Back in the 90s, everyone told Bioware that Western RPG was dead. “This is the best news you can hear,” co-founder Trent Oster said with a smile. “This means that there is absolutely no one paying attention to your market space, you can enter and do interesting things.”
However, this also means that the studio lacks a good example to follow. The model Bioware designed for the great D&D game Pool of Radiance appeared in the late 1980s and looked like Teletext. By 1995, the studio switched to playing the groundbreaking real-time strategy game “Warcraft”. That’s why when you click on members of Baldur’s Gate, you often hear an early Blizzard-style funny, breaking fourth wall witty—”Yes, oh, ubiquitous authority figure?” or “Do not touch me!”
Warcraft is also the reason why Baldur’s Gate has real-time combat. After the popularity of Bioware’s games, almost all competitors have followed suit, and now the influence of Warcraft on RPG is everywhere.
“Warcraft was placed on the altar,” Oster said. “I’m admired for adopting the concept of a multiplayer battle game and building the best interface you can do.”
Ironically, when Bioware finished Baldur’s Gate, Oster hated its interface. He spent several months testing multiplayer game components and was tired of all the heavy buttons. “There are too many gray stones on the screen, too many clicks,” he said. “Unnecessary clicks will stir up anger in my heart that you cannot understand.”
When Oster was handed over to the director of “Neverwinter Nights”, he immediately threw away all the gray stones and switched to a simple MMO style interface. Even the inventory is transparent. The benefit is obvious, if you forgive the pun: the player can always see the orcs coming. But Bioware lost some of the heavy and earthy charm of Baldur’s Gate in the process. “I call it the Bioware pendulum,” Oster said. “We never made the same mistake twice. We made the opposite mistake. We would do the same cruel things in the opposite direction. It took a few games to learn temperance.”
Oster stayed until Dragon Age: Origin. Bioware may have returned to the style and aesthetics of Baldur’s Gate, but its culture has undergone a fundamental change-from a “mom-and-pop shop” to a large company that ultimately responds to private equity firms.
“Greg [Zeschuk] He Lei [Muzyka] Being kicked into speeding mode tried to make their boss happy,” Oster recalled. “In Electronic Arts, it became more common. EA’s priorities for Greg and Ray were not passed on to the rest of the studio. As a result, in the eyes of many senior people, we made a stupid decision. Because we do not see the full picture of what is happening. “
Oster left, his first thing as an independent person was to buy an iPhone, “because EA will provide mobile phones, but they will not provide smart phones.” A year later, when the iPad came out, Oersted’s interface feels tingling again. “My thought was,’Wow, Baldur’s Gate would be great in this regard. I want to know where is Baldur’s Gate?'”
Over the next ten years, Oster led the modernization of Bioware’s Infinite Engine-an effort that ultimately gave us an enhanced version of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Valley, and Exotic: Torment on Steam. After completion, Oster also returned to Neverwinter Night. He was even able to fund the Darkness of Dagford, an official expansion event that was cancelled by Atari without warning in 2006.
Many game developers believe that it is best not to review their previous games throughout their careers. This is a smart response strategy in an incredibly turbulent industry, and sadly, it is common to lose years of work due to project cancellation or damage. However, Oster seems unable to keep himself away from the early games of his career.
“It’s like an abusive relationship with Neverwinter Nights,” he said. “I still like it, but every time I see it, it hurts my heart. I see it because of what I want to do, not what it does. There is always something missing in my eyes. But when I When I see what the community has done with it and what fans can expand on it, I can see some deficiencies that disappoint me.”