There really aren’t a lot of good role playing games out for the PSP right now. Sure there are a few but the market will change dramatically next year when Atari releases Dungeons and Dragons Tactics. I had a chance to see the game at the Atari Spolight event earlier this year and the game is really pushing the envelope of what the PSP can handle. Needless to say when we got a shot an interview we took it.
GamingNexus: Can you introduce yourself and describe your role on the project? How long have you been in the gaming industry and what drew you to your current position?
My name is Eric Grossman, I am the Atari producer on Dungeons & Dragons Tactics. I have been in the gaming industry for over eight years, working on titles in a variety of genres and platforms.
GamingNexus: The Dungeons and Dragons license is a pretty significant IP, do you feel any added pressure? What was your initial reaction when you heard you would be developing a D&D title?
Eric Grossman: D&D is a very special IP indeed. It has a rich heritage and deserves tremendous respect. My initial reaction was excitement. Not to sound too hokey, but it really is an honor to get the opportunity to make a Dungeons & Dragons game. With that excitement also came an intense desire to definitely not mess this game up. I tend to feel that with all the games I work on, but with D&D Tactics, it was kicked up a notch. I know how beloved D&D is by its fans and I wasn’t going to let them down.
GamingNexus: Will the game include the current Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rule set? What where the hardest/easiest thing to implement in the game?
Eric Grossman: The game is most definitely using the 3.5 rule set. It was a thrill to see the first gameplay log (which we get from our debug builds) showing all the various rolls and checks. The player will ultimately only see the key items like “Critical,” or the number of points of damage or experience points received, but all of those D&D rule actions are happening behind the scenes. For example:
Goblin attempts to make a Hide check at the current location
Hide check failed due to location not being concealed or in cover from enemies
Key ability modifier of 1 applied. Revised Skill check = 8
Total miscellaneous modifiers of 0 applied. Revised Skill check = 8
Skill check 8 fails against DC 10
Hide check failed
For the most part, the rules are in unchanged, however, there were some items we had to either drop or alter such as “grapple” and “disarm.” It just did not make sense to have enemies laying on the ground or unarmed. Probably, the hardest thing to implement was the Clerical Domain spells. Take the “Shatter” spell. We just couldn’t make it useful in the
Anastriana attempts to make a Hide check at the current location
Rolled a 3 on a d20
Anastriana has a skill rank of 4 in this skill. Revised Skill check = 7
game, so with the consultation and blessing of Wizards of the Coast, we replaced it with “Confusion.”
GamingNexus: Can you give us a brief overview of the plot? How did you come up with the plot for the game? Is it based on any existing modules or is it all original?
Eric Grossman: At first, there was a lot of discussion about which realm to set the game. We talked about Forgotten Realms, Eberron and some other settings. Ultimately, we decided to make it just straight up D&D. This allowed for a lot of freedom and Kuju set about to come up with an original story in an agnostic D&D setting. WoTC again consulted and helped us shape the story to make sure that it was true to the license. I don’t want to give too much away, but the player’s party find themselves embroiled in a conflict between two very powerful parties. Depending on their final alignment, the player characters will decide who wins this contest. The story takes you to a variety of locales, from Elven forests to a ruined temple laden with vampires to the Astral Plane.
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