion), or unhinged developer insights into the industry and where it both succeeds and fails. There's also a lot of discussion on what is and isn't possible in the role-playing game space that is equally interesting for budding designers or writers. Oh, and he does talk a little about Reckoning ;)

"I think the market is being fabulously well-served," he expresses in our interview. "I also think that below the triple-A level there are a lot of interesting games that aren’t so polished; that won’t make assloads of money; but are eminently stealable from, many delicious things."

It really is an interesting conversation, and as usual we have it in both video and transcribed form. Click here for the full feature.

kingdoms of amalur reckoningken rolstoninterviewvideoausgamersrpgs
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Latest Comments
Posted 05:22pm 31/8/11
That was a good watch, I don't really agree with his thoughts on voice, but I can deffo see where he's coming from.
I'm just one of those people who always skipped the text boxes, although I was a lot younger I guess.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 05:27pm 31/8/11
Yeah I'm in the same boat as you Enska, I guess from a production side, he hates being limited to X-amount of dialogue choices and branches, but on the other side, our side, it's great being able to suspend disbelief that little bit more with voices
Posted 05:42pm 31/8/11
I'd totally love trawling through his 'closet' ideas, as he said there might be a market for.

Yeaaars and years ago, me and a friend planned the "perfect" rpg... were quite confident that by now voice synthesis would be common.

Though I tend to have the opposite reaction to "voiced" rpg characters as you. I never really get into the "this is me" headspace with a named/voiced character such as Shepard & Hawke, whereas the grey warden (even though I played a chick who looked like Julia Gillard) felt much more personal.

edit: Heh, loved his "pilgrim" take.
Posted 06:01pm 31/8/11
Pretty awesome interview, was it planned to be that long or did you both just get carried away talking? Not that I'm complaining, was a really good watch, its interesting to hear a game designer actually talk about games in a more general way instead of just doing PR for their own game.

I can kinda see (and paradoxically) agree with both sides of the discussion about voice in games. I much prefer the voiced characters like Shepherd to the retarded mute of Dragon Age, but if I was developing my own game, I can imagine the frustration of being so limited by the requirements of the audio, and having my hands tied once it was recorded.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 05:59pm 31/8/11
Not planned at all Khel, it just went as long as it did - I'd have talked to him longer if I could have
Posted 10:49pm 31/8/11
Props to any game designers that are still trying to think outside the box. Many games are dumbed down or simplified for a larger audience, which makes sense from a profit perspective. But from an artistic perspective, I've always wanted more complex games than the average joe consumer, and will praise any games that attempt to do this.
Posted 08:52am 01/9/11
I'd take textual dialogue over spoken any day. I never wait for the characters to speak their lines, I've already read the dialogue and am ready to continue...

better dialogue > voices
Posted 09:16am 01/9/11
He doesn't appear to have had much history with heavily voice acted games though. Morrowind had none except the very occasional snippet (and I remember enjoying trawling through the text immensely, was very rich), and Oblivion had a lot but it was all pretty balls.

Bioware does an excellent job with enormous amounts of voiced content imo, their characters actually are the feature rather than a hindrance, and the stories and subplots are super intricate.
Posted 09:43am 01/9/11
Has this guy not ever played Nethack or other Rougelikes?

edit: They win at RPG'ing because they have no visuals, they leave your mind free to imagine everything that happens exactly the way you want it.

last edited by Tollaz0r! at 09:43:54 01/Sep/11
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