Oblivion and Morrowind lead designers Ken Rolston and Mark Nelson have opened up and talked about their current RPG project in development at Rise of Nations studio Big Huge Games.
The plan initially, the pair said, was to do a massive-scale game with lots of genre-bending mechanics, playing to Big Huge Games' strategy background. But they soon ran into problems and had to have a rethink.
"We were trying to make an RPG that was going to have some strategy in it because Big Huge Games was founded on RTS, and had some of this Dynasty Warriors big battle simulation going on," said Nelson, according to IGN.
"This was never going to work, you can't make three games at the same time. It was trying to be too much and it was never going to be true to its own identity. We had to make these mid-stream revisions in order to get the game moving forward."
Nelson went on to say that even a streamlined, linear approach soon faltered under scrutiny. In the end, the duo decided it would be better to assess what the team was good at and go from there.
"I think we made a mistake trying to make an RPG-light. We had this idea that we could strip out all this stuff that isn't necessary for the player to see; he doesn't need to see all those numbers on the screen, he doesn't need to see every stack on his piece of armour, every stack on his weapon," said Nelson.
"We failed to remember that RPG players like that stuff. That's the stuff that makes RPGs kind of rich, kind of fun. I want to look at those stupid numbers. Yes, they clutter up the screen, and I know it offends the artists and it offends the UI guys: they say, 'Do we have to put so much information on there?' Yeah, we do."
Rolston added: "We went back to doing what we knew how to do."
THQ announced the Big Huge Games RPG back in 2007, but so far actual details have been scarce. Rolston and Nelson, however, are sticking by their mantra of trying to create something new for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.
The publisher told us it is currently looking to sell the studio, too, but neither it nor Rolston or Nelson cared to elaborate.