22 de Agosto de 2019
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Interviewing Rob Bartel, Principal Designer of BioWare, by Palafoxx and Immortality.

BioWare | En Español | Comment the interview


P and I - Did you expect Neverwinter Nights to have the success it did, specially with modders and builders? Did you expect to see so many quality mods?
R - Yes. Although not everyone always shared my optimism (there were dark days when we almost shipped without the toolset or DM client!), the toolset and the community I knew would form around it have always been the two most important components of Neverwinter. I designed it from the outset with that in mind and it has lived up to my expectations in every way. To all of you out there who helped me fulfill that dream, thank you so much and keep up all of the excellent work.

P and I - As developer of Premium Mods for Neverwinter Nights, what do you think of the work of fans and modders for Neverwinter Nights? Did you, the professionals, collect some ideas from their work?
R - The community has been our single biggest source of new hires within the Design Department so we do more than just collect ideas - we harvest souls! (insert evil laugh here). There's so much amazing talent out there within the Neverwinter Nights and I've always found that extremely inspiring.

P and I - Did you have a chance to check out Obsidian's work in Neverwinter Nights 2? If that's the case, what do you think of the new toolset and the new Electron Engine?
R - While we were considering developing premium modules for NWN 2, the deal unfortunately fell through. So, no, I don't have any insider insights into what they've been able to accomplish with the game, engine, and toolset. That said, I'm wishing them all the best and am looking forward to seeing the NWN tradition live on. Knock this one out of the park, Obsidian! =o)

P and I - Obsidian and Atari, and not BioWare are responsible for Neverwinter Nights 2. This had its impact on the support of the player community. BioWare said that it's not going to support this products, which is understandable, but by this, is BioWare keeping it's tutelage over the Neverwinter Nights gaming community or breaking ties with it completely?
R - I don't think there's any effort or intent on anyone's part to be severing ties. We're friends with the team at Obsidian, we're friends with Atari, and we're friends with the team at Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro. We will continue to support all of our past titles, Neverwinter Nights included, and the community is obviously welcome on our website and forums for as long as they want to be there. As was the case with the Knights of the Old Republic sequel (which Obsidian also developed), we're obviously not in a position to provide technical support and you won't find a whole lot about it in our regular newsletters. In the end, the community will go where the community will go and, for the most part, I suspect it's not going to be a binary either/or sort of choice anyway.

P and I - Mass Effect is a game that has caused a lot of expectation. You have improved the graphical and technical requirements a great deal. We understand it's going to handle the dialogs in real time and will have a very good audio quality. Can you explain to us what are this innovations aimed at? Do you think all these improvements can pose a problem for the game to be translated and dubbed when it's released for example in Spain?
R - I don't know the specific localization plans for Mass Effect but the goal for development team has been to create a game that really showcases the power of this new console generation in all of its HD and high fidelity glory. It's the same team that worked on the original Knights of the Old Republic, if that gives you a possible sense of what to expect.

P and I - Will there be a PC version of Mass Effect?
R - That's one of those "no comment" sorts of questions. If and when we have something to announce in that regard, you'll hear it through the traditional channels.

P and I - Another game from BioWare we are waiting for is Dragon Age, but we don't see any news about it lately. Does this mean that the game is experiencing some problems? Should we expect news soon?
R - Nope, no particular problems and the project's actually progressing quite well. As a company, we made a strategic decision to announce it while it was still very early in development, however, and it's also one of our most ambitious titles to date, both in terms of story and the underlying technology that will power the game. As such, it's going to seem like a really long development cycle for all of you on the outside. For now we're focusing media attention on Mass Effect and we'll start talking about Dragon Age's progress in greater depth once we feel the time is right.

P and I - Lastly, Rob, can you explain to us what The BioWare Live Team is and what you do there?
R - Sadly, the BioWare Community Live Team as you knew it on Neverwinter Nights has largely dissolved and moved on. It was an integral component in the early days of building and supporting the Neverwinter Nights community and later with developing the premium module program and BioWare's online store. Games like NWN are a rare and special breed, however, maybe coming once in a developer's lifetime, and the Live Team's unique model simply hasn't seemed as applicable to our subsequent titles. I feel honoured to have led the charge both on Neverwinter's fundamental design and on the creation of the Live Team but I'm also excited by some of the opportunities I see on my current project. As I mentioned earlier, BioWare's always experimenting and always forging new paths so, while the future may not be as familiar as the past, it holds a magic all its own. I'll see all of you on the other side.

P and I - Thank you very much, Rob.


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