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Friday, March 14, 2008

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The Future Of Indie RPGs
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Tales of the Rampant Coyote has unveiled its second roundtable discussion with Indie RPG developers. This time Spiderweb Software's Jeff Vogel, Basilisk Games' Thomas Riegsecker, Planewalker Games' Jason Compton, and Prairie Games' Josh Engebretson were among those pondering the future of Indie RPGs.

Assuming it won't expose any of your secrets for world domination, could you peek into the crystal ball that was issued to you with your license to make RPGs, and tell me what you think the future holds for indie RPGs in, say, five to eight years? What, if anything, might be different from the landscape today, both in the games themselves and how we obtain and play them?

Thomas Riegsecker, Basilisk Games ("Eschalon: Book 1"):
I think the biggest challenge to indie developers is in expanding our customer base which has been shrinking for the past 20 years. A large portion of my customers are older- those who used to play Ultima on their parent's computer in the 80's. As an indie I can't afford a team of artists and a CryENGINE license for my games, so it is very hard to attract younger players who are looking for that type of experience. Along those lines, many younger players don't fully appreciate traditional role-playing because they've only been exposed to Action RPGs and MMOs. The good news is that I think indie RPGs have made great steps forward in terms of visual presentation and game play, and as our mainstream coverage expands we are likely to see our customer base grow. Here at Basilisk Games we are very excited about our plans for the next five years and despite the challenges, the future looks good for indie RPGs.

Jeff Vogel, Spiderweb Software ("Avernum V," "Geneforge 4," etc.):
It is beyond the capacity of an Indie to compete in the graphics area, and it is beyond the limits of our technology to create more than the barest improvements in AI. Where Indies can compete is in the area of storytelling and design.
For example, I am just starting the fifth and final part of our epic Geneforge series. I think that these are truly innovative games. They take place in a unique world ruled by a secretive sect of wizards (called Shapers) who create new forms of life to serve them.
They are completely wide open games. You can choose which side you fight for, even joining forces with the so-called "bad guys," and find interesting and satisfying endings. You can advance using combat, or never attack anything directly and instead use stealth, trickery, and diplomacy. You can play a solitary character or make a horde of fanatically loyal monsters to serve you. Fans of the series really appreciate the many meaningful choices available to them.
You can do this sort of thing on a low budget. I don't dream about a fancy graphics budget anymore. I look for the areas where I can excel, and I focus on those.
The full article is available to read the link below.

Tales Of The Rampant Coyote: Indies Roundtable 2

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