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24.12.2008 01:45 [Interviews (english)] Christmas Interview 2008
As it is tradition, the developers from Piranha Bytes again took the time to answer our questions in a Christmas. On behalf of all fans, we pelted them with questions quite thoroughly but there are of course a lot af things they cannot give any comments on, yet.

1. Will the versions for PC and Xbox be released simultaneously or will one version be released earlier? If so, which one?

That will be decided by Deep Silver and is not up to us.

2. Will there be noteworthy graphical differences between the Xbox 360 and the PC?

It's still too early to give a final answer to that. But currently, it looks like the differences are very insignificant.

3. When can we expect the first screenshots from the PC version?

Alas, that will still take some time. But it seems as if they are not too far ahead.

4. Are you still on schedule, do you get the milestones done on time?

Yes. Of course, there is always one thing or another that has to be taken into the next milestone because games development is often just trial-and-error. But generally speaking, we're very good on time.

5. Can you already say something about hardware requirements? Maybe the engine is now ready for at least a tentative appraisal?

Not yet. We still have the debugging and polishing part ahead of us. And with that always comes some performance optimisation.

6. Can you outline how far the different areas are completed in general? What things are you currently working on?

Mike: We're still working on the combat system (the third version so far) and speaking generally, you could say that we're pretty far.

7. Will there be a demo? What time prior to release can we expect it?

Björn: We will have a demo ready to the release which will probably be available at that time, too. It is planned that you can play the first few hours of RISEN to get an immersive overview. If this demo will be released before the game itself is not decided yet.

8. Will the player of the PC version have the opportunity to control the combat with the keyboard alone?

Mike: Currently yes, but if it stays that way has to be decided, yet.

9. Is there a possibility to make the game modifyable again this time?

You can mod anything in principle. A final decision on that has not yet arrived. But as you know, we're not against it.

10. Which of the artworks from this year's advent calendar have been integrated in the game in the most direct way?

The harbour and the rotworm (german: "Rottwurm"). And the ocular of the Inquisitor.

11. And did one of the swords from the calender make it into the game? Which one?

Ralf: Yes, one of the more bizarre, but the remaining swords are all fashionable and near historical certified arms.

12. Was there something interesting that you wanted to implement but had to discard for technical reasons?

Nothing so far.

13. There is a temple artwork which has been used for a poster as well. It is quite voluminous and a huge contrast compared to the little temple on the first screenshot. Do both pictures show some extremes or which one is closer to your average RISEN temple?

The small "temple" is in fact just a side entrance to... well, an underground structure.

14. At the Games Convention, you said that the fraction you join will determine the character class. Does that mean you have to choose a political orientation to get a specific class even if you do not want to? Will it be more like in Gothic 1 where you could learn magic in any camp or more like in Gothic 2 where you had to join the cloister for that? Or will you reuse the reputation system from Gothic 3 in which you had to collect a reputation score by completing quests?
How many "ways" through the game will be offered to the player or how often can I replay it with a new focus? How many of those ways can be considered (morally) good ways?

Mike: The guilds do in fact have defined skills which you cannot learn in other guilds for some part. In that way, it is more like the system from Gothic 2.
There will be multiple ways to play through the story but "morally good" ways can be found in every guild - or not. The guilds do not define themselves as "good" or "evil". They just have different goals. The characters in the world will of course see that a little different... ("Those pigs stole our artifacts...").

15. The guild system in the first two parts of Gothic created a high replay value. Will there be something similar? How many guilds or fractions can I join?

Mike: The mages, the Inquisition or the bandits.

16. Will there be multiple endings to give the player more freedom to choose or will all paths join in one single end to smooth the way for a sequel?

To tell you that would be a too big spoiler. I hope you'll forgive us if we do not want to tell you much about that and keep a few surprises for the player.

17. Can you tell us something about ranged combat or the magics system (especially the latter one is completely unkown to us so far)?

Mike: Bow and crossbow will be two different systems. The bow works more like in Gothic 3 while the crossbow has something of a shooter-like control.

18. What can you tell us about melee combat? Will the control be more like the first Gothic parts or like in Gothic 3 or will it be something completely new.

Mike: If you have to compare it, it will be a mix with focus on our first games.

19. Any new details about that "special movement style" that was mentioned on the Games Convention when you told us about ruin exploration?

Mike: No.

20. Will the hero have some basic knowledge (like the sword-forging in Gothic 1 or the start skills in Gothic 3) or does he have to learn everthing?

Mike: The "hero" will be able to equip all weapons right from the start (provided he fulfills the requirements). Other than that, everything must be learned.

21. Can you tell us something about the amount of NPCs in the game or the number of dialogue lines? How immersive is the world compared to your previous games and how dialogue-focussed will RISEN be? Will we get primarly short and - let's call it result-oriented - chats or do individual NPCs have own opinions which they share with us beside the basic information?

Björn: With amount and complexity of quests, dialogues and characters in RISEN we orientated ourselves stronger towards our predecessors Gothic 1 and 2. The size of the settlements of the individual guilds is similar, too. We set ourselves to make any character in the world unique and with an own personality. The player will meet important characters on several occasions throughout the chapters of our story and develop a personal relationship to them. The goals and intentions of the characters in RISEN are strongly reflected by the quests and dialogues of the respective guild that the player joined. He has to master those guild-quests to advance into the next chapter of the story.

22. Can you give us an example dialogue with some NPC to give us an impression of the linguistic style and the interaction with NPCs? It does not have to be story-relevant, just a "piece of atmosphere".

Björn: It's impossible to grasp the atmosphere of our world just with a few lines of text. But perhaps these lines from a dialogue in our game will give you a small impression.

[translator's note: Of course, this dialogue has been translated by me, too. So don't kill me if I failed to capture the unique PB style.]

Player: "Hi."
Enrico: "Argh. You have come to take me back, haven't you?"
Player: "Take it easy, I won't hurt you."
Enrico: "No, no. I know you guys."
Enrico: "First you lull somebody into a sense of safety and then he gets a severe drubbing."
Player: "You need to get yourself some beer, brother."
Enrico: "You idiot. Don't you understand? They are EVERYWHERE."
Enrico: "They will come out of their tombs to take vengeance on us mortals."
Enrico: "Their ruins which rose from the ground everywhere are just vanguards."
Enrico: "Soon they will show themselves and then we are all doomed. We ALL, you understand?"
Player: "I try hard."

23. Will the hero be able to build strong emotional bonds to other NPCs? Will there even be an (optional) romance in the game?

Björn: The emotional bond between the player and the characters in our game was one of the goals we set ourselves up to. For example, we always neglected the female characters in our games. This time we gave them a much larger role and integrated them more tightly in the story. You will be able to love or hate them, fight side by side with them and sometimes, they'll get on your nerve, too.

24. It seems like you strongly underestimated the work needed to build an AI in Gothic 3 (i.e. the monsters initially were supposed to jump off from rocks in combat). And when you look at "generic solutions" like the Radiant-AI in Oblivion, you somehow get the impression that those are not really any better than reactions solely determined by scripts written by hand. In which direction will you go this time? (Almost) all reaction hardcoded as scripts? Or risk the attempt to let the NPCs act on their own, only governed by general and abstract guidelines?

Mike: The latter one. For example, it is possible to lure a (human) character to his enemies and then watch them fight. There are also neutral, bold and cowardly characters. According to that, they react on the presence of specific guilds or the actions of the player.

25. Do you have a Christmas present for us? A screenshot from a character from the game or some music from KaiRo?

Yes, here is a piece of music from Kai.