In March, PC Gamer’s Fraser Brown wrote an editorial titled “The cinematic BioWare-style RPG is lifeless, it simply would not understand it but,” evaluating the likes of Dragon Age and Cyberpunk 2077 to the extra novel experiences of latest RPGs Disco Elysium and Citizen Sleeper.

RPG Roundtable

Our interviewees, from left to right:

Mike Laidlaw: Chief artistic officer at Yellow Brick Video games. Identified for: Jade Empire, Mass Impact, Dragon Age sequence.

Paweł Sasko: Quest director at CD Projekt Pink. Identified for: The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077.

Strix Beltran: Narrative director on D&D game, Hidden Path Leisure. Identified for: Blubeard’s Bride, Past Blue, State of Decay 2.

Lis Moberly: Narrative designer at Obsidian. Identified for: Cursed to Golf, We Went Again, Singularity.

Josh Sawyer: Studio design director at Obsidian. Identified for: Pillars of Eternity, Fallout: New Vegas, Pentiment.

Just some weeks later, on the 2023 Game Builders Convention, I assembled a gaggle of 5 RPG designers with many years of expertise between them—together with Dragon Age lead Mike Laidlaw and Cyberpunk 2077 lead Paweł Sasko, whose video games closely featured in that editorial—and lobbed the headline out like a dwell grenade to start out the dialog.

Fortunately nobody caught any shrapnel.

“I do know this text very nicely, as a result of we have been discussing it at [CD Projekt Red] fairly a bit,” Sasko mentioned, leaping in first. “We largely agree, really. Not less than in terms of triple-A, we’re working at a fucking wall, and we’re gonna crash on that wall actually quickly.”  You possibly can learn extra from that little bit of the dialog right right here.

From there we roleplayed sensible conversationalists for greater than an hour, relating:

  • How video games are on the cusp of a procedural narrative breakthrough
  • What gamers anticipate from RPGs at the moment
  • How their private experiences taking part in RPGs have knowledgeable their video games
  • Writing characters that actually resonate with gamers

We additionally talked in regards to the making of The Witcher 3’s Bloody Baron quest, nice tabletop methods that videogames ought to poach concepts from, and the affect of Elden Ring. 

You possibly can hearken to the total 80 minute dialog right here (or discover it on the PC Gamer Chat Log podcast feed in your podcast app of selection) and browse highlights of the dialog right here on the location.