Posts tagged interview
It was a beautiful day for my lunch with our VP of Development, Russ Brown. He took me to a little place called Beli Deli. I am not too familiar with the lunch spots around here yet. So I am making note of these places the guys are showing me!
I first asked Russ how he got into the game industry. He said that in college, he played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. But unlike a lot of people, it was computers that got him into D&D, not the other way around. He started playing Wizardry on an Apple 2 computer in college and then found out it was a pen & paper game. He tried that and really enjoyed it. That’s when he decided that he wanted to make games for a living. After college, he was hired by Strategic Simulations, Inc. as a QA Engineer. He has been in the industry ever since, working on the long list of titles I shared with you earlier.
We had some really great questions submitted for Russ and I really appreciate that he made time for us to answer them. So let’s get right to it!
Jonathan Cooper: Hi Scott! I saw the game last year at E3 when it was called Heroes of Telara, and it seems like a lot has changed. Can you give a basic rundown of the newly named Rift: Planes of Telara for those who might not have heard much about it?
Scott Hartsman: Sure, sure! The general concept of the game is this: we have this world, this unsuspecting little fantasy world, where there’s already an incredible civil war going on. Suddenly, the planet is under attack from six different directions due to the fact that it’s at the center of its own little universe, where different dimensions and realities intersect. All of these other forces that are either trying to use the planet for their own devices, use it as a passageway to attack other dimensions, or use it in other ways. Essentially, the world has turned into a really scary place, and it’s up to the players of the game to come on it, join the civil war that’s already going on, and try to make their way in this world whether that’s for good or evil.
Trion Worlds Chief Creative Officer Scott Hartsman explains in full detail about their massive multiplayer online RPG, Rift: Planes of Telara.
1. Please introduce yourself and describe your position on the Rift: Planes of Telara development team.
Happy to. I’m Scott Hartsman, the CCO for Trion Worlds. I’m in charge of the internal studio that’s developing Rift: Planes of Telara, and my role on the game is that of Exec Producer.
I work with both our creative and production sides of the Rift team, whose responsibilities are (respectively) the what and the how of everything that goes into Rift, with the overall goal being that we can get everything done on time and at the highest quality possible.
2. Please tell us why the name was changed from Heroes of Telara to Rift: Planes of Telara.
Our universe is one that was created from scratch for this game. Whenever you embark on that huge of an undertaking, the process generally involves a significant amount of iteration. What’s working? What isn’t? What’s compelling? What parts are people going to enjoy the most? What makes for the most cohesive story?
These are questions we ask ourselves practically every day. Some time later, well after the universe has hundreds of stories written down about it, you begin creating content and gameplay systems in the game itself.
It’s that point — where you have playable, enjoyable game content and gameplay systems, set in this universe you created – that’s really where the rubber meets the road for your entire backstory. You see how the story blends with both the content and the systems in a very concrete way.
Info on minspec, PvP, faction capitals, a “steampunk twist,” and much more in this exclusive Rift Q&A.
Our first look at Rift: Planes of Telara was good, very good, but we had some questions. Will these great looking “HD” graphics run on yesterday’s computers? What drives the two player factions, and will their be all-out PvP or just a flavor of hostility? Is “dynamic content” limited to Rifts – tears between the Planes and Telara which allow nasties to invade – or does Trion have more mind- and world-bending tricks up its sleeve?
To help answer these questions, we lied about our credentials and scored an interview with Scott Hartsman, Trion Redwood City Studio Lead, Creative Director, MMORPG development veteran, and all around nice guy.