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Josh Sawyer interview: on combat, companions and character building


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Hopefully this hasn't already been posted...

 

On Dec. 13, PC Gamer published an interview with Josh Sawyer on the subject of combat, character building, and companions in Pillars of Eternity. Also discussed was combat animation, NPC reactions, hiring companions,  and the possibility (or not) of a pacifist run-through. The posted images are really quite beautiful, I think.

 

Pillars-of-Eternity-3.jpg

 

PIllars-of-Eternity-4.jpg

 

Pillars-of-Eternity-5.jpg

 

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

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I agree, these screenies have a great atmosphere! :) (Hmm, perhaps those crystal caves are a bit too bright and shiny for my taste...)

 

And btw, is that an owlbear in that crystal passage?

 

Well, I read the article you linked and this line made me a very happy camper:

"...we're doing something else in the spirit of a fully real-time, continuous, purely time based system, while still feeling like you're controlling little RTS-type units. In the sense that you're not making guys do individual attacks, as much as assigning them actions and watching them go about them."

 

It sounds that they are really going all in with their version of RTwP, and they are building a nice strategy game for an RPG party while they are at it.

 

The combo of personal story and societal superstructure affecting it whets my appetite as well. :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I agree, these screenies have a great atmosphere! :) (Hmm, perhaps those crystal caves are a bit too bright and shiny for my taste...)

My thoughts exactly, but I don't expect to love very environment I encounter either.

 

The interview itself is very pleasing to me, as pretty much everything Sawyer said just reinforces my satisfaction that I backed this project. Looking damned good to me so far. Can't wait to walk into Defiance Bay. :)

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The game mechanics will be measured against titles as BG, IW:D and PS:T. I'm crossing fingers that it won't get dumbed down for some reasons (money, time, whatever).

 

Just thinking about Wasteland 2 combat which turned out lacking compared to Fallout and JA 2, the simplistic system in Shadowrun Returns or MMX. So far none of the allegedly oldschool-like titles delivered what they promised.

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As for the comments about the cave being too shiny - I can certainly appreciate that concern. My hope is that the glow and brightness in that area is due to the crystals. Maybe they have some sort of magical glow to them, brightening the cave? It looks like they've got the dark/gloom side of things handled capably, based on the night time image of the town. This leads me to believe that the cave is intentionally bright. 

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Well, it's clear I've missed much these last couple of weeks. Here's an even meatier interview done by Rock, Paper, shotgun Dec 10:

http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/12/10/mega-impressions-obsidians-pillars-of-eternity/

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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The game mechanics will be measured against titles as BG, IW:D and PS:T. I'm crossing fingers that it won't get dumbed down for some reasons (money, time, whatever).

 

Just thinking about Wasteland 2 combat which turned out lacking compared to Fallout and JA 2, the simplistic system in Shadowrun Returns or MMX. So far none of the allegedly oldschool-like titles delivered what they promised.

Maybe they're just trying to make it more accessible for a modern audience, those old school games were deeply rooted on their PnP counterparts and they didn't always transfer well into the medium. Considering that kickstarter backed projects have gained some traction and notoriety they may want to target new people that come in without having an RPG background. 

Also Nostalgia glasses.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

village_idiot.gif

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The game mechanics will be measured against titles as BG, IW:D and PS:T. I'm crossing fingers that it won't get dumbed down for some reasons (money, time, whatever).

 

Just thinking about Wasteland 2 combat which turned out lacking compared to Fallout and JA 2, the simplistic system in Shadowrun Returns or MMX. So far none of the allegedly oldschool-like titles delivered what they promised.

Expeditions: Conquistador has been the most surprising Kickstarter RPG so far. For their budget $80K - they did an amazing job. The writing quality is also better than Wasteland 2, I would say.

 

There are some issues with that game - such as the combat design, but overall for a first effort - very promising and I look forward to more Logic Artist games.

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agreed

i've got Expeditions: Conquistador recently

considering the amount money they had it turned out really well, even if there are still many things that could be done better

 

the soundtrack is pretty damn good, and i like how the music is sparsely used in this game

 

the one thing that strikes me as completely odd with this game how they treat men and women completely equaly

that just doesn't fit 16th century..

also lots of interesting gender based dialog options wasted here if you are playing a female character (which i am)

Edited by lolaldanee
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the one thing that strikes me as completely odd with this game how they treat men and women completely equaly

that just doesn't fit 16th century..

also lots of interesting gender based dialog options wasted here if you are playing a female character (which i am)

They did that so the story would be more interesting. I also played as a female character.

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I love how this style of graphics pulls off a coherence and consistency in detail that you don't see in 3D titles. The fact that there is only one angle to worry about, everything is pre-rendered in exquisite detail and that every pixel of the screen has been polished with a fine eye for detail, makes all the difference.

 

Contrast it with something like Wasteland 2 where every location is filled with repeated textures and blocky geometry, all exacerbated with the terrible camera that you're fighting with every moment of the game. Ugh.

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Expeditions: Conquistador has been the most surprising Kickstarter RPG so far. For their budget $80K - they did an amazing job. The writing quality is also better than Wasteland 2, I would say.

 

There are some issues with that game - such as the combat design, but overall for a first effort - very promising and I look forward to more Logic Artist games.

 

 

This is really off topic for the thread but: yea, Expeditions was great. I'm experiencing the WL2 beta right now and inXile's writing and map design have me worried for TToN. The codex news thread about the GameBanshee WL2 beta interview has several posts talking about the corridor / peninsula design of the WL2 outside maps and I have to agree- it feels too much 'on rails', especially considering the pedigree and stated inspirations for the game.

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Isn't the WL2 project director Fargo himself? I assume that's as experienced as they come. It isn't experience I worry about with that development house, but rather their judgment. Time will tell, I hope the WL2 release makes all my worries pointless.

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No, he's the Executive Producer. I believe he handles the budgeting and staffing aspect. I'm not sure what staffing structure they have for Wasteland 2 but for Torment they have a Project Director - Kevin Saunders who is an ex-Obsidian employee.

 

It is clear from the beta that the WL2 development structure hasn't been completely optimal.

Edited by Sensuki
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Great interview and as always encouraging news on the direction. I enjoy crafting my main character and gathering individuals with their own personalities to follow me around much more than designing whole parties, but I am really impressed how Obsidian is finding a way to work with both desires here. I know this is old news, but I think it shows a level of thoughtfulness and engagement with the true range of fans that will make the game great. 

 

EDIT - Also, last screenshot, look at DAT HAT! 

 

RAWR

Edited by DCParry
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Great screenshots. Not agree with all the ideas for Eternity, but once more, not really possible to judge an isolated feature. Need to see the whole to make me an idea. And i feel that i could like all the stuff at the end. Not used to is not like bad. I just try to be open minded so i can appreciate new stuff with no pre made ideas.

 

Same thing for Wasteland 2. I saw some beta walkthrough on the net. It's early beta and it's true the game doesn't seem as polished as Eternity at first sight. And the inventory interface reminds me the SkyUI mod interface for Skyrim (this mod is helpfull, yeah). So, not so good. I've some problems too with animations and stuff. BUT... This is early beta, and even... I really want to play Wasteland. Seems really fun, and interesting in so many ways... And maybe bigger than Eternity. I feel that wasteland and Eternity didn't have the same development priorities. That's all. Furthermore, i've never hoped a full polished game with 3M as a dev budget. Fargo said the beta would be quite linear and stuff... Well, i should Say Mister Fargo. Great great guy.

 

As for others so tiny teams with so ambitious projects... Like Aterdux with its "Legends of Eisenwald" and their endless early beta. But nevermind! It's worth a look. All this stuff is about love, not war.

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Yup, so far $80K-Conquistadors is the isometric RPG to beat as far as KS projects go. Very impressive effort on the behalf of that studio. I also have great faith in Kevin Saunders and all the fantastic writers on the ToN-team. Let's just hope WL2 turns out more open and varied than what has been shown so far, and I include combat in that exclamation as well. Sure, linearity and corridors isn't inherently evil. It all comes down to the quality of the RPG experience when you pass through them.

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Yeah, like i said, Fargo wrote a long update about the Wasteland 2 early beta and its limits. Among the limits, the linearity was well placed. He said "not representative of the final game" because very few places are included in the beta while it's possible to play through whole quests.

 

Legends of Eisenwald is a 80K project too, and what is fun is that they developped their own engine before the kickstarter. They're just crazy. But i play the game and it's won-der-ful, despite its 15 months' early beta. Kind of Heroes of Might and Magic like but much more scenarized and much more middle age's style. Conquistadors looks great, i just looked at it.

 

Torment is a great project too (one more!). Nowadays, the future of kickstarter seems to be in the balance. If these games turn to be great, it's good for the future.

 

And about the subject of this thread, my main problem is that i do not really understand all the design features for combat J.Sawyer presented in the article. My english is not good enough to figure out the details about wizard's spells use. I just understood he'll use a grimoire. (kind of strange to find a french word in there)

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And about the subject of this thread, my main problem is that i do not really understand all the design features for combat J.Sawyer presented in the article. My english is not good enough to figure out the details about wizard's spells use. I just understood he'll use a grimoire. (kind of strange to find a french word in there)

 

I don't think he mentions grimoires in the article linked by OP, so maybe you're talking about a different interview (or maybe I just missed it), but the three things Sawyer says about wizards in the article are:

 

1- They can wear armor. They cast their spells more slowly with armor though.

2 - They aren't as weak at low levels as D&D wizards. They have more spells available for casting. In BG, for example, a low level wizard only can cast a few spells before he has none left and becomes useless to the party until the party rests. Josh says that this will not be the case in Eternity.

3 - Playing a wizard is more complex than playing a fighter. Wizards have a lot of abilities to manage. Fighters have fewer. As a result, playing a wizard requires the player to do more and be more active.

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Thanks for the Link OP.

Hopefully we will see some of the cultural und historical conflicts in the upcoming BETA and we get a better impression then with the Wasteland 2 one.

Seems a little bit unfortunate from what I have read, but I will wait for the final game.

Looking forward to Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity and Toremnt: Tides of Numenra. My next two gaming years are save ^^

 

Also, great screenshots. And what is the problem with the fog? I like it.

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