Dungeon Siege II: Burning Questions
We've followed up with Chris Taylor, creator of Dungeon Siege, with answers to your burning questions about Dungeon Siege II and beyond.
Following our first exclusive chat with charismatic Chris Taylor from Gas Powered Games, Microsoft's people offered us the chance to follow up with the hardworking development executive to get your burning questions answered about Dugneon Siege II... and more.
Our thanks to the users of Kikizo's Forum, the folks over at Gaming-Age Forums, and other assorted members of Interweb-land for getting together to ask Chris all the tough questions!
Kikizo: It feels like a game that could benefit from joypad support, is this possible at all?
Taylor: If the game was a single hero character then this would be much easier, but unfortunately with a multi-character party, it requires a significant amount of work to do right.
Kikizo: When I play is it more important to focus on weapons or your team members?
Taylor: I think a good player will split his focus between both, making sure they are always using the best weapon or spell available, but at the same time, make sure you are managing their skills effectively.
Kikizo: How do you feel about many people comparing the game to Diablo?
Taylor: I think its fine... and hey, that's how our business works. If I made a first person shooter, I think many would likely compare it to Doom or Half Life 2.
Kikizo: Did you get Jeremy Soule to do the soundtrack for this one?
Taylor: We did indeed! And Jeremy is working with us again on Supreme Commander.
Kikizo: When will the SDK be released?
Taylor: The DS2TK is scheduled to be released in a couple of weeks, pending a little internal testing.
Kikizo: Now that you've established the DS series, will there be a Dungeon Siege III or would you consider a more "in-depth" RPG-style game in the future?
Taylor: We are indeed considering another Dungeon Siege game, although we were thinking of doing something on the console as well as on the PC.
Kikizo: How have you changed the sequel game since the original to make it appeal to a broader RPG audience and hence attract more core RPG gamers?
Taylor: We focused on story and the characters a lot more this time around. We worked on the character dialog, and really fleshed out the world fiction and tried to bring all the elements together in a more complete way rather than making everything a big excuse for more combat. Having said that, we always stuck to the core tenets of gameplay, and that is game's combat and action components.
Kikizo: How did you decide to change the combat system from the original game, and for what reason(s) were they changed?
Taylor: The most common feedback we received was that the game's combat felt too automated, so we reduced that automation and each new attack requires a mouse click. For those who liked it the old way, we put in an option to have it act like it did before. Overall, we made a lot more changes to the movement and combat system, but many are very subtle, but took a lot of work to refine.
Kikizo: Which feature that did remain in Dungeon Siege 2 are you most happy with?
Taylor: I was very happy with a lot of features, because that was our goal, to really pack the game full of a lot of new stuff. Off the top of my head, the new skill system, multi-character parties in multiplayer and cool new ideas like pets you can feed random loot to.
Kikizo: Have you ever thought of taking the Dungeon Siege universe to a different style of game? MMO or FPS perhaps?
Taylor: Sure, absolutely. You never know, you could see either one of those next time around...
Kikizo: Are there any interesting Easter eggs/hidden features in Dungeon Siege 2?
Taylor: Yep, and although I don't think it's right that I tell you and spoil it, I will say that if you thought the original Dungeon Siege chicken level was insane, well...
Kikizo: As most fans of the game will know, a Dungeon Siege movie will be coming soon, how much input have Gas Powered had with the screenplay/script?
Taylor: The production company was very professional and shared each major iteration of the script with us. We would provide input and that input was considered for each revision.
Kikizo: What's going to hold gamers' interest longer in DS2?
Taylor: Dungeon Siege II is a much, much better game, all the way around than the original. Consider that for the original we spent much of our time developing technology, and had only a short time at the end of the development cycle to focus and balance the gameplay elements. For the sequel we spend a lot more time on almost every aspect of the game, including technology, but really drilled down on creating a vast fantasy world.
Kikizo: The first game was quite RPG-lite in terms of NPC interaction. How has this been addressed?
Taylor: We spent a lot more time developing the characters, the back-history, and dialog. Since the game is an action RPG, we know that players are not always interested in reading lots of scrolling dialog. We spent a lot of time working to strike a balance between too much and too little talking.
Kikizo: Will DS2 offer a more story driven experience or are you primarily concerning yourself with hack-and-slashing?
Taylor: We moved the needle towards a more traditional RPG story, but still stayed very much on the side of an action based RPG. A lot of people really do enjoy the deep dialog trees but we are wary than many others do not... it's a tough balance.
Kikizo: If you could write a game for any age group and not worry about sales, marketing, etc, which age group would you target the game too?
Taylor: I think I would target my own age, because that's the age that I ultimately think I understand the best. I think that's 14, right?
Kikizo: Why are you doing graphic novels for the game? Will there be more or is it just a one off?
Taylor: We like to try new ideas, and the Dark House comic was a great experiment to see what it is like to get a project like that done. Just the other day we talked about doing another one, but who knows, these ideas come and go all the time.
Kikizo: Will there be an expansion for DS2?
Taylor: We haven't made any announcements yet, but hmmm, interesting idea! [smiles]
Kikizo: What's next for Gas Powered Games?
Taylor: We're hard at work on Supreme Commander and will have new announcements in the near future! Sign up for our newsletter to stay on top of all our latest developments!
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Dungeon Siege II
Walkthrough video with Chris Taylor (hi)
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Dungeon Siege II
Walkthrough video with Chris Taylor (low)
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Dungeon Siege II
Trailer (high quality)