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aphotic

Good people of Obsidian, I don't want to save the world

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Will we be saving the world in Project Eternity? I hope not!

 

Looking at the thread about unique companions, I was reminded by two of the things I felt Dragon Age II -- for all its faults! -- had done well to have incorporated in its narrative design: Significant, plot-influencing companion characters, (Anders especially, and Varric) and a story in which the player does not, in fact, save the world. Especially the latter.

 

Oh, it's not that Obsidian can be accused of such needlessly grand narratives: Planescape: Torment, KOTOR 2, and to a lesser extent Fallout: NV were so stunning particularly because they were essentially games depicting personal journeys rather than a Bioware style epic, bombastic showdown.

 

So yeah, I don't really have a point to make, except this: With Dragon Age, BioWare had gamers save the world in the same game it introduced the universe to them (Origins), but took a more mature, self-contained step in the expansion (Awakening, with the Architect) and the next game. With Project Eternity, Obsidian will be introducing its own world to gamers in a similar vein, and maybe the temptation to put it in some kind of dire danger will be strong.

 

But... don't do that. Please? Induce wonder instead. Induce feelings of great mystery, induce unease, tension, implications, some big question marks for later installments. If you want to be more physical with your teasing, include some inaccesible landmasses with your world that will keep us guessing, maybe introduce other races that we don't know much about.

 

The principal difference between saving the world and not, I feel, is this. In the BioWare approach, the main source of conlfict is some externally imposed uncontrollable, unreasonable antagonistic power, like the Archdemon, Reapers in Mass Effect etc that, by definition of being externally imposed, unavoidably threatens the whole world. In Obsidian (and Black Isle, of course) games, the source of conflict is internal to the world or the characters themselves, and is born of their intents or interactions: Various factions power playing in F:NV, *cough* in KOTOR 2, and heck, I don't even need to describe how PS:T relates to this. Put simply, the externally imposed source of conflict leaves no room for any emotional reaction other than "epic heroics", while the opposing approach can access a wider gamut of feelings.

 

I realize this is pretty subjective. It's not at all my intent (or within my right) to tell Obsidian how to design their world or narratives. I just think this could be something to keep in mind. Thoughts? :)

Edited by aphotic
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No world-saving. Personal narrative. Avellone interview and one of the updates I can't remember. Edit: Missed the PST ref. :p

 

1UP: Some games make the player's character the savior of an entire world. Others focus on a relatively restrained, personal conflict. Does either approach interest you more personally? Can you talk about the scale of the story that you hope to tell this time around?

 

Avellone: I like personal conflicts with large repercussions waiting ominously in the wings. Even though Torment was a personal journey, for example, the nature of the character's affliction was something that impacted Planescape as a whole.

 

There we go. Update #3.

The player witnesses an extraordinary and horrific supernatural event that thrusts them into a unique and difficult circumstance. Burdened with the consequences of this event, the player has to investigate what has happened in order to free themselves from the restless forces that follow and haunt them wherever they go.
Edited by Ieo

The KS Collector's Edition does not include the Collector's Book.

Which game hook brought you to Project Eternity and interests you the most?

PE will not have co-op/multiplayer, console, or tablet support (sources): [0] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Write your own romance mods because there won't be any in PE.

"But what is an evil? Is it like water or like a hedgehog or night or lumpy?" -(Digger)

"Most o' you wanderers are but a quarter moon away from lunacy at the best o' times." -Alvanhendar (Baldur's Gate 1)

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I definitely like if our (the player character) actions end up affecting others, or a specific area/community from tyranny (or from goodness, if that's one's angle) etc, but yeah...I'd rather not see a "save the entire world from imminent destruction" type scenario.

 

I'm used to such plots from other games of course, and for me it's not a deal breaker or anything close to it, but it's always great when a game doesn't go that route with the story, for sure.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Well in one of the interviews with Chris Avellone during the kickstarter, he said that he was more interested in writing personal stories that revolve around the main character but have great consequences for the world around him or her (as we saw in Torment and the Sith Lords, for example), so that might indicate that they're taking such an approach to P:E's story. That said, Josh Sawyer and Adam Brennecke are the project leads, not Avellone, so they may want to take a different direction with the narrative. Time will tell.

 

*EDIT*

 

I had forgotten about the second quote that Ieo posted above. I guess that does in fact suggest a player centric plot.

Edited by eimatshya

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Yeah the tired old plot of Dragon Age 2, save the world from the evil artifact McGuffin and its big bad slave is to be avoided at all costs. This and the fact that the protagonist spent years doing nothing, and ignoring any of the obvious hints that were thrown in his path really destroyed any sense of narrative cohesion in the game. I sometimes felt that the game was suggesting that I cared about the strangers who were supposed to be my family, but as usual they were just shallow caricatures whom I couldn't even speak to and nothing to do with my character. This and the fact that the game went out of its way to invalidate every choice I made, served to leave me just playing by rote on easy until I threw in the towel at the end. I agree with you, Obsidian have never gone down that route and I don't see any reason why they would now.

 

I do think all of the characters should have been killable however, they were the weakest part of the whole game.

Edited by Nonek

Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Occasionally I feel like I'm the only person in the world** left who hasn't played the DA or ME series. They just never appealed to me enough to buy them. Wait, no, I did buy ME1 at some point, but it's still on my shelf.

 

 

 

**hyperbole, of course.... ;)


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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They're worth playing, they're good fun games that do exactly what they promise. I've never regretted my purchase of any of them, pound/dollar to time ratio they're certainly good value.


Quite an experience to live in misery isn't it? That's what it is to be married with children.

I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

Tea for the teapot!

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Yes, save the world scenarios don't leave you anywhere to take the story. Saving just a little corner of it can be enjoyable though.

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"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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I want to save the world. But over the course of several games-- PE needs to be but the first story. Let's start small. Perhaps save a small box of kittens, and work our way up in the next game.

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I want to save the world. But over the course of several games-- PE needs to be but the first story. Let's start small. Perhaps save a small box of kittens, and work our way up in the next game.

 

I approve of saving kittens :)


Rub my belly....you know you want to...give in to the temptation...and don't mind the resulting love scratches and bites.

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I want to save the world. But over the course of several games-- PE needs to be but the first story. Let's start small. Perhaps save a small box of kittens, and work our way up in the next game.

:lol: +1


“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts

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Yes, save the world scenarios don't leave you anywhere to take the story. Saving just a little corner of it can be enjoyable though.

I want to save the world. But over the course of several games-- PE needs to be but the first story. Let's start small. Perhaps save a small box of kittens, and work our way up in the next game.

 

Definitely AGREE!


"You must gather your party before venturing forth."

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Yeah the tired old plot of Dragon Age 2, save the world from the evil artifact McGuffin and its big bad slave is to be avoided at all costs. This and the fact that the protagonist spent years doing nothing, and ignoring any of the obvious hints that were thrown in his path really destroyed any sense of narrative cohesion in the game. I sometimes felt that the game was suggesting that I cared about the strangers who were supposed to be my family, but as usual they were just shallow caricatures whom I couldn't even speak to and nothing to do with my character. This and the fact that the game went out of its way to invalidate every choice I made, served to leave me just playing by rote on easy until I threw in the towel at the end. I agree with you, Obsidian have never gone down that route and I don't see any reason why they would now.

 

I do think all of the characters should have been killable however, they were the weakest part of the whole game.

I don't know if DA2 is the best example of Save the World! because... well, I never felt like the main character ever had any motivation to do anything. People just kept trotting him out to kill things every three years. I think DA2 was Bioware specifically trying to avoid a Save the World! sort of story but not replacing that with... anything.

 

Now, DAO and the Mass Effect trilogy? Totally.


jcod0.png

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Occasionally I feel like I'm the only person in the world** left who hasn't played the DA or ME series. They just never appealed to me enough to buy them. Wait, no, I did buy ME1 at some point, but it's still on my shelf.

 

**hyperbole, of course.... ;)

 

If you don't mind some third-person shooting action (and if you do, go biotic and you can avoid most of it), Mass Effect is a solid game that I loved. (IMO) Great story, some of the better characters that BioWare has created (some are dull, and of course taste varies), a great original universe, good voice acting and cinematic storytelling (if you like that sort of thing, and I don't mind it in games that I expect it from>)

 

Dragon Age: Origins, IMO, was amazing. There are flaws in it, like any game, but the overall experience is amazing. Only in ToEE do you see another game where you get to pick one of multiple beginnings (and ToEE are alignment based, and short.) Character creation is somewhat limited in classes and class skills (especially at the very start) but if you aren't married to the variety in 3.5 D&D, it shouldn't be an issue. Great (again, IMO) story, if a bit trope-y, good voice acting, a few great characters (though I tend to feel most are flat in this game, that's my opinion on at least half of the characters BioWare has created), good tactical combat (when compared to the other kinds of cRPGs you could find in 2009, especially), and a hell of a lot of gameplay for a not open-world BioWare formulaic story (I clocked 128 hours my first play!)

 

I love Obsidian... love Obsidian... and have been cheering on the company more and more as BioWare, post DA:O, continues to go down the road of single set protagonist, cinematic storytelling to the point of almost being a "choose your own ending movie", and action-y combat (awesome button for the !win) -

 

but short of some great mechanics in SoZ, some very excellent scenarios in NWN2's OC (the Keep and the trial), one good setting (dead god's body) and one good theme (rise up against the gods, always a winner for me) in MotB ... for me, only Alpha Protocol beats DA:O and ME, and Fallout: New Vegas comes in just under those two because of crappy TES / FO3 gameplay (which I'm okay with, but is definitely NOT a plus in my book.)

 

That's my tastes, though. Still, unless you break out in a rash because companions are romanceable, ME and DA:O are definitely worth playing for any RPG fan who doesn't NEED his or her games to look like they came out of the 90's.

 

Saving just a little corner of it can be enjoyable though.

 

Heck, DA2 promise me I could save my family, and like everything from BIoWare DA2 forward, the story LIES TO YOU!

 

Couldn't even save my family.... ;(stupid DA2

Edited by Merin

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