New information about Sierra Studio and Troika's upcoming RPG, Arcanum, came to light in a chat hosted by Terra-Arcanum. Arcanum is set in a fantasy world in the midst of an industrial revolution; citizens, from orcs to elves to humans, have begun to forget about magic and other fantastic notions and to embrace the new steam-driven technology.
Arcanum's development team answered numerous questions relating to the open-endedness of their game. Main story-arcs have multiple solutions and all characters are allowed access to the entire world map, regardless of their status as a techie or a mage. Leonard Boyarsky, art director, and designer stated that, even though it would be difficult, one could even get through the game without killing, choosing to bully or trick characters out of their loot without resorting to murder or petty thievery. Depending on which of the 20 fully-voiced NPC followers with whom one allies, one's opportunities may become more open or more limited. Complex side-quests, complete with political and religious intrigue, were also mentioned as more linear extras for those who wish to explore more of Arcanum's world. With numerous quests to complete and skills to learn, Troika Games hopes to create an RPG with over 100 hours of gameplay (Steve Moret, Troika programmer, joked that he had yet to finish the game).
In terms of the multiplayer aspect, Troika hopes to create both an intriguing single-player story and an equally amazing multiplayer scenario. The team hinted at a possible limited release of a multiplayer module at select retailers and a rumor that some Troika designers hoped to be given a chance to work on mods of their own. If waiting is an issue, players can easily design their own Arcanum mods. By saving one's single-player game, characters can be ported into a multiplayer game, bringing their skills, though not their items into the new scenario. Responding to questions about character and weapon balance, the team expressed their opinion that the game's balance is quite good, giving no race, skill, firearm, or melee weapon an unfair advantage over others.
Responding to a pre-release build of the game leaked to the public, Troika remained upbeat, joking about the horrible fate that comes to pirates and promising that the final version would be superior to the leaked copy. Criticisms of the game's graphics were also met with optimism, Boyarsky stating that the graphics of later levels should please the most vocal graphics-hound.
Troika looks forward to the final weeks before the game's August 24th release and believes that they have created a game that may even exceed the success of their classic RPG, Fallout.