In an interview posted on the Iron Tower Studio forums, Obsidian’s Chris Avellone has explained the design benefits of having fewer in-game characters.

“The lesson is this” says Avellone, “You can achieve an equally compelling and I’d argue, more compelling story with fewer, deeper characters than a thousand shallow ones.”

“[Players] may be tempted to ask ‘why don’t you include a thousand deep interactive characters? We’re paying for this shit, after all, it’s the least you can do.'” he continued, “[But] the realities of game production give you bookends and force yourself to ask how can you develop the same emotional reward without a ten year development cycle and a two year testing cycle? Your goal is to create a compelling story … my answer is to add reactivity.”

“Fewer characters that are deeper and more reactive creates a [higher] quality experience. So in Alpha Protocol we achieved this by reducing the cast.”

Avellone also suggested that player choices made throughout the game will have real consequences on the end-game. “I don’t expect people who reach the end-game to have the same results. One of our design visions was you can’t reload the endgame 10 minutes before the end and hit all the different endings,” he said.

Alpha Protocol is scheduled for a May/June release on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Paul Younger
Founder and Editor of PC Invasion. Founder of the world's first gaming cafe and Veteran PC gamer of over 22 years.

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