Icewind Dale II Q&A
Conducted by Mr. Nash
March 14, 2002
much freedom to move are you being given in working with the 3rd
Edition Rules? Is there any
leeway, do you have to follow them explicitly, are there ways for you to
wriggle around some roadblocks that they create to make what you want?
when we first announced Icewind Dale 2, we had quite a bit of a mixture
between 2nd and 3rd Edition rules.
Over the last month, our programmers have been very busy working
on a number of changes we haven’t really talked about quite yet to the
press and public. We’ve
been moving in the direction of 3E compliance, removing many of the last
bastions of 2E code from the Infinity Engine.
As with many pen-and-paper systems, it can sometimes be difficult
to translate some of the rules into computer games, particularly ones
that run in realtime (or in the case of the IE games, realtime with
very important rule that has lived on since D&D’s inception is
that the rules can be changed (of course with good reason) to genuinely
improve the campaign for its players.
That’s not to say that we have taken free reign to change the
rules as we see fit, nor does it mean that we’re changing things for
the sake of doing so, but like many other prior D&D CRPG’s,
we’re not necessarily implementing every last rule defined in the
books. We are however
bringing over the foundation of the 3E rules and are doing our best to
remain true to the spirit of the rules.
Attacks of Opportunity and Mounted Combat feats will not make an
appearance in IWD2, but you will see Attack Bonus, Fortitude/Reflex/Will
saves, positive Armor Class being better, and much MUCH more that
we’ll be talking about shortly.
been mention that more puzzle solving and interaction with NPCs will be
included in IWD2 to break up the combat somewhat.
One could argue that what set IWD apart for the Baldur’s Gate
series and Planescape: Torment was that it was far more battle-oriented,
distinguishing itself as an action-packed hack n’ slash RPG compared
to its Infinity Engine brethren. How
will these puzzles and conversational aspects be implemented so to not
alienate those who were drawn to the original game for its capacity to
allow players to run around, laying waste to legions of monsters,
picking up some really slick items along the way?
of the puzzles and quests still revolve ultimately around combat.
I suppose the same could be said about the other games in some
cases, but we’ve kept to the original goal of keeping the game more
fast-paced and hack n’ slash-centric. I believe that we’re still
keeping true to our “dungeon hack” roots certainly, providing a
linear storyline that puts you into the throws of massive amounts of
creatures to destroy and items to find, no doubt.
The Baldur’s Gate series put the player into epic, overland
adventures, focusing on exploration, questing, and nonlinear game play.
Chapter 2 could have been a game all in its own.
Planescape: Torment had an incredibly deep storyline, one that
focused less on combat and a lot more on character development and
interaction. Icewind Dale
II still holds true to being the hack n’ slash sibling to these more
arguably elegant brothers. But
this sibling has grown up some and has learned a few things along the
way. We’re still
designing the game much like the way we did on Icewind Dale I (with many
of the original people), but from feedback from our fans enjoying the
Trials of the Luremaster free web expansion, we found that players
enjoyed the puzzles as part of the game.
I think you’ll find many of the new puzzles in Icewind Dale 2
still involve pulling your sword or casting that Haste spell.
purpose will this new randomizing function on items dropped by fallen
enemies serve. Are we
looking at the inclusion of rare and unique items in IWD2, or will it be
that instead of picking up 97 hand axes after clearing a goblin horde,
being weighed down, then selling them at the shop for next to nothing,
we’ll be picking up 23 short swords, 31 daggers, 12 axes, 20 quarter
staffs, and 11 long swords, being weighed down, and selling them at the
shop for next to nothing?
purpose of the randomization system is to provide more variety in loot
from the monsters you fight throughout the game.
There are many rare and unique items in Icewind Dale 2, some that
can be found if the player is lucky enough during normal fights, to
others that can be found after slaying a “boss.”
Each random drop has some percentage change of dropping something
nicer (and on the flip-side, worse) than what you’d normally expect on
a monster. Instead of
always finding “Arrows” on archers, why not occasionally find some
higher quality arrows, or, some lower quality arrows that do less
damage? We’ve upped
the number of inventory slots you have on your character by an
additional row, so it can accommodate more variety.
There’s a lot of generic items, but there are a lot of rare and
unique items to found as well.
at the fact sheet, it is said that IWD2 will be larger than the first
game in terms of landmass. Now
does this mean that IWD2 is going to be larger than Icewind Dale Proper,
or bigger than Icewind Dale after you factor in the two expansion packs?
fact sheet was referring to Icewind Dale without its expansion packs.
At this point however, it may indeed be close to the sum of them.
Judging QA’s response on gameplay time, they feel that it is
definitely a longer game than IWD1.
much more can you do to improve the Infinity Engine?
Is there anything large that can still be done, or will
improvements come in subtle adjustments such as the expected interface
There’s a lot that can be done still in my mind. In fact, the features list is endless (if it weren’t for those darned schedules ). Some subtle improvements like adding more inventory slots, changing the way the
Quick Weapons work to allow for weapon combos, like having your dual-wield combo, your ranged combo and your sword and shield combo, a unified spell book, and much more. There are many refinements we can (and have) made to the engine to make some of the more tedious exercises easier for the player.
there’s the whole rules thing. Frankly,
3E has a WHOLE lot of cool stuff. A
lot of it is not accounted for in the Infinity Engine.
Feats, a very cool concept that allows players to gain abilities
as they level that they can choose.
This concept doesn’t exist as it stands in the Infinity Engine,
but it’s something that would make the game better, at least in my
opinion. I’ll think
players will find the GUI changes will also make it feel like a whole
new game, we’ve done quite a bit in the last seven months.
all of the games that have used the Infinity Engine, monsters have more
or less walked up to characters and attacked, or launched missile
weapons/spells from afar. In
either case they’ve stood their ground.
Is there any chance we’ll see moving targets in IWD2?
For instance, will the worthog riding goblin act as cavalry, or
will he walk up and whack at a warrior’s shins?
possibly. One cool thing
about the worg-riding goblin is that you can dismount the goblin and
kill him, or kill the worg from underneath him.
We’ve done a lot with the combat in the game to make it more
interesting than simply standing ground and attacking with melee
weapons. Early in the game,
you’ll find that orcs have some interesting new behavior, I can’t
say what though, sort of spoils it. J
Dale had players working out of one central city, Kuldahar, will Targos
be the central city of IWD2 or will we actually be able to visit several
of the Ten Towns?
is only part of the game. Icewind
Dale 2 takes place in three sections of the Icewind Dale region.
There are other “bases of operation” as you progress through
the game. Targos will be
the only one of the Ten Towns you’ll visit.
Jeremy Soule be returning to write the soundtrack for this game?
no, however he is consulting on the game.
Inon Zur is writing the score for the game.
He’s worked on a number of films, TV shows and even some other
Interplay titles like Throne of Bhaal, Fallout Tactics and others.
You can check out more about him (as well as download some sample
music at http://www.inonzur.com).
lands of the original Icewind Dale had a decidedly dark motif, will this
again be the case in IWD2, or could we see some brighter surroundings?
think we’ve kept to the style of the original with a dark motif.
There is a sense of urgency throughout the game, that not all is
well. Particularly as you
proceed through the game, you’ll find the level of devastation and
change in the region to be quite apparent.
acting has played a prominent role in the Infinity Engine games, and
been performed surprisingly well compared to what we see in other games.
Will there be entirely new voice tracks in IWD2, a mix of new and
old? Any recognizable actors getting involved?
entirely new voice tracks in IWD2, and we have used a few of the same
actors from the original. Many
of the voice actors we use on our games work on movies, cartoons and
television shows, and the voice actors in IWD2 are no exception.
The narrator has a very well known voice from the cartoon
world… stay tuned.
the character classes been finalized, or are there some possibilities
still being tossed around? Any
chance we’ll see the sorcerer equivalent of a Wild Mage?
we’ve settled on strictly 3rd Edition classes: Barbarian,
Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer and
Wizard. We previously
announced that kits would be in the game, but through feedback from our
fans and a number of new changes we’re making, we decided to remove
them in favor of implementing more of the 3E rules.
clerics being able to align with some of the major gods of Faerun, will
this mean that some people may react different to them depending on
their religious alignment? I
can’t imagine a follower of Bane making too many friends.
so. With the removal of kits, this sort of is no longer an issue in the
game, but some people may discriminate on other attributes about your
character, like race. Not
everyone in the free world likes dark elves.
there be more side quests this time around?
how many different species of monsters are you aiming to include in the
game? Any as of yet
unmentioned beasts you’d care to fill us in on?
Will there be any opportunities for dragon slaying in IWD2?
think nearly every monster used in BG and IWD is back and a bunch of new
ones (several from Torment and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance in fact).
Bugbears, Feyrs, Hook Horrors, new demons, Driders,
half-human/half-dragons, and much more, and yes, opportunities for
dragon slaying do exist, perhaps in more than one situation.
worked on this game for over 6 months in complete secrecy, has this
allowed work to be done quicker or with greater attention since it could
be done without the intense scrutiny of rabid fans of the series and the
gaming media? Have any
close calls of people finding out about IWD2 prematurely?
don’t know if I’d say that. A
lot of what drives us is when fans and the press are interested in what
we are doing. We are very
open to listening to everyone on our message boards and respond
frequently. The community
really drives us in what we’re doing.
Without being able to talk about IWD2 for so long, it was
actually a bummer. After we
announced, the momentum on the team really moved forward.
number of people knew (including some press folks) that Icewind Dale 2
was in production, and we weren’t really super concerned about that
information leaking out, we just weren’t able to officially talk about
anything while the BioWare and Infogrames settlements were taking place
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about Icewind Dale 2!
A big thanks go out to Darren Monahan and Heather Greer for their time and making this interview possible! :)
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