Neverwinter Nights 2: NWN 2 WarCry Interview with the Rogue Dao Team

| 8 May 2007 04:00

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Fans of the Planescape setting have been excited for a long time about the upcoming trio of modules being produced by Rogue Dao Studios. Titled the Planescape Trilogy, the series will be three modules in length with the mods being titled Purgatorio, Inferno and Eschatologia.

Recently, NWN 2 WarCry had the opportunity to submit a series of questions to the developers at Rogue Dao and we're fortunate to have had them answered by Rogue Dao's art director, Davion (Scott). Enjoy!

WarCry: Please introduce yourselves and give a bit of background and highlight the job description.

Hey everyone, Scott here, I go by the handle Davion or DavionShores on the various community forums and chat rooms. I'm the Art Director here at Rogue Dao Studios, which means I help make sure the custom content that is being made is of a certain quality and fits well with everything else. Other than organizing and helping with the custom content that is being made by our team members, I am responsible for completely reskinning the NWN2 user interface to fit better with our campaign. I have also contributed a lot of 2D art in the form of posters, signs, and graffiti.

WarCry: For those new to the Planescape Trilogy, please give an overview of the three planned modules, Purgatorio, Inferno and Eschatologia.

The Planescape Trilogy takes place in the Planescape campaign setting (surprise ;)), starting the player off in the Hive Ward of Sigil, the city at the center of the Multiverse. The Cage as it is affectionately called by some is connected to the Multiverse through a countless number of doors, or portals, that lead off to different planes of existence.

Recently, a series of grisly murders within the Hive has brought the iron fist of the Harmonium, a strict law-enforcing faction, down upon the ward, and the less noble factions situated in the Hive are becoming restless. Tensions are rising between the fifteen factions of Sigil, and it doesn't help matters when there is a murderous psychopath on the loose.

Purgatorio will clock in at around 10-20 hours depending on how you play. If you rush through the main plot and don't touch any optional side quests the module will be significantly shorter. There will be a good mount of custom content available, such as: Mortuary and Gatehouse exteriors/interiors, new helmets, weapons, newly designed UI, epithet feats, a wide range of tilesets, new creatures and NPC's, and even some animated placeables.

Inferno is going to be smaller than Purgatorio in terms of game play and will contain a much darker storyline. While Inferno's gameplay will be half or less of Purgatorio there will be a much deeper storyline and the player will come to find out the motivations and desires of the characters he or she met during the first installment.

For Eschatologia we would like to recreate all the wards of Sigil, as well as a good portion of the Inner and Outer Planes, and allow the player to explore these areas in a non-linear free roaming fashion. So it would basically be an open world, and would also be about twice the size and scope of Purgatorio. This is obviously very ambitious, and something we're considering.

WarCry: Have any changes been made since the original planning for Purgatorio and/or the Trilogy? Were things found to be too difficult to implement or were new features added?

If anything we've added more content and expanded, rather than taken content away. We are apart of the recently announced Granny Beta, and that is a big step for us, mainly because now we have to consider what sort of creatures/assets we want to include that will be animated, so that adds a whole new dimension to things. Creatures are obviously quite a bit trickier than animated placeables, and we've got a good amount of giant rusty rotating cogs and animated doors :) On the creature front we're working on getting various Slaads and modron animated and in-game!

WarCry: The original timetable for the release of Purgatorio was an ambitious one. What caused the release setback?

Originally, we wanted to create Purgatorio using only what the NWN2 Toolset gave us, but as time went on we realized that our palette was limited and didn't portray Planescape the way we envisioned it. So, we rolled up our sleeves and went head first into working on custom content to meet our vision. Over the past couple of months many talented individuals have joined our ranks, churning out some sweet custom content which includes: helmets, hats, buildings, weapons, heads, creatures, and the list goes on. Also, the first Act in Purgatorio has proven to be a massive undertaking, with around 50 optional side quests implemented thus far. In every way Purgatorio has been lengthened.

WarCry: Where is Purgatorio in development at this point?

We're rounding the bend, so to speak. :) Act I is nearing completion and Act II and III are well on their way. There is still a lot of work to be done, but compared to a month or two ago there's significantly less. There IS light at the end of the tunnel!

WarCry: Your front page indicates that Purgatorio will be released in about a month. Is that a fairly firm date?

We're definitely pushing for that to be the release date. Within several days we plan to have an internal beta of Act I, the Hive Ward, ready. In essence this first act is the "meat and potatoes" of Purgatorio and where the player will spend the majority of his or her time. This first act has taken so long to develop because we really wanted to give the player a world to explore and be apart of. There are many plots that the player can be pulled into depending on who they meet, what faction they join, or who they piss off. This is what has taken the most time in terms of development, that and the decision to include much more custom content with the release of Purgatorio than was originally planned.

WarCry: Has development started on the second of the three modules, Inferno?

At the moment we're focused on getting Purgatorio out the door and into the community's hands. Of course, that doesn't mean we haven't discussed it and thrown ideas back and forth. ;) Some concepts have been laid out and these will be picked up as Purgatorio nears completion. :)

WarCry: How firm is the September* release date for Inferno?

I'd say the release date is fairly firm. Inferno will be more compact compared to Purgatorio, and this will allow us a bit more time to focus on fleshing out the world around the characters and the plots they are involved in. So, we'll be able to devote more time to custom content, creatures, and interesting ways to interact with the environment and its denizens.

WarCry: Will any new features be added to the second and third modules (Inferno and Eschatologia)?

As stated earlier, Inferno will be smaller in scope compared to Purgatorio, so we'll focus a good deal on custom content and a tighter narrative. Expect more tilesets and custom placeables, new prestige classes, creatures and characters to encounter. We'll also be experimenting a bit more with the user interface, so we'll see what results from that. The destinations of Inferno will really allow our art team to get creative, so we hope to bring the community some really amazing vistas and areas to explore. :) Eschatologia is still a ways away when it comes to development, so I can't really say much about the final installment of the Trilogy at this point.

WarCry: Your team and the project was recently mentioned in a British gaming magazine. Have you been approached by other media outlets for interviews? Have you had any discussions with the developers?

At the moment PC Gamer has been the only magazine to contact us regarding Purgatorio and the Planescape Trilogy.

WarCry: Is Rogue Dao actively recruiting staff? If so, in what areas?

At the moment we're in need of more Voice Over talent. So, if you think you're up for it, stop by our website at www.roguedao.com, sign up at our forums and let us know you're interested. Don't be shy; at this point it's safe to say we've heard much worse. ;)

WarCry: Will Rogue Dao make the created resources available for the community? Will builders have access to materials for building their own modules?

Definitely. All of the new content we've created will be released to the community. Eventually, we'd also like to write some tutorials that will better explain certain aspects of content creation and implementation, but at the moment we're busy working hard to bring everyone the first installment of the Trilogy. Once Purgatorio is released I'd especially like to take some time out to write a tutorial on NWN2's interface and how to go about skinning it.

WarCry: Does Rogue Dao have any ties to other community teams? If so are any combined projects in the works?

We've been following the Forgotten Realms Weave (FRW) very closely and are looking forward to what they have in store for the community; a lot of cool projects are in the works over there, both on a team level and an individual level. Recently, we've set aside some server space for them to use in file distribution to help them reach their goals. :)

WarCry: Once the Planescape Trilogy is completed, what plans does Rogue Dao have? Will more modules based on the Planescape world be developed or...?

Maybe a vacation ;) Haha. It's too soon to really say for sure where Rogue Dao will end up after the Trilogy is complete; we've got a long hard road ahead of us as it is. Though I will say many people on the team hold Planescape very close to their hearts, so I wouldn't rule out more content from that setting! However, we aren't afraid to venture into more...uncharted territory.

WarCry: Please add anything else you'd like the community to know.

I'd like to thank Kalia and Warcry for this interview. I'd also like to thank the community as a whole for being so patient with us; we're trying our hardest to make Purgatorio and the rest of the Trilogy as polished and professional as possible, so hang in there! :)

* - We forgot to change the date in Inferno's description it's supposed to read September of 2007

Thanks to Rogue Dao and to Davion for their hard work and time on this interview. I can't wait to get hold of Purgatorio!

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