Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Obsidian Media Blitz: Josh Sawyer and Feargus Urquhart Interviews

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Sep 7, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Worse. It would have been buggier, it would have felt far more incomplete, it would have had worse gameplay than its predecessor.

    Replace Gonzalez and the other narrative designers and New Vegas wouldn't be the same, but it'd be pretty similar. Without Sawyer it would have been something else entirely.

     
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  2. aweighgender: ⚧ Arcane

    aweigh
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    i don't understand what is so hard to believe about Sawyer's degree of involvement with New Vegas. Is it because you hate Sawyer but like FNV a lot?

    i actually would very much equate FNV to being Sawyer's baby to a similar degree that Torment is attributed to Avellone.

    Sawyer even sang and recorded two of the in-game songs when they were late in production and the singer they'd hired wasn't available, and Sawyer was also the only lead dev from Obsidian to continue answering questions about FNV well after 1 year and a half had already passed since the game's debut (mostly on his formspring account).

    in fact just one cursory reading of sawyer's formspring history will tell you all you need to know about his involvement with FNV as he answers literally hundreds of questions.

    i'd venture to say the only reason Sawyer didn't have even more involvement with FNV is simply because they were re-using the FO3 engine and its systems, otherwise would've been to same degree as his involvement with PoE.

    FNV may have began as the re-animated corpse of Van Buren but it most definitely became something wholly different by the end. you can't hand wave away Sawyer's involvement in FNV by simply shouting 'Van Buren ideas!'.

    edit: all that said it was John Gonzalez areas' that I think shone brightest, especially his writing/ideas for Honest Hearts DLC; although even there Sawyer's hand is all over especially with the Burned Man.
     
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  3. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    Isn’t it obvious? Because his contributions to every other game were subpar, or maybe because the game used a lot of previous content made for Van Buren; or maybe because there were a lot of writers involved in the game.

    So he was responsible for the things we don’t care, since the game only shines in the writing and reactivity department, and it is a popamole game in everything else. I don't see any of you praising Henkel’s role on PS:T, even if he did a considerable job designing a lot of things but got downplayed because he was a producer. It's double standards all the way.
     
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  4. TheSentinelgender: ⚧ Liturgist

    TheSentinel
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    I think it is a very fair assumption that Sawyer, as the project director, pushed strongly for reactivity. Feargus says this, and Sawyer also mentions he and Avellone mentoring Gonzalez throughout the writing process. Also I don't know exactly what "Region Design Constraints" means, but if it has anything to do with World Design (placement of towns/cities/vaults/points of interest) then I'd say he did a fine job, because one of the many things Fallout New Vegas does better than 3 is the world design. Fallout 3 had low level areas locked behind deathclaws.

    What games are we talking about here? Icewind Dale 2? Wasn't that rushed out in like 10 months? I'd say it came out very well for such a low dev time.
    If you're talking about Pillows of Eternity, I think that's a different story. As Sawyer has said, the Pillars players expect a very specific sort of experience emulated from Baldur's Gate. Baldur's Gate had close to 0 reactivity - it was a very much linear adventure. Considering they were on the gallows at the time with the hangman anxiously awaiting to pull the trigger, playing safe and staying true to the pitch you presented to 77k backers was probably the safest bet.
     
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  5. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    I actually do appreciate Henkel for being the hatchetman who got it shipped.

    Additionally, Josh was responsible for enforcing the style guidelines.

    That dry, naturalistic dialogue was all Josh, which is the complete opposite of Avellone's style (which is loud and over the top).

    Avellone also broke the hell out of "Always place "goodbye" reply options at the bottom of the list" and "If an NPC continues his or her nodes in a long sequence, the player should be given the option to back out after three nodes" when he did Old World Blues.
     
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  6. Azrael the catgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Azrael the cat
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    Strawman. No game did this, even back in the 'bad/good old days'. If you needed combat to win, the game would always tell you "the world of Forgotten Realms/Sigil/Brittania is a dangerous place. Sometimes you have no choice but to fight. Make sure you level up at least one combat skill regularly, or you might get stuck!"

    A game that didn't have that would be taken as inviting the player to try non-combat builds (if for no other reason than that the absence of such a warning was rare and therefore notable), and yes, it would be bad design if a game gave absolutely no warning of taking a late-and-sharp right-turn into railroaded combat, and did nothing to pre-warn you. Such bad design, in fact, that it never happened.
     
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  7. TheSentinelgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    didn't VtMB do this? I don't recall any such warning.
     
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  8. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Well the tutorial did have unavoidable combat. :M
     
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  9. l3loodAngelgender: ⚧ Proud INTJ Patron

    l3loodAngel
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    You just broke the most retarded point in game design and shoved it in chainsaw's ass. Gj!
     
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  10. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Perhaps not quite to that extent, but there are games that did that sort of thing to a significant degree. KOTOR 1 is a relatively recent offender -- play a light-side Force power oriented Consular, and you'll cruise through it until Darth Malak, who is as good as immune to most Force powers.

    VtM:B is another example -- it's pretty easy to sail through it without pumping your combat skills much at all, relying on social stuff + stealth + certain Disciplines, until near the endgame when you face enemies that can only really be handled with a fire axe (or hot lead) to the face.
     
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  11. aweighgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    i think FNV's "Dead Money" is by far Avellone's best writing since PS:T. Everything about DM is incredibly well designed, especially in comparison to the base game, and as far as the DLCs go it's clearly the best designed one and I rank it far above Old World Blues.

    it's pretty amazing how they managed to take the Bethesda shit-engine, make FNV out of it, and then with Dead Money create a completely different role-playing experience that straddled completely different genres (survival horror being one of them) than the base game. sure, some may prefer the humor in OWB or the power-fantasy tropes of Honest Hearts, but it's hard not to be impressed with how unique Dead Money came out.
     
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  12. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    A bright side to this is that you can use an obvious exploit to brute force it, considering you can spam as many healing and buff items as you want in the paused inventory screen (Obsidian put a cap on how many times you could do this in a single round for some reason).
     
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  13. Azarkongender: ⚧ Arcane

    Azarkon
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    So was the original game. What's significant about their campaign is that the second game had double the amount of pledges as the first. Obsidian chose a different platform so their results can't be directly compared, but I would still question whether Pillars of Eternity 2 could've gotten twice the amount of pledges as the first.

    There's always a risk, no matter what publishers tell you about market check lists and safe investments. Even Electronic Arts ends up with many commercial failures, and their way of doing business is losing steam: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4099180-electronic-arts-losing-grip-video-gaming-industry

    A large fraction of the most successful franchises in recent years come from commercialization of custom maps and modifications, the design of which came from players, not marketing committees. Warcraft custom maps gave birth to Dota and League of Legends. Team Fortress gave rise to Overwatch. Horizon: Zero Dawn was described as Guerrilla Games' most risky pitch. Even Counter Strike started off as a modification. Sure, there's still safe plays like Call of Duty, FIFA, and World of Warcraft. But the industry is no longer ruled by them.

    While I agree with you that CRPG fans are mediocre and predictable, that's not the issue I'm talking about. You can make check list games, as long as the people you put in charge of them, actually like them for what they are. The problem I have with putting Josh Sawyer in charge of these "traditional" CRPG clones is that I don't feel he actually likes them. Reading his posts about CRPG design, it's quite obvious that he feels traditional CRPGs are broken; yet, as we've seen with Pillars of Eternity's release, his changes are not what the people who enjoy these games necessarily want.

    That's why I'd suggest Obsidian put him on a game he'd enjoy developing, and be passionate about. You might argue it's a risk, but so is having him develop games he doesn't enjoy. Leave the check list games to the people who love them.
     
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  14. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    No, you can't. Good cRPG development is organic, and involves the cooperation of the team, many iterations, etc. Checklist design is artificial, and result in bland games.
     
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  15. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    That doesn't count as "player-made".
     
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  16. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banvillegender: ⚧ Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Never heard of it, but it appears to be an 8-hour 2-player co-operative action game likened to Gears of War that has very little in common with a Morrowind-style Open World RPG.

    I should have been more precise, and noted that if Bethesda had chosen inXile to create an Open World RPG successor to the original two Fallout games, using the latest version of the Morrowind engine, then it would have been inXile with, by its standards, a smashing commercial success rather than Obsidian. This says nothing about the relative merits of the two companies. Similarly, if someone else at Obsidian had been lead designer for New Vegas, the game might have somewhat less successful or somewhat more successful in terms of sales, but either way it would have been Obsidian's greatest commercial success.
     
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  17. Chainsaw Gutsfuckgender: ⚧ Educated

    Chainsaw Gutsfuck
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    pick one
     
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  18. Fairfaxgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Fairfax
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    Henkel didn't design a lot of things and has admitted as much, he was never downplayed. He had little to do with the game's design and resigned just months before release.

    That was MCA. Had it been any other BIS designer in his position, the game would've suffered the same fate as Stonekeep 2.

    Henkel was actually Project Director, not just producer, but he was effectively demoted to "producer" in the credits, which shows how he did for the game. :M
     
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  19. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    From the wikipedia entry about PS:T

    Or maybe it shows that being a developer can be an ungrateful job if you work with disloyal people. Let's remember that Avellone is the guy who stole the narrative premise of PS:T from "Pages of Pain", and never acknowledged that.
     
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  20. Fairfaxgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Fairfax
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    I like how you bolded half the sentence and ignored the most important part, which is the fact Guido Henkel himself made that claim. :lol:
     
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  21. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    And I like how you assume that his version is false without any evidence.
     
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  22. Fairfaxgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Fairfax
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    You said it yourself:

    And this is Guido's description of his own role:

    You either believe MCA wrote the whole thing by himself (which isn't true, but ok) and that's the main attraction, or you believe Guido, through "primarily administrative" work, had a greater influence. The two opinions are mutually exclusive.
     
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  23. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    If you think that writing is enough to make a functional cRPG, you are mistaken.
     
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  24. aweighgender: ⚧ Arcane

    aweigh
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    from the mouthbreathing shit guido has been spewing in recent years concerning rpg design i am fucking glad he had little input over the creative side of PS:T.
     
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  25. Fairfaxgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Fairfax
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    What are you even talking about? I quoted you saying it was the game's main attraction, nobody's talking about RPG design. Anyway, I'm sure you're right. Guido Henkel's administrative work (even though he quit months before the finish line) is what made PS:T a masterpiece. Too bad he didn't get the chance to make another one.
     
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