Tim Cain Q&A #1

If you are starving for news, here’s something for you. Tim Cain gave an interview for my german website http://www.sturmwolf.de. The interview is about Arcanum, Fallout and of course “Greyhawk – ToEE”.Concerning Arcanum:

Michael Wolf: “Arcanum – Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura” was praised by critics and fans alike, are you content with the game’s success?

Tim Cain: I think I would have liked to have spent more time polishing it, to get all of the balancing right. But as a friend says to me, games are never finished, only shipped.

MW: Were any features planned for Arcanum that didn’t make it into the game?

TC: Yes. The original design called for destructable walls, but there wasn’t time to make all of the art required. We had also planned to detail many of the off shore islands in the game.

MW: Would you like to create an “Arcanum 2”?

TC: Certainly. We designed a sequel, as well as several non-RPG games set in the same world. Perhaps we will have the opportunity to make one of them in the future.

Concerning Fallout:

MW: The three “Troika principals” all worked on Fallout and/or its successor, would you be interested in doing another post-nuclear roleplaying game?

TC: Yes. We are fascinated by the whole setting – the destruction of civilization, the questionable ethics, the importance of the individual. There’s a lot to explore there.

Concerning Greyhawk and the unannounced project:

MW: You are currently working on two projects at Troika. One of them, “Greyhawk: The Temple of Elemental Evil”, was revealed by you some days ago, when will the other project be officially announced?

TC: We’re not sure. It’s announcement is tied to factors beyond our control.

MW: Who is currently working on “Greyhawk” and what is his/her position in the team?

TC: We have 14 team members. I (Tim Cain) am the lead designer and project leader. Michael McCarthy is the lead artist. Steve Moret is the lead programmer. Tom Decker is the producer and also a designer as well. Mike oversees 6 artists – Peter Delgado and Lucas Feld (both level artists), Chris Glenn (concept artist), Corey Pelton (animator), Craig Matchett (modeler), and Bryan Warmack (level layout). Steve has 4 programmers – Lee Needham (rendering and optimzation), Sean Craig (core d20 implementation), Aaron Brunstetter (interface and d20) and Huy Nguyen (interface and magic system).

MW: During the development of “Arcanum” Troika managed to build a very strong fan community and allowed the fans to take part in making the game. Is this kind of fan involvement planned for future games? For example will there be a “Greyhawk Inn” forum or some kind of “Writing Contest” for fans to participate in?

TC: Yes. The Greyhawk Inn is already up, and we are debating what kind of contest we want to have for this game.

MW: “Greyhawk” uses the 3rd edition of the Dungeon&Dragons rules. Are the “Wizards of the Coast” involved in the development of “Greyhawk”?

TC: Yes. We have run our design documents by WotC, and of course, they have final approval of the game.

MW: “Neverwinter Nights” and “Pool of Radiance 2” used the D&D 3rd Edition rules before. Do you think of those games as of competition or do you use them as inspiration?

TC: I have played them both, and they are both very different games. Greyhawk will be very different from them as well. I guess we are all in friendly competition.

MW: What computer roleplaying games have you played during the last year? And what are your thoughts on those games?

TC: Besides NWN, I played Morrowind, Geneforge, Icewind Dale II, Arx Fatalis, and Prelude to Darkness. I had fun with all of them and their different takes on the CRPG genre.

MW: Will there be “Prestige Classes” in “Greyhawk – ToEE”?

TC: They are on our cool stuff list, meaning we will try to put them in if there is time. The character editor can already support them, so it’s really a matter of getting the new class abilities in the game.

MW: Arcanum has a lot of NPC interaction, but as far as I know, the original ToEE was very combat-intensive. Are you planning to change ToEE a little bit to have more roleplaying possibilities in “Greyhawk – ToEE”?

TC: Yes. I believe we have changed it a lot. First, third edition D&D has a lot of support for role-playing besides combat, such as its dialog skills like Diplomacy, Bluff, Intimidate and Sense Motive. And second, Troika is known for its multiple paths to follow through quests and through the story. Together, these provide a lot of roleplaying opportunity beyond the mere hack and slash that people associate with dungeon adventures.

MW: I thank you for this interview. Best wishes from me to you and all of Troika Games! Good luck with “Greyhawk” and your other project!

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