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Chris Avellone Interviews at RPS and Ripten

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Chris Avellone Interviews at RPS and Ripten

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 5 October 2012, 16:45:02

Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

Two new Project Eternity-related interviews have appeared, both with Chris Avellone. First, RockPaperShotgun asks the kind of questions they always do:

Kickstarter seems to be ruled by nostalgia these days, and I feel like Obsidian’s a perfect example of why it could be a problem. On one hand, you’re making a very intriguing game. On the other, Obsidian’s created some truly innovative and forward-thinking features in games like Alpha Protocol. Does this trend put progress on hold? Is it dangerous for everyone to be indulging in nostalgia like this?

Avellone: Innovative concepts don’t need to be tied to modern blockbusters or to nostalgia. While RPGs have lost some mechanics over the years in their transition phases from PC to console, there’s plenty of innovative elements you can do in old school nostalgia games – for example, low intelligence options were pioneered in Fallout, and that didn’t require any special tech whatsoever. It just required the Fallout team to think it up and put it into practice.

Fallout really opened my design eyes to the possibilities of a mechanics-driven dialogue system that reacted to your attributes, skills, gear, and more. We’d like to continue that tradition, and it’s easier to do when everything’s not voice-acted and super expensive for every line you have to fight for.

Old-school RPGs weren’t perfect. Animations weren’t great, controls were clunky, menus required a billion clicks, numbers were everywhere, etc. How much are you modernizing the old-school template vs reproducing it?

Avellone: You should expect to see changes across all those departments – with added technology, recreating the old-school experience can be beautiful, as Legend of Grimrock proved from the look of dungeons to the look of the monsters.

What sort of progression system will Project Eternity have? Will it be pretty standard leveling up, talent trees, and gear collection? Or will there be other elements – for instance, involving souls?

Avellone: We’ll have traditional levels and advancement options. It’s also important for us to tie the setting and mechanics together. We feel that worked well for New Vegas, for Torment, and Mask of the Betrayer. We’re exploring how we can allow the player to use soul-based advancement elements specifically tied to their character and his/her personality/background – outside of class-based soul abilities.​

And then there's this interview at Ripten:

The Soul system/philosophy seems to underpin everything about what we know of Project Eternity (setting, society, etc). Can you talk a bit about how that will be woven throughout the combat and non-combat experience? In other words, how will souls link the narrative with the interactive aspects?

Chris Avellone: We don’t want to give too much away on the story and narration at this point. That said, the idea of souls persisting from being to being, and being reborn and finding homes in people is a concept that not only gives more strength to the world and connections between individuals, but the purest (unfragmented) souls are able to allow individuals to create tremendous displays of power… and even souls that have fractured and shattered over time are capable of magic as well, although in different respects. This directly fuels our combat and ability system, and it is the source of the player’s and companions’ power, for example.

Also, equally important, it factors into the cultures and theology of the world. The soul doesn’t die, there is proof it persists over time, and that in itself does a great deal to change people’s outlook and behavior… as well as those of factions, nations, and their rulers.​

The RPS interview also contains a new piece of concept art, depicting a character by the name of "Aloth." Go have a look.

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