Last week’s news that Sword Coast Legends was in development came a month after the new Baldur’s Gate announcement, which means it’s a fairly good time to be a Dungeons & Dragons fan. Throw Pillars of Eternity‘s March release into the mix and you can easily see why.
The news gets even better today, with a developer interview that asked n-Space CEO Dan O’Leary a few questions concerning the development of Sword Coast Legends. Of particular interest was Dan’s not-so-subtle declarations of his team’s pedigree; Which is what makes me believe they’ll do something truly special with this license.
Tell us more about the talent you have brought on board for this new RPG project. Who have you hired and why?
I first brought on Dan Tudge as president over two years ago. Dan was the director of Dragon Age: Origins, but our paths had first crossed prior to that when he was running his own development studio and we were both working for Nintendo. I hired Dan to fill shoes left empty in 2008 and to help pivot the company. Even then we were talking about this project, which was a great fit for his experience and passion.
In turn, Dan brought in Ross Gardner and Jay Turner, both BioWare vets and prior members of the DA:O team. Ross came on as the project’s technical director, leveraging over 13 years of experience at BioWare on Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights and The Old Republic, among others.
Jay is the narrative director for Sword Coast Legends. While at BioWare, he wrote for several titles including Dragon Age: Origins, Jade Empire and the Mass Effect series, before moving to EA where he wrote for Dead Space 3 among others. Together with n-Space’s proven team of veteran developers, it is a formidable combination.
With the new talent adding their RPG experience, how will this team help attract fans of previous Forgotten Realms games?
When I tell you that Jon Irenicus from Baldur’s Gate II was based on the D&D character campaigned by the Sword Coast Legends’ technical director… or that the director of Dragon Age: Origins is heading up the team… These things lend a certain degree of instant credibility to the team and our game.But that sort of thing is only enough to get your attention. What really matters is what the fans see when they look at what we’re doing, or hear about it from their friends. The care taken in bringing the spirit of Dungeons & Dragons and old-school RPG sensibilities to their PC in a way that lets them play with their friends, and create a story with their DM… that will attract the fans.
How else will you ensure Sword Coast Legends stands toe-to-toe with other games set in the Forgotten Realms universe?
At n-Space, we are all passionate fans when it comes to D&D and the Forgotten Realms, and that passion drives a deep understanding of the brand. The team is committed to authentically recreating the Forgotten Realms setting, its characters and stories, myths and legends to deliver a game that stands tall in a long line of classic D&D titles.Like many on the team, Sword Coast Legends is a game that I have dreamed of since I was first introduced to D&D. I still vividly remember the moment I learned that skeletons take more damage from blunt weapons than edged. That experience in sixth grade framed my entire understanding of games as rule systems and kickstarted a lifetime of playing and making them. This project brings me full-circle, nearly 30 years later. I speak for the entire team here at n-Space when I say that our goal for Sword Coast Legends is to provide its players with life-long memories of fun-filled experiences.
Sword Coast Legends, a joint collaboration between n-Space and Digital Extremes, will hit some time this year if all goes well.