Former BioWare GM Says RPGs Are Due a Renaissance; He’s Trying a Multiplayer Spin Through SpatialOS

Aaryn Flynn

It was recently revealed that Aaryn Flynn, former BioWare General Manager, is leading up a new development studio at Improbable.

In an interview with PC Games Insider at GDC 2019, Flynn talked about roleplaying games being due for a renaissance. His own team is trying to do that in a multiplayer environment.

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We remain incredibly bullish about where RPGs can go and I think there's a surprising amount of opportunity there with SpatialOS and RPGs.

Roleplaying as a genre, I feel, is due for a renaissance. So many folks have maybe softened the edges of roleplaying a bit too much. There are so many teams who are doing experiences, like Larian, and I look to them for inspiration. I'm asking myself: 'How can you do that in a multiplayer situation? What kinds of things can you do there?'. We talk about that a lot. At the end of the day, we just want a bunch of players to have some fun and to do something they haven't done before. From there comes the success and everything else you want in this industry.

Aaryn Flynn then described in a bit more detail what the SpatialOS technology created by Improbable could do to deliver a great multiplayer RPG.

We've often talked about this and said that our favourite RPGs are ones that really embrace empowerment - you can say what you want to say, go where you want to go, make the choices that you want to make and really get back to role-playing. That's fundamentally a question of empowerment. It's hard to role play if you can't choose or do anything. What can we do with SpatialOS that would get us back to role-playing, to really compelling experiences that allowed you to roleplay? That's become something of our laser focus as we think about these things.

Scale is going to be a factor I think, but at the same time, I'm not sure we're chasing numbers for the sake of numbers. That's a different kind of endeavour. I propose we flip that around; the best role-playing games have always offered intimacy and a certain amount of relationships, right? Can SpatialOS do that with a relatively small group of people? Yeah, I think it can and there are things that SpatialOS can help us build that help forge relationships between players in a deeper, more meaningful way. We don't have all the answers yet. We've got a lot of work to do. But we're trying to think of the challenge that way. If ultimately those things become strong enough that player counts can go up and we can get more and more interesting things at larger player numbers, I'm all for that. That's certainly compatible. But at the same time, we really want to make sure we're getting true, empowered relationships down and working well first before we contemplate the scale for scale's sake.

It may be quite some time before this debut project from Improbable's in-house studio is released, but we'll make sure to update you on any noteworthy news or rumor. Stay tuned.

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