CO: The decision to have local co-op progression only affect the host player’s game, (quests, loot, gold, XP) may be an unpopular one. Joining co-op players may be disappointed that nothing comes back to their own solo experience.
RT: That’s fair. We didn’t want players to have to solve character management, you know, go to your character, well, is your character the right level? Are they spec’d right to play? We kind of wanted to stay away from that on this pass with the title, and at the same time I think we all understand that in the ideal world you’d have both solutions. In this case, we were going for the ability to literally pick up the controller and join, you can tell your buddy, “Hey, sit down on the couch we’re playing this game,”
CO: It’s like an arcade style.
RT: It is a lot more like arcade style. And you didn’t have to start that way, you can literally come in at any point. And you don’t have to keep playing that way, you can stop. The downside, of course, is that it’s all tied to the host. It wasn’t always that way, and (we) discussed a lot of other plans and options and things like that. But we ran into... What happens when you go back to your game? You’re now out-leveled for the content, do we scale the content to you? You know, what have we broken by letting you do that, and is that a satisfactory experience for you or not? So there were a lot of challenges like that: What are the quest states? Did you bring the completed quest back with you? Is the story world moving with what you did in his game, or is it not moving at all? And so there’s a lot of challenges there, not to say that there aren’t solutions for those, but we kind of picked what we could solve right now, there’s a lot of factors that go into it, but it’s certain that we would like to solve that in a future iteration. It was kind of a, 'Well, let’s start here, and see where we go.'
CO: Obsidian did Fallout: New Vegas. Do you think a title like that could be co-op, or are we getting into an MMO scenario?
RT: I think it’s possible. I think there’s a lot of challenges that that brings, it’s something I think about quite often, because again, I love playing multiplayer games. That’s a passion of mine, and playing with my friends online and exploring these games together's a great opportunity, and sometimes you sit down and you play a game and you’re like, 'Would this even work as a multiplayer game?' This open world experience, would it feel co-operative? Or would it be like we’re playing the same game, but not really together, you know, and Fallout is kind of one of those cases where you just look at it and you go like, 'Could it be done?' And I think the answer is, 'yes.' I just don’t think anyone’s done it yet. I think it’s an ambitious undertaking. And there’s a lot of balancing you’d have to do to pull it off. Multiplayer…it’s easy to do it wrong. It’s a lot of work and a lot of design decisions to do it right, and I’m really happy with what we’ve done, I think there’s actually room to even go further with future titles."
We would like to thank Matt Frary, and Brandon Smith from Maverick PR for hosting the event. Special thanks to Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart, Matthew MacLean, Jay Bakke, George Ziets, and a host of other Obsidian staff members whose names we won't do the disservice of misspelling here. Very special thanks to Richard Taylor, who put up with the nervous interviewer.
Please take note, our hands-on impressions were of a preview build. This post pertains to local co-op only, unless otherwise noted. We did not get to see how online co-op functioned. An interview in Destructoid suggests that online multiplayer characters will be separate form single player characters . That explanation of online co-op brings up even more questions. We sent a few questions to Obsidian a short time ago and haven't heard back, yet. Things may change between now and the game's May 31st release. As always, stay tuned to Co-Optimus for all your co-op gaming news, previews, reviews, and interviews.