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Josh Sawyer's tweets and teasers, part IV

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5 hours ago, Phenomenum said:

Absence of good writing and good main quest is a "death knell".

and what makes you think the additional time gained from absence o' full vo woulda' altered the main quest in any significant way? am having no doubt considerable polishing and revision o' companions and secondary characters and quests were given short shrift, but josh concedes he weren't aware o' a few foundational narrative problems until after the game were released. more time would not fix unknown problems.

am thinking the folks most at fault for story issues o' deadfire were josh and the writers. anybody who follows these boards for a long time knows Gromnir is unlikely to hesitate from throwing feargus under the bus, and he deserves a measure o' blame, but the foundational and fundamental story questions shoulda' been addressed long before the vo issue became an issue.  you got a bunch o' competent crpg writers at obsidian, so am baffled by a few o' the basic deadfire narrative problems. burned book of law were added post release 'cause obvious questions any reader might have were never addressed in the base game.

Spoiler

the wheel is artificial and eothas means to destroy it, which means reincarnation cycle goes back to way it were before engwithan tampering, no? no. wait, what?

lack o' player agency in critical path narrative as well as josh recognition o' pacing obstacles as well as focus on core themes such as colonialism? etc.

...

not 11th hour fixes. also stuff the writers at obsidian shoulda' recognized early.  is hard to imagine none o' the obsidian writers had concerns 'bout the deadfire narrative. am not suggesting deadfire were a complete fail, btw. there were much to like 'bout deadfire story, even so, more than a few narrative problems is baffling when looked at retrospect. 

given how much money were thrown around for vo and ship combat, am thinking obsidian woulda' benefited much more from a dedicated editor for narrative content. not every writer can hope to be james joyce. most writers, good writers, need editors. is possible that 'cause a game is a collaborative writing effort, the writers on the team may critique their office or cubicle-mate's work product believing they is capable o' such a task. dunno. am genuine not knowing what obsidian does insofar as narrative editing is concerned. as an outside observer we nevertheless conclude obsidian needs a better editorial scheme.

woulda' liked to see more developed characters and dialogs benefiting from additional reflection. regardless, am thinking more time were not gonna be a fix for many deadfire narrative problems... suits and their ill-considered vo decision notwithstanding. 

HA! Good Fun!

ps we brought up james joyce not 'cause o' his competence as a writer, but 'cause he spent near a decade trying to get dubliners published sans any editorial changes. 

Edited by Gromnir
clarification

"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)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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for those still wondering why josh no longer contributes on the boards

am recalling how josh discovered deadfire might attribute were not working as intended only immediate before release in spite o' fact the quirky implementation o' might were a frequent topic o' discussion on these boards.

have personal criticized developer overreliance on board feedback given fact we never provide meaningful consensus on any debated issue. have observed how even if we managed consensus it would be opinion o' only the most hardcore soopernerds as 'posed to the average game purchaser. have sympathized with developer board frustrations. nevertheless, we do see value in the boards. is too bad josh, as part o' his post mortem, did not recognize how his overreliance on a new toy (game telemetry) perhaps contributed to a few o' the game problems.

 
HA! Good Fun!

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"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)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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^ I feel like that's a particularly bad example 'cause you have two warring tribes in that forum, Divinity Original Sin fans and Baldur's Gate fans.

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1 hour ago, the_dog_days said:

^ I feel like that's a particularly bad example 'cause you have two warring tribes in that forum, Divinity Original Sin fans and Baldur's Gate fans.

if you do not recollect poe development, am gonna remind you o' the old bg & ie game purists who clashed with folks more familiar with obsidians recent games. am thinking josh commented in his post mortem 'bout his recollection o' fan wanting bg2 d&d sorcerers in the poe games, yes?

fo:nv development had the fo1& fo2 fans wanting to draw blood o' fo3 fans.

etc.

is hardly unique. might be the norm. old skool v new. hard core v. casual. cake v. pie. whatever. 

HA! Good Fun!

Edited by Gromnir

"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)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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12 hours ago, Gromnir said:

is hardly unique. might be the norm. old skool v new. hard core v. casual. cake v. pie. whatever. 

Waffle Vs pancake. 

Which always puzzled me. Waffle is clearly superior. 

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Guest ----

Kind of sad he didn’t mentioned the "lighter" tone, since I’ve seen them being mentioned quite a lot and was the biggest let down for me. In PoE this scenes where great and even brighter because of the contrast with the general tone of the game, in Deadfire there is a too much silly humour for me.

Great talk anyway

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I can't quite see where Deadfire has more silly humor than PoE. It's lighter overall, that's true. But for example it doesn't reach the sillyness of a Hiravias or Zahua. Which I liked - just saying.


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Guest ----

Probably i just don’t know english😅.  Zahua is actually my favourite companion. In the humour i was thinking on those parts where the game doesn’t take itself serious(yes, for short moments); or that Marvel humour if that means anything, present mainly in companions and dialogues options

Edited by ----

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You mean Hitchphallus?


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2 hours ago, Enoch said:

our first year at Cal we got to know the third string qb. guy were like a 6'4" jeff spicoli. wore vans and skateboarded everywhere, which were kinda a trick in berkeley considering how hilly it is. nickname were "rope." the thing is, he gave himself the nickname. convinced everybody it were his high school nickname, and who were gonna second guess him eh? the nickname stuck and he were known as rope for as long as we knew him at university.

eventual, 3rd-string qb admitted to Gromnir and a couple other guys on the team that he stated the nickname thing as kinda a joke. figured if he got folks to call him rope, girls would overhear and think it were 'cause he were well-endowed.

recall we is taking 'bout a college freshman who reminded us o' this guy.

not the best qb, but a talented drummer. go figure.

anywho, is the only other rope we ever knew.

HA! Good Fun!


"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)

"Im indifferent to almost any murder as long as it doesn't affect me or mine."--Gfted1 (September 30, 2019)

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Humdinger of a post over on the SawyrTumblr on the potential for another Pillars game

Excerpt:

I’m sure some of the people reading this think they know precisely why Deadfire sold worse than Pillars 1.  I don’t have that confidence, which is one of several reasons why I am leery about trying to direct a sequel.  I couldn’t give our (Obsidian’s) audience the game that they wanted and without understanding where I went wrong, I would be guessing at what the problems are and how to remedy them.

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It really must be a mix of several reasons - since everybody has their own theory... ;)

Don't forget though that this special Microsoft/Xbox boss dude (whose name I forgot) said something about a Pillars game in the making (during a short interview). Whenever I was prodding some Obsi-guys onTwitter about that there either was awkward silence or something along the lines of "Ehh hush!". :)

So maybe not a PoE3 but some other game in the Pillars universe? Let's hope...

Edited by Boeroer

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Yeah, I think it's a mix of all those reasons. The discussion over on Reddit is bringing up the pirate setting, which I have to also agree with.

It's a sequel to a dense classic crpg game. People interested in 2 probably feel the need to have played 1. RTwP is niche (I ****ing love it,) which has similar technical demands as a RTS. 2's changes don't really offer a clear mechanical payoff other than greater character expression, but that could usually be achieved through party building prior. Any choice is less about expressing yourself, and more of building your "yu-gio-oh deck." The KickStarter craze was dying down, fig introduced some skepticism and I think also reduced some exposure. Coupled with the change in publisher, I'll be honest I saw basically no advertising for Deadfire. It was all word of mouth. If anything, the marketing seemed to be guerilla marketing trying to attract the tumblr crowd to developer character fandoms based mostly on out of context slice of life drawings. Lastly, the game wase simply more of the same (obviously within in the series it added a lot, but compared to the whole video game market it doesn't feel like a revolution.) Which gets back to people wanting to play through PoE1 first. I saw a lot of people jump into the first game in preparation and I have to imagine many didn't finish and just moved onto to other games as the months rolled on.

So being a sequel and a pirate game are probably two of the major issues.

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Pirate setting was my guess as well (right from the start). But I didn't actually read that many complaints about it.


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I don't think many people hate Pirates, rather they are tepid and disenthralled. People always seem open to the idea, then gradually loose interest. People also don't argue a games setting once it's been fixed, that's like saying make a different game. The strongest dissent that doesn't fall on deft ears is usually something constructive like "I hope they pick yet another radically different setting for the third game, airships or something right?" and leave it at that. Which Is a really sentiment I actually saw from numerous people. I even found myself affirming the idea and In hindsight I think I was just bargaining for a stronger fantasy grounding to come back, whether or not that was the direction I really wanted.

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So the answer could be that people wanted a D&D game, rather then PoE2?

Which would make sense but would be unfortunate. 

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I guess so. For me, who didn't grow up with (A)D&D this is a non-issue (I mean getting a CRPG that is not like D&D). 

But even I am biased by my past. As I already told once or twice I like the Blackguard games. Not really because they are so good but because I played the Dark Eye P&P for many years (RPG system and world which Blackguards is based on) - and the nostalgia is strong with this one. :)

I also liked Legend of Grimrock a lot - just because we used to play Eye of the Beholder like madmen when we where kids.

So if PoE disppointed D&D grognards I can understand why they wouldn't give Deadfire a chance and at the same time why Kingmaker sold comparably well.


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As an artist and story maker i fully empathize with Josh's (and the entire PoE development team's) sentiment. It is really hard to create something that has true soul (not metaphysically speaking), but even if you succeed at that you have no guarantee that your creation will be liked by others. Besides, it is really easy to become blind to the flaws of your creations, especially if you are a passionate person, and the lack of, or misguided/badly interpreted, criticism only increases that problem.

Pillars of Eternity was released when the demand for isometric RPGs was really high, a demand mostly driven by nostalgia. Obsidian managed to create a very worthy, gameplay solid, and thematically unique spiritual successor to the Infinity Engine games, yet it was not free of flaws (its slow start and somewhat loosely tied up main plot, among others). However, the market at the time embraced the game with passion, and only after the initial craze was over did the its flaws start to become evident (only a small fraction of those who bought the game finished it). The sales however had spoken for themselves, and while the more glaring gameplay issues the game had were fixed in due time, its narrative stile perdured and was inherited by Deadfire.

Deadfire inherited both the strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor, yet the market had changed substantially since the original release, and the public, now satiated and accustomed to the more accessible, thematically more mundane, and multiplayer friendly Divinity series, simply didn't care about PoE anymore. The utilization of Fig instead of Kickstarter, and the abysmal advertisement campaign (or lack thereof) Deadfire got didn't help either. Result? The game was launched, and even if it was in many ways a better game than PoE, it passed without grief or glory (well, more grief than Glory). It was, for the most part, ignored by the market.

Could Obsidian have done better? I think they could, yes, had they not been as blinded by PoE's original success.

For reference, i completed PoE through the course of a year and a half (i like to enjoy story-heavy games in slow burns), and i still have to complete my first Deadfire playthrough (i'm getting close to the end). Once i finish it, i'll probably publish an in-deep analysis of it, alongside an opinion on what could have been done better, and how a PoE3 could be crafted. Why? Because i hate when a story with soul remains unfinished, or poorly finished.

Edited by Uburian

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If we are talking about rulesets, I prefered PoE's design to earlier D&D rulesets. Though D&D 5e is fantastic and maybe people wanted that above all? It's possible, but people seemed open to 1's innovations, and trusting in the team to try more new things in Deadfire.

Outside of rulesets, there is a "fantasy core" that I think people generally crave. It invokes a sort of archetypal sense of adventure that also lifts people out of a world that hits too close to home. Various fantasy books, video & pnp games all achieve variations on this. I thought PoE was a really refreshing take on that, while still invoking the escape into that core paradigm. Deadfire is a deviation from that, which is probably less gripping. Not that Deadfire is inconsistent with the first game's lore, it's just each game emphasized very different things as being the primary drivers of both the world and the player's place within it. (Including from a marketing standpoint in which people judge the game before seeing it's contents.)

I can't help but feel that Pillars issue in general isn't that it disappoints grognards, but it fails to convince a new generation to fall in love with RTwP style games. Honestly I don't find Divinity compelling, but I give Larian credit since they seem determined to create a true RTwP Baldur's Gate 3 in a way that invites a new generation into this fantastic genre niche. I wonder if Pillars 2 had been more like 1 yet with some sort of online experience, would it have done better? Already being RT the online mode could drop the wP or it could be configurable per session. I'd imagine the game would be much more enticing to a new generation. Maybe that would look too much like Diablo minus the loot farming? Maybe it wouldn't work? Maybe it'd work more as a WarCraft 3 styled co-op campaign RTS that tells a parallel story with lite-rpg mechanics, but derived from a deeper single player campaign? Who knows...

I'm still not sure if using the setting to eat The Elder's Scrolls lunch is the best choice for the IP, but maybe with Microsoft things would be different. The Outer World's is a good first attempt and with improvements maybe they'd do something worthy of beating out TES. I still want a proper RTwP 3rd entry though.

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22 hours ago, Boeroer said:

I guess so. For me, who didn't grow up with (A)D&D this is a non-issue (I mean getting a CRPG that is not like D&D). 

But even I am biased by my past. As I already told once or twice I like the Blackguard games. Not really because they are so good but because I played the Dark Eye P&P for many years (RPG system and world which Blackguards is based on) - and the nostalgia is strong with this one. :)

I also liked Legend of Grimrock a lot - just because we used to play Eye of the Beholder like madmen when we where kids.

So if PoE disppointed D&D grognards I can understand why they wouldn't give Deadfire a chance and at the same time why Kingmaker sold comparably well.

Ok I can see this, but then how does one explain the popularity of D:OS2? If anything that game should have been even more of a hard no for D&D grogs. And in this I would set aside anything to do with TB v. RTwP. There are many popular RTwP games and many unpopular TB games. The whole "it should've been TB and then it would've sold well" line is just from TB fanatics for whom every single game must be TB.

I would submit that in addition to the pirate theme and not being sufficiently D&D-ish/Eurocentric, it was also a matter of no multiplayer, 2D art, complex mechanics that were opaque to many, the ship combat mini-game, too much of a focus on gods, and very poor marketing.

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19 hours ago, injurai said:

Honestly I don't find Divinity compelling, but I give Larian credit since they seem determined to create a true RTwP Baldur's Gate 3 in a way that invites a new generation into this fantastic genre niche.

Source requested. 

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