Chris Avellone has developed some of the most acclaimed and influential RPGs of the late ’90s and early 2000s-Planescape: Torment and installments in the Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and original Fallout series. Many credit these games with paving the way for recent successful RPGs such as Dragon Age, Fallout 3, and The Elder Scrolls. Looking back at the recent history of RPGs, however, Avellone is not entirely pleased with the direction his legacy was heading. And, in an interesting aside to our current discussion concerning the meaning of games as rules-based systems, it has to do with how games guide our choices.
In a recent interview in IndustryGamers, Avellone took issue with new gameplay mechanics introduced solely for the player’s convenience, which, he said, have been ”sometimes good, sometimes bad, in my opinion.”
“Journals, quest compasses that point directly to the goal and show you the route, auto-maps, etc. are helpful, at the same time, I think it undermines the thrill of victory and discovery and a lot of what makes an RPG an RPG,” most notably exploration.
At the same time, he wanted less simplistic moral binaries constructed for players, adding that “In terms of non-interface elements, I feel the idea of morally grey choices and more focus on actions and consequences has been great for RPGs across the board.”