Obsidian dev unimpressed with RPG advances which “undermine” the thrill of exploration

Tuesday, 13th December 2011 16:24 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Obsidian’s Chris Avellone is of the belief some of the mechanics implemented in RPGs over the years have “undermined” the genre, making it more about convenience than “the thrill of victory and discovery.”

“I’ll say the ‘advances’ have been more for player convenience, sometimes good, sometimes bad, in my opinion,” he told IndustryGamers. “Journals, quest compasses that point directly to the goal and show you the route, auto-maps, etc. are helpful, but, at the same time, I think it undermines the thrill of victory and discovery and a lot of what makes an RPG an RPG (exploration, notably).”

Avellone, who has works on a number of RPGs such as Fallout 2 and Icewind Dale, does seem pleased with advances in “non-interface” elements such as consequence systems and fully voice-acted characters – all which are bleeding over into other areas of gaming.

“I enjoy the fact that role-playing game mechanics are bleeding into other genres, and the ‘genres’ aren’t as clear-cut any more,” he said. “Developers are seeing the worth in customization, levelling, dialogue, choice and reactivity and other elements that would normally be considered RPG mechanics and introducing them into multiple titles.”

Obsidian has various titles in the works at the moment, and was announced recently as the developer behind the South Park RPG.

Thanks, Eurogamer.



  1. DSB

    I’m unimpressed with RPGs that take six months to patch into workable condition, so I guess that’s Obsidian fucked.


    Really though, exploration is great, but it’s a double edged sword. Exploration means a ton of content, and in the case of extreme examples like Fallout 2 or Bethesda-style games, often that means broken content.

    Ultimately an RPG is about playing a role and participating in a story. I think exploration is merely a means to an end, in the sense that what an RPG is supposed to deliver is essentially curiosity towards the world and it’s characters, allowing you to shape and believe your role.

    Whether you play linear stories like Deus Ex, the original Mass Effect, Dragon Age, or more open games like the Fallouts and the Baldurs and the Scrolls, ultimately it’s down to the ability of the content to inspire curiosity, more than simply adding stuff left and right.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. BULArmy

    The main problem for me with RPGs are that they are too simple nowadays. Many of them lack classes, extensive skill threes, the hidden dice rolls which govern what happen when you do something. Next thing will be extensive health-regen FPS style and almost no RPG elements(mass effect), but we will label it as such. Now it is just how high is a given stat and there will be 100% success from it. Also I don’t know how Obsidian can say that, both Alpha Protocol(a game I really like) and Dungeon Siege 3 have none exploration.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. ManuOtaku

    #2 I thought i was alone loving Alpha protocol, nice to see iam not alone on this 8D

    #3 3 years ago
  4. shogoz

    Nobody EVER seems to mention Dark Souls :P. For those of you who haven’t played it, I think this game is the best current example of the “Thrill of exploration”.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. The_Red

    @4 Gotta disagree. While Dark Souls is great, the best modern example is Demons Souls. Dark is fun but nowhere near as Demons IMO.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Sini

    Most of the people playing games are idiots nowadays though. Very different demographic than what used to be on 15 years ago, at least on pc. A dumbfucks $15 is worth as much as other person, and there is more of them. They dictate the flow of game design. This is especially obvious in mmo games.

    #6 3 years ago

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