Monday, September 2, 2013

Top 10 PC Game Developers - #7 Chris Avellone

Mr Planescape: Torment himself

Famous for: Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale series, Star Wars: KotoR II, NWN2, Alpha Protocol and Fallout: New Vegas
Affiliations: Black Isle Studios, Obsidian Entertainment

Chris Avellone initially started writing campaigns for Dungeons & Dragons-inspired fantasy RPGs before entering the video game industry in 1995 at Black Isle Studios/Interplay. His breakthrough game was the critically acclaimed Planescape: Torment which was released in 1999 and redefined what CRPGs were all about. The game remains one of the classic games of the genre and there's even a spiritual successor in the works called Torment: Tides of Numenera which gathered a decent $4 million in Kickstarter funding.

Avellone went on to design the Icewind Dale games before moving to Obsidian Entertainment where he worked on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights 2, Alpha Protocol and Fallout: New Vegas. Sure Obsidian Entertainment's games were buggy as hell, especially in the early days, but their strong narratives were a big selling point and it was mainly thanks to the work of people like Avellone.

Currently Avellone is working on Project Eternity – a successfully funded Kickstarter project that claims to be a spiritual successor to the Baldur's Gate series which should have D&D CRPG fans very happy indeed.

Avellone's ability to suck the player into the imaginative worlds he creates means he deserves his place on my list of Top 10 PC Game Developers. The CRPG genre would be sadly lacking without him and the contributions of his Black Isle and Obsidian Entertainment colleagues.

Next up at number 6, a man who was instrumental in the creation of a well loved company – a company which would become famous for their Real-Time Strategy games.

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