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LordCrash

What makes an interesting companion? Lore vessels and the past vs reactive dynamics and the present

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 Pillars of Eternity was heavily leaning towards companions being a bunch of exposition dumps and that was a definite problem, but you'll get the same problem seen from the other side if they don't give you enough exposition to fit their characters - lonely introverts shouldn't really react all that much to social interactions, but they'll tell you a lot about themselves in 1 on 1 conversation, whereas choleric extroverts should jump in to talk with others and will adjust themselves to current situation a lot better, but they'll also get bored talking to PC too much. There's no right way to lean, just don't do too much of one thing and keep the companions varied.

 

 

 

  The companions should have their own personalities. The PC needs to have lines to deal with each character in whatever way the player would like. You should be able to tell Durance that he needs to stop living in the past and get less of a lore dump from him. The OP mentions the codex article, which I read and, though it was a rant, it had a good point about the value of a good editor.

 

 The idea was that writers with deadlines are going to get things wrong sometimes and a good editor can fix that (make sure backstory is consistent, fix the tone, balance out vomiting of backstory/lore onto screen with advancing the story etc.) Ideally, an editor will not be one of the writers and will act as a gatekeeper (in the software development sense - someone with the power to stop a release until problems get fixed).

 

 In addition, a good editor can make sure that the player is able to give the PC a consistent personality. My point about being able to tell Durance to shut the hell up about the past means that Durance needs to have lines that aren't pure lore dump. Potentially, it would mitigate the dichotomy in question (whether true or false - I think it's a false one in general but it becomes true when you add budgets and deadlines). 

Edited by Yonjuro

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one aside: poe2 is a game.

 

is seeming obvious but overlooked.  crpg storytelling in a game is gonna be different than novels or movies or graphic novels. ideally, the crpg is gonna be reactive in ways other media is not and the technical demands for telling a crpg story is far different than is faced by the author with a pencil and a blank sheet o' paper. demands on the crpg storyteller is gonna be arguable greater, but limitations will necessarily result in a more narrowed focus.  

 

poe companions, for example, received a fair 'mount o' potential text, but consider the actual number o' times and the ways in which character quests were advanced in-game.  writer gots a half-dozen or so encounters to complete an entire companion story arc?  and each companion story arc will be, with some variation, largely insular. heck, in a novel or movie, the author knows with certainty the cast o' characters.  in a crpg such as poe, is possible the watcher will play solo.  heck, perhaps the watcher will only have aloth and hiravias in party.  imagine how much different a novel o' poe would be written simple by changing the companions o' the watcher. 

 

a crpg is, by no means, an ideal medium with which to tell a compelling and coherent story.  'course as the player is actual a character in the story, there is advantages. more emotional invested at the outset, yes?

 

point is, people often ignore the limitations o' a crpg insofar as storytelling is concerned.  use other medium as examples is not bad, but is rare gonna be complete analogous.  have mentioned on these boards before how we actual have a favorite paragraph from literature.  memorized.  

 

"a few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. it had begun to snow again. he watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. the time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. it was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. it was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. it lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. his soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."

 

beautiful prose, but where is you gonna put such in a game such as poe2?  perhaps a bit o' narration?  is bunch o' writers working on poe2 and even if one ' them were a james joyce in disguise, am doubting such writing would have impact if the other contributing writers had a complete different prose style and tone. 

 

making a crpg story is more complex than is writing a novel or even than making a movie.  is collaborative.  is bounded by technical considerations.  is requiring subversion to needs o' gameplay.  is... different.  is our opinion that the storytelling goals in a crpg must be more straightforward than in other media. not need be any less profound, but the elegance and depth possible in other media is gonna  be acheived different in a game. keep focused so a collaborative team o' writers and artists and level designers might all work together to achieve the same goal.  in a game, compelling theme or character is gonna be acheived by depth rather than breadth.

 

different.

 

HA! Good Fun!

It will be best if there is a bunch of side quest that written by different writers.Dyrford Ruins are my favourite story and dungeon in the game.

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ps

 

we had some experience as a writer, in a previous life.  different than most other folks, Gromnir crafted detailed outlines before sitting down to do any genuine writing.  the thing is, if the writing were going well, the story would begin to write itself.  ideally, we were dictating.  characters were telling the story and we were simple trying to keep up with'em.  our initial outlines were invaluable to get us in the right frame o' mind to write, but they didn't limit us.  

 

most other writers we know is far less likely to develop the kinda detailed outlines we needed, but the sensation o' good writing being a transcendental condition whereby the story is experienced by the writer as 'posed to crafted by him/her is kinda common. am thinking most folks is gonna recognize how writing for a crpg is gonna be different than Gromnir experience. once the Team develops a story and setting and locations and quests, how much freedom does the crpg writer actual have?  programmer and art resources and whatnot is unlikely to be altered based on one o' the many writers realizing the story had taken him someplace different than he expected.  whatever outlines one gots at start is gonna need be adhered to with few chances for growth.  there is gonna be a plan and a goal and teamwork and is not gonna be much like other kinda writing at all.

 

different. much different.

 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"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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That's great! If there's one thread I wish the devs were reading, it would be this one. Interesting and evolving characters are what make memorable RPG's!

 

 

Anyway... The OP was very on-point in the first post. The companions should feel more reactive in the present as well, talking about it, discussing the main plot, quests, their personal quests, other companions' personal quests, maybe even some minor tasks with a funny line or another. It doesn't have to be an important interjection. Even the smallest of the fetch quests can become an opportunity for small talk between companions that highlight their personalities... In fact, it would be nice to see companions talking to each other in those interjections, instead of simply each one contributing with their commentary like in a line (of course that takes more time and care). It doesn't mean they can't talk about their past though, just find a better balance.

 

 

Regarding the number of available companions, if they would engage in banter between each other, relatively frequently in the game, this means that with every new companion the devs announce as a stretch goal, they'll have to write conversations between he/she and every other companion. It's an ascending-curve progression of man-power needed for each companion added. It's understandable that the number of companions is small, if that's the goal they wanna reach.

 

Personally, I would be happy with 7-8 companions and maybe just increase more development time if it's needed for more banters, dialogue trees etc, (although the release date is already established as Q1 2018 =s). I'm not sure if I'm a big fan of having 3 returning companions though. If the goal is to have a limited roster, I think it would be nicer if we discovered some new personalities instead of revisiting the old ones (having they appear as cameos would be enough for me). I hope I bite my tongue and they do some interesting and umpredictable developments for the returning companions though. 

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