The release of dungeon crawling RPG "Icewind Dale" might have been over-shadowed by the arrival of million-selling "Diablo II", but whilst Blizzard's latest hit took years to produce, Icewind Dale was amazingly developed in just a year, based on the Infinity Engine which powered "Baldur's Gate". According to designer J.E. Sawyer, speaking in an interview with RPG Vault, "the objective was to make a fast-paced, linear, AD&D dungeon romp that focused on rapid character advancement and combat".
"This cuts down on development time and the amount of time it needs to spend in QA", he explained. "Linear games have fewer problems with internal contradiction than non-linear games, and they're just easier to concept and develop. Of course, the drawback is that some gamers complain because the game doesn't give them the freedom that they want."
The game might have been easier to beta test, but it still had it's fair share of problems early in its development, and Sawyer describes one amusing bug which afflicted the normally peaceful town of Easthaven. "There was a great bug in Easthaven where everyone would start attacking each other for no reason. Squirrels would attack kids, bar patrons would try to attack Grisella, and Everard and Accalia would bash each other's heads in. Another great bug in Easthaven was 'Santa Claus Hrothgar.' After Hrothgar got done talking to the party at the intro, he would walk straight west, right through the chimney and off of the screen."