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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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Ron Gilbert Discusses DeathSpank
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 3 comments

RPG Codex has posted a new interview with game designer Ron Gilbert. The veteran designer discusses a variety of topics related to the upcoming DeathSpank adventure game including the task of combining RPG and adventure elements, the game's open world, and whether or not the game will have an M rating.

3. How are you combining the adventure and RPG elements? What will the balance between the two genres be? More adventure or more RPG?
Good question and probably the hardest thing about designing DeathSpank. If there were ever two genres that belonged together, I think it's Adventure and RPG. They share a lot in being story and world focused. But there are also differences, mainly in what motivates players to move forward and how they attack problems. An adventure game can be described as a bunch of immovable objects you need to navigate your way around, and a RPG is a bunch of really heavy objects you need to push out of the way. I would be lying if I said it's not a constant challenge to balance the two. As John F. Kennedy once said of the moon landings: We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

6. What about exploration? Will there be a world to roam around in or it will it be a more linear situation?
It's a completely open world. You can go anywhere you want, provided that you can either puzzle solve or fight your way there. There is not set order events will unfold in. This aspect of how stories are told is taken directly from good classic adventure games (not the bad ones, just the good ones).
The large non-linear world is also completely load-less. As you wonder from area to area, in and out of caves and buildings, there is never a load screen. In my mind, this kind of immersion is one of the more important aspects of the game.

17. It's pretty safe to say that most of the folks that follow your career are adults. But are you concerned about keeping DeathSpank below the threshold of a "Mature" title, especially since the yougins are likely to be drawn to any combination of the words "death" and "spank"?
There is no specific mandate to keep DeathSpank a T. If the game needs to be a M, it will be a M. Problem with a lot of M titles is they come from "developer immaturity" more than artistic need. The industry is made up of a lot of people that still giggle when they see a breast. Being M doesn't make you cool. Making a game where two girls kiss doesn't make you an "artist".
Read the full Q&A at the page linked below.

RPG Codex: Ron Gilbert Q&A
Hothead Games

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