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Josh Sawyer on IGN Unfiltered


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#1
Infinitron

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Full episode tomorrow.
 

 
http://www.ign.com/a...-ign-unfiltered
 

PILLARS OF ETERNITY DIRECTOR GIVES DETAILS ON CANCELED ALIENS RPG – IGN UNFILTERED
“I think a lot of people couldn’t even comprehend it, which seems crazy to me,” says project director Josh Sawyer.
 
In early 2009, Sega announced that it was pulling the plug on a role-playing game based on Ridley Scott’s Aliens franchise. The game was being helmed by Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity developer Obsidian Entertainment, which laid off more than 20 employees shortly after the cancellation. In an exclusive interview for IGN Unfiltered, Obsidian mainstay Josh Sawyer (director on Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire and Fallout: New Vegas) has shared new details regarding the game and the reasons for its demise.
 
Pre-alpha footage of the game leaked back in early 2013, featuring a four-man squad searching through a dilapidated facility before being swarmed by the titular aliens. There’s also a bit of footage of the character creation menu. A 2010 report by Joystiq quotes Obsidian studio head Feargus Urquhart as saying “Oh, if you had come in and played any of the last builds we were working on, you would have said it was a finished game.”
 
“It did not play like a finished game,” says Sawyer, who came on as a lead designer for the game before eventually moving to project director. “There were a lot of problems with area development. We had some animation problems we were working through. There was a lot of cool stuff in it, but ultimately we weren’t building our areas at a fast enough pace and there were just some lingering problems.”
 
According to Sawyer, the footage that leaked back in 2013 was from a build of the game that was “one or two” milestones prior to the build Obsidian had when the game was canceled, something that Sawyer says saddened him.
 
“It was too little, too late honestly,” Sawyer says. “Even though I was really disappointed it got canceled, I get why it was canceled. I wasn’t like, ‘Whoa, where did this come from?’”
 
Part of the struggle in getting an Aliens role-playing game off the ground also included marketing the idea to players or executives who might not have thought the franchise would lend itself well to a more open-ended experience of an RPG rather than another genre.
 
“When it was announced that we were working on an Aliens role-playing game, I think a lot of people couldn’t even comprehend it, which seems crazy to me,” Sawyer says. “I can’t remember when we started working on it relative to Mass Effect, but sci-fi games as RPGs were not necessarily a super big thing outside of Mass Effect.”
 
For Sawyer, part of the Aliens franchise’s draw was its focus on the humans struggling to survive an encounter with the deadly xenomorph creatures, such as the original Nostromo crew of Alien or the ragtag space marines of the Aliens film.
 
“It’s about more than just Ripley. It’s about Ripley in the midst of a group of people and her emerging as this de facto leader, this person who has to help pull them through,” Sawyer says. “It’s about how people either fall apart or they rise up. Those are beautiful character arcs. For me, in a role-playing game, those are the great key relationships you can build. That’s what I wanted to emphasize in the Aliens game we were making.”
 
According to Sawyer, Obsidian’s hierarchy didn’t include project directors at the time, instead vying for discipline leads and one executive producer. Sawyer moved into a director role at the tail end of the project after it was clear that the team needed a person in charge of enforcing more difficult decisions. This would hopefully halt the indecision between sections of the team plaguing development.
 
“Obviously no one likes being overruled, but if our goal is to have a vision and direction to go in, [directors are] something we need,” Sawyer says.
 
For more details on the canceled Alien role-playing game, as well as a look behind the development of Fallout: New Vegas and future plans for Pillars of Eternity, make sure to check out the full episode of IGN Unfiltered tomorrow.


Edited by Infinitron, 25 June 2018 - 01:29 PM.

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#2
TT1

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Josh is still part of Obsidian?

#3
Ogi79

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Josh is still part of Obsidian?

What makes you think that he is not??    



#4
Wormerine

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Josh is still part of Obsidian?

What makes you think that he is not??
His honesty? :-D
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#5
Enoch

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Full interview is up.

 

http://www.ign.com/a...n-unfiltered-32


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#6
eimatshya

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Hmm... Josh is done with party-based, medieval fantasy for the short term. Hopefully that means his next project will be something else?



#7
Labadal

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My bet is that he will leave the company and try something else. It's my gut feeling.



#8
IndiraLightfoot

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I think he'll take a long hiatus, stay at Obsidian, and then try his hand at some spectacular new game.



#9
kanisatha

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I agree. I believe somewhere in that interview (or some other one) he specifically says he wants to take a year or so to focus on his job as design director for Obsidian while not working on any specific game. That doesn't sound like someone who wants to bail on the company.


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#10
the_dog_days

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.


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#11
E.RedMark

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well..I be happy if they make a sequel of ALIEN ISOLATION . :yes:



#12
GhostofAnakin

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.

 

It's been six years already since PoE1 was first concocted?



#13
the_dog_days

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.

 

It's been six years already since PoE1 was first concocted?

 

 

Kickstarted for POE1 went up on September 14, 2012.


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#14
GhostofAnakin

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Damn ... time flies.  Seems like just yesterday I made my pledge.


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#15
DiabolicallyRandom

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.

Not just PoE either, Tyranny as well, which was a similar styled game, albeit with a different take. So 6 years, 3 games, all "party based fantasy RPG.".

I would gather JS wants to work on something very different from that. Perhaps he is aching to work on something like First Person Fallout, Action-RPG, something singular character focused? Who knows but him. I would want a break too.


Edited by DiabolicallyRandom, 23 July 2018 - 10:56 AM.

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#16
hermamora

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.

Not just PoE either, Tyranny as well, which was a similar styled game, albeit with a different take. So 6 years, 3 games, all "party based fantasy RPG.".

I would gather JS wants to work on something very different from that. Perhaps he is aching to work on something like First Person Fallout, Action-RPG, something singular character focused? Who knows but him. I would want a break too.

 

Marcel Proust wrote his tasteless (sorry, I hate it wholeheartedly) In Search of Lost Time from 1913 till 1927. So it's not unusual for a writer to spend years on particular project. 



#17
algroth

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Anyone who's been working on Pillars for six years straight has earned a sabbatical.

Not just PoE either, Tyranny as well, which was a similar styled game, albeit with a different take. So 6 years, 3 games, all "party based fantasy RPG.".

I would gather JS wants to work on something very different from that. Perhaps he is aching to work on something like First Person Fallout, Action-RPG, something singular character focused? Who knows but him. I would want a break too.

 

Marcel Proust wrote his tasteless (sorry, I hate it wholeheartedly) In Search of Lost Time from 1913 till 1927. So it's not unusual for a writer to spend years on particular project. 

 

Marcel Proust is a bit of a statistical outlier considering the volume, intention and achievements of that particular work, but you are not wrong. Most filmmakers I've spoken to (as well as my personal experience thus far, I'll add) have stated that films tend to be a five-year endeavour from their conception and first draft to the actual end of production because of all the time spent working on the script, pitching the film to potential producers and investors, looking at credits and subsidies and so on, and of course the usual time it takes for a film from pre-production to its completion. If it's a franchise or, in TV's case, a series, you can imagine that work is even multiplied through the several films or seasons the same can take. Still it is well within reason to want a brief, however brief, break after any such endeavour. :grin:


Edited by algroth, 29 July 2018 - 02:04 AM.


#18
Amentep

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Proust also didn't have to deal with the fans pestering him about when the next part would come out like poor George R. R. Martin does. :p



#19
Gromnir

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Proust also didn't have to deal with the fans pestering him about when the next part would come out like poor George R. R. Martin does. :p

if is true fans did not pester, then we assume is in part 'cause proust were a machine, cranking out volumes every couple o' years.  there were one long gap 'tween volume 1 and volume 2 publishing, but weren't proust fault as book were ready for release, but pesky world conflict interrupted schedule.  george r.r. martin is, converse, doing his darndest to achieve harper lee status insofar as length 'tween volumes. 

 

james joyce efforts to get dubliners published as he wrote it has taken on almost mythic quality because is the exception rather than rule.  is kinda amazing how many great works by famous authors were actual serialized-- chapters were often released in periodicals with strict deadlines compelling the genius author to write faster if he wanted to be eating well next month. am suspecting dickens would experience a fit o' apoplexy if were explained to him how martin has been able to spread his efforts over many years and 'cross multiple media.

 

HA! Good Fun!



#20
Amentep

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If social media existed at the time, Proust's fans would probably complain through social media that he died before he completed his revision of the last three volumes of IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME and instead his brother had to complete them...

 

Then again, you're right that serialized authors would probably be bemused by the situation with Martin since they had to maintain steady (and in the case of the pulp authors, prodigious) amount of output to maintain their livelihoods. 






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