Chris Avellone answers fan questions

Agent c January 9, 2012 User blog:Agent c

Hi Folks,

The man known to many as just "MCA", Mr Chris Avellone has answered some fan questions on Old World Blues... Here's a Snip

2. Do you just write the dialogue for the characters, or do you also get to help design the personalities and names of the NPCs? What aspects of the DLCs did you work on (like, the plot)? I know you're known for the DLCs, but are there any parts of the base game you did? Also, I saw in the credits that J.E. Sawyer did Honest Hearts, and you did the others. Why didn't you do Honest Hearts?

I do both, and I enjoy both. I love specific character narrative arcs, I like creating "emotional narrative moments" (the poor man's version of a visual vista using narrative and plot moments), and oddly enough, I like making backstories for inventory items and magic items (which I got to do a lot of back at Black Isle) - it's like telling micro-stories that help round out an item's purpose and place in the world.

In terms of workflow, sometimes I'll suggest a character or general set of characters to another designer ("hey, Travis, can you make a bunch of appliances like in Transmetropolitan to round out the Sink?" - then Travis Stout ran with them and made them his own), other times I'll design the full character and write the dialogue (Dead Money, the Think Tank). In Honest Hearts, Josh did both as well - Travis wrote Follows-Chalk and Waking Cloud, among others, and John Gonzalez (Creative Lead for New Vegas who worked on DLC2) took the Happy Trails Caravan and the well-received Survivalist journals, while Josh tackled Graham and Daniel (there were other characters as well).

As for the division of labor, if I recall, Josh wanted to do Honest Hearts, so he did (the theme/plot was all him), and that worked out well since we were leapfrogging DLC production at the time, so that allowed me to focus on DLC3 and then 4 while DLC2 was entering the homestretch.

What did/does Dr. Dala actually do research wise? And why does the Think Tank think "formography" is so repulsive? They all seem very sexually frustrated as it is, so why are they so against this indulgence?

I always saw Dala as a bizarre botanist, toxicologist, and physician/surgeon, but I left it vague because after a few hundred years, they gravitated all over the place, as evidenced by Dala's insane number of doctorates. As for "formography," the Think Tank believes that being a big brain in a tank is the highest form of evolution, since... well, it's what they are. How could that be anything more than the highest ladder of the evolutionary scale? The fact that ANYONE would be obsessed or achieve any sort of stimulation from regarding a PRIMITIVE human form is just repugnant. Bleh.

And imo, the only sexually frustrated members of the Think Tank is really Dala, 8 attends to himself. Somehow. Sonically.

Dr. 0 seems very incompetent with machines... but yet he managed to build Muggy, who while is a psychological disaster, is able to perform the task he was created to do. Is his lack of skill perhaps due to the memory erasing? I know that might sound like a pointless question, but he does seem very confident in the fact that he is a "zero" and is basically useless, and I was curious if this was a mere side effect of more recent events.

0 had his moments - if his greatest creation is a tiny janitor bot that can only collect dishes, that feels in-character to me. Especially considering how far he missed his original target by (figure out what makes Securitrons tick and make them better - whoops!).

And lastly, what is Dr. Klein's true purpose? All he seems to do now is be the main voice, and overall boss for the Think Tank. What was his line of study? And what did he do that made him take place as "leader"?

Klein served the role of the "stuffy Dean of a college." He's the head lab manager, who is the voice of authority and the threat - (he's one of the more sane members and ones able to act with some level of authority). If he wasn't there, I don't think the Think Tank would have much of a sense of menace, and that's Klein's story role - to be a big, stuffy, and potentially dangerous jerk. That was my sole goal with him - considering how bat**** crazy the others are, I needed someone with a slightly level head.

You can read more on this, and MCA's other thoughts on his blog.

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