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Chris Avellone says Pillars of Eternity was too linear and that he had little impact on the story

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Uh Hiro those were insanely early kickstarter promises.  They also promised their would be a item durability system too didn't they?  Why is there bestiary EXP?  Cause lots of people complained about no per kill exp.  Why was there no durability system?  Cause lots of people complained about it.  Why don't trees sway?  Because they found out making that happen is a crap ton harder than they thought it would be.  Why is there not two dialogs for everything?  Probably because they realized it was too much work on too little budget and would only be of interest to a small niche of their already niche player base.

In fact pretty much every early promise that got cut comes down to those two things.  Turns out it was too hard to implement, or lots of whiners. 

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Also the Kickstarter was put together hastily, and everything from the pitch forward was improvised on the fly. I'm kinda surprised the end result turned out as close to the campaign as it did.

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Also the Kickstarter was put together hastily, and everything from the pitch forward was improvised on the fly. I'm kinda surprised the end result turned out as close to the campaign as it did.

 

They constantly reminded themselves during development what were the core values they promised in KS pitch and what were the additional promises in stretch goals. You can see that Obsidian has tried to realise every promise that they made, even if they didn't have ability to implement it on such level that it is meaningful addition to the game. So I would say that they would had done different decision during development if they hadn't been so locked by their promises during KS.

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Delivering as well on their promises as they did is not only rare in the gaming world, but in the entire software development industry. OBS deserves a special award just for their software development lifecycle alone!

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They were? I thought his were easily the best, even if they were in a kind of jarringly completely different style to every other character in the game ... in a way that kind of overshadowed everyone else.

 

I did like Eder and Aloth as characters as well, but their content was on the thinner side.

 

They were easily the best even if you didn't actually like the character's attitude or personality...**** most of the companions were boring, terrible, and/or had bad personalities(or were annoying).

 

 

His loss will be felt sooner rather than later...no one on that team can touch him even if he isn't at the PST level he once was...**** they are getting taken over by Larian anyway. They are talking about making a TB game now...like PE wasn't...plus they are WELL behind the curve on the TB field...I mean they keep wanting so much to do it but I have no confidence it would even be as good as D:OS much less better than it.

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I agree MCA's characters have very good plot hooks and stories, even though sometimes they really come off as exceedingly wordy and one-dimensional (but that might be a side-effect of their having been largely rewritten.)

 

I disagree, however, that other NPCs in PoE are "boring, terrible, and/or had bad personalities." I personally find Sagani boring, but I do enjoy the others. They are definitely more "realistic" (as in down to earth) compared to the gimmicky, overly cliched characters we had in the BG games. Minsc was good because ... high STR score and a hamster that soon became a gimmicky source of comedic relief? Jaheira was massively annoying with her irritatingly self-righteous and patronizing personality; Keldorn, Ajantis, and Nalia are as cliched as it gets; Valygar was massively sullen and one-dimensional; Cernd ... we all know about Cernd.

 

By contrast, Edér is a bro who never goes over-the-top and has relatable reactions throughout his personal story. Aloth has a problem with Iselmyr as well as a moral conundrum that stems from his (mostly) unwillingly duplicitous association with the Leaden Key, and provides some comedic relief when Edér hits on Iselmyr. Hiravias is funny and has a rather interesting personal story, peppered with his dual-deity devotion that you have the power to steer one way or another. DoC has very good dialog and a rather good backstory. I'll take PoE characters over BG's any time, but of course YMMV.

Edited by AndreaColombo
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They are talking about making a TB game now...like PE wasn't...plus they are WELL behind the curve on the TB field...I mean they keep wanting so much to do it but I have no confidence it would even be as good as D:OS much less better than it.

 

 

To be fair, I'm almost entirely sure an Obsidian-made TB game will still be better than D:OS in everything but combat, because quite frankly, everything but the combat sucked in D:OS.

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Personally, I don't think Kickstarters should include stretch goals of any kind.  The pitch should include anything and everything the developer wants to put into the game, and his goal should reflect same.  "Here's what I want to do," seems much cleaner than "Tell me what you want me to do."  No one should have to tell the developer anything.  Some of these guys have been about the business for 30 years--they should already know what to do.  In spades.  And by and large, they do.

 

"Stretch goals" seem dishonest to me, like "afterthoughts" that are used simply as a pretext to raise more money than was originally asked for.   A great game design won't have any room for stretch goals in the initial pitch because it will include any that might be of value (aside from the crazy ones, of course.)

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One thing to consider is that when turning to Kickstarter, developers cannot know in advance how much interest their project is gonna generate. Keeping the original goal "low" is a way of playing it safe and ensuring the game can get done even if the project earns relatively little interest* (Obsidian were in dire straits when they pitched Project Eternity to potential backers so this was definitely something they considered.) Then of course if your project gathers interest, there is more stuff you can add to the game with the extra cash than you had originally planned for the smaller budget. I don't see it as dishonest; more as erring on the safe side.

 

* Little interest in backing a game on Kickstarter doesn't necessarily translate to little interest in purchasing the finished product when it's out. The idea of paying a few years in advance for a product that, by Kickstarter's own terms and conditions, might potentially fail doesn't click with many people who may well be willing to pay for the game if they can have it right away and risk-free.

Edited by AndreaColombo
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"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke

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They are talking about making a TB game now...like PE wasn't...plus they are WELL behind the curve on the TB field...I mean they keep wanting so much to do it but I have no confidence it would even be as good as D:OS much less better than it.

 

 

To be fair, I'm almost entirely sure an Obsidian-made TB game will still be better than D:OS in everything but combat, because quite frankly, everything but the combat sucked in D:OS.

 

 

D:OS had crap art, crap writing, but the fantastic combat & environmental manipulation made it a great title. 

 

The thing is, D:OS combat is fantastic in a very particular way. It has no sense of balance, it is far, far too easy, and there is not a lot of variability or replayability in character building. All of that becomes kind of irrelevant because they've managed to make screwing around with the environment & elements, etc. so fun. It's a game where there is no challenge but it still has fun in spades. 

 

Hence, whether an Obsidian turn-based POE or some other company's TB game, there's plenty of room for more traditional kinds of experiences. 

 

And really, more TB RPGs? Who's complaining? Bring them on.

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They are talking about making a TB game now...like PE wasn't...plus they are WELL behind the curve on the TB field...I mean they keep wanting so much to do it but I have no confidence it would even be as good as D:OS much less better than it.

 

 

To be fair, I'm almost entirely sure an Obsidian-made TB game will still be better than D:OS in everything but combat, because quite frankly, everything but the combat sucked in D:OS.

 

I guess it's a matter of taste.  I enjoyed the colorful graphics and some of the characters in divinity original sin.  I definitely enjoy the music in that game (I thought Pillars music was unforgettable in comparison).  I also thought it was a refreshing change of pace that the game was light-hearted compared to other games in the genre, which help the game have an idenity in someway. 

 

The main storyline was horrible though.  Pillars also had a bad main story with pacing issues and weak motivation for the main character (compared to obsidian's other games), but some of the side quests made up for that.  I definitely interested in seeing how Obsidian would handle a turn based RPG though.

Edited by bonarbill

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They are talking about making a TB game now...like PE wasn't...plus they are WELL behind the curve on the TB field...I mean they keep wanting so much to do it but I have no confidence it would even be as good as D:OS much less better than it.

 

 

To be fair, I'm almost entirely sure an Obsidian-made TB game will still be better than D:OS in everything but combat, because quite frankly, everything but the combat sucked in D:OS.

 

 

D:OS had crap art, crap writing, but the fantastic combat & environmental manipulation made it a great title. 

 

The thing is, D:OS combat is fantastic in a very particular way. It has no sense of balance, it is far, far too easy, and there is not a lot of variability or replayability in character building. All of that becomes kind of irrelevant because they've managed to make screwing around with the environment & elements, etc. so fun. It's a game where there is no challenge but it still has fun in spades. 

 

Hence, whether an Obsidian turn-based POE or some other company's TB game, there's plenty of room for more traditional kinds of experiences. 

 

And really, more TB RPGs? Who's complaining? Bring them on.

 

 

I like TB just fine, but I would like more RTwP experiences.  Something besides Pillars and Serpent in the Staglands.  Something I really liked about PE's combat was how unique it felt.  Obsidian was willing to try different things, sometimes they worked, sometimes they were poorly implemented, and sometimes it didn't work.  It feels like turn based RPGs are waaay more popular now because they're much easier to port.  

Edited by anameforobsidian

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Wondering who made the decision that Visas Marr should begin every sentence with "And" :(

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

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Now *that* was interesting and quite telling. As a practical matter, it seems to me that PoE intententionally avoided some of the more exotic elements of PS;T. Of the two, I enjoyed PS:T more. On the other hand, we can actually enjoy xpacs and sequels of PoE potentially, which is great for me personally as a consumer and also affirms the design I would think.

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Now *that* was interesting and quite telling. As a practical matter, it seems to me that PoE intententionally avoided some of the more exotic elements of PS;T.

Which do you have in mind?

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Now *that* was interesting and quite telling. As a practical matter, it seems to me that PoE intententionally avoided some of the more exotic elements of PS;T.

Which do you have in mind?

 

Use of standard high fantasy races such as elves and dwarves, including more standard weapons (such as swords), and a more or less standard high fantasy setting with real world parity in terms of politics and social organizations are more or less what I mean. The devs designed PS:T, as it seems to me at least, with the intent to divert away from a standard high fantasy setting.

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It's kinda funny actually: when I first played Pillars, I loved the hell out of Durance and GM. However, upon replays, something about them has started to grate. They're out of place, like a Salvador Dali in a Norman Rockwell exhibition.

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I think certain elements of the main plot of PoE were meant to be at least superficially evocative of PS:T. For example, it seemed obvious to me that Iovara was meant to be a take on the Deionarra role (although her relationship with the protagonist is ultimately very different - intellectual rather than emotional)

Edited by Infinitron
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Such a shame that beautiful things have to be compared and cannot exist on their own.

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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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Such a shame that beautiful things have to be compared and cannot exist on their own.

This made me smile. Just can't get away from the comparisons. Avellone, PS:T, and a sales pitch to ol' skool RPGers? I just hope we get another great project from him sometime down the road.. Of course, I also want more PoE. :Cant's huge grin icon:

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Such a shame that beautiful things have to be compared and cannot exist on their own.

 

How would we understand the sublime nature of beauty without a reference point.  From my point of view, I could have done with far more Iovarra.

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I like Avellones writing (Lonesome Road is probably the only writing of his I didn't like, well maybe that and the bit with Kreia about the beggar) and love Torment to death, but for linearity and player agency PST is honestly not that much different from PoE. Side quests have 2-3 possible outcomes you choose from, and the main plot has to move through a number of chokes.

 

PST for me stands out on the writing being good and the setting being fantastic, but concerning non-linearity or player choice it wasn't really much different.

 

The interaction with Ravel in the maze is wonderful, but what you do or say there has 0 consequence, you are just clicking your way through the extensive dialogue. Pharod gets his sphere and then he dies, and while you can explore some of your backstory talking to him there are no choices there.

 

Fallout 2 is the only one of the old Black Isle games I'd say was truly non-linear and had lots of player agency, and it does that by having every area in the game be almost completely seperated from everything else so nothing much has consequences outside that area.

Edited by limaxophobiacq
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Such a shame that beautiful things have to be compared and cannot exist on their own.

 

How would we understand the sublime nature of beauty without a reference point.  From my point of view, I could have done with far more Iovarra.

 

Yes. I can only decide whether or not I like chocolate if I also eat poop. And once I decide that I like chocolate, I must compare every other food I eat for the rest of my life to it.

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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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