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"Infinity Engine 2.0" is here - Thank You Obisidian

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Seriously, for the first time in around 15 years I feel like I am playing an Infinity Engine game without having to replay one of the Infinity Engine games for the umpteenth time. Pillars of Eternity has delivered on so many levels.

 

I know that I wasn't always the most positive voice during the backer beta. Well, early on the game really had a long way to go, but more than that, it lacked so many of the key components that made the IE games great. This was largely on purpose, I acknowledge, and understand. But - it's what I had at the time to provide feedback on at the time.

 

With the full release of PoE, we now have those missing ingredients, in spades. An excellent story (so far at least), memorable companions, a massive world to discover and explore, and an absolute boat load of quests. Combat has really progressed since the beta, and while it is quite different from combat in IE, I'm rather enjoying it. Mr. Bell did a great job with the soundtrack, very much adding to the ambiance. The 2D painted backgrounds are absolutely beautiful, and it's amazing how Obsidian really brought them to life. Lighting effects. Animated water. Fog! I.E. 2.0 indeed! Several hours in and I haven't had a single crash, significant bug or performance issue. It's not that I don't still have things that I'd like to see changed... but those are for another post.

 

My only serious question is how did Planet Earth allow so much time to pass before a worthy successor to the IE games was created and released? It boggles the mind, really. But I'm extremely hopeful for the expansion and for future installments in the series. Between Obsidian and inXile, quality cRPGs with old school sensibilities are back on the menu boys!

 

It was an honor to shake hands with Josh and Feargus at the launch party last week. Icing on the cake. Oh, and after seeing how physical rewards went down with Wasteland 2, having nearly all of my physical rewards within 2 days of game release was a real treat -- well done Paradox! My signed collector's edition box is truly a treasure.

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

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My only serious question is how did Planet Earth allow so much time to pass before a worthy successor to the IE games was created and released?

 

Publishers.

 

Publishers never change.

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Yeah, of course I know that. Publishers, and demographic studies... and lots and lots of metrics. All the stuff that creativity is born of.

 

But no where on the entire planet did any "anomalies" slip through for more than a decade? It's kind of crazy when you consider how much greatness was just waiting to be created.


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

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Business executives, bankers, and investors are the biggest herd animals you'll find anywhere. If "nobody wants to play these kinds of games" is the conventional wisdom, nobody will fund them.

 

This BTW is a well-known phenomenon and the psychological and economic incentives are well understood. John Maynard Keynes was among the first to point it out when he said that a sound banker is one that fails in the same way as every other banker.


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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Eternity is fascinating from a publishing POV cuz of the crowd-funding element.

 

Many of us posited the possibility of a cottage industry for CRPGs (a la Spiderweb) but with turbo-chargers as a result of new distribution models and development tools. But a full-on IE style game was always going to be a massive challenge because of the sheer quantity of content (especially hand-painted backgrounds, writing etc).

 

So a perfect storm of (a) a big company like Obz and (b) the new models I described above collided. Obz always knew the appetite was there. But not big enough to turn on a big publisher. So they Kick-started and reaped the rewards of their audacity.

 

I hope this is the start of a renaissance in lots of different genres. Am really looking forward to more Unity CRPGs plus maybe even some RTS games. It's all good.

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I actually sketched out something pretty similar before there was a Kickstarter, on RPGWatch around ... dunno, 2007, 2008 or thereabouts, minus the crowdfunding.

 

I compared it to art house cinema. I thought there would be a cluster of mid-budget studios making games with higher production values and budgets than Spiderweb, but much lower budgets and production values than AAA games. The games would be based on open-source middleware, and they would, to an extent, share assets and collaborate on projects, seeing each other as allies rather than competitors.

 

Turns out it actually happened -- only Kickstarter was the missing link which, well, kickstarted it.

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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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^ We had a similar conversation here, where we imagined modular CRPGs with a base game plus DLC (before it was known as DLC). This was when IE games were officially dead and pre-NWN2 MotB. They were grim, grim days for (fantasy) CRPGs.

 

But, yes, KS was the missing variable. KS rocks.

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Spiderweb software games still exist thankfully. But they are made entirely by one person and thus even more outdated. And the new remake of Avernum 2 is a rip off at £15.

 

I beg obsidian to keep on making games like Pillars of Eternity. I don't understand why publishers ever thought that such games wouldn't sell, and I cant believe what Bioware have turned into but they are officially dead to me.

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Spiderweb software games still exist thankfully. But they are made entirely by one person and thus even more outdated. And the new remake of Avernum 2 is a rip off at £15.

 

I beg obsidian to keep on making games like Pillars of Eternity. I don't understand why publishers ever thought that such games wouldn't sell, and I cant believe what Bioware have turned into but they are officially dead to me.

 

Amen brother, you speaketh much wisdom.


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Wow, I've been preaching that old man crazy nonsense since NWN1, and on most forums people would be like 'BG is old and outdated, no one wants it anymore, the new 3D games are great!!!!!'.

 

I cri every tiem.

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As for Bioware, I won't say that they make bad games (though DA2 had many major disappointments)... they have just gone the route of mass market action RPGs, which isn't my preferred style of game. Yeah, it sort of hurts more that they once were my favored gaming company, the guys who I believed "got me" as a gamer.

 

But add in a major publisher like EA and what are you going to do? I don't wish them ill, and on a slow gaming day I still might pick up one of their games.

 

I've stopped saying things like they are "dead to me". The "break up" happened long enough ago that I don't need to make such dramatic statements. Now I simply accept that they are part of the gaming Borg that I generally try to steer clear of.

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

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Seriously, for the first time in around 15 years I feel like I am playing an Infinity Engine game without having to replay one of the Infinity Engine games for the umpteenth time. Pillars of Eternity has delivered on so many levels.

 

I know that I wasn't always the most positive voice during the backer beta. Well, early on the game really had a long way to go, but more than that, it lacked so many of the key components that made the IE games great. This was largely on purpose, I acknowledge, and understand. But - it's what I had at the time to provide feedback on at the time.

 

With the full release of PoE, we now have those missing ingredients, in spades. An excellent story (so far at least), memorable companions, a massive world to discover and explore, and an absolute boat load of quests. Combat has really progressed since the beta, and while it is quite different from combat in IE, I'm rather enjoying it. Mr. Bell did a great job with the soundtrack, very much adding to the ambiance. The 2D painted backgrounds are absolutely beautiful, and it's amazing how Obsidian really brought them to life. Lighting effects. Animated water. Fog! I.E. 2.0 indeed! Several hours in and I haven't had a single crash, significant bug or performance issue. It's not that I don't still have things that I'd like to see changed... but those are for another post.

 

My only serious question is how did Planet Earth allow so much time to pass before a worthy successor to the IE games was created and released? It boggles the mind, really. But I'm extremely hopeful for the expansion and for future installments in the series. Between Obsidian and inXile, quality cRPGs with old school sensibilities are back on the menu boys!

 

It was an honor to shake hands with Josh and Feargus at the launch party last week. Icing on the cake. Oh, and after seeing how physical rewards went down with Wasteland 2, having nearly all of my physical rewards within 2 days of game release was a real treat -- well done Paradox! My signed collector's edition box is truly a treasure.

 

You must be one of the lucky few then who are not hit in some form by perma stat bugs then, or you didn't notice.

Or any of the numerous bugs being posted, and I don't talk about the minor bugs but the big bugs that basically ruin the game for people trying to play the game as it is intended.

 

Anyways I am greatful that they made the game and I definitely do not hate them, but the game has been released with too many bugs where I think.. hmm, maybe they rushed the release a bit too soon. Now its released they need to work overtime to try and keep up and fix the bugs people reporting.

A better beta program of the actual release version could probably have helped catch many of the bugs people report right now.

Edited by zephiris

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I check my stats pretty regularly and so far haven't seen anything out of whack. It all feels pretty balanced, though certainly the difficulty meter is up several notches from BG, which I'm totally happy to see.

 

I'm still relatively early, somewhere in Act II and still exploring Defiance Bay, and haven't even finished a single level of the Endless Paths. Party members are level 5 and 6. So hopefully I won't be in for a rude awakening later on.


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

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I did see some pretty disheartening bugs during the Backer Beta, for what it's worth. Honestly, I didn't really even enjoy playing the beta due to bugs (I know, I know, betas aren't meant to be "enjoyed", but still).


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

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Not that I'm saying the model is good for niche genres, but saying publishers hate creativity is kind of a lame duck statement. We've had tons of good games from publishers. Let's not act like EA and Activision are the only fish in the sea.

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I have lots of saves. I am confident I can avoid these bugs or at least avoid them ruining my game. Sorry to hear it did not come out as bug free as we all hoped. They do seem like relatively easy ones to fix and avoid once you know about them though. I hope there are not any more.

Edited by Valmy

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Not that I'm saying the model is good for niche genres, but saying publishers hate creativity is kind of a lame duck statement. We've had tons of good games from publishers. Let's not act like EA and Activision are the only fish in the sea.

For my part, I'm certainly not saying or even implying this. I think publishers are fine with creativity. They just tend to prioritize it below the bottom line. As long as an idea is sure to make a bajillion dollars, it can be creative all day long. And certainly, different publishers differ in their priorities. Paradox being a great example of a publisher with a true gamer's heart.

 

While I could be wrong, my impression is that during the Infinity Engine era creativity came first. Of course, games had to make money but that wasn't the point. The point was making that great game that the developers wanted to go home and play during their free time, hoping that the fans would feel likewise and buy lots of copies.


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

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I have lots of saves. I am confident I can avoid these bugs or at least avoid them. Sorry to hear it did not come out as bug free as we all hoped. They do seem like relatively easy ones to fix and avoid once you know about them though. I hope there are not any more.

I make lots of saves as well. I do this with all games that I play these days. A lesson hard learned over the years.


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

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Yeah, of course I know that. Publishers, and demographic studies... and lots and lots of metrics. All the stuff that creativity is born of.

 

But no where on the entire planet did any "anomalies" slip through for more than a decade? It's kind of crazy when you consider how much greatness was just waiting to be created.

 

Well one big thing was that these games were mostly made using the D&D license but that was stuck in a limbo/legal battle for years thanks to Atari. So that didn't help either.

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Spiderweb software games still exist thankfully. But they are made entirely by one person and thus even more outdated. And the new remake of Avernum 2 is a rip off at £15.

 

I beg obsidian to keep on making games like Pillars of Eternity. I don't understand why publishers ever thought that such games wouldn't sell, and I cant believe what Bioware have turned into but they are officially dead to me.

The reason could be that it takes some extremely talented people to pull it off, and their skills have from a purely monetary perspective, been put to better use in trying to develop other games, especially catering to the typical mainstream console gamer. Like Bioware moving away from CRPG's to make theatrical action adventure RPG's like KOTOR, better suited for cross-platform gameplay. Really, it was Bioware that brought the genre back to life in 1998, and it was bioware that through it's own success killed it. And since Black Isle (and Interplay) were busy being dead, no one was there to take over or fund these games.

 

Thanks Ray and Doctor Zee!

Edited by Prime-Mover

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Not that I'm saying the model is good for niche genres, but saying publishers hate creativity is kind of a lame duck statement. We've had tons of good games from publishers. Let's not act like EA and Activision are the only fish in the sea.

 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There were no RPGs like Eternity from circa 2004 until now. Publishers weren't interested as they are interested in volume. I'm not blaming them, I'm simply saying they don't change. Admittedly, my experience is in books rather than games, but the Big Five are like bloated rabbits transfixed in the [digital] headlights, pumping out even more YA titles while the behemoth bears down on them.


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First post mirrors my thoughts exactly. 

 

Thanks Obsidian for making a game that gives me exactly what I wanted in a RPG. I'm 25 hours in and I'm only 5 levels deep into Od Nua. I would have been happy with just this massive dungeon, but remembering this is just a bonus and there is still a huge world and story left to explore fills me with a great joy I haven't felt in a long time in games. 

 

I would gush on, but I have a dungeon to explore and plunder.

 

Thanks Obsidian!

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I am so excited to hear someone point that out. I really cannot wait to play this game. Man, I haven't been this pumped in many, many years. :dancing:


A great Let's Play that exposed me to PoE and got me hooked.

Give it a look and enjoy!! :yes:

Also with a detailed character creation to boot.

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Not that I'm saying the model is good for niche genres, but saying publishers hate creativity is kind of a lame duck statement. We've had tons of good games from publishers. Let's not act like EA and Activision are the only fish in the sea.

 

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. There were no RPGs like Eternity from circa 2004 until now. Publishers weren't interested as they are interested in volume. I'm not blaming them, I'm simply saying they don't change. Admittedly, my experience is in books rather than games, but the Big Five are like bloated rabbits transfixed in the [digital] headlights, pumping out even more YA titles while the behemoth bears down on them.

 

 

This argument makes no sense. You say they're against creativity, then bash them for not continuing to make games in what was once a well-established style/genre (isometric party-based RPG). I mean, man what? It seems more like what actually happened is that the "next generation" of these games - primarily BG3 and FO3, failed to happen, for complicated reasons, and NWN didn't spark imaginations as it might have, and this took the genre with it.

 

I also kind of wonder if the massive revitalization of pen & paper D&D which happened with 3E helped drag people away. I would be MMORPGs were involved, too. I know people who were huge BG fans, who certainly turned into even bigger EQ fans.

 

So yeah, pretty sure it's not "hatred of creativity" that killed this genre/style.

 

Anyway, it's back now, and I doubt it's going anywhere.

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