Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Josh Sawyer talks about Neketaka at PCGamesN

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Aug 8, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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    Tags: Bobby Null; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

    Last week's Pillars of Eternity II Fig update showcasing the city of Neketaka made such a good impression that the folks at PCGamesN decided to interview Josh Sawyer about it. The first part of their interview is focused on describing the city's politics. I quote:

    Pillars of Eternity 2 draws from the history of the East India Company as inspiration for its capital city, Neketaka. The city is torn between the competing interests of the trading companies looking to exploit the resources of the Deadfire Archipelago and the natives trying to turn this foreign interest into personal gain.

    Talking to us last week, Pillar of Eternity 2 director Josh Sawyer says that Europe's imperial history was very much in mind when designing the game, and Neketaka in particular.

    "We’re definitely trying to draw connections to things like the East India Trading Company, and various Belgian and Dutch trading firms as well," Sawyer says. "Each of the colonial cultures has a different interest in the area. They overlap a little bit, and they are in direct competition."

    Neketaka has a long history. Its original builders are the Huana, an ancient tribe that were contemporaries to the Engwithan, the precursor race that you learn about in the original game. Unlike the Engwithan, though, the Huana were set back by "a big, cataclysmic event that occurred, and wiped out a huge portion of their population," Sawyer says. "They had to rebuild from almost nothing. Neketaka is actually a surviving element of that ancient culture, but it was abandoned for centuries until it was repossessed by a powerful Huana tribe, the Kahanga."

    The Kahanga is "nominally the ruling tribe of the Huana, but they don’t really respect their authority." The queen and prince of the tribe have a strong military but they don't command as much respect among the tribes as you'd expect of "autocratic rulers."

    Then, within the city there are: the native Huana; the Vailian trading company - a group sponsored by the Vailian Republics, who you could encounter in the first game - they control a district called Queen's Berth; and, finally, the Royal Deadfire Company. They control their own district, too - a large, fortified district.

    Hated by everyone are the Principi, a pirate collective. Naturally, with so many traders around, the Principi have infiltrated the city with their agents.

    All these factions are interlinked with alliances and rivalries, and being an Obsidian RPG, many of them want you to help turn the faction confusion to their advantage. For example, Sawyer explains the queen's plan: "She is trying to play them off against each other, but she’s playing a dangerous game. Those groups are very powerful, and because those tribes are not that unified, they are vulnerable to outside colonial forces that are more organised."

    But you aren't just a pawn for these groups, Sawyer says: "The player has their own agenda for coming to Neketaka [and] you see different elements of each faction before you get to make alliances among them. You’re pursuing one objective, but it drags you into the middle of these four groups. Neketaka is a place where you see these cultures coming together and you see the dysfunction between them. As a player, you can be extremely resistant to making alliances with them, and although it’s very difficult, we do offer the option to go your own way. But, all these factions want to do a ‘quid pro quo’ with you, like ‘Why don’t you help our faction? We’ll help you achieve your objectives’."
    The second part of the interview goes into more detail about the experience of being in Neketaka. Here's an excerpt:

    With Neketaka possessing such scope and bustling culture, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ll slip in unnoticed and be able to quietly manipulate its systems. Quite the opposite is the reality; you’ll be a big name from practically the moment you walk through its gates.

    “As soon as you get to Neketaka, something happens to establish who you are,” Sawyer teases. “It’s a big event that means we can justifiably have anyone in the city be aware of who you are. When you’re on the critical path, while you’re suggested to go to the palace, it’s possible to avoid it if you want to. But if you do go to the palace, everyone who sees you knows who you are.”

    And when everyone knows who you are, there’s one thing you can count on: an ever-growing line of NPCs demanding you help them out. Pillars of Eternity II’s cities will, without question, feature dozens of quest opportunities, but Sawyer notes that Obsidian have been careful with how those opportunities are presented.

    “We do want players to stumble across quests, but if they’re forced into it all the time, that can get irritating,” he explains. “It can also be overwhelming when you have so many quests that you just don’t know where to go. Baldur's Gate was much too sparse, and Athkatla [the capital city in Baldur’s Gate II] was a little too dense. Part of it also had to do with the way the player was pulled into those conversations. Sometimes it’s ok to pull players into a dialogue, and other times it’s ok to let a player see there’s something going on and decide [what to do].”

    As you travel around Neketaka, you’ll find that the citizens respond to you in a variety of ways governed by a specific sense of logic. This is based in Obsidian’s wish for NPCs to be notably and realistically reactive.

    “If you rob from a regular citizen, it seems a little jarring if they go berserk and attack you,” Sawyer notes. “[In Pillars 2] if regular old folks get mad, they will try to call the guards. If you start attacking them, they’ll flee or they’ll cower. The people who are there to protect the citizens - the guards - they’re the ones who will come and try and attack you.”

    If you’re planning on staying on the right side of the law, the new chatter system is where you’ll notice most of Pillars II’s reactivity. “People react to you in different ways based on who they are,” Sawyer details. “People react to you being godlike, which is something [players] said they wanted more reactivity to. If you do certain things, people will thank you or they’ll curse you in the street. We try to have a lot of logic to it.”

    That reactivity runs deeper than merely what people say about you, though. Your decisions and actions will have an obvious effect on Neketaka; the city itself will change over time. “The bigger challenge is less about giving something a sense of place, and more about giving a place a sense of change over time,” Sawyer says. “It’s the thing in roleplaying games that is much more difficult. Almost any genre can give you a strong sense of place, but when the player does something in a roleplaying game, they’re looking for what changes based on that. ‘Do people come? Do they go? Do they treat me differently?’ That’s always a challenge, and it’s something that we keep pushing.”
    For more details about Neketeka, you may also want to check out this brief interview with lead designer Bobby Null at MMORPG.com. It's nice to hear Obsidian reiterate their commitment to NPC schedules, which we haven't really heard anything about since the Fig campaign.
     
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  2. Make America Great Again Black Arcane

    Black
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    Unfortunate.
     
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  3. Iznaliu Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    Why is this a news post? Random articles like this usually aren't made into news posts.
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Black Arcane

    Black
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    You mean this isn't the official Obsidian fansite?
     
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  5. Junmarko Arcane Patron

    Junmarko
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    Bubbles In Memoria Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    NPC Schedules & more complex faction system.

    :incline:
     
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  6. Ismaul Arcane Patron

    Ismaul
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    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign
    The schedule and reactivity sounds really interesting. Maybe I should've backed this... but that alone doesn't make a good game.
     
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  7. Iznaliu Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    It does show that they think beyond the bare minimum of gameplay elements and try to make a truly living world.
     
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  8. HoboForEternity Magister

    HoboForEternity
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    Deadfire goty 2018
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Latro Arcane

    Latro
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    grimoire will do it far in advance
     
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  10. Make America Great Again Black Arcane

    Black
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    Just so you know, PoE 2 retrospective and Darth Roxor's 'Top 20 Reasons why PoE 2 was THE hidden gem of the second millennium' are already done and merely waiting for appropriate time to get published.
    I too have my sources, Finitron.
     
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  11. Neanderthal Arcane

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    Soundes good but i'd say harder thing to achieve is making player care, lately in Obs (and others) games i've been utterly uninterested in setting, people and fluff because i'm not connected to it in any way and I find very few appealing npcs or situations to empathise wi. Gi me something to fight for, find interesting enough to explore or folk who I just fucking like, cos otherwise i'll just go through listening to npcs whine about usual shit an think, "missing kids, murders on street, ogres buggering your arse every night, don't fucking care wheres my gold, loot, xp?"
     
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  12. jaydee2k Educated

    jaydee2k
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    Neketaka looked awesome. Can't wait ! Everything about POE 2 except the drop of the casting system looks very very promising
     
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  13. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

    FeelTheRads
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    lul

    There was a newspost literally on how Sawyer said he was thinking about making a historical RPG. That's it. Nothing else.
    Because obviously some random employee thinking about something is relevant in any way to anything.

    Infinitron is the most disgusting ass-licking fanbot shill this site has ever seen.

    P.S. I see Sawyer keeps up the shit with retarded names. Durr principi nekotaku loooooool
     
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  14. garren Arcane

    garren
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    I guess the name's better than nẅkŵtwka
     
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  15. Quantomas Educated

    Quantomas
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    That's not a teaser. That is a spoiler!

    Would be surprised if that isn't the giant Eothas showing up and being repelled.
     
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  16. Gecos Educated

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  17. InspectorRumpole Arbiter

    InspectorRumpole
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    Numenera, Neketeka.

    Whoever comes comes up with those names :hmmm:
     
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  18. Wizfall Savant

    Wizfall
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    PoE was awesome except for the awful writing and boring main city.
    The main story and setting was not that bad but introduced awfully with too many new "words" and too much convoluted text to tell so few things.
    And way too few remarkable NPC too.

    I find reactivity overrated, it was fine in PoE 1 and BGII and not a priority to improve IMO (by the way people on the street in PoE 1 already react to your action/reputation so it's not something new at all).
    I still hope Sawyer got the critics about Defaince Bay being a boring city despite the fact that he complains again about BGII/Athkatla being too dense...wishful thinking maybe.
     
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  19. luj1 Savant

    luj1
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    I see the tectonic event aka Grimoire had no impact on Infinitron's weekly shilling quota. He is still a dick-rider, passionately devoted to glorifying Sawyer and anything he says/does.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  20. Junmarko Arcane Patron

    Junmarko
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    Bubbles In Memoria Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Shill! Sharpen thy pitchforks! Oh...wait...scroll down...

    [​IMG]

    :timcain:
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2017
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  21. almondblight Arcane

    almondblight
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    A bigger issue is that these articles get posted while info about lesser known indie RPGs don't. I don't think anyone here is unaware that POE2 exists. More important is to inform people about games they probably don't know exist or haven't paid attention to (important for people here, and for struggling indie devs).
     
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  22. Prime Junta Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Yeah, there have been more extensive articles about No Truce for example which haven't made the front page here. I even pointed the 'tron at one of them to no avail.
     
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  23. HoboForEternity Magister

    HoboForEternity
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    obsidian is hacking infinitron's AI cyberbrain to shill for them obviously.

    I am still advocating the dire possibility that infinitron is a news posting AI that gained sentience.
     
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  24. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

    FeelTheRads
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    Can't take the spotlight from Sawyer and his always enlightening thoughts and talks with crap like you know, games not made by Obsidian.
     
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  25. Shadenuat Arcane

    Shadenuat
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    Extra reactivity is nice, but knowing Obsi it would be fairly innocent and won't force players to adapt or think what they are doing even after players rob everyone/kill all the guards etc.
     
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