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Obsidian at PAX West


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Heroes, Villains, and You: Player Choice in Game Design

RPG designers have to make a grapple check between meaningful player choice and storytelling - everyone wants to provide complete power to the player to shape the world, but developers also want to tell interesting stories using the characters and plots they have created. Obsidian Entertainment and Paradox Interactive, the team behind Pillars of Eternity and Tyranny, will explain how player choice fits into game design to strike the balance between player agency and guided story telling.


Brian Heins [Game Director, Obsidian Entertainment], Josh Sawyer [Design Director, Obsidian Entertainment], Marco Behrmann [brand Manager, Paradox Interactive], Matt MacLean [Lead Narrative Designer, Obsidian Entertainment], Denise McMurry [Level Designer], Megan Starks [Narrative Designer, Narrative Designer]







It's official. We're finally leaving the era of blue and red, good or evil, hug or punch RPG morality behind. And some of the people pushing for that change are none other than the folks at Obsidian Entertainment, long time and beloved RPG developers. With Pillars of Eternity in the bag and Tyranny in the headlights, Brian Heins and Josh Sawyer of Obsidian Entertainment agreed to chat with us atPAX West about how they approach player choice in modernizing the ARPG, what they've learned from Pillars of Eternity, and how they're planning to carry their refined ethos into the future. They've left a bland dichotomy behind for something more subtle, casting you as a character you may not identify with—in Tyranny's case, an evil Judge Dredd style executioner—in search of empathy, even in the darkest places.


Edited by Infinitron
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