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Rahelron

Chris Avellone's thoughts before starting the Project Eternity's Kickstarter

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DISCLAIMER: THIS IS JUST A DISCUSSION POST, IT'S NOT MEANT TO DICTATE DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES TO THE GUYS @ OBSIDIAN.

 

This is an article that appeared on Kotaku abouth three months ago (july 25, 2012). I think it gives some insight about the development process behind Project Eternity.

 

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Chris Avellone Teases Planescape: Torment Successor

 

Like its nameless protagonist, Planescape: Torment might come back from the dead.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview posted today, Obsidian co-founder and Planescape: Torment creator Chris Avellone said he's "very tempted" to start a Kickstarter to revive his beloved classic role-playing game. Although he'd ditch the D&D—and maybe even the setting, too.

"I think the challenges we've spoken about would all have to be considered and to be honest I don't know if I'd want to do it as a Planescape game - I think a better approach would be to ignore the D&D mechanics and respect what Planescape was trying to do and what the game did and see if you can do what Fallout did when it became the spiritual successor to Wasteland," he said.

"I think if you made a game using some of the concepts of Planescape, the metaphysical ideas and the plane travel, without using the D&D mechanics, you could actually come up with a much better game. With Torment, I'd argue that the D&D base actually, in places, got in the way of the experience. It was a lot harder to make a game with those ideas in it with D&D mechanics. So much that we had to break a lot of them. We had to ignore certain spells, change up the class mechanic so that you can switch at any time you like by remembering abilities.

"That was stuff that D&D didn't allow for, it was [too] restraining in some respects. If we did do a spiritual successor, then I don't know if we'd use the Planescape licence or attach the mechanics, perhaps something that has a different feel to Torment."

If we get characters as awesome as Morte the talking skull, I'm cool with whatever.

 

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What I want to ask you is: would you like to see the main story elements of Planescape Torment inported into Project Eternity?

I mean: to me Planescape was one of the best RPG ever because of its features. I'm talking about the user interface, the possibility to "use objects", the factions system, the variable alignment system, the way stats were used (If you were very intelligent or very stupid you had different dialogue options) and so on.

What I didn't like was the PT's narrative thematics and setting. It was a really sad story, set in a strange, violent and unforgiving world that I didn't particularly enjoy. It's just a personal opinion of course, but I think that setting up an entire saga upon those themes would end up being pretty harsh. Reading the article I noticed that what Chris Avellone wants to keep of Planescape Torment are some elements of the plot and the main themes of the setting. He talks about ditching the D&D mechanics and the Planescape setting to better deliver on those themes.

 

What are your thoughts about that? Would you enjoy or hate if PE story was a sad and introspective experience and the classical fantasy themes were set to a bare minimum? I mean: I think that everyone here is pretty sick of playing the hero and of slaughtering hordes of monster just because they are bad. I want Project Eternity to be a more complex story with dark and even sad chapters. But do you think that centering the story around the main character's sorrows is the right think to do? (of coure if it's what the developers are planning to do... we don't know much about that).

Edited by Rahelron

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I agree. I think that A Great Story like PST can not happened in Now‘s PE. Because it's too open for storytelling, and too hard to set an amazing storyline.

But if I have the right to choose. I will say another Great story is better.

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however they decide to creat what foundation, setting, tone, and structure of the game, I have faith that no matter how it turns out weither its a depressing story or a barbaric story of hack and slash, it will be of the highest quality.

Remember this is a rpg that they wanted to creat, not someone telling them to creat it, but something they wanted to do. With that motivation behind the project, I expect that it will go higher than our realist expectataions.

 

So to answer ur question, I dont really care one way or another. If its an intizing story, then I will enjoy it.

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I think that more of a spiritual successor would be what they aim for now, if anything.

 

Given the discussions, and reveals it feels like they want this to be a very clearly unique setting, does that allow for cross conceptual design? Sure.

 

I feel that before the kickstarter, a lot of the people at obsidian wanted to make a cRPG, be it a PST successor, IWD, BG, etc etc etc, and likely the amalgamation of ideas and direction led to a decision that it would be best to simply create a new world, probably borrowing on facets of many others of theirs, or favorites.

 

As they said, there will be things unique, and new, and different for PE, but at the end of the day it will be a cRPG, and with that style of game, comes certain styles of story telling, imo. We have, I would argue, some of the best, most talented writers, and story minds on this project. So either way I am excited!

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I loved Torment for a number of reasons: the strong emphasis on themes of memory and loss, the alien setting, the bizarre characters and ideas present in the world. For me, all of these elements came together in a way that I have never seen otherwise. Personally, I expect Project Eternity's world to be a more "normal" fantasy world, like the Forgotten Realms setting used in Baldur's Gate, rather than something like the Planescape setting. However, I would be happy if any of those elements from Torment could find their way into the game. I would particularly like the introspective quality to be at the forefront. I also think it is important to have interesting, intelligent, varied, and multifaceted dialogue, but I am fairly confident that we will see that regardless of other aspects of game design.

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That's the article I had seen around August, I think. It's semi-responsible for me keeping my eyes open for new projects, and the quick pledge for PE. So I think it's safe to say that, yes, I want elements from PST in the game. Though I can do without removing charring and replacing parts of my character's body. :grin:

Edited by kenup

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Given that the setup for the game is some soul-shattering (apparently literally) loss suffered by the main character, I suspect that there will be plenty of introspection...


"If we are alone in the universe, it sure seems like an awful waste of space"

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Answers are here

 

http://kotaku.com/5935737/the-guy-who-made-planescape-torment-tells-us-what-a-spiritual-successor-would-look-like

 

 

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we've had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.

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Answers are here

 

http://kotaku.com/59...would-look-like

 

 

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we've had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.

 

So sad, for me.

I still believe these amazing guys can make a epic game.

But so sad. I backed it for the name of PST.

Never mind~

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I think tragic elements in a story make me feel a lot more engaged in a story (be that a movie, a book, or a game). Does that mean that PE should lift elements from Torment whole cloth? No I don't think so; Torment was a very sort of self-contained story arc, I'm not sure there's much there to mine, aside from the themes of memory loss, self-discovery and the "Stranger in a Strange Land" motif.

 

Regardless, given the designer talent already committed to working on the game I'm pretty confident that whatever story they concoct, it will be well written, deep, and engaging. That's about all I can ask for.

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This is what you should want from the game: story quality of PS:T, world reactivity of Arcanum, world building of the old Elder Scrolls (peyote is a must), combat quality of ToEE, puzzles of CSB, strength of 20 men and a liver that can drink a platoon of soldiers under the table.

 

It won't be there but one can dream.

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Say no to popamole!

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Answers are here

 

http://kotaku.com/59...would-look-like

 

 

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we've had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.

 

This is a good thing. As much as I loved PS:T this game should do its own thing. This project, at least for me, was always presented as the a game from the minds that brought you PST and BG. So I always saw it as a studio with the skills and know-how to bring us another amazing RPG without the need to follow in the footsteps of any of their previous games. I want to explore a setting with new themes when it comes to PE.

 

Now I would like to see an indirect sequel to PS:T but even then the most I'd want to be kept from PS:T is the setting and maybe a nameless one cameo. I wouldn't even want the story to strictly move along those same themes because we already have a great RPG that does that. One that many of us have played more than a few times. So rather than have more of the same I'd much rather it explore other themes only with equal care that the subjects in PST were treated.


K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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Though, I have actually taken the article as an indication that he might do a plane-jumping universe that exists beside the world of P:E.

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Yeah, would be interesting to see if they make a spiritual sequel in the future but PE won't be that, it'll be a combination of the big IE games which is a very different (although good) thing. And my first reaction on seeing the PE kickstarter with the setting and everything was that they had decided to let everyone do their thing which is very good for a company :). Hopefully there will be space in the future for a small PS:T like project but atm it will be very exciting to see how PE fares!

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I think what we're hearing from Avellone in that early quote -- which I do remember reading and becoming quite excited about -- is the birth of an idea. Based on everything I've seen about Project Eternity, this initiative already has moved on from PST. We're looking at a completely new story, a completely new world, and PE is very much going to be its own thing.

 

It should be strongly infuenced by PST, and other notable IE games, but it will also be something entirely new.


"Now to find a home for my other staff."
My Project Eternity Interview with Adam Brennecke

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Answers are here

 

http://kotaku.com/59...would-look-like

 

 

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we've had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.

 

Thank you very much. You highlighted some very useful piece of information!

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Answers are here

 

http://kotaku.com/59...would-look-like

 

 

Chris Avellone: [Game development studio] Obsidian has talked about Kickstarter for some time. Not to put myself or Planescape down, but the range of ideas we've had internally for a KS are, IMO, better than doing a spiritual successor to Torment, and it involves more of the powerhouses in the studio rather than turning me into the Nameless One.

 

This was great to read. Thanks. I feel that leaving it in the hands of the team will lead to them fulfilling their own dreams as to what this game should be about. These guys are talented and creative as hell. We all know this. Now, for the first time ever, they can create something without constraints. No intrusive publishers or timeframes. I really hope the fans allow them to do their thing and not try and force their hand like the publishers have done. I know they want fan input but I say that whatever this team creates will be something heartfelt, deep and completely satisfying.

Imagine, before planescape torment was released, if the fans forced the hands of chris and co. to create something more like baldurs gate. Everyone would have missed out on the spectacular novelty of that awesome game. Just saying, from what I'm hearing, some fans want repetition instead of something new and chris and crew seem to be wanting something different. These guys are more than just good at doing something different. Leave them to it.

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I mean: to me Planescape was one of the best RPG ever because of its features. I'm talking about the user interface, the possibility to "use objects", the factions system, the variable alignment system, the way stats were used (If you were very intelligent or very stupid you had different dialogue options) and so on.

What I didn't like was the PT's narrative thematics and setting. It was a really sad story, set in a strange, violent and unforgiving world that I didn't particularly enjoy.

I think the exact opposite. User interface was similar in other IE games (actually the radial menu made it the worst of the bunch), same for using objects, factions system was nice but surely not what made the game what it was (and every faction background was setting-based), and stat-based dialogue is a landmark of the RPG genre (or perhaps more accurately, a base requirement to be able to be classified in the genre).

 

What made Planescape great besides the writing, was the setting. The world of Planescape practically lends itself to the story (if it didn't motivate it in the first place). Demons just walking the streets as regular bystanders next to humans, telepatic-levitating workers, portals appearing anywhere, pure belief (not merely religion-based) directly afecting the world --all of the setting's lore lent itself to Avellone's crusade against the clichés of the genre. I think there's no way he could've gotten away with it so brilliantly if the game's focal point happened in Waterdeep or another main city of the Forgotten Realms.

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What I'd like to see is more the approach to the story than the elements of it. What made Torment great was the detail and effort spent to make the world and characters real and believable. Which for a world as weird as planescape is quite an achievement. And while P:E is not going to be the spiritual successor to Torment, I'm pretty sure that Avellone and the other writers are going to approach this story and these characters with the same honesty and depth that made Torment so good.

 

This time there are no limitations from any license or publisher, so they will have even more freedom to deal with issues they deem central to the themes central to this game. So I'd rather see them using this freedom to develop new themes than rehashing ones already done before, however much I liked them the first time. The one aspect I'd like to take from Torment is the personal story hook, but luckily that is already in the cards, so I'm satisfied. To clarify, I don't mind if we end up saving the world in the game or in an expansion or sequel, but for it to matter, I have to get to know the world first and that is best achieved by a personal story.


And yes, I know my profile picture is blasphemy on this forum, but I didn't have the audacity to use The Nameless One.

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