Space Siege Q&A - Story, Setting, and Sieging

We sit down with Gas Powered Games CEO Chris Taylor to discuss this upcoming sci-fi game. Get the details and watch the exclusive video.

Action role-playing games combine some of the best aspects of action games (like killing stuff) and role-playing games (like getting piles of loot and having a stronger character that gains experience levels). Washington-based developer Gas Powered Games is no stranger to action RPGs--it created the Dungeon Siege series for the PC and Play Station Portable, and is now working on an all-new game announced at the recent E3 event, Space Siege. Unlike Dungeon Siege, which was a fantasy-themed game in which you could play as a wizard who shot lightning bolts at skeletons, the new game will be a futuristic, sci-fi game that may or may not contain skeletons at all. We sat down with the studio's CEO, Chris Taylor, for more details.

GameSpot: After creating the successful and well-received real-time strategy game Supreme Commander, why did you decide to go in the direction of a new action role-playing game?

Space Siege will bring hacking and slashing to the final frontier. Space, that is.

Chris Taylor: We have a lot of experience in this genre, and wanted to do something that utilized that experience but went in a fresh new direction. There were so many fantasy RPG games made, we felt that space was not only the final frontier, but a refreshingly different one.

GS: Why the decision to go with a sci-fi setting, rather than the fantasy setting of the Dungeon Siege series?

CT: We'll likely come back to the more traditional fantasy setting at some point in the future, but for now, we thought it would be good to take a break and change up the theme, give players a taste of something new.

GS: What specific lessons have you taken from the development of the Dungeon Siege games and applied to Space Siege?

CT: We learned that longer games aren't as good as games that have a strong focus on character and story, and that are really well crafted and polished. We have really learned to focus ourselves much more than in the past, and really pay attention to the little details. And we've quadrupled our effort to bring the characters in this world alive, and have focused on world-class dialogue and voice acting. These things were luxuries before. Now they are a necessity.

GS: Tell us about the game's story and main character, Seth. How did you come upon the idea of a character that pretty much trades his humanity directly for power by replacing his body parts with implants? What does that add to the game?

CT: The story is a collaborative effort with everyone on the team and has produced a result we are all very proud of. We have created a character that hopefully everyone who plays the game can identify with, and really become attached to. It was a big deal to move away from the standard, make-your-own character system and create a character to tell a story about, but we have confidence that this is more interesting than a generic character that doesn't speak. Seth has spirit, he has a history, he's a real guy, and he's the only guy who can really save humanity from extinction. And whether or not he gives up his humanity to save everyone is an open question...a question only the player can answer.

Your character will be able to upgrade his own body with futuristic hardware, at the cost of his own humanity.

GS: The Dungeon Siege games seemed like they were mostly about hacking and slashing and less about telling a story. Will this new game emphasize story more strongly? If so, how will it keep players' attention even while they're busy blasting at aliens and picking up loot?

CT: Absolutely, this is our biggest game ever to focus on story. And we are doing it in a very different way than standard RPGs, where the story is told "in town," inserted into bits of dialogue from the shopkeeper. This game has the story evolving at every turn, behind every door, and it's carefully integrated into the gameplay. It's going to feel very different, from a story perspective, than previous games we have developed.

GS: What can you tell us about the loot and items in the game and what role they'll play? We understand that Seth can upgrade his own body with mechanical parts. What other kinds of loot will he acquire? Will there be some kind of crafting or item-set system that lets players construct better, more-powerful items?

CT: Since it's a sci-fi game and Seth is an engineer, it's going to have a very different loot system than Dungeon Siege. It's not about finding stuff by the truckload and picking through it, it's much more selective and thoughtful. Seth will find bits and pieces of things and use them to upgrade himself and his robot companion, HR-V. I think we went a little too far with the crazy amounts of loot in Dungeon Siege, and we'll be dialing that back to be a lot less insane in Space Siege.

GS: What can you tell us about Space Siege's multiplayer at this point? Could you give us some more details as to how it will offer original adventures (not just the single-player game all over again), like the original Dungeon Siege did? How many players will it support?

The game will also offer four-player multiplayer with all-new missions.

CT: It will support up to four players, and again, this number comes from our experience on Dungeon Siege. We allowed a lot more players but found that four was the sweet spot, so we are focusing ourselves on that goal. Like you suggest, multiplayer isn't simply single-player with a group, it is a carefully crafted series of regions that are designed to support a multiplayer experience and allows players to jump in and out a lot more fluidly, and for a select amount of time. We are very sensitive to the fact that players don't always have hours to play multiplayer, and that, say, 20 minutes is all they might have. We are responding to this request, and like all our games, listen to what our customers want... It's not always apparent, but we are listening.

GS: Finally, is there anything that you'd like to add about Space Siege?

CT: Space Siege poses an interesting question... Is losing one's own humanity a fair price to pay for saving the human race? I think so, but the question is, can you have your humanity and save it, too? I hope everyone tries!

GS: Thanks, Chris.

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Discussion

96 comments
KRAZYKYLE837
KRAZYKYLE837

this might be cool. I used to love Dungeon Siege 2 but multi player just stopped working for no reason. I tried reinstalling the game and it still won't work. Oh yeah, a movie based on Dungeon Siege games called "In The Name of The King" is coming out in January I think.

amidamaru18
amidamaru18

I liked DS1 and loved Dungeon Siege 2 so I will be keep on eye on this game!

JcDent
JcDent

Will trade humanity for cool robot parts :) If i ever get my hands on this game, my character will end up more ropot than HR-V.

pidow
pidow

I may play or may not, time will tell!........

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

'Action role-playing games combine some of the best aspects of action games (like killing stuff) and role-playing games (like getting piles of loot and having a stronger character that gains experience levels)' Yea, right, the combination has also created some of the crappiest PC games since 1990, and as we all we now get is 'action-rpg's' or action-adventures' or action-something' games, any body looking for something other than 'action' has gone to console or retro gaming (when rpg's were rpgs and action games were action games, but you also had games like Railroad Tycoon, and Civilization, and Infocom text adventures, and platform games and educational games and..... !) it's little wonder that the only PC gamers left buying more than a couple PC games a year are action gamers, cos' the rest disappeared a long time ago! :(

pcgame_nerd1971
pcgame_nerd1971

I was sold at Chris Taylor, Gas Powered and Dungeon Siege. The characters were so much fun to develop, the plot line was so-so, but that did not keep me glued to my seat waiting for that next cool drop and interesting exp/skill leveing. This new universe is much less played out than the D&D one, and the plot line looks like it holds lots of interesting twist! Can't wait!

hoguejp
hoguejp

Don't know about this one.

Humorguy_basic
Humorguy_basic

The one sentence that worried me was when it was said that you can't have a good story in a long game, and that by implication, this game will be a short one, like all games seem to be getting! It's funny how the 30-45 hour games of the 90's we're very entertaining and sold by the bucket load for the

Ahurigaan
Ahurigaan

Graphics,Graphics,Graphics.Thats all Games are about these Day, just a Pretty Picture for the Retarded Children to gaze at in awe.All I need is a Good Story and Good Gameplay and Ill Play it.If Gas Powered Games does this Ill Buy it, though If this is just a Dungeon Siege Game set in Space, no, but Graphics arent everything, only apart of a Greater Thing that Makes a Game Good.

42316
42316

Looking forward to it.......

Kubilius
Kubilius

Erm...graphics looks really bad/outdated/overcolored/untasteful and storyline super CheeSy... or is it just me? Gas Powered Games looked more serious to me.

vs_world
vs_world

looks nice i will wait for full review

tm4917
tm4917

"CT: We learned that longer games aren't as good as games that have a strong focus on character and story" I hope it doesn't mean that they'll do about 15 hours of game-play with the greatest story ever and call it a game like a lot of companies out there.

DryvBy2
DryvBy2

Man, you people talking about Mass Effect are retards. Mass Effect is nothing like this game. This is a Diablo-style hack-n-slash, and with it not coming out for over a year, you don't honestly think they're going to have the same graphics engine, do you?

pidow
pidow

I want action, action and more action. This game I may play or may not, only time will tell.

rolmopsis
rolmopsis

Well story and main question is very cool (as it sounds now) XD I'm looking forward to it ...

belboz
belboz

Reminds me somewhat of KOTOR, and like many else, I am disappointed by the graphics. But in my experience, 3rd person (as this game is) generally has poorer graphics than 1st person. Perhaps if the game is zoomed further in, things will look better.

Deimos_06
Deimos_06

Meh i'm tired of all these action rpg's and diablo wanna be's. What's happened to the Turn-Based rpg? Seems all developers want is action action action. Give me a good turn-based rpg please!

football_legend
football_legend

Sorry.. Mass Effect ownz this inside out. Graphics are like 2000?..wtf?

Josepiphus
Josepiphus

Those screenshots are atrocious. Trailer was pretty cool though.... We'll have to wiat and see.

Tremere1
Tremere1

He says story telling in Dungeon Siege was bad. I haven't played Dungeon Siege and Legends Of Arranna (or something), but the story telling in Dungeon Siege 2 was really good, although I quit playing Broken Worlds, since it was a little boring.

veveqa
veveqa

Hardly the first action-RPG set in space, they've been around since Shadow Worlds on the Atari ST/Amiga. Sadly they've mostly been awful since then. The whole "finding bits" and then using them to upgrade yourself and your equipment was present in that game, too, further diminishing any vague hint of originality this might have. Only in Shadow Worlds, you had a choice of totally awesome looking characters with extremely cool backstories and with a wonderful visual style, and here we have a black-haired nerd called Seth (apparently in the future they don't have surnames?), who is no doubt about as interesting as the farmer from the original Dungeon Siege, and a robot who he no doubt refers to as "Harvey" (HR-V). Sounds like a particularly bad 1980s sci-fi movie to me. I sincerely hope it's a good game, as I'd love to play a game of this genre which was actually decent - but there hasn't been one since Shadow Worlds, and even that was only "mostly" as good as it's fantasy predecessor (Shadowlands), so my hopes are pretty low. Their best chance of success is definately in releasing a very fun demo, if they've actually got a good game hiding in that mass of cliches and unexciting characters/themes. EchoEcho - This story is much older than Too Human and/or Mass Effect, both of which are essentially cribbing from early 1980s cyberpunk themes and the latter is combining them with stuff like Vernor Vinge's "A Fire Upon the Deep" and other later-day hard SF. So you certainly can't accuse it of ripping them off. They're all "ripping off" (if we want to use that term) far older source material.

EchoEcho
EchoEcho

I don't want to make horrible assumptions, but the story seems like a mash-up of Mass Effect and Too Human. Still, I'm not going to hold that against it -- and I'm sure the differences will make themselves more apparent once we have more info. Worth keeping an eye on, I suppose.

arc_salvo
arc_salvo

Beats another generic Fantasy hack and slash. Heck, almost mmo out there is an action-rpg, but a really slow one that makes you move around reaaallly slooowly. I just wish they'd called it something more catchy and less awkward sounding, like "Planet Siege" or "Station Siege" or anything besides well... "Space Siege".

zekaimeda
zekaimeda

This might be good. After all Dungeon siege was a great game

Fraek
Fraek

I like the fact that they'll be focusing on creating an intriguing character rather than allowing you to create 50,000 much less intriguing ones. When a game becomes too much about character development it often turns into a grindfest, and I for one certainly don't want that. That being said, the ability to pick and choose from a few upgrade along the way is a nice feature. You will be assimilated!

gordong
gordong

Yep you're right "It was a big deal to move away from the standard, make-your-own character system and create a character to tell a story about", wrong direction. It sounds wrong and I wont buy it. Nice trailer but not wasting my money....

Gladestone1
Gladestone1

Im looking foward to some thing new...Some thing different...A space rpg diablo style...Sounds good..Dont yall always cry why cant the devs develope some thing different... Well hes not trying to make a mass effect...Mass effect isnt a diablo style rpg so dont try comparing it... Sounds like fun to me...Ill give it a go..Plus ive liked all his games so far...

never-named
never-named

The visuals seem very sub-par, if Gas Powered wants to stay in the same level, let alone compete, with Mass Effect they should immediately work on improving the graphics.

360wishlist
360wishlist

comparable to Mass Effect? Space siege LOOKS no where near as good as Mass Effect, but maybe it will PLAY better than it...we'll see...we'll see

Codename_MnM
Codename_MnM

I hope Space Siege will be comparable to Mass Effect.

Makhdoom82
Makhdoom82

Nice RPG game but too bad i'm not and RPG fan !!!

catsimboy
catsimboy

It sounds like a lot of commentors didn't even bother reading the article. The point of it was that they've learned from their experiences with Dungeon Siege and are actually injecting more storyline and involvement into this game, so it's hardly just going to be Dungeon Siege with sci-fi models and locales.

SCPsyWarrior
SCPsyWarrior

I've been dying for a decent new Sci-Fi RPG for the PC ever since the KOTOR series, but I'm just not convinced by this at this stage. However, GPG made a good job of Supreme Commander so I'm more than happy to wait and see. 'Tis early days yet, after all...

Mercenary19
Mercenary19

Too early to tell whether it will be a good game. But so far it seems like a solid game, but nothing special.

HALOISTHEBEST26
HALOISTHEBEST26

this is no where close to being as good as mass effect, or final fantasy, or oblivion

ethanas
ethanas

Actually this game just don't have the wow factor for me. Dungeon Siege 1 and 2 was a fun weekend game but it get boring real fast, this game seems just a reharsh of it. Graphically, from the screen shots it really didn't look all that good too. Oh well. We can at least look forward to Hellgate: London instead aye?

sonicare
sonicare

Looks like he may be addressing the biggest fault of dungeon siege which was it's mediocre storyline and presentation. Other than that, the game was very enjoyable and addicting. Certainly similar to diablo but it also has its own unique personality.

au25
au25

i dont know guys, dungeon siege was all about follow one single route, weapons monsters gold dungeon, follower, town, different enviroment and then all over again! BORRING this is no rpg just hack and slash, however there is a mod copperhead which makes the game exactly like this one!, nohing special, how about an open endend full 1st/3rd person sci fi action rpg? hmm sound better!

greystone227
greystone227

Dungeon Siege in space with a better story and customizable robot companion... That's good enough for me.

uabanana
uabanana

Looks pretty sweet. May pick it up if it gets good reviews.

liffaman
liffaman

it looks like ... . BEEP!!!!!!