Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Interview Obsidian Media Blitz: Pillars of Eternity II and Tyranny: Bastard's Wound Interviews

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ 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: J.E. Sawyer; Matt MacLean; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Tyranny; Tyranny: Bastard's Wound

    The video of Eurogamer's visit to Obsidian published earlier this week turned out to be only the first shot in a highly orchestrated ongoing media campaign, whose ultimate purpose is still unclear. It was followed up with a fan contest and an interview with Feargus about Obsidian's rejection of the opportunity to make a Game of Thrones RPG back in 2005, also at Eurogamer, a history of Black Isle Studios at USgamer, and interviews with Feargus about choice & consequence and Alpha Protocol 2 at VG247. None of them were particularly newsworthy, with the Black Isle article coming closest if you're not familiar with the old stories.

    Today though we've gotten something more meaty. USgamer have a 40 minute interview with Josh Sawyer about Pillars of Eternity II, recorded by their interviewer Kat Bailey during her visit to Obsidian in early August. The interview starts with some honest talk from Josh about the first game's flaws and a description of the sequel's premise and themes, before going in-depth on some of its new features - multiclassing, companion relationships, character import, and more. There's lots of new information about the mechanics of the game's ship system. Coolest of all, there's the reveal that Obsidian have contracted none other than the Codex's own sser to help with the writing, on account of his work on Battle Brothers. Oh, and Tony Evans too. Here's the interview audio (starts at 18:40):


    And that's not all. Rock Paper Shotgun have published an interview of their own with Matt MacLean about the upcoming Bastard's Wound expansion for Tyranny. Much of the interview is actually dedicated to recapping the development of the base game, but there is some new information as well.

    Another problem that Obsidian needed to solve was – in a society where evil has already won, how do you then give the player something to do? The solution here was to turn the knives inwards, to have the fighting shift into infighting as thoughts began to turn away from final victory, and more toward who would reap the most spoils. But this led to another issue; the need to contextualise the maelstrom of inter-factional politics that the player was about to be thrown into.

    The result of this was the Conquest mode, a text adventure that takes place before the game begins proper, which provides an overview of how the war played out, and let’s the player make a few choices that influence how various factions perceive them as the game begins. Interestingly, Conquest mode was one area of Tyranny that proved difficult to build, and one that MacLean worried, “for the length of development”, would go down badly with players.

    “An earlier version of the conquest paired attribute and skill gains to the conquest, and a part of me really enjoyed how the past-defines-your-training vibe meshed with the game’s learn-by-doing system. But it was a level of complexity too far. Players would find themselves not wanting to select things because the story was good but the systemic gains weren’t,” he says.

    Although MacLean feels Conquest mode was ultimately successful. One issue that the team didn’t fully solve was blending the focus on evil with the epic fantasy story that is generally expected of an isometric RPG. MacLean states the team “wanted the players’ choices to matter”. But this meant creating a huge amount of content that could only be explored fully with multiple play-throughs, and MacLean admits that “not many gamers have the time for that much gaming.”

    “While I love making choice-driven games with branching dialogue, ‘Next time, a linear game’ was a frequent mantra uttered when we found ourselves having to make short conversations many thousands of words long just to accommodate prior choice and conditions,” he adds.

    Nevertheless, Obsidian has decided to further explore the world of Tyranny with an expansion – colourfully named Bastard’s Wound. For the DLC, Obsidian wanted to create something that would be of interest to Tyranny players both old and new. “The parameters for the DLC’s design were something that players not yet finished with the game could play, so that gave us the opportunity to add something we just never got around to making – an area accessible in Act 2 that you travel to on your own schedule and not based on exactly where the main story is pointing you next,” MacLean says.

    The developers are tight-lipped on details of Bastard’s Wound story, although MacLean does say that the expansion is “less about the immediate conflict of the Disfavored versus the Scarlet Chorus and more about the ripples and consequences of the larger war.” But the expansion will add character-specific quests for three members of the player’s party, namely Barik, Lantry and Verse.

    This is an aspect that the vanilla game was lacking, that more personal connection between your character and your party. However, these quests will be unrelated to the game’s core reputation system: “if we had placed something like loyalty or fear requirement for one of these quests, and you fire up a save game where you’ve already opted for the other thing and there’s no more conversation/game left to steer your way into the quests, you’d be rightly annoyed.”

    Bastard’s Wound will also address some of the more general complaints about the vanilla game, one of which was an overemphasis on combat. “While adding a strictly pacifistic route through things wasn’t quite in keeping with the general vibe of Tyranny, Bastard’s Wound features quests with more optional violence,” In addition, Obsidian wanted to ensure that, when violence does happen in Bastard’s Wound, it’s better contextualised than it sometimes was in Tyranny. “We also wanted to have less situations where someone already hated you from prior events, bridges seemed pre-burned, and combat was inevitable,” he says.

    It’s also worth noting that, alongside Bastard’s Wound, Obsidian will be making some tweaks to the vanilla game that will be available to everyone. “We’re doing a free update to the base game that adds and modifies a few things here and there,” MacLean says. This includes new voice-overs to parts of the game that were previously text-only, and the fixing of certain story “bugs” by adding new dialogues and conversations. “In short, we’ve been working on a lot of cool improvements that all players will be getting, not just those who get the DLC.”
    Speaking of Tyranny, there was another livestream of the Bastard's Wound expansion on Paradox's Twitch channel today, this time with Obsidian developers in attendance. Watch me try in vain to get them to speak up about this media campaign about 16 minutes in. What more will we learn in the coming weeks? This seems way too big to be about a mere DLC.
     
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  2. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Will they be giving him one one-room dungeon to design? :)

    :hmmm:

    Pretty difficult without Avellone to rely on, isn't it?
     
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  3. Fairfaxgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Fairfax
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    What's his one-room dungeon?
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ 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
    rogueymemes.jpg

     
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  5. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    I don't think Avellone is especially known for choice and consequence. I think he prefers linear railroading.
     
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  6. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Man that interviewer talks a lot. STFU and let the Josh speak.

    Edit - Commentary:

    Ha, Berserker confirmed as barb sub-class, Streetfighter as rogue subclass, Josh likes the combo
    Streetfighter likes being flanked and benefits from getting bloodied, Barbs have Carnage, so it's synergistic
    No restrictions on multiclassing companions, apart from starting class
    Intra-party shenanigans sound cool, not designed top-down with a checklist (N romances, M friendships, E enmities...), but emerging from how the characters were written, Carrie Patel credited
    Edér is your racist uncle LOL, you can attempt to steer conversations away from risky areas
    Eric F. and Carrie P. mostly responsible for choice of returning characters -- Edér and Pallegina were kind of no-brainers, Aloth was a bit trickier.
    Boat is "nothing revolutionary" -- idea borrowed from KOTORs and ME; the ship is something you go back to (but by the sound of it, it's pretty rad actually)
    Lots of at-sea encounters -- reefs, whales, sea monsters, dilemmas with your crew and so on, play out differently depending on crew, stats, choices
    There is a ship duelling system! Nice -- manoeuvring, sails, naval artillery, etc!
    Crew development, multiple ships to choose from, you can switch from the Defiant to other ships you've acquired, you can customise them both cosmetically and mechanically -- which cannons to use, who mans your battle stations, you get trophies from defeating other ships
    Your ship can get pretty devastating, so you can turn pirate, with reputation consequences with factions -- nothing to stop you from hunting ships all day long if you want to
    Fallout 1/2/BB style main map, quest-content focused maps (references BG2); starting out "you see a very small part of a very large map," Josh wants to give the feeling of having areas with just ocean in every direction, and secret things to find, although you can just follow the crit path if you want to -- again very cool!
    Focusing on encounter diversity and not having too many fights & filler content; using patrols to shake things up and provide stealth challenges, "it is actually okay if the content on the screen isn't a fight"
    Lots of callbacks to choices made in P1 (e.g. meeting someone you dealt with... cites Tyranny and the way it referenced the prologue)
    ... and pause ...
    Interesting, Josh says flat-out that he thinks the console version of P1 is a bad idea, "surprised" at the changes made to it in the process, says totally a Paradox project, with Obs only providing feedback
     
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  7. FreshCorpsegender: ⚧ Novice

    FreshCorpse
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    The section about Pillars 1 on console starts around 56m40s
     
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  8. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    :hmmm:
     
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  9. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ 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
    He means that it's a no-brainer to explain why she's in the Deadfire (due to her factional allegiance). He also talks about why she's in the game in the first place, though - despite allegations of favoritism, it wasn't his idea but Eric and Carrie's.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
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  10. Lurker Kinggender: ⚧ Self-Ejected The Real Fanboy

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    LOL
     
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  11. Colour Spraygender: ⚧ Educated

    Colour Spray
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    I like what I'm hearing. More neutral elements in different locations is something I was hoping for; adds that minor friend or foe? suspense element that makes exploring fun. There was already a little more of that in White March, to their credit.

    Saying that Aloth's inclusion was trickier is a little vague. I wasn't keen on him because he didn't seem to have much going on beyond being watcher lite, but I guess they could just be talking about lore justifications rather than thinking of ways to round out his character a little better. Either way I think it could pay off, what with them considering each characters motivations as a product of their respective personalities, like in that bit about inter-party dialogues.
     
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  12. Sacibengalagender: ⚧ Learned

    Sacibengala
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    Some people really love to please their bosses.
     
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  13. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

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    About those returning companions -- he explained that the choice was largely determined by story. Edér was a no-brainer because Eothas, and Pallegina because of her allegiance to the Vailian republics -- the Vailian Trading Company is one of the major factions, so she's a natural fit to be one of their agents there.

    I would imagine it would have been pretty easy to have Kana return, since he has a similar relationship to Rauatai as Pallegina has to the Vailians, but of course they decided on having her ranger sister there instead already a while back. None of the other companions have as obvious a reason to be involved, including Aloth, which made fitting him in a bit trickier. Even Sagani got a happily-ever-after-with-the-fam type ending if you completed her quest, although she is technically from the Deadfire.

    FWIW my hype level moved up a cautious notch. I especially dig what he said about exploration and ship stuff -- while naval combat will certainly be a side dish, it sounds like fun and the kind of little thing that can make a game memorable and give it character -- and the intra-party relationships and faction mechanics sound cool too. At this point I'm only expecting to hate the everything-per-encounter thing, and if that's the worst thing wrong with the game it could turn out... rather good really.
     
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  14. Colour Spraygender: ⚧ Educated

    Colour Spray
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    Kana is definitely the most surprising one if they were to play it by the book. He spends so much time talking about the Rauatai.

    Why am I not surprised you like the idea of the naval stuff? This is only going to reinforce the stuffy old admiral image your avatar projects. ;) I'm not sold on the new per encounter design either but you'd have to see it in context, I guess. I've still got latent biases from other games that tried to tackle the mana bar/resting/cooldown paradigm and didn't come close to improving the older system.
     
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  15. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    Admiral?
     
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  16. Quillongender: ⚧ Savant

    Quillon
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    Good call on Kana not returning. I've had enough of his VA with Kana & Barik, one of his sisters filling in for him is not a bad idea, shoulda been a younger sister tho :P
     
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  17. Colour Spraygender: ⚧ Educated

    Colour Spray
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    Don't know if I've played Civ 3 so i didn't recognise it was bismarck; I actually thought it was from Alpha Centauri which I also haven't played since I was a lot younger. :| :stupid:
     
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  18. Bohraingender: ⚧ Learned

    Bohrain
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    So they compromised their original design idea of making a short game with good replay value and instead made a short game with poor replay value?
     
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  19. Serious_Businessgender: ⚧ Best Poster on the Codex

    Serious_Business
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    TIME TO RETIRE YOU FUCKERS

    You can just feel them tremble at the amount of work required to make these games. Just weak.
     
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  20. Quillongender: ⚧ Savant

    Quillon
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    Locking out whole areas as consequence of choices is never good. And in that over ambitious "conquest" you don't even get to make choices for half the situations cos you didn't went there in the first place, why spread your content thin by locking out the player to make those choices with already implemented consequences?

    example: IIRC, in the conquest you go to 3 mature locations out of 4 which essentially removes 1 quarter of the post-act 1 content. Then even in the visited 3 mature locations you choose between a series of couple events that had happened at the same time to make choices in those events and this removes half the little scenarios for no practical reason, cos you are also making choices per event(in favor of SC, ED or staying neutral), why lock the player out of these events when you have already implemented those 3 outcomes for each event?

    I think, for building a game around reactivity, "conquest" was a dumb move; burdening the team to make reactivity for a non-existent first game. At least it will get a justified-sensible use in Deadfire. If you wanna build your game around reactivity; do what NV did(whole topic of conversation) and add different starting locations & roles with more empathy to acknowledging in which order player did what, instead of locking players out of content cos of such hardcoreness.
     
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  21. Nutriagender: ⚧ Educated

    Nutria
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    I'm so confused. Avellone is talking about Alpha Protocol 2. Feargus is talking about Alpha Protocol 2. Our trade master seems to be insinuating that Obsidian is about to announce a new game. So wtf is going on? Are Avellone & Feargus like one of those couples that divorce and remarry three times?
     
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  22. Prime Juntagender: ⚧ Arcane

    Prime Junta
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    I don't think Avellone's got it out of his system yet. He needs a Harley and a fling with a hot young studio. He did do the late-night-drunk-hatelove-phone-call thing a while back though, so there is hope.
     
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  23. Ruzengender: ⚧ Learned

    Ruzen
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    I personally always got tiresome with origin stories. I think they are the worse cockblock moments in video gaming. Always showing up to your eyes with forced dialogues to show you what this char or location is all about. Every time I started another run I get to force do same old things. It's this very long tutorial section.

    What conquest mode allows to do are:
    • Begin a story, not from amnesia or another level 1 reasons but right from where you want to start.
    • More rememberable and involvement rather than a CGI or dumb training hub area.
    What I would like to have in conquest mode:
    • Few roguelike elements. Maybe the actual soldier, supplies numbers changing.
    • Longer aftermath.
     
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  24. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    Roguelike doesn't just mean RNG.
     
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  25. l3loodAngelgender: ⚧ Proud INTJ Patron

    l3loodAngel
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    Wtf am I reading? If you don't like dialogues go play fucking skyrim, then you won't be forced to talk... But I guess you are already playing it (fucking retard).
     
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