Artikel: Pillars of Eternity
Interview mit Josh Sawyer
Mittwoch, 12.12.2012 | tbr
UPDATE: Here´s a small update for our english readers. It´s the original version of the interview. Enjoy! (14.12.2012)
G: Hello Obsidian, thank you for this opportunity. As a RPG-gamer from the “Baldur's-Gate”-generation I am familiar with many of your names and therefore I am really excited about “Project Eternity”. Could you please introduce yourself and Obsidian to our Readers?
JS: My name is Josh Sawyer and I have been working with Obsidian Entertainment as a Project Director since 2005. Before Obsidian, I worked for Black Isle Studios and Midway Home Entertainment.
Obsidian has made many roleplaying games, e.g. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, Neverwinter Nights II, Alpha Protocol, Dungeon Siege III, and Fallout: New Vegas. Now, we're making South Park: The Stick of Truth and Project Eternity.
G: And now a few words about your game please. What is “Project Eternity”? How´s the story going to look like? The setting, the battle-system etc.?
JS: Project Eternity is an isometric party-based fantasy roleplaying game that uses a real-time with pause combat system (like the Infinity Engine games). It's set in a new world created here at Obsidian Entertainment. In this setting, mortal souls are continuously reincarnated from generation to generation. The game takes place in a part of the world called the Free Palatinate of the Dyrwood, a spirit-haunted area colonized by settlers from across the ocean.
In the story, the protagonist is a witness to a supernatural event that puts him or her in a difficult position. It's up to the player to choose how to deal with the circumstances they find themselves in.
G: Please tell us something about the character customization in “Project Eternity”? Will it be possible to change the appearance of your characters? And will there be traits and perks similar to the “Fallout”-Games?
JS: You will be able to change the appearance of your character. Since the character models will be about the same size on screen as they are in the Infinity Engine games, most of the basic options will be things that you can see at that size: hair style and color, facial hair, skin color, and accent colors on clothing. Of course, you will also be able to change your armor, weapons, and other pieces of gear.
We believe that you should be able to customize your characters' abilities heavily, so we will have many options for characters of all character classes.
G: The setting reminds me of some kind of a „new world”-scenario. It is planed that your group will be able to use a ship to venture to another continent at the course of the adventure? Personally, the thought about an Infinity Engine-quest line on a ship excites me. It would be a perfect scenario for romantic adventures as well!
G: Regarding romances, relationships were always important elements in the IE-Games, especially in "Baldur's Gate 2". Will it be possible for our PC to engage in a relationship?
JS: We aren't currently focusing much attention on romances on Project Eternity. I would only want to include them if they feel like a natural fit. As we develop the companion characters, we'll see where their plot arcs take them.
G: One of your last stretch goals inserted strongholds to the game. Will they differ according to the main characters class, like in "Baldur's Gate 2"? By the way, I am going to miss the bard class in “Eternity”.
JS: We will have one stronghold that players can use, regardless of class, but we do want to allow players to customize and upgrade their stronghold in a variety of ways. The stronghold will also be used as a quest hub, with quests taking place at the stronghold or involving it in some central way.
Although we don't have a bard class in Project Eternity, our chanter class is the closest analogue. Chanters piece together magical phrases to create spell effects that go off in sequence over time.
G: The personality of the NPCs was always one of the key selling points in the IE-games. How´s your plan for “Eternity”? Will there be alignments like in AD&D? Will there be friendships or hostilities between the NPCs? Or even romances?
JS: Project Eternity has no morality or "alignment" mechanic. We use a reputation system (like the one in Fallout: New Vegas) to track the opinion various factions and communities have of the player. We believe this is more intuitive to the player and allows them to play with the factions instead of feeling like they are being judged by the designers.
It's important to us that companions and other NPCs react to the character's personality and to each other, so we will support that as much as possible.
G: How about the recruitable characters from the Adventurer's Hall. Will they react to the players decisions or will they be similar to the “Icewind Dale”-NPCs, i.e. class reactions etc.
JS: Characters made at the Adventurer's Hall will have "neutral" personalities. The companions we design for Project Eternity will have a large amount of reactivity and individual character arcs.
G: Apropos "Icewind Dale". I have always loved the ability to import end game characters at the beginning of the game. Will “Project Eternity” feature similar import-functions? Or maybe between games?
JS: We hope we will be able to make a series of games in this setting. If we are able to make sequels, we want to allow the player to import his or her character into those games. We aren't sure yet if we want to support any sort of "New Game+" features
G: It´s probably not an easy task with a default player character but will there be opening vignettes like in “Temple of Elemental Evil”? In relation to alignments, races etc.?
JS: The first part of the game is universal for all characters, but his or her culture, class, race, and gender will affect the story. The protagonist's background is not irrelevant, but we would rather focus the story on what the player chooses to do once he or she arrives in the Dyrwood.
G: There was a feature in “Planescape” which I really admired back then. The possibility to talk with the dead. There are different dialects planned for your game. Therefore, will there be quest lines, which will require to learn one of this dialects in a similar vein, to advance in a game location, to open up more quests etc.?
JS: It is quite likely that you will have to talk to lost souls, decipher odd dialects, and get help with translating forgotten languages in Project: Eternity. One of the seldom-heard dialects in Dyrwood is Hylspeak, an archaic variant of the "common" Aedyran language. People often associate it with remembering a past life, so superstitious people often have a bad reaction to hearing it.
G: Let´s advance to the next question. What do you plan with the voice overs? More in the "Baldur's Gate"-direction with partial voice overs or the “Skyrim”-direction with full voice overs?
JS: We would rather use partial voice overs. It gives us much more flexibility when writing and it allows us to save a lot of time and money. Key characters will have some voice over, but we will use it sparingly even for those characters.
G: One of the stretch goals on Kickstarter included a German translation. Are you already in contact with a German localization studio? Can we count on a simultaneous release with the English version?
JS: I don't believe we have contacted a German localization studio yet, but we will be releasing the German version simultaneously with the English version.
G: How´s the current state of development and do you already have plans for a release date? Last but not least, will ”Project Eternity” get a new name in the future? Where there already titles which were rejected?
JS: We are in pre-production right now. We are spending most of our time prototyping different rendering techniques, developing the basics of party control and combat, and discussing story and mechanics ideas. We don't have any new details on a release date, but the game will be getting a new title in the future.
Before Project Eternity, we briefly called it Project Broadsword, but that didn't evoke the feeling we were looking for.
G: Some concluding words about your Kickstarter-experience?
JS: Being part of the Kickstarter campaign was an interesting experience. It felt very long and very short at the same time. The intense amount of support and attention we received from fans was extraordinary. I didn't think I'd have a chance to make an Infinity Engine-style game again, so I'm very grateful for the opportunity.
G: We from Gamers.de thank you for the interview and wish you furthermore a good time with the development of “Project Eternity”.
JS: Thank you!