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Dungeon Siege 2 Q&A

Dungeon Siege 2 Box art
Developer:Gas Powered Games
Official Site:http://www.gaspowered.com/ds2/
Release Date:September 2nd, 2005
Buy now at Amazon.co.uk

Recently we had the opportunity to participate in a community question and answer project with Gas Powered Games' Chris Taylor, to discuss all things Dungeon Siege, the following is in 2 sections, firstly the questions we asked Chris and secondly the questions asked by other sites and community members, unfortunately I don't know who these are so can't give them credit.

gameSlave Questions

Usually during the development of a game some features have to be dropped to meet budgets or timescales, which single feature that didn't make it into Dungeon Siege 2 disappointed you the most?

CT – Hmm, that’s a tough question, because after 17 years of developing games, I try not to get too wrapped up in specific features, instead I look at the overall result. When you have 50 people working on a game, you can’t make every little thing happen just exactly the way you want, so you have to be Zen about it. Having said that, I was thrilled to see us improve many of the things I wanted the first time around, like arbitrary teleportation systems and a much improved mapping system.

Which feature that did remain in Dungeon Siege 2 are you most happy with?

CT – 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.

Have you ever thought of taking the Dungeon Siege universe to a different style of game? MMO or FPS perhaps?

CT – Sure, absolutely. You never know, you could see either one of those next time around…

Are there any interesting Easter eggs/hidden features in Dungeon Siege 2?

CT – 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…

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?

CT – 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.

Other community asked questions:

When will the SDK be released?

CT – The DS2TK is scheduled to be released in a couple of weeks, pending a little internal testing.

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?

CT – We are indeed considering another Dungeon Siege game, although we were thinking of doing something on the console as well as on the PC.

Given that Dungeon siege was initially perceived by the general computer role-playing gaming community as "Dungeon Siege a Role playing action game for Quake players".  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?

CT – 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.

How did you decide to change the combat system from the original game, and for what reason(s) were they changed?

CT – 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.

I liked the first one, and really enjoyed playing it for about 4 hours! What's going to make me hold my interest longer in this one to make it worth my while buying it?

CT – 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.

The first game was quite RPG-lite in terms of NPC interaction. How has this been addressed?

CT – 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.

Will DS2 offer a more story driven experience or are you primarily concerning yourself with hack-and-slashing?

CT – 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.

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? (asks Stacia)

CT – 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?

Why are you doing graphic novels for the game? Will there be more or is it just a one off? (asks clanmac4)

CT – 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.

It feels like a game that could benefit from joypad support, is this possible at all?

CT – 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.

How do you feel about many people comparing the game to Diablo?

CT – 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.

Did you get Jeremy Soule to do the soundtrack for this one?

CT – We did indeed! And Jeremy is working with us again on Supreme Commander.

Will there be an expansion for DS2?

CT – We haven’t made any announcements yet, but hmmm, interesting idea!

What's next for Gas Powered Games?

CT – 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!!

I'd like to thank Chris very much for his time and indeed the other sites and community members who asked a lot of the questions.

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