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I've been asked who wrote which companions a number of times recently. I'd held off answering because there was a chance that it was going to tie into some of our PR around launch time, but I believe that is no longer the case. So for those curious:

  • Aloth - Carrie Patel
  • Durance - Chris Avellone
  • Edér - me
  • Grieving Mother - Chris Avellone
  • Hiravias - Matt MacLean
  • Kana Rua - Olivia Veras
  • Pallegina - Josh Sawyer
  • Sagani - Carrie Patel

 

 

I hope you write more companions, then!

 

Carrie Patel too, I loved Sagani.

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Did Eric or Carrie write the "flavor" exchanges between Eder and Aloth as you march around/progress? Because they are hilarious. Also, if you pick certain dialogue options in Aloth's Defiance quest, Eder's comments made me laugh enough that I had to reload to play it again.

The interactions between Edér and Aloth is enough reason to bring Aloth, really. :lol:

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Durance was incredible. Wild ride from start to finish. My only regret is that I couldn't finish his quest. For some reason I never could get him to finish talking to me.

 

I had the same problem, the last part simply just didn't trigger and I felt like I missed something, even though I had him along all the time. So I decided to travel a bit around and do bounties instead of heading for the endgame. That lead me to the fix, since for some unexplained reason, he got his last dream only in Brighthollow (I didn't try any location, but it didn't work in Twin Elms).

 

I did all of his dialogue options multiple times because of that, so I eventually got tired of him. While I found his back story interesting, it was a bit hard to swallow that I could recruit this guy, who killed a god before, as a low level companion on one of the first crossroads in the game. Also I had to put his important staff and signature robe in the stash simply because they weren't good items (actually he wore Aloth's robe for a long time).

 

On the opposite side, i thought Grieving Mother came a bit late in the game. She could have been a great way to exposition the watcher stuff better. Also it would have been a better fit if she sat outside of the town (driven away, like she tells) instead of being in the middle of Dyrford (what does she do there anyways?).

 

So I basically suggest swapping their locations. ;)

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Thanks for the info, i find it interesting. Personaly i liked all of them but Griving Mother is really fascinating and probably my favourite, also thanks to voice actress...man that voice :blink:

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives one."

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Is it coincidence that the personal quest of both of Avellone's characters basically consist of loads of talking?

Answer: No. :grin:

Edited by Varana

Therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium. -W.B. Yeats

 

Χριστός ἀνέστη!

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Edér is my favourite party member.  I loved his writing.  He's someone with every right to be angsty, and he *is* a bit troubled by difficult questions, but on the whole he's incredibly laid back.  He come across as a person worn smooth by life, like a stone in a riverbed.  A very deep guy and very relaxing to be around.  Refreshing accent to come across in a fantasy RPG too!

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Is it coincidence that the personal quest of both of Avellone's characters basically consist of loads of talking?

Answer: No. :grin:

Chris Avellone pissed off by watching people click through dialogs. What does he do? Writes a dialog that quizzes you to make sure you're paying attention.

And then rests his nuts comfortably on the 4th wall with Durance. Gotta tell you, I love the fact that I have someone in my party that basically says, "**** you, were done here" when he tires of the chore of talking to me!

 

I have a feeling Chris has been wanting to do both of these things for a long time :)

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"Art and song are creations but so are weapons and lies"

"Our worst enemies are inventions of the mind. Pleasure. Fear. When we see them for what they are, we become unstoppable."

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Haha, Durance actually reminds me a lot of an IRL friend of mine. There's a lot that have been said about him and I feel I can't add much original thoughts. I do think that his very, very awkward sexual quips are hilarious though.

 

Ahh, Grieving Mother. What a great NPC. GM and Durance goes straight up with my favourite NPCs of all time.

 

Basically, she's this:

 

2264307-red_alert_2_yuri________.jpg

 

while at the same time a pro-life activist midwife, and a complete utilitarianist to the point of being willing to mind control people for their own well-being AND **** with the player's mind by showing him/her false memories, all the while feigning weakness and hiding her identity as a powerful cipher in an unassuming guise, psychically shrouding her presence.

 

I like how in the final fight, Thaos addressed all my non-hireling companions except GM, and how Hiravias only barely seems to notice her as "that peasant woman that has been traveling with us for some reason, I guess she must be a glutton for trouble" when you talk about your companions with him. There's also something wrong with the recording of her voice which makes all the "s" sounds very unsettling. I REALLY like her portrait as well with captures her personality perfectly with that hypnotic gaze, the best portrait in PoE I'd say. In some sense she appears evil, only that she is monomaniacally fixated on birth, children and motherhood which aligns her with typically "good" goals. Truly a great NPC written for a mature audience.

 

No offense meant to the other writers, but there's a reason Chris Avellone is regarded as the best writer in the industry.

 

As for the other NPCs, first I guess I must start by stating that I think all of them are great concepts. Any of these character concepts is definitely BG2-tier (which is what PoE aimed for I guess). In praising GM and Durance to the skies I might also suffer a bit from confirmation bias as they were the companions I used the most.

 

So, Edér. When I first met Edér I thought "this is going to get old fast" and "if he's this close to boring now it will only get worse" and so on. Fortunately, I was wrong on both accounts. Edér in many ways reminds me of Garett in Thief with his minimalist style of humor. Edér actually really feels like a real person and has several funny quirks, such as how he likes to cuddle with animals and how he almost appears to fall in love with Aloth's alternate personality (or if he's only teasing him, I don't know). The reason Edér is not top tier along with Durance and GM is that I feel that his identity as an Eothasian and the Purges should have been explored a lot more. Ultimately, Edér's story is about conflicted loyalties with regards to nationality and religion, and about the fate of his brother, and second-guessing himself in general. Edér's story becomes too personal when it would also have great potential exploring the themes of religious persecution, specifically the systematic killing of people of different faith during the Purges. Obsidian were very brave to put something like that in their game lore to begin with (since it's not easy to handle such mature themes with the dignity they deserve), but I really think they should have gone all the way with Edér on that point. I do like how his and the PC's initial quest for Maerwald starts off very Wizard of Oz-like and similarly ends on a depressing note with Edér conceding he was stupid to believe he would get any answers.

 

Pallegina definitely does not lack the "cool factor". I like her voice acting, especially the various interjections in Vailian. She has a good introduction where she does not immediately join your party. I found her background very realistic, touching and quite decently written actually. She is a good example of how to explain a female fighter-type character in a game. The way she complements the game lore (on Godlikes and on the Vailian Republics) and fits into the world is pretty much perfect. The bad part is really where she seems to defer too much to the PC in her personal mission. The dialogue screen where you can signal your approval/disapproval at her negotiations in Twin Elms should seriously be cut from the game and Pallegina should make her decision based on earlier conversions with the PC. Seriously. Cut that one dialogue screen and Pallegina would be a lot more consistent. The conversation about her view on the trade treaty should also be longer, IMO. As it is, it feels a bit abrupt, but this is not really jarring like the scene of the treaty negotiations.

 

Aloth is an NPC with a great concept and so many wasted opportunities for awesomeness. For example, consider if the PC would be able to make his alternative personality permanently take control (compare this to Edwin's unintentional gender change in BG2). You could at least give him a different voice set to reflect his other personality taking over if your personal quest with him goes awry. His MPD problems could have been turned to 11 to make him much more funny and interesting. As things are, it's good stuff but too little. The way you join up with him is pretty stupid (although not by BG standards) - he feels arbitrarily placed and way too eager to join you for no reason at all, HOWEVER, there is another plot twist about Aloth - he's actually a Leaden Key member who was sent to Gilded Vale to spy! This is also sadly not pondered upon a lot, but essentially it's Yoshimo done right. I like how his MPD is connected to him being abused as a kid and how he's internalized this though some kind of Stockholm Syndrome where he actually praises his dad for "putting pressure on him" - at points like that PoE really feels like it's written for an adult audience.

 

Kana Rua is a really sympathetic guy, probably the nicest out of all the PoE characters. I like his motivations as a historian (although it feels a bit anachronistic to be honest... I guess that's what you get when modern authors write a renaissance/late medieval setting) and I kept him throughout the entire Endless Paths. I'm not sure how much content there is for Kana outside of the Endless Paths, but I feel quite a lot underwhelmed when you put Kana beside some of the better PoE characters. He's a really nice guy but he does not appear to have a lot to add (please correct me if I'm wrong).

 

Concerning Hiravias, let me get this out first - I hate Druids. There, I said it. Sadly, I only recruited Hiravias late in the game and therefore used him almost nothing. In spite of my prejudice against Druids however, Hiravias both has hilarious dialogue, excellent voice acting and a very interesting story, possibly only second to Durance and GM. I will have him in my party on my next playthrough, for sure.

 

Sagani is another NPC I barely used. Since I thought she seemed boring, I only barely had her in my party, resulting in me not learning about her story a lot, resulting in me concluding she was boring. Confirmation bias, I know. She just seems too commonsensical when you meet her, without any real interesting issues or perspectives. IMO her personal quest (which I didn't solve) seems like a great introduction to the concept of souls and reincarnation in Eora. Sadly, by the time you meet her you will be so acquainted with these concepts that her quest has no appeal (at least that's what I thought).

 

In conclusion I think the companions in PoE were very good, especially seeing how different people have different favourites - it's possible this vindicates the approach of having a gazillion different writers to suit different tastes. Here's a comparison between the numbers of companions in games though:

 

MotB: 6 (with Ammon Jerro)

Torment: 7 (all very fleshed out)

PoE: 8

NWN2: 10

KotOR 2: 12

BG2 + ToB: 17

BG1: 25 (rose tinted glasses off - many were very shallow, although many also had a lot of personality)

Arcanum: 30 (with veeery varying depth)

 

Thus, I think it's VERY safe to say that PoE would benefit from at the very least 2-4 new companions in expansion packs or as separate DLC. Companions are a great way of altering your playthrough and I think this would increase replayability a lot.

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"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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I read through this and really wonder if these people played the same game as I.

 

Were the Companions well-written? For the most part, yeah.

 

But they are bland.

 

There is not one that really stands out and screams for attention like from just about every RPG has.

 

Where is the Minsc, Viconia, Aribeth, Morrigan, Angela Deth, etc?

 

I want to like them, really. But there is nothing there to like.

 

Oh, occasionally the is a glimpse of what could have been - little banters between Eder and Sanaki, Kana, and Aloth, with a bit of Hiravias sprinkled in.

 

And that is all.

 

That saddens me.

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I liked most of the companions but I got to admit.... Eder was my favorite.  Great work Mr. Fenstermaker.  I would say Pallegina, Aloth, and Durance were my runner ups.  Only companion I didn't dig at all was Hiravias and that isn't the writers fault, I just have never liked druids that much.

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haha, when i read durance's and grieving mother's story, i just know it is avellone's writing. he really love his grey morals, grief, action and consequences, both dark and bright site of humanity, regret, nihilism, etc.

 

if you look at avellone's crafted characters, they just have this similar melancholic, underlying theme to them. usually about mistakes of the past, redemption or wallowing in self pity. some example,  ravel puzzlewell, kreia, joshua graham, the founder, durance, grieving mother, etc.

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