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Bittersweet Eternity. An open letter addressed to Obsidian Entertainment

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I must be turning into an old fart because I have no desire whatsoever to express my sexuality in a freakin' computer game. I'd rather express my homicidal and larcenous tendencies.

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I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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Also the idea that less dungeons = more writing doesn't make sense. Do you think the people who would be creating the dungeons are going to be put to work writing?

"Let's cut plural amount of gameplay so we can fall in wove."

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But if the dungeon designers are working less hours they get paid less and if there making less money they can work there writers more hours. Ashtonw it's kind of simple.

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Why can't promancers just be happy that they're going to be able to force any companion NPC to screw their main character in Dragon Age Inquisition? Isn't that enough for them?

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But if the dungeon designers are working less hours they get paid less and if there making less money they can work there writers more hours.

... no. 

 

What you are suggesting is something publishers do. Plus, it is just bad management. An it's not how business works in general. Just because one segment works less and earns less does not mean the paycheck for another group gets bigger, nor does it mean their hours get longer. I am sure everyone at Obsidian is on salary, meaning they get paid the same amount on matter what.

 

Or are you seriously suggesting that the designers do the same amount of work in less hours and with less pay?

Edited by Bryy

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I must be turning into an old fart because I have no desire whatsoever to express my sexuality in a freakin' computer game. I'd rather express my homicidal and larcenous tendencies.

Interestingly enough, expressing a character's sexuality has nothing to do with romance, and I have no idea why people bring the former as an argument in favor of the presence of the latter.

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Oh, yeah, no, totally, Obsidian pays their people by the hour ... which kinda sucks for the company, since the minimum wage is soon to rise. I don't know about you guys, but I've seen the third-world sweat-shop where Obsidian sews their garments and doo-dads ... it is literally blackened with soot, windowless and cramped like a closet. When one worker finishes a design, they have to clock-out and stay at their station until the foreman comes in with more penciled instructions from the writing staff huddled in the basement. Pretty sure that's how it works, anyway.  

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All Stop. On Screen.

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This is what I'm saying there budget is for time spent working on this project so if dungeon designer a makes 100 dollars a week and his job with full dungeon content for project 1 would take 4 weeks but they cut half of the content he would have had to make he now works on project 1 for 2 weeks and gets moved to project 2 or laid off. They then take the 200 dollars for those 2 weeks and give it to a writer. And yes this is how business works.

 

And before you all jump on the omg they don't make that little and it would take way longer than that. Small numbers are easier to grasp than big numbers. Esp the 2 : 4

Edited by Fatback

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2: Keep in mind that Bg1 had no romances, but Bg2 did. This suggest it is entirely possible for romances to be in PoE2.

Honestly, in a way, that feels like a much better pace for things. Well, it could be, at least.

 

Like Tali's romance in Mass Effect. All other things aside, you couldn't romance her until like halfway through the second game. You already had history together (of just knowing each other and such), and you had much more important crap going on before that, etc. Instead of the whole "we just completed a couple of quests together... So.... wanna settle down and make babies after declaring our undying love for one another?" found a lot, recently.

 

If they didn't feel they have the time or resources to work in anything beyond just optional, isolated romance arcs/options, then I'm glad they're not putting them in. In an ideal world, everything wouldn't take any specific amount of time or resources, and it'd all be in the game, in perfect form. But, alas... we live in reality. 8P

 

Oh, but, specifically to the OP (and anyone sharing his worries), I highly encourage you not to associate something like "no romances" with "oh dear, the devs aren't concerned with staying the course with the essence of the IE games, and it's all just going to be combat like in IWD!"

 

It's not that the aspect of romance is insignificant, but it really isn't part of the heartbeat (no pun intended) of the IE games. Take out relationships, and yeah, you've got a problem. But just a single subset of them? It's not even impossible that people simply won't feasibly have time to really worry with long-term things throughout the story of PoE, since we don't know what's going on in that story, specifically. It's entirely possible that you'll be able to facilitate romantic excursions with the very same characters in the second game, or an expansion, when the characters from this game's story get some time for R&R.

Edited by Lephys
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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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no matter how clever your sophistry or enlightened your ideals, you will never convince a tiger to become a vegetarian. am gonna leave for you all to decide if the promancers is the sophist or tiger.

 

"2: Keep in mind that Bg1 had no romances, but Bg2 did. This suggest it is entirely possible for romances to be in PoE2."

 

the quoted material does raise an interesting question. obsidian is not bioware. that observation is beyond contention, but in and of itself it means nothing.  ask the hardcore fans here or at rpgcodex what is defining qualities that distinguish the two developers, and some folks new to these boards might be surprised. is would be hard to argue that obsidian has been more successful at selling games, so the folks who prefer kotor 2 to kotor or motb to nwn is forced to find differences other than raw sales data. "obsidian makes smarter games that don't pander to the prurient interests o' the bsn crowd." such debates will often include phrases such as "lowest common denominator" to be identifying the fans o' bioware games. the "console crowd" is another dismissive label. is a somewhat silly debate, nevertheless, one is wondering how obsidian sees itself as different from bioware.

 

am doubting the obsidian v. bioware bit is something the developers discuss... much. additionally, it is worth noting that obsidian is not a single entity save as a legal fiction that is having benefits for taxation and investment-- different peoples at obsidan is likely having different perspectives. still, we cannot help but wonder how obsidian sees self, and if that identity might not have impact on future romance. 

 

romances is a biowarian staple. what Gromnir considers romance is not actual what bioware includes in their games, but we do recognize that bioware has been able to alter the very definition o' crpg game romance in the relative short period o' time they has been making games. when folks here and elsewhere discuss, debate and/or dismiss the merits o' crpg romance, they is arguing 'bout the companion mini-game that bioware has made integral in their releases. have romance 'tween two characters and both o' them is not the player character? before the turn o' the century such a romance woulda' been as likely, if not more likely, to be at the heart o' a discussion o' crpg romance. when Gromnir suggests that the bestest crpg romance we has ever encountered in a game is ravel puzzelwell's love for the nameless one, we is typical fighting an uphill battle, and we is needing necessarily start by proving that ravel's love for tno should be counted as a crpg romance. the very scope o' the question has been redefined by bioware.

 

yeah, obsidian no doubt recognizes the popularity o' romances, but how does obsidian sees self in the present context? from a cynical perspective, would obsidian wanna deal with comparisons to bioware insofar as what has become a distinctly biowarian feature? is our understanding that obsidian included some limited version o' romance in AP and that the romance itself were, to put the best spin possible 'pon it, having very mixed reviews. if obsidian embraces some kinda us v. them mentality as does the relative fan-bases, it is possible that obsidian might wish to avoid comparisons related to romance. obsidian don't have biowarian experience with the romance mini-game. also, and while am certain obsidian could never admit, what if obsidian has a distinctly codexian perspective and is seeing bioware as a developer that is catering to the console crowd and the least common denominator?  turned into a pillar o' salt might be just punishment for looking back towards sodom, yes? romances is one o' those distinctly biowarian features, and if one embraces the belief that such romances is an exercise in developer decadence and excess, then obsidian needs necessarily bring themselves down to biowarian level to craft such features.

 

again, am not actual saying that obsidian is afraid o' competing with bioware or that obsidians is dismissive o' bioware and/or bioware style romance, so those o' you who has used reply/quote to refute should now be feeling a bit silly for indulging your reflexive urges.  Gromnir is simply posing a question: how does obsidian see itself?  perhaps you don't think the question is relevant. is a fair pov, but we cannot help but wonder at how constant being compared to bioware might influence obsidian. 

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Also the idea that less dungeons = more writing doesn't make sense. Do you think the people who would be creating the dungeons are going to be put to work writing?

Not to mention the fact that sometimes Romance happens IN dungeons. This is especially true in BG2, where your "LI" will often times decide that the moments before taking on a Dragon are the best time to talk about 'us'.
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But if the dungeon designers are working less hours they get paid less and if there making less money they can work there writers more hours. Ashtonw it's kind of simple.

Hmm. You're talking about re-allotting the budget. Specifically Less level design = More writing.

 

OK. In that case, definitely no. That kind of thinking got us Dragon Age 2. I'd rather not be subjected to an experience like that ever again.

Edited by Stun
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Also the idea that less dungeons = more writing doesn't make sense. Do you think the people who would be creating the dungeons are going to be put to work writing?

Not to mention the fact that sometimes Romance happens IN dungeons. This is especially true in BG2, where your "LI" will often times decide that the moments before taking on a Dragon are the best time to talk about 'us'.

 

In all fairness, most NPCs will try to banter with you in a dungeon. As I was about to face Firkraag one time, Yoshimo started quizzing my PC about his background.

 

Obsidian should really restrict conversations to certain areas to avoid stuff like that in PoE.


"Take your child murderin' god and shove his him up his own ass."-Volorun

 

"...the vote of a black redhead disabled homosexual transsexual Jew should probably be worth the same as at least a hundred white heterosexual Christians."-Rostere

 

"i can think of many women i would gladly sleep with, but not a single one that i would want as a girlfriend/wife... neither real nor fictional."-teknoman2

 

"I'm all for killing dogs in film." - algroth

 

"Iselmyr is the one who did GOMAD... Aloth is lactose intolerant" -ShadySands

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Sigh, I was actually forced to like one of Gromnir's posts. Now I must shower.

 

Although I doubt there is actually much, maybe antagonism is the wrong word, but derision among Obsidian for Bioware's output.  I am sure they take a more academic/critical view of the differences (as opposed to our fan responses). Also, many of the people from both sides are acquaintances and appreciate each other's games quite a bit.

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Sigh, I was actually forced to like one of Gromnir's posts. Now I must shower.

 

Although I doubt there is actually much, maybe antagonism is the wrong word, but derision among Obsidian for Bioware's output.  I am sure they take a more academic/critical view of the differences (as opposed to our fan responses). Also, many of the people from both sides are acquaintances and appreciate each other's games quite a bit.

our sister were smart, athletic and made friends easily. as an out-o'-state student she were accepted to uc berkeley as a molecular and cell biology major. in high school she played soccer and were the team mvp. she were also on the student council... secretary or somesuch. we bring up 'cause our sister eventually confided that she sorta hated being our sister during high school. she went to berkeley mainly 'cause that is where Gromnir went, and 'cause she didn't get into stanford. in spite o' being a soccer star, she were constantly being compared to her brother who were all-state in multiple sports. she did student council partially 'cause we had no interest in such stuff-- it were the "one thing" she had that were different and better than us. Gromnir never felt the least bit competitive towards her, which only made things worse for her. weren't til years later that she were able to get over the competitiveness.

 

now the thing is, most every place we has worked, or any teams we has been part o', competitiveness and envy were always a factor... and sometimes encouraged. got forty and fifty year old men women working for a prestigious firm and their  "office politics" is just a sad way to make immature rivalries sound better.  there ain't no way bob deserved that promotion. mary is such a freaking brown-noser. blah, blah, blah. hell, as a coach or boss we has purposeful singled-out a person for praise or perks simply to get a reaction from the rest o' the "team." 

 

even if the guys at bioware and obsidian were absolute bestest buddies, we wouldn't be quick to dismiss their competitive nature.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Actually Grom, while I heartily agree with your earlier post, I'm not sure about your second.

 

Creative types can be competitive, ferociously so, but just as many aren't. Many writers, who work alone, in fact eschew competition as they know someone is as likely to buy their book as much as the other guy's and there's more benefit in making professional allies as opposed to rivals. Literary feuds tend to be confined to... literary novelists and academics. And as the old saying goes, their disputes are so bitter because  there's so little at stake.

 

As for Obsidian, I think you've nailed it. The Codexian perspective is the bad devil that appears on their shoulder occasionally and represents a significant part of the collective Obsidian id. Nothing wrong with that, especially if you are an elitist, potty-mouthed uber-geek.

 

As for pen1s-envy with Bioware --- I don't buy it. The Venn diagram of people who buy both of their products religiously is probably quite deep in the middle. Creatives, with legendarily dodgy job security, seldom burn bridges. And, as I say, although I'm sure workplace politics have commonality whatever the industry, I've worked in government, the private sector and as a 'creative' and the b1tching / back-stabbing dynamic is different across them all.

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ps keep in mind that we ain't suggesting that obsidian developers is dismissive o' bioware-- said so above. is also not 'bout burning bridges and open feuds.  nevertheless, just as boardies here and at codex come up with reasons and rationales as to why bioware games sell better, so will the obsidian developers. am having no idea what conclusions they arrive at, but am suspecting the obsidian guys take pride in their work and is competitive 'mongst themselves and others in their field... am betting that they don't resign themselves to the fact that bioware is simply a better developer o' crpgs. 

 

and again, just in case is being missed, we don't know what any particular obsidian is thinking 'bout bioware. "Many writers, who work alone, in fact eschew competition..." am not doubting this is true o' some obsidians or even most, but that in itself is also telling, no? mini-game romances is biowarian. avoid competition is just as telling. but regardless, we don't know obsidian mind on this. that being said, we suspect it is a question worth considering.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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This isn't remotely surprising. All companies aspire to a culture, a reason why their staff get out of bed in the morning. In creative industries and vocational jobs this (which both have notoriously bad pay at most levels) this is because you love doing this stuff.

 

I understand, I really do, why you'd want to get up in the morning and make games with certain core values and a distinct style, and which stand out from the other guy's. I even think some creative industries accept their place in the market to live up to that aspiration (i.e. you might prefer to be mid-market and keep your soul). It's Steven Berkoff, the avant garde actor who plays villains in Hollywood dreck, who calls such work 'the dirt under his fingernails' that funds his theatre stuff (that hardly anyone goes to).

 

This duality between turning a dollar versus artistic credibility is a distinctly First World dilemma. These guys are hardly stitching footballs to buy plastic for the the roof of their favela. It is a fact of the business, nonetheless. I'd rather earn less and work at Obsidian than a King's Ransom at Bioware, but maybe that's just me.

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kinda a sidenote:

 

some o' the most bizarre feuds we can recall is literary feuds. writers can be... odd. is worth a google if you is looking for some particularly colorful insults. "literary feuds" will produce more than a few zingers.  additionally, am not much o' a comic book fan, but am understanding that comic writers has been known to get surly. our experience is more with writers than other artists, but our limited experience is telling us that the insecure artsy types tends to be more prone to such stuff rather than less. 'least we ain't dealing with actors and directors, yes?

 

some amusing examples:

 

faulkner speaking of hemingway

 

“he has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

 

hemingway on faulkner

 

“poor faulkner. does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

 

capote on kerouac 

 

“that’s not writing, that’s typing.”

 

byron v. keats is probable too easy... am not certain what keats ever did to byron, but there is multiple sources o' byron verbally eviscerating keats, and byron didn't even have the decency to cease his assaults after keats untimely death. is as if keats' death only angered byron more as it forever removed the young man from lord fussy-britches reach.

 

but again, am not suggesting a feud 'tween obsidain and bioware.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir
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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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Writers are odd, sure, but actors...

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Writers are odd, sure, but actors...

we dated an actress... once.

 

HA! Good Fun!

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"Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence."--Justice Louis Brandeis, Concurring, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927)

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But if the dungeon designers are working less hours they get paid less and if there making less money they can work there writers more hours. Ashtonw it's kind of simple.

Hmm. You're talking about re-allotting the budget. Specifically Less level design = More writing.

 

OK. In that case, definitely no. That kind of thinking got us Dragon Age 2. I'd rather not be subjected to an experience like that ever again.

 

Just jumping to the DA2 Defense here, but a year long dev cycle got us DA2.

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I haven't yet insulted you personally. If your problem is that I don't take the subject seriously enough, that's too bad, because to me romances are fun additions and not something to be taken 100% seriously. 

 

You could reduce romances to a mechanic for boinking your party members. Or you could say that giving them noogies deepens your role-playing options by letting you have a fun, rough-housing relationship with them. Different types of relationships- again, neither is more valid than the other.

 

Constantly bringing up BG2 and Torment means nothing to me; I've never gotten very far in Torment, and I always played a female character in BG2. My only option was Anomen, who was a jerk and an idiot. Not something I would hold up as a good example.

 

 

Your concern was that having no romances would mean all the character interaction would be shallow and limited, because romance is somehow deeper and better than any other type of interaction, or at least that's how I interpreted it.

 

 

Saying "Please, don't be an ass" is not like saying "You are an ass". The former indicates that I am willing to have a dialogue with you but only if you were to drop the cynical act. The second is indeed an insult. I never used the second with you.

 

You can take the subject seriously or not at a personal level, that's none of my bussiness but If you decide to step in in a dialogue were people are trying to debate seriously (like I am trying), I think it's not very respectful to discard other people's opinons with cynisim like you did. 

 

No, you cannot reduce romance to boinking. Boinking in a game like this would be a mechanic while romancing is a roleplaying decision that involves a series of jugdements that you play as if you were the character you created. I guess that's where the problem is. We just have too very different conceptions of romance. If for you romance is boinking then I guess there is little else to talk about.

 

So all this time you were trying to argue about something you haven't even tryied yourself? If you haven't played and tried the BG2/ Torments romances extensively, why trying to arm a case agaisnt them? 

 

Your last sentence: No. Please, read the post again. At this point I don't know if you are just trolling or simply don't understand why I tried to say.

 

Also, Obsidian have a certain budget. This budget is not only for writing but for scripting and much more stuff, it's only common sense that they just measure what they can spend in what according to the budget so if they cut some scripting from some dungeon then can use that to open other options.

Edited by namelessthree

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At first i was like, ok, lets read what this guy want to cry about, but oh god 21x 'romance' in tl:dr is too much even for me. now I am going to read responses :)

Edited by Chilloutman

I'm the enemy, 'cause I like to think, I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kinda guy that likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecue ribs with the side-order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol! I wanna eat bacon, and butter, and buckets of cheese, okay?! I wanna smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section! I wanna run naked through the street, with green Jell-O all over my body, reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly may feel the need to, okay, pal? I've SEEN the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiene"

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