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Josh Sawyer on developing games with Universal Character Death

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Josh Sawyer on developing games with Universal Character Death

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 6 September 2019, 21:41:22

Tags: Fallout: New Vegas; Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Josh Sawyer enjoys flying to Europe each year to attend Game Dev Days, a small game development conference in Graz, Austria. This year his keynote was broadcast live on their Twitch channel. It's about developing games that support "universal character death" - the ability to kill any character - a feature that recent Obsidian RPGs have been known for. Over the course of the 45 minute talk, Josh discusses the challenges of designing main quests that can tolerate the death of critical characters, citing examples from Fallout: New Vegas and Pillars of Eternity II. He notes that this sort of design often results in its own cliches, such as the note with critical information on a dead character's body and characters that are protected by impenetrable glass windows, describes alternative design paradigms including games with no killing at all, and even links the topic to the broader controversy about violence in video games.

It's a fine talk, but the most interesting part is when Josh offhandedly mentions in the last two minutes that the next game he's working on will be "nonviolent". I wonder what that's about.

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