Building RPGs All About Characters, Story, Reactivity and Player Agency Then New Technology

Role playing games or RPG most of the time centers on the story and the characters involved in it whether the protagonist or the main villain. No matter how many times technology evolves in the gaming industry especially with the upcoming next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, the focus of RPGs will still be these elements.

PlayStation 5

Or at least that is what Obsidian’s boss Feargus Urquhart says from his perspective when it comes to making RPGs. New hardware will not change the priorities of his studio.

Urquhart said that while technology is important to RPGs, but for Obsidian, it is all about the characters, story, reactivity, and player agency. He then shared a story in his younger years:

I was playing an Apple 1.5-plus — it wasn’t really an Apple 2 because my friend’s dad had cobbled it together — and we were playing Wizardry in like 1980. And here we are 40 years later, and Obsidian is still making RPGs. So what makes an RPG is not the technology.

According to Obsidian’s executive, the studio’s job is to put people into worlds, and technology is the one that allows them to do exactly that and make it more believable. He also made a point that new technology does more for the developers compared to previous versions. For example, more RAM meant that there will be more NPCs, more trees, and other assets will be generated in the game.

Urquhart says that developers can do more with technology. But he does point out that the heart of the development will always go back to characters, story, reactivity, and agency, especially with RPGs. At least that is what Obsidian does.

The Obsidian boss continued:

I think it’s super important to those who are going out and getting new consoles, that they feel good about the games that they are buying on them. When we are eventually working on those, we will look at how to balance between the different generations of hardware. But what is super important to me is that it is not a different experience. It’s not a case of you get half the quests. The idea is that it has to be that same Obsidian experience no matter what platform it is on.

That last sentence hits home with me as an RPG fan. Even if there are new consoles coming, new hardware built, the stories and characters will always matter for me.

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be coming this Holiday 2020.

Interview source: GamesIndustry.biz