Nick - What about quests. The main quests and side quests with the big question being are there going to be optional side quests for unique items, etc?
Denis - We've taken an interesting stance, a lot of the content in Too Human was focused to be as strong as it can be. A lot of the side quests of - "This troll stole my fiances necklace, please go rescue it and you get this sword." We really thought that didn't help the story at all, so what we've done instead are called Challenged Rooms. What you have are secret areas or places that you can find, you essentially have to kill a certain amount of enemies or do a certain thing within a criteria which get you an item, and those change as you play the game. There are challenges that are encapsulated, but we stand away from putting any content in those. We thought any content in those would just be throwaway and not very good.
For the story itself, we focused on one story, we think that's the best. Branching storylines can tend to weaken the content, the story itself stays the same. There are many optional things to do. On top of that we have these things called Runic Charms. They are scalable, what they will be is you'll pick them up and it will be sort of like a blue print. Pick it up, put it in your inventory. If you equip it, it says: kill 200 goblins, if you do that it lights up and then you can insert runes you find into them. Then you'll get a quest completed, and a special ability. There are 100s and 100s of those. You'll get some really really powerful ones by playing it. There mini-quests also throughout the game. Kill 5000 undead, kill 15 bosses and things like that, you'll get special abilities and special upgrades that you'll never see anywhere else throughout the game. That's the 2nd area that we did. The challenge areas and runic charms to alleviate that. At the same time we did it in such a way that we didn't want to water down the content.
Nick - That sounds awesome.
Denis - Oh, cool. Thanks. Hopefully you'll like it.
Nick - I can see it's going to be a time sink already.
Denis - It's funny, we are doing some balancing right now, and we think it takes a little long to get to level 50. We are gonna reduce that. It takes anywhere from 50 to 80 hours, and that's a little too long. We are kind of in Everquest territory, and we want to bring it down to World of Warcraft territory. We want people to play all the quests and level them up and have a chance to do that before the second game comes out. We really want to make it fun and at the same time, because once you even get to level 50 there are a lot of fun in finding epic sets. We have epic sets as well. Where if you have all the set pieces, which are really rare, you'll get uber bonuses. Just finding those will probably take some time at level 50. It's really challenging. It's not that it's that much harder in difficulty and hit points and damage. You have so many variants and things going on, you have to be very tactical when you play. There's a lot of stuff there. Time sink is not a problem, people looking for something to dig their teeth in, I know I'm biased. But I've been playing it every day for months now - and I know I haven't even come close to scratching the surface on all the permutations and classes, and which abilities you can sort of go down and find out for each different type.
Nick - Does that kind of stuff frustrate you? The fact that it's YOUR game and you can't even unlock everything?
Denis - It doesn't frustrate me. It worries me because I want to know everything and make sure we don't miss anything. I think what it says is the game has depth, probably more teeth than most console games that have released in recent history. I think one of the problems with game development is that the cost of development is going up. What's tending to happen right now is you have a lot of people putting money into production values, so you get nice cinemas and you get great graphics, which Too Human has, but then what tends to happen is the teams concentrate so much on that, that the actual depth and gameplay can tend to be very shallow. So you get a lot of facading, and when it comes to the meat of the game there's not a whole lot there. People still really enjoy it and it's really cool, but it's moving towards a blockbuster Hollywood title model where you get all the blockbuster type of movies in the summer. What Too Human has that really sets it apart is unparalleled amount of depth, and umm, until you play it for long periods of time - it's really not clear. Once you start playing it, wow, exploring this class could take months, nevermind all the other classes. Trying to find this type of combination, it's something we are really really happy with. It also is due to the combination of both kinetic gameplay and RPG depth, and that itself is a whole other category that people are going to be playing around with for quite a while. It was a big adventure, but now that it's coming to a close everyone is pretty happy with it.