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9 fleshed out, well written, interesting characters that develop and change based on actions in game is more than enough.  Quality over quantity, anyone with taste will tell you that.  More companions means skill and class overlap and more work.  Even the coolest most interesting character will be left in the gutter by 80% or more of players if they aren't the best at what they do.  It is hard not to get skill overlap when you are talking 9 different characters.... it is pretty much impossible at 12 or more.

I thought there were only 8 companions...

 

Anyways, I agree with your point. In addition to being well written, companions should be good at filling a role and not overlap too much with other characters.


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I accept the point that you're making (indeed it is very similar to several points that I myself have made in this thread), I was merely pointing out that the the people who liked PS:T found the characters very interesting, and that to say they needed to be more interesting was an oversimplification. It would be more accurate to suggest that they needed to be more widely appealing, if the original line is to be pursued.

 

 

Yes, exactly. I surely didn't word it well enough, but the feeling i got from the posts far too regularly was that the theme of character personalities in PS:T weren't varried enough for a larger audience. While BGII had a wider appeal but lacked a compairable depth to their personalities. Thinking back on it, they seem a little cartoonish but I liked it for the setting. Likely this would be a view others feel in their preference to PS:T as a better experience in that regard.

 

I do wish I had a greater history of playing these to mke a better assetion, but sadly I transitioned to out of the genre too quickly.

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I thought there were only 8 companions...

 

Anyways, I agree with your point. In addition to being well written, companions should be good at filling a role and not overlap too much with other characters.

 

To be honest I don't remember how many they said there were, if it was 6 it is still fine.  I was merely using the number from the thread title for the sake of argument.

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I thought there were only 8 companions...

 

Anyways, I agree with your point. In addition to being well written, companions should be good at filling a role and not overlap too much with other characters.

 

To be honest I don't remember how many they said there were, if it was 6 it is still fine.  I was merely using the number from the thread title for the sake of argument.

 

 

There are 8 fully developed companions, so maybe it's 8 + the PC = 9?

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9 fleshed out, well written, interesting characters that develop and change based on actions in game is more than enough.  Quality over quantity, anyone with taste will tell you that.  More companions means skill and class overlap and more work.  Even the coolest most interesting character will be left in the gutter by 80% or more of players if they aren't the best at what they do.  It is hard not to get skill overlap when you are talking 9 different characters.... it is pretty much impossible at 12 or more.

 

There you go again with that quality over quantity. Ok, then I will say variety>quality, anyone with taste will tell you that. As for class saturation, there will still be 2 classes missing from the companions. Even if there were 4 classes to 8 companions, people would still chose the character they like and leave his counterpart with the same class behind, I don't see the problem in that. I don't know where you got that 80% number, but using your logic, those people would make their own characters in the adventurer hall if they were looking for the best skill wise npcs. You can make all the analogies you want, it's simple logic that not all people will like all the characters, and the more there are the more chances there will be for them to find the ones they like.

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Quality over quantity, anyone with taste will tell you that.  

 

This is a bit of a rude thing to say.  Different people have different preferences.  Sometimes this quality ends up with companions in a game I don't like at all (MOTB).
Edited by bonarbill
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Quality over quantity, anyone with taste will tell you that.  

 

This is a bit of a rude thing to say.  Different people have different preferences.  Sometimes this quality ends up with companions in a game I don't like at all (MOTB).

 

 

That is the whole point of my argument, the character can have very good quality and depth, but if someone doesn't like him it's all for naught.

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Characters having more dialog doesn't make them more in depth, it just makes them have more dialog. As for being only slightly better then adventure hall dummies, could you elaborate how you came to that conclusion?

 

If you have excellent writers, and in an interval than spans the amount of dialog of BG1 characters to at least Torment characters lots of text is a precondition to depth. Because

 

1) fleshing out a character takes a lot of text. Minsc was a very funny likeable character but there was no depth to him. And there couldn't be with just a few funny oneliners.

 

2) as someone else said, characters have to be active with relevant things to say the whole game through or the attachement to them will wither. More text allows more interaction.

 

3) depth is also a function of how good a character reacts to situations, his reactivity. If he says the same sentence when you kill a guy instead of pardoning him, puff goes the depth. This also means that the player will see only a fraction of the dialogue for a well written character.

 

4) Similarily the interactions between your companions can create depth but need a lot more dialogue than any player will normally see because it depends on the combination of companions.

 

I'm not saying that more text automatically makes a deep character, I'm saying that lots of text is a precondition to a really deep character. And it gets easier the more text there is.

 

 

Practically, would PS:T have failed any of the people who enjoyed it if it had twelve potential companions with the variation and depth of those from BG? I don't feel that it would have. Yet that might have meant that it didn't fail me and others here (particularly since my other gripes are mostly with its mechanics).

It might not have failed with 12 companions, but it sure wouldn't have been that legendary if their depth had been anywhere near BG1. It would have been a mismatch. And it would have excised a third of what made Torment so memorable.

 

There are many who didn't like Torment, because of setting, companions and all. I don't think there are many like you that supposedly did like setting, quests, other NPCs, everything, just not those 7 companions. I can't even believe that it is true in your case really.

Edited by jethro
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It might not have failed with 12 companions, but it sure wouldn't have been that legendary if their depth had been anywhere near BG1. It would have been a mismatch. And it would have excised a third of what made Torment so memorable.

 

There are many who didn't like Torment, because of setting, companions and all. I don't think there are many like you that supposedly did like setting, quests, other NPCs, everything, just not those 7 companions. I can't even believe that it is true in your case really.

 

You do well to not believe that, because it isn't. ;)

 

I have many other issues with PS:T, although as I've said, most of them are mechanical in nature rather than stylistic. The immediate things that spring to mind apart from the companions are the combat, the manner of levelling and combat development for the main character, the death system, and the stat-based dialogue requirements and rewards. Specifically, not just the having dialogue options unlocked by stats - Fallout did this brilliantly - but the way successful dialogue rewarded you with stat bonuses. Then later dialogues would only unlock bonuses if you had the previous bonuses. By the end the gulf in two different players stats could be absolutely immense, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you give the 'losing' player any chance to catch up.

 

Anyway, I digress. The point is, I might have forgiven or even failed to notice these 'failures' had I been accompanied by a party who inspired me through all these things. Instead, to my mind, I had a party that I felt was taking the piss out of both me and the setting. I assume that when you get far enough in, the style of this changes and the characters unveil a hithero unseen level of depth. I won't say I didn't give them a chance, but the last of my interest had been used up before we got to that point.

 

When I talk about BG, I refer to the last proper installment of the series, BGII. Although BGI has slightly more depth to its characters than it often gets credit for, the second one took it up a notch.

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I have many other issues with PS:T, although as I've said, most of them are mechanical in nature rather than stylistic.

... 

When I talk about BG, I refer to the last proper installment of the series, BGII. Although BGI has slightly more depth to its characters than it often gets credit for, the second one took it up a notch.

I'm not talking about mechanical at all. I just can't imagine how anyone would like to play the quests, talk to the denizens of the planescape, find them and this morbid world interesting, but not the companions. The only explanation I can see is because you could ignore that other stuff more easily, but then again the result would be that Torment as a whole was just not the right game for you. More companions wouldn't have fixed that.

 

BGII was better, but I can't really say anymore by how much. It was a long time ago that I played it. The only thing I remember is that there still was a big difference between companions in BGII and Torment. They just didn't register in the same way, didn't come to life in the same sense

Edited by jethro

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If you have excellent writers, and in an interval than spans the amount of dialog of BG1 characters to at least Torment characters lots of text is a precondition to depth. Because

 

1) fleshing out a character takes a lot of text. Minsc was a very funny likeable character but there was no depth to him. And there couldn't be with just a few funny oneliners.

 

2) as someone else said, characters have to be active with relevant things to say the whole game through or the attachement to them will wither. More text allows more interaction.

 

3) depth is also a function of how good a character reacts to situations, his reactivity. If he says the same sentence when you kill a guy instead of pardoning him, puff goes the depth. This also means that the player will see only a fraction of the dialogue for a well written character.

 

4) Similarily the interactions between your companions can create depth but need a lot more dialogue than any player will normally see because it depends on the combination of companions.

 

I'm not saying that more text automatically makes a deep character, I'm saying that lots of text is a precondition to a really deep character. And it gets easier the more text there is.

 

You are confusing books and games, in books the characters are considered most important, in games the setting and plot is considered the most important because the PC is the main character. I personally have never played a game where "a player will see only a fraction of the dialogue for a well written character.". Could you name some of those games. (excluding Japanese Visual Novels)

Edited by Sarex

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There you go again with that quality over quantity. Ok, then I will say variety>quality, anyone with taste will tell you that. As for class saturation, there will still be 2 classes missing from the companions. Even if there were 4 classes to 8 companions, people would still chose the character they like and leave his counterpart with the same class behind, I don't see the problem in that. I don't know where you got that 80% number, but using your logic, those people would make their own characters in the adventurer hall if they were looking for the best skill wise npcs. You can make all the analogies you want, it's simple logic that not all people will like all the characters, and the more there are the more chances there will be for them to find the ones they like.

 

Okay aside from you being wrong, that's not it at all.  In the original Baldur's gate for example there was a massive crap ton of characters.  But few of them were actually characters.  Like Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, etc, they actually had personalities maybe changed a little or had things to say over the course of the game?  Then there was the majority of characters...  Like that dwarf priest I always used who was such a great character I can't remember his name (looked it up, Yeslick) was not a character, he was a dwarf you rescue in a cave and that's all the development he gets.  If you want a "character" of that caliber (aka a walking cliche who only has the thinnest reason for even being in game and meeting you) guess what, you are who the adventurers hall exists for!  It has all the "variety" you could ever want.

 

Because really whats the difference between the Ajantis you create in Adventurers Hall, and the one in BG?  The only difference is in Baldur's Gate you had to walk to a farm road and talk to him for recruitment, the other one you just created in the adventurers hall.  After that?  Not any difference to speak of.

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Okay aside from you being wrong, that's not it at all.  In the original Baldur's gate for example there was a massive crap ton of characters.  But few of them were actually characters.  Like Minsc, Jaheira, Imoen, etc, they actually had personalities maybe changed a little or had things to say over the course of the game?  Then there was the majority of characters...  Like that dwarf priest I always used who was such a great character I can't remember his name (looked it up, Yeslick) was not a character, he was a dwarf you rescue in a cave and that's all the development he gets.  If you want a "character" of that caliber (aka a walking cliche who only has the thinnest reason for even being in game and meeting you) guess what, you are who the adventurers hall exists for!  It has all the "variety" you could ever want.

 

Because really whats the difference between the Ajantis you create in Adventurers Hall, and the one in BG?  The only difference is in Baldur's Gate you had to walk to a farm road and talk to him for recruitment, the other one you just created in the adventurers hall.  After that?  Not any difference to speak of.

 

 

Okay aside from you being wrong(obnoxious, isn't it), Baldur's Gate is not the only game with more then 8 characters and tbh when BG is mentioned, usually it's thought of as a whole series not just the first part. Not to mention it was the best/most successful game in the IE branch, and as such should be treated as the number one model for PE. As for the characters in the BG series being bad, well there are a ton of people that will disagree with you on that, me being one of them.

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You are confusing books and games, in books the characters are considered most important, in games the setting and plot is considered the most important because the PC is the main character. I personally have never played a game where "a player will see only a fraction of the dialogue for a well written character.". Could you name some of those games. (excluding Japanese Visual Novels)

A small reminder: You were doubting that amount of text and depth of character have a correlation. I was reasoning out why that is so. This has nothing to do with what game element is the most important. Probably my fault because I tend to remove a lot from the quotes. Another fault of mine was to use the word "fraction" where "part" would be more correct ;-)

 

I think Torment is an example for dialog you never get to see, although not that much, because most of the dialogue is between PC and companion. This is also the part where Torment could be improved with even more text per companion acting and commenting on the quests. As good as they were, "the sky is the limit"

 

MoTB is a very good example of this. After playing through 80% of the game I found an online "playthrough" that disected the game, showed the religious symbolism behind companions and plots and also showed me lots of dialogue I had never seen.

Edited by jethro

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A small reminder: You were doubting that amount of text and depth of character have a correlation. I was reasoning out why that is so. This has nothing to do with what game element is the most important. Probably my fault because I tend to remove a lot from the quotes. Another fault of mine was to use the word "fraction" where "part" would be more correct ;-)

 

I think Torment is an example for dialog you never get to see, although not that much, because most of the dialogue is between PC and companion. This is also the part where Torment could be improved with even more text per companion acting and commenting on the quests. As good as they were, "the sky is the limit"

 

MoTB is a very good example of this. After playing through 80% of the game I found an online "playthrough" that disected the game, showed the religious symbolism behind companions and plots and also showed me lots of dialogue I had never seen.

 

Well, yeah I get what you mean now, text is needed, especially because there won't be much VO. Idk, I fear that the game won't be a success if it puts all its eggs in one basket (character wise). As I mention in my first post in this topic, bad characters (the ones that I don't like) don't faze me much, I tend to ignore them and pick the best skill wise. To be honest that is how I played PS:T the only interesting characters where the main character and the skull/succubus. For me PS:T was far more about the story then it's side characters, at least that is what got me to play it through. To each their own I guess. 

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Idk, I fear that the game won't be a success if it puts all its eggs in one basket (character wise). As I mention in my first post in this topic, bad characters (the ones that I don't like) don't faze me much, I tend to ignore them and pick the best skill wise.

 

Depends on what you call success. The majority of backers should be above 20 and most of them should have no problems with the companions in the game. Some won't like them but will be content with Adventure Hall mercenaries or a mix. Only a very small percentage will throw away the game because of the companions. Obsidian promised a mature game but also said it won't be weird/strange like PST, so the mass appeal should be there. And as you said yourself the companions can be ignored if you like the rest of the game, they aren't that important for the success of the game.

 

Success with the rest of the gamers community will depend on how big the market for mature games without graphics extravaganza really is. You won't get the *typical* teenage gamer, but everyone who played Baldurs Gate 15 years ago should be a potential customer unless he played BG for the graphics ;-). Everyone who played MotB is definitely a customer, I haven't heard that game sales were hurt by only having 7 companions (not that I would necessarily hear that, but I did read a few reviews and no one listed that as a negative point AFAIK)

 

Where we are totally in agreement though is that irrespective of the number the companions there should be a great variety. At least one companion should be comic relief, one should be a shady character, and so on. MotB forgot the comic relief in my opinion (Gann was not quite there), maybe I should make a feature request for that.

Edited by jethro
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I don't disagree with your point that more things does not inherently result in a wider variety of things. But I am pointing out that if you restrict your numbers then you inherently restrict your maximum spread.

True, but it remains a relative thing. If you have 7 billion companions, you're still restricted to a finite 7 billion. Obviously 7 billion probably wouldn't allow any further creative variety than 700 would (not in a practical sense), as other limitations on creative variety would be reached long before you got to 7 billion. In other words, if you're starving, and you only have a dollar-per month, your quantity of funds is restricting your ability to fulfill your nourishment needs. However, if you have 37 million dollars per month, you don't get 37 million dollars worth of ability to nourish yourself. If you eat 37 million dollars worth of the same units of food, you'll severely detriment your well-being. Somewhere around a few hundred dollars a month (specifically for food) is going to be about the extent of your nourishment fulfillment capabilities.

 

Also, since, with companions, there's already the limitation of how much total companion lore and polishing they can possibly produce in a given amount of time with a given amount of resources, every additional companion spreads that thinner and thinner. At some point, the lack of depth/quality in each character counteracts any allowance for additional variety that the increase in quantity can provide.

 

I'm not about to debate exactly what number that is, since I don't have nearly enough specific information to do so, and I don't see too much value in worrying about the exact number. My point is simply that the benefit provided by quantity is a curve. Having 8 characters instead of 2 characters is SO much more valuable than having 20 characters instead of 8 (assuming you're working with the same, finite amount of resources).

 

Your argument in terms of PS:T (as opposed to pure statistics) is that they designed the game with the characters to be of a certain style, and more characters would not have neccessarily increased the variation. I am suggesting that if the character limit was placed first, then they restricted the level of variation that they could've acheived.

This is absolutely true. That restriction, however, did not/would not have necessarily affected the variation they could've achieved with their finite resources while still maintaining a certain level of quality/coherency in their overall companion set design.

 

I'm also continuing my (and I shall have the good grace to call it this) assumption that having a player be able to make a party full - or in PS:T even half-full - of npcs that he doesn't actively dislike is a good thing.

No need to call it an assumption. I believe it's an objective benefit, and I agree completely. I just urge careful consideration on how to achieve this goal, rather than overly simplifying anything to deductions that are actually assumptions, such as "since this game had only 7 companions, and the goal wasn't achieved, and quantity is a factor in the equation, having more companions would most likely achieve teh goal."

 

I only encourage you to consider the fact that, without taking into account all factors, a conclusion isn't very helpful. The reason I encourage this line of thinking is that many throughout this entire thread have somewhat rashly jumped to the conclusion that, since quantity is a factor in variety, and they found variety lacking in certain games, that quantity is necessarily thefactor in fixing the problem. That, and they seem to be overly worried about the fact that there are 8 companions planned (or 9? I'm a little confused about the 8/9 discrepancy now, as I've seen both in this thread from various people and don't know what the official count is, off the top of my head). I like to ease people's worries, If I can do so with objective evaluation. Even if I don't change their subjective minds (that is not my goal).

 

TL;DR version: a low number of companions isn't at all necessarily a cause for alarm, even though it may seem that way, and I encourage everyone to consider all the factors at play here.

 

 

Are you painting for yourself to hang it on your wall, or because you've been paid four million dollars by a group of backers many of whom you can reasonably suspect will not want a melancholy painting? :p

 

I know it sounds like a very unfortunate view of the creative process but realistically when you develop a project such as this you are a commerical artist, and that comes with the unpleasant burden of having to please your customers.

Yeah, which is precisely why private/commercial artists generally have their clients sign off on a design before they actually go through with the production of it. That way, if you make someone a logo or a website, and they decide "No, this is actually not what I wanted, even though I told you it was a week ago, and now I'm not going to pay you because I'm claiming you didn't fulfill your end of the bargain," they can't just back out or really complain about it.

 

That's kind of what Obsidian did with the Kickstarter. If the Kickstarter didn't guarantee a certain number of companions (AND guarantee that nothing was subject to change in the development process), and we all agreed to fund them, then we agreed to that lack of specific information. We didn't hire them to produce a commission piece, here.

 

The point, anywho, was that, regardless of whether or not it's wrong or causes the game to fail, or makes the game amaze-tastic, they are in creative control of the project. If Team Eternity decides they're going to make all the companions clockwork robots, then they can do that, regardless of how terrible a design choice that would be. In other news, they haven't given me any reason to believe they'd made such terrible design choices, so I trust their ability to evaluate the resources at their disposal and decide how many companions they should produce while still achieving the amount of depth and the appropriate style the game's vision aims for in its companions.


Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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I'm not about to debate exactly what number that is, since I don't have nearly enough specific information to do so, and I don't see too much value in worrying about the exact number. My point is simply that the benefit provided by quantity is a curve. Having 8 characters instead of 2 characters is SO much more valuable than having 20 characters instead of 8 (assuming you're working with the same, finite amount of resources).

 

Ah, but then why am I worrying? Well, it comes back to my painting example. You paint in three different colours. I need to pick four paintings of the same colour - though you don't know what colour that is, but you want me to succeed. Are my chances better if you paint 12 paintings or 6?

 

The motive behind the numbers is that we are forming a party of six from a PC and 8 companions. If we had a companion pool of 15 (I've advocated less, which I'll come back to), then you could have, to pick some western RPG archetypes, 5 angelic characters, 5 grim characters, and 5 comedy characters. People looking for any of the three archetypes can form a coherent party. This is why there is such an important difference between what might seem like superficially small numbers of party members. The figure that matters is not the number of companions, but the number of companions divided by the number of companion slots.

 

If you have 8 companions to choose from, then only one full coherent party can be formed. Or you make two three and a two, and then no-one can form a fully coherent party. Five out of eight is very small for the purposes of this. Realistically you end up with overlap characters who might sit in either camp, which is why I've advocated 12+ rather than the 15 above.

 

This is absolutely true. That restriction, however, did not/would not have necessarily affected the variation they could've achieved with their finite resources while still maintaining a certain level of quality/coherency in their overall companion set design.

 

Yes they have finite resources, and that makes the prospect of 20 companions with 5,000 lines of dialogue each unrealistic. But do not forget that BGII was able to support 16 characters, with limited voice acting, all of whom interacted with the PC and with each other, had their own quests and reacted to outside events. Honestly, the way they are implied to be devoid of depth in this thread seems rather insulting.

 

I only encourage you to consider the fact that, without taking into account all factors, a conclusion isn't very helpful. The reason I encourage this line of thinking is that many throughout this entire thread have somewhat rashly jumped to the conclusion that, since quantity is a factor in variety, and they found variety lacking in certain games, that quantity is necessarily thefactor in fixing the problem. That, and they seem to be overly worried about the fact that there are 8 companions planned (or 9? I'm a little confused about the 8/9 discrepancy now, as I've seen both in this thread from various people and don't know what the official count is, off the top of my head). I like to ease people's worries, If I can do so with objective evaluation. Even if I don't change their subjective minds (that is not my goal).

 

TL;DR version: a low number of companions isn't at all necessarily a cause for alarm, even though it may seem that way, and I encourage everyone to consider all the factors at play here.

 

The subject doesn't close, so we come to the best conclusion we can at any given moment taking into account all the factors we can consider likely to be have a meaningful effect. I hope I'm a little clearer to showing why people are so concerned about the numbers involved, and why those worries might not be as rash as you previously felt.

 

Also, at a risk of taking a cheap shot, it strikes me that your concentration on mathematics in this thread more so than the others we've shared might, possibly, be affected by the fact that you haven't played PS:T. ;)

 

Yeah, which is precisely why private/commercial artists generally have their clients sign off on a design before they actually go through with the production of it. That way, if you make someone a logo or a website, and they decide "No, this is actually not what I wanted, even though I told you it was a week ago, and now I'm not going to pay you because I'm claiming you didn't fulfill your end of the bargain," they can't just back out or really complain about it.

 

That's kind of what Obsidian did with the Kickstarter. If the Kickstarter didn't guarantee a certain number of companions (AND guarantee that nothing was subject to change in the development process), and we all agreed to fund them, then we agreed to that lack of specific information. We didn't hire them to produce a commission piece, here.

 

The point, anywho, was that, regardless of whether or not it's wrong or causes the game to fail, or makes the game amaze-tastic, they are in creative control of the project. If Team Eternity decides they're going to make all the companions clockwork robots, then they can do that, regardless of how terrible a design choice that would be. In other news, they haven't given me any reason to believe they'd made such terrible design choices, so I trust their ability to evaluate the resources at their disposal and decide how many companions they should produce while still achieving the amount of depth and the appropriate style the game's vision aims for in its companions.

 

 

It's not so much about the debt from the four million, it's the implications after that. It's a bit of an elephant in the room on these forums, but Obsidian need this to work. Regardless of the level of success of P:E, they can expect a lot less funding for future projects (which, in part, is possibly why they Obsidian/Inexile have taken on so much at once) from Kickstarter. They can expect even less still if there backers are left unhappy, even if they were completely above board in their promises. Equally, were P:E to be a huge success, it might even show mainstream publishing houses that the isometric rpg is not yet dead, which would only be a good thing for Obsidian.

 

I still look forward to P:E, and as I have said earlier I don't even necessarily* believe that I will dislike the companions. I just feel that for what they stand to gain from the small party pool they stand to lose a lot more, and I question whether taking a risk on what is ultimately a very small difference is good practice.

 

*necessarily because I'm still obviously bitter at the PS:T worship

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Ah, but then why am I worrying? Well, it comes back to my painting example. You paint in three different colours. I need to pick four paintings of the same colour - though you don't know what colour that is, but you want me to succeed. Are my chances better if you paint 12 paintings or 6?

 

The motive behind the numbers is that we are forming a party of six from a PC and 8 companions. If we had a companion pool of 15 (I've advocated less, which I'll come back to), then you could have, to pick some western RPG archetypes, 5 angelic characters, 5 grim characters, and 5 comedy characters. People looking for any of the three archetypes can form a coherent party. This is why there is such an important difference between what might seem like superficially small numbers of party members. The figure that matters is not the number of companions, but the number of companions divided by the number of companion slots.

What your example ignores is the fact that the depth/capacity of each companion slot (much like the number of colors used on each painting in the analogy) is a variable thing, not fixed. If you make one character who's funny AND angelic, and another who's funny AND grim, why would that be in any way inherently lacking as compared to 3 characters who are only angelic, only funny, and only grim, respectively?

 

This is one of the main aspects of my point. Think of it backwards: If you start with 12 paintings, and shrink that number to 6. Well, then you're going to have 12 paintings' worth of care and effort put into 6 paintings. What you're suggesting, almost, is that painting 12 paintings instead of 6 increases the number of colors that can be used. But it doesn't. Again, obviously you can only put so many different things into one character, but its a curve, and it's based on a lot more variables than design intent and number of characters. Think of it in your analogy as adding in another factor: time spent on each painting. Painting with care and quality obviously takes time. So, if you're going to spend a day painting, and you're going to paint 6 paintings, that gives you 4 hours per painting (with the same amount of colors to choose from). If you take that exact same scenario, and decide to paint 12 paintings, instead, then you get only 2 hours per painting.

 

As I said, going from 2 paintings to 3 paintings is obviously a huge increase in variety. Going from 8 to 9 (the exact same numerical increase) is much less so. The more paintings you've already got, the less chance there is that you'll actually produce something unique in the next one.

 

Yes they have finite resources, and that makes the prospect of 20 companions with 5,000 lines of dialogue each unrealistic. But do not forget that BGII was able to support 16 characters, with limited voice acting, all of whom interacted with the PC and with each other, had their own quests and reacted to outside events. Honestly, the way they are implied to be devoid of depth in this thread seems rather insulting.

While I cannot speak for everyone in the entire thread, and honestly do not feel the need to look back through the whole thing right now to verify that no one's actually said, I personally do not believe that the BGII characters were "devoid" of depth, and don't think anyone else has said this, either. What I can say is that they bore less depth, individually, than they could've had had there been fewer of them with all other design factors remaining the same. And people are pointing out PS:T companions as an example of the depth-difference, then expressing their subjective desire for that level of difference.

 

The subject doesn't close, so we come to the best conclusion we can at any given moment taking into account all the factors we can consider likely to be have a meaningful effect. I hope I'm a little clearer to showing why people are so concerned about the numbers involved, and why those worries might not be as rash as you previously felt.

A conclusion there is no need to come to. If you ask me "when will it rain next?", I can simply tell you "I do not know," as I do not have enough information. I don't NEED to conclude a specific time when the next rain will come, or conclude an unbased probability of when it will or will not rain.

 

I'm taking into account the factors you're presenting, along with any others I could think of (and have presented here). Your worries seem to be based on only a portion of the presented factors, much less the entirety of factors at play.

 

I'm not even countering "this is probably too few characters" with "this is probably plenty of characters." I'm merely saying that "this is probably too few characters" is a bit baseless at this point in time.

 

Also, at a risk of taking a cheap shot, it strikes me that your concentration on mathematics in this thread more so than the others we've shared might, possibly, be affected by the fact that you haven't played PS:T. ;)

I don't really comprehend this allegation. If PS:T had never been created, the relationships and effects of party-based-RPG companion development factors would remain unchanged.

 

It's not so much about the debt from the four million, it's the implications after that. It's a bit of an elephant in the room on these forums, but Obsidian need this to work. Regardless of the level of success of P:E, they can expect a lot less funding for future projects (which, in part, is possibly why they Obsidian/Inexile have taken on so much at once) from Kickstarter. They can expect even less still if there backers are left unhappy, even if they were completely above board in their promises. Equally, were P:E to be a huge success, it might even show mainstream publishing houses that the isometric rpg is not yet dead, which would only be a good thing for Obsidian.

Obviously, if they don't please enough people, the game will fail, financially. However, since the Kickstarter funding was given in support of their vision of an IE spiritual successor, they'd be remiss not to adhere to their own design intentions simply to please people who supposedly already put their faith in Obsidian.

 

In other words, if I say "If you give me $20, I'll give you an object." And you do it, and I give you a pencil, but you wanted an ice cream cone, and you get mad, is there really anything saying that I should've given you an ice cream cone as opposed to a pencil?

 

The difference is that changing your own creative vision at the whims of others is detrimental to creativity in the first place.

 

Anyway, that's all a bit beside the point. If everyone who gave them money on Kickstarter suddenly wants them to make a racing game instead of an RPG, that doesn't make such a decision make any more sense. Obviously, those people would be upset if they don't change it to a racing game, and maybe Obsidian's business would suffer. But, that in no way implies that they should've made people happy instead of sticking to their vision.

 

People's subjective desires aren't always based on sense, or, at least not on complete sense. I can literally want to huge a fire, while simultaneously not wanting to suffer burns, even though that's ridiculous.

 

The point: They know ALL about their creative vision, and we only know parts of it. If those parts weren't good enough, then we shouldn't have funded the game based on what we deemed "insufficient" data.

 

Having 8 companions as opposed to ANY other number in no way contradicts their overall vision for the game. As you said, it is a very minor factor, by itself. Combine that with the fact that the Adventurer's Hall already addresses the exact same problem that you're trying to address with the "more characters, less depth" suggestion. You can combine any number of the 8, high-depth companions with any number of the Adventurer's Hall quite-literally-design-them-however-you-want characters. The people who greatly value per-character depth get exactly what they want, and many others who would prefer more characters, on whom some of the individual character depth is wasted, get at least partially accommodated, and possibly fully accommodated. I highly doubt there are enough remaining people to warrant calling the decision not to increase the number of companions a "risk." The fact that you, yourself, as one who doesn't really prefer the PS:T low-numbers-high-depth style of companion set, don't actually find any probability that P:E's design will be an issue and that you'll still most likely enjoy and contribute to the success of the game is supportive of this.

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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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As I mention in my first post in this topic, bad characters (the ones that I don't like) don't faze me much, I tend to ignore them and pick the best skill wise.

 

 

Wait a minute.... you are complaining about the number of companions but just admitted to ignoring characters you don't like and making character choices purely on who is the best character skill wise?

 

You are literally complaining about nothing.  Based on your own words you care about skills and variety.  Skills and variety are already covered by the Adventurer's Hall.  If personality and character development are not concerns for you and you are satisfied with characters like Yeslick, Ajantis, and Kivan, then you should be just fine with those customer characters from the Hall.

 

 

This is boring. I'm bored.

 

I commiserate completely.

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One assumption in the discussion here I can't quite wrap my head around: why is it bad to have companions we dislike?  If by dislike people mean, "I didn't like them because they were poorly done," that's totally understandable.  But sometimes I'm getting the sense that people mean, "I didn't like them because they had objectionable characters."  I tend to dislike a fair number of companions over all the CRPGs I played, but I still enjoy their character presentations.  For example, I have always hated Morrigan in DA:O, but I nevertheless liked to bring her around in my party because she made the game more interesting, even though she was simultaneously infuriating.  To my mind, having at least one companion that the player dislikes is pretty essential to a game, because it makes for more depth of interaction.

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Wait a minute.... you are complaining about the number of companions but just admitted to ignoring characters you don't like and making character choices purely on who is the best character skill wise?

 

You are literally complaining about nothing.  Based on your own words you care about skills and variety.  Skills and variety are already covered by the Adventurer's Hall.  If personality and character development are not concerns for you and you are satisfied with characters like Yeslick, Ajantis, and Kivan, then you should be just fine with those customer characters from the Hall.

 

But that doesn't mean that I would not want for my self to like the companions in the games, as that would only add to my enjoyment. That I can ignore that aspect of the game, if push comes to shove, doesn't invalidate anything I have said in this thread. I must say man, you are very abrasive.

 

And if you just figured that out now, it means that you haven't even read the thread...

Edited by Sarex

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I think this has gone in circles a few times. Does anyone remember zots from the NWN boards? I'm remembering that right... right?  1 zot = 1 "unit" of developer time/resources/etc. I just like saying zots though. Zots. mmmm.

 

Anyway, I think we understand that there are a finite number of zots available for the game. Even if the deadline gets pushed, it'll come out at a relatively fixed time; Obsidian has only so many zots to spend on building the game from scratch- including npcs. I'm assuming from what I have previously read that they are trying to flesh them all out more or less evenly. The more npcs they have, the less zots they have to spend on each npc. Quality>Quantity is a very valid statement- no shenanigans need to be called. Everyone here just seems to be at odds on where they prefer their balance of quality and quantity. Also different definitions of quality.

If they focused all their zots on only one npc, I'm sure they could have an extremely compelling character. But I would rather have a handful of very compelling npcs than one extremely compelling npc. I'm sure they could even do well with a dozen npcs- but those zots have to come from somewhere. I trust that they will use their zots wisely here. That's why I paid 'em!

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One assumption in the discussion here I can't quite wrap my head around: why is it bad to have companions we dislike?  If by dislike people mean, "I didn't like them because they were poorly done," that's totally understandable.  But sometimes I'm getting the sense that people mean, "I didn't like them because they had objectionable characters."  I tend to dislike a fair number of companions over all the CRPGs I played, but I still enjoy their character presentations.  For example, I have always hated Morrigan in DA:O, but I nevertheless liked to bring her around in my party because she made the game more interesting, even though she was simultaneously infuriating.  To my mind, having at least one companion that the player dislikes is pretty essential to a game, because it makes for more depth of interaction.

 

I agree with this, and the best example I can cite of this in well-known literature is actually J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. Almost all of them provide us with a character who is brilliantly written to be unbearable! It's an excellent device, and while I wouldn't go so far as to call it essential it is definitely not something to be avoided.

 

The difference, of course, is that we are talking about the prospect of most of the companions a player has being dislikable, to the point where it breaks the immersion or makes the majority of the experiences unbearable.

 

The other factor, specifically to dearest Morrigan, was that I liked her as a character and did not find her infuriating (well, okay, once), and also for those who disliked her even more than you did, there was always the option to have someone else who they did like.

 

This is boring. I'm bored.

 

No point sticking around if you're not enjoying things, Ffordesoon. Plus points on that exciting post, though.

 

What your example ignores is the fact that the depth/capacity of each companion slot (much like the number of colors used on each painting in the analogy) is a variable thing, not fixed. If you make one character who's funny AND angelic, and another who's funny AND grim, why would that be in any way inherently lacking as compared to 3 characters who are only angelic, only funny, and only grim, respectively?

 

This is one of the main aspects of my point. Think of it backwards: If you start with 12 paintings, and shrink that number to 6. Well, then you're going to have 12 paintings' worth of care and effort put into 6 paintings. What you're suggesting, almost, is that painting 12 paintings instead of 6 increases the number of colors that can be used. But it doesn't. Again, obviously you can only put so many different things into one character, but its a curve, and it's based on a lot more variables than design intent and number of characters. Think of it in your analogy as adding in another factor: time spent on each painting. Painting with care and quality obviously takes time. So, if you're going to spend a day painting, and you're going to paint 6 paintings, that gives you 4 hours per painting (with the same amount of colors to choose from). If you take that exact same scenario, and decide to paint 12 paintings, instead, then you get only 2 hours per painting.

 

As I said, going from 2 paintings to 3 paintings is obviously a huge increase in variety. Going from 8 to 9 (the exact same numerical increase) is much less so. The more paintings you've already got, the less chance there is that you'll actually produce something unique in the next one.

 

First paragraph: Because someone might not share the writer's humour and not want to have any 'funny' characters. Also, the two traits to be congruous to each other so that immersion in the character is not broken. Finally, because if all the characters you make are archetype hybrids who are congruous then the liklihood of them being similar increases even with reduced numbers.

 

The rest truly is us going around in circles. I reiterate that the figure that matters is not the number of companions, but the number of companions divided by the number of companion slots.

 

While I cannot speak for everyone in the entire thread, and honestly do not feel the need to look back through the whole thing right now to verify that no one's actually said, I personally do not believe that the BGII characters were "devoid" of depth, and don't think anyone else has said this, either. What I can say is that they bore less depth, individually, than they could've had had there been fewer of them with all other design factors remaining the same. And people are pointing out PS:T companions as an example of the depth-difference, then expressing their subjective desire for that level of difference.

 

You can say that they bore less depth than they could've should such design exist in a vacuum. It doesn't, so does the point have any worth? I would argue that it does have limited worth, but it is the same limited worth of point that past experiences of the genre have told us when there are less than 2 companions per slot those companions end up being incredibly stylistically similar.

 

A conclusion there is no need to come to. If you ask me "when will it rain next?", I can simply tell you "I do not know," as I do not have enough information. I don't NEED to conclude a specific time when the next rain will come, or conclude an unbased probability of when it will or will not rain.

 

I'm taking into account the factors you're presenting, along with any others I could think of (and have presented here). Your worries seem to be based on only a portion of the presented factors, much less the entirety of factors at play.

 

I'm not even countering "this is probably too few characters" with "this is probably plenty of characters." I'm merely saying that "this is probably too few characters" is a bit baseless at this point in time.

 

You may not feel the need to come to the conclusion, having nothing invested and having the fortune to have never experienced a similar game spoiled by the companions. I do, and Obsidian should do.

 

'This is probably too many characters' will be baseless until about two months following the release of P:E, upon which we can gladly bolt the stable door as necessary. The discussion here, frankly, is already too late rather than too early.

 

Obviously, if they don't please enough people, the game will fail, financially. However, since the Kickstarter funding was given in support of their vision of an IE spiritual successor, they'd be remiss not to adhere to their own design intentions simply to please people who supposedly already put their faith in Obsidian.

 

In other words, if I say "If you give me $20, I'll give you an object." And you do it, and I give you a pencil, but you wanted an ice cream cone, and you get mad, is there really anything saying that I should've given you an ice cream cone as opposed to a pencil?

 

The difference is that changing your own creative vision at the whims of others is detrimental to creativity in the first place.

 

Anyway, that's all a bit beside the point. If everyone who gave them money on Kickstarter suddenly wants them to make a racing game instead of an RPG, that doesn't make such a decision make any more sense. Obviously, those people would be upset if they don't change it to a racing game, and maybe Obsidian's business would suffer. But, that in no way implies that they should've made people happy instead of sticking to their vision.

 

People's subjective desires aren't always based on sense, or, at least not on complete sense. I can literally want to huge a fire, while simultaneously not wanting to suffer burns, even though that's ridiculous.

 

The point: They know ALL about their creative vision, and we only know parts of it. If those parts weren't good enough, then we shouldn't have funded the game based on what we deemed "insufficient" data.

 

Having 8 companions as opposed to ANY other number in no way contradicts their overall vision for the game. As you said, it is a very minor factor, by itself. Combine that with the fact that the Adventurer's Hall already addresses the exact same problem that you're trying to address with the "more characters, less depth" suggestion. You can combine any number of the 8, high-depth companions with any number of the Adventurer's Hall quite-literally-design-them-however-you-want characters. The people who greatly value per-character depth get exactly what they want, and many others who would prefer more characters, on whom some of the individual character depth is wasted, get at least partially accommodated, and possibly fully accommodated. I highly doubt there are enough remaining people to warrant calling the decision not to increase the number of companions a "risk." The fact that you, yourself, as one who doesn't really prefer the PS:T low-numbers-high-depth style of companion set, don't actually find any probability that P:E's design will be an issue and that you'll still most likely enjoy and contribute to the success of the game is supportive of this.

 

Again, you lay the blame on the consumers here, but miss the point. If it fails, it will hurt Obsidian. It doesn't matter about whether they should have made a pencil, whether people want fire without burns (incidentally, worse analogy of the thread so far ;) ), and, crucially, it doesn't matter whether we as backers should've demanded more data before pledging. Yes it hurts the backers, but it will hurt Obsidian more in the future.

 

The adventurers hall does not combat the problem, it removes the situation - a large chunk of gameplay. As I have said before, myself and the majority of players would be extremely irritated if we were forced towards the adventurer's hall. Especially since the games that inspired P:E (that weren't IWD) had great companions and P:E promised to emulate that.

 

Finally, I think you'll find you've misread my post there in the way to you refer to me in that last sentence.

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