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8 companions: is it enough?

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I think someone posted somewhere that a companion can take three months to write? I can't provide a link because I don't remember where I saw it. But if that's true, eight companions will eat up two years... or one year each if they have two writers. That doesn't leave them a lot of time for other stuff. However, assuming that three months thing is accurate, does it really mean that they are focusing on nothing but that one character for that time period, or they might switch between projects somewhat? If it were me, I'd do the latter to help maintain interest, but then again, I'm just a hobbyist, so maybe that's not the best method.

 

Yeah, I posted the interview quote in the current romance thread. Basically, it takes Avellone 2-3 months to write a companion with depth, and he's a fast writer. Ziets is on board now, but we don't know his exact role yet in relation to world-building and writing. If they split the companions to 4 each and ignoring any additional romance content (but who knows how fast Ziets writes), that'd be a minimum 8 months to 12 months total. 8 months is quite doable for the timeframe, but honestly I'd rather have more depth if we only have 8 companions...

 

And then there's narrative and quest writing, all the NPC stuff--maybe they won't be on other projects, but there sure is a lot of other writing to be done. I have no idea if they'll hire more writers. So long as Avellone signs off on stuff, I guess I'd be okay with that.


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I think 8 is a good start. Obsidian has so much stuff to get done for this game, more companions would probably result in other areas of the game not getting their full attention and detail. Also, there's an expansion coming which might offer a chance for more companions. There could conceivably even be DLC offering companion options. What we get on day 1 is not necessarily all we'll ever get! :)

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New Vegas offered 8 companions and New Vegas is teh Jesus of vidya gaems.

New Vegas didn't have 5 open companion slots. Neither did Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Jade Empire...

 

Just going to chime in with everyone else: MotB had just 5 companions (Ammon Jerro doesn't really count) and I wouldn't exchange any one of them for the 22 running gags BG1 had for NPCs.

...or either of Nevewinter Nights games. Not to mention that MotB was a relatively short expansion pack or that One-of-Many was, basically, three characters in one. So it had flexibility in party composition proportional to the number open companion slots.

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I think a better example for 8 companions being a good number of party members is probably Dragon Age: Origins. It basically had those same 8 companions (and Dog, Dog is pointless anyway), and they were fleshed out well enough. And no voiced dialogue would constrain PE developers too.

 

Edit: forgot the "secret companion" and temporary ones. Number's still comparable, though.

Edited by lordgizka

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In terms of bulk companions, maybe. But the number you could take with you at a time was comparably lower. Honestly, I wouldn't mind something like Storn of the Zehir - where you start with three companions, and can take a feat to increase that. I don't know that it should be charisma locked - maybe a combination of experience, charisma and some leader-like skills/quests.

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i think 8 is enogh but +1 or +2 more would be nice

maybe not even as deep as others

maybe as animal companions even

 

i always wanted a giant mantis or a panzer bug as a pet

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I like how the Arcanum companions worked, with the companions having alignments to light or dark, with your choices effecting how they like you, they will even change their stat investments a bit according to your choices.

 

The only problem with them is that they eventually got overpowered to the point that you did nothing during combat.

 

Also on another note I loved how the persuasion worked in Arcanum, where it just increased the dialogue options (with no % chance of success shown, that just pisses me off) leaving the player to figure out what the best choices are

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8 seems fine to me. A little bit of variety but not too much. I feel if you have too many then you feel like your missing out on companion discussions and things that can go on with different combinations of companions. I personally get bogged down with trying out each different one to see which ones suit me better and advancing each individual "story-line" (if they have such a thing).

 

Plus with the Adventurer's House, it's more than just 8...

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Baldur's Gate had over twenty potential companions. Baldur's Gate 2 had 17. Shouldn't P:E have at least 10, to allow a couple of playthroughs with entirely different parties?

 

I think the variety of choices in party composition contributed greatly to BG series replayability. The fact that you could go through the same story with completely different set of characters, assembled by your own criteria, whether it's a class or alignment or, dunno, pants colour (Troup of six arcane spellcasters? Possible. Team Evil, that includes greedy dwarven berserker, scheming wizard and hot drow priestess? Possible. Merry band of treehugging hippy-druids and rangers? Possible... though only if you can fight the desire to strangle Jaheira in her sleep for the whole game :) ) was one of the best things about Baldur's Gate.

 

Baldur's Gate had way too many characters when you consider the number of doubling up with regards to NPC Classes, and they were not fleshed out, so not a great comparison, whilst Baldur's Gate 2 had some fantastic and memorable characters, there was some really glaring deficiencies in terms of NPC Class.

 

If we are to get 8 NPCs for PE, and they are each of a different class, if you take into account the way PE is supposed to be handled in terms of alignment (ie no good or evil so to speak), then I would think there is great potential to have just enough companions to keep most people happy.

 

Plus there could be more on the way if you consider expansions.

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With Avellone and Ziets, I'm not worried that we'll see a dearth of well flashed out party members.


"Things are funny...are comedic, because they mix the real with the absurd." - Buzz Aldrin.

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With Avellone and Ziets, I'm not worried that we'll see a dearth of well flashed out party members.

 

Just to be annoying: I can quite well imagine their deaths. But I do have a good bit of confidence that they'll be in the game.

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8 is good. I hope you can officially recruit all of them and switch them in and out throughout the game, and get to learn all about them. I didn't really like the Baldurs Gate system where you had to choose 5 only and officially kick someone out if you wanted to try someone else.

 

I'd prefer the Neverwinter Nights 2 party system where they would wait at the Sunken Flagon and still technically be on your team even if you can only travel with a few at a time.

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8 is good. I hope you can officially recruit all of them and switch them in and out throughout the game, and get to learn all about them. I didn't really like the Baldurs Gate system where you had to choose 5 only and officially kick someone out if you wanted to try someone else.

 

I'd prefer the Neverwinter Nights 2 party system where they would wait at the Sunken Flagon and still technically be on your team even if you can only travel with a few at a time.

 

Sounds good to me. I'd like a combined mechanic though where you might be walking around with some companions, and stumble on to a hint that someone is after one of the other ones, and if you don't hurry back to their idle spot they disappear or somesuch - you know, some optional mechanic to try and get you to switch it out a bit. Nothing too forceful, but maybe if you don't go take care of them, they manage to free themselves, but are a bit less friendly with you as a result.

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So, is anyone else concerned about the lack of variety among the potential party members? It seems that 8 companions is a bit low number for 5 party slots.

 

I'm not! 8 companions seems like a sizeable number to me, especially if they're each going to be fleshed out to the level of, say, PS:T companions. Morte had me literally laughing out loud or shaking my head in admonishment so many times, and I was so moved by the entire Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon plot that I seriously considered getting a tattoo referencing it. :D

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Don't forget that we'll likely have about two dozen new NPCs modded into the game within a year, so... Make of that what you will. Heh.

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Baldur's Gate had over twenty potential companions. Baldur's Gate 2 had 17. Shouldn't P:E have at least 10, to allow a couple of playthroughs with entirely different parties?

 

I think the variety of choices in party composition contributed greatly to BG series replayability. The fact that you could go through the same story with completely different set of characters, assembled by your own criteria, whether it's a class or alignment or, dunno, pants colour (Troup of six arcane spellcasters? Possible. Team Evil, that includes greedy dwarven berserker, scheming wizard and hot drow priestess? Possible. Merry band of treehugging hippy-druids and rangers? Possible... though only if you can fight the desire to strangle Jaheira in her sleep for the whole game :) ) was one of the best things about Baldur's Gate.

 

Baldur's Gate had way too many characters when you consider the number of doubling up with regards to NPC Classes, and they were not fleshed out, so not a great comparison, whilst Baldur's Gate 2 had some fantastic and memorable characters, there was some really glaring deficiencies in terms of NPC Class.

 

If we are to get 8 NPCs for PE, and they are each of a different class, if you take into account the way PE is supposed to be handled in terms of alignment (ie no good or evil so to speak), then I would think there is great potential to have just enough companions to keep most people happy.

 

Plus there could be more on the way if you consider expansions.

 

Isn't them being different clases a weakness of the low numbers not a strength? What if I want a mage in my party but the only default mage in the game I find to be boring, a **** or to goody goody for me/my party? Then I have to go without a mage or use a basic adventure hall mage.

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Seems like the solution is to "pick 4" for one playthrough and "recruit" someone of your choice from the Hall. Then, you do the same the next game. Or, you actually operate "under capacity", rather than having a full 6.


"1 is 1"

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Torment characters' value are their stories and the roles they play in the story of Nameless One, but they don't add much to the gameplay itself.

This is one thing that I strongly disagree with (though I know there are those that feel this way, but I wanted to make clear my view as well). The stories and "roles" in a "role" playing game ARE part of the "gameplay". In fact, in my eyes, they are the single most important part of the gameplay, far more so than any individual mechanics choice. Sure, the conversations and depth of companions may not affect the mechanics of the game much (although in the referenced PS:T those interactions were in fact such an important part of the mechanics of the game itself as well, that most guides even emphasized the effects of int/cha over str/dex at character creation...). But they certainly affect the GAMEPLAY drastically.

 

8 is fine as long as they are well written and likeable

I actually would love to see at least 1-2 companions that are NOT likeable, but that the player still wants to bring along in the party despite them being disliked...this adds even more to the potential dynamics amongst the party members. Yes again referencing Torment, but Ignus was definitely not very "likeable" but many many people chose to "put up with this" to bring him along, and it could have some very serious effects on your game if/when you did...


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So, is anyone else concerned about the lack of variety among the potential party members? It seems that 8 companions is a bit low number for 5 party slots.

 

Granted, it seems that for party memebrs Obsidian is taking Planescape/MotB route (potential companions are fewer in number, but are much more fleshed out and involved in the main plot). Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for the "quality over quantity" approach, but 8 just seems a bit too low. Baldur's Gate had over twenty potential companions. Baldur's Gate 2 had 17. Shouldn't P:E have at least 10, to allow a couple of playthroughs with entirely different parties?

 

I think the variety of choices in party composition contributed greatly to BG series replayability. The fact that you could go through the same story with completely different set of characters, assembled by your own criteria, whether it's a class or alignment or, dunno, pants colour (Troup of six arcane spellcasters? Possible. Team Evil, that includes greedy dwarven berserker, scheming wizard and hot drow priestess? Possible. Merry band of treehugging hippy-druids and rangers? Possible... though only if you can fight the desire to strangle Jaheira in her sleep for the whole game :) ) was one of the best things about Baldur's Gate.

 

PS: Before anyone brings up Adventurer's Hall: while I appreciate the possibilities is brings to the game, I don't really consider player generated IWD-style faceless party members without dialogue and backstory companions in a "true" sense.

 

8 companions and you can use 5, that's a huge number. unless you truly want an army then maybe you should go for an RTS instead, just kidding. I'm worried about having a bunch of over powered team (the avengers-ish team) to fight a horde of monsters.... one thing that i was disapointed with the last few RPGs are the lack of true sandox box. Baldur's gate seires brought some of that, that's why it's so awesome to play.

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Drakxii has a point, but to be honest I'd like to see that countered somewhat by influence from charname or somesuch. Greanted, changes of character should be within reason, but whether you compell a man to follow his desire for revenge or to put aside his anger, as an example. One of my favorite companions of all time was Raul in New Vegas. The fact that you could change his entire future (and in a way, the subtle course of the mojave's future) by encouraging him to regain his gun skills or instead become more of a mechanic was pretty cool.

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'Quality over quantity' ©

Same phrase over and over again. Yea, for sure, it's better to be rich and healthy, rather than poor and ill. Maybe than we should ask Obsidian to create only 1 companion with all that effort that they plan to put in 8 companions?! It will be (for sure) mega quality over quantity.

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No to experimentation!

No to fixing that is not broken!

No to changes for the sake of change!

Do not forget basis of Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment. Just put all your effort to story, fine-tuning and quality control.

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I'm happy with 8, but that probably does mean that I will play a class that isn't taken by one of the characters when I play the game.

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