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Tim Cain Interview at RPGamer

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Tim Cain Interview at RPGamer

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 26 September 2012, 21:07:18

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Tim Cain

Tim Cain has been interviewed at RPGamer, and while the interview is short it offers what I believe is new info about Project Eternity's design. Tim also explains why the things promised as stretch goals cost more money (answer: because you have to hire more people!). Have a snippet:

You state Project Eternity will have "the central hero, memorable companions and the epic exploration of Baldur's Gate, the fun, intense combat and dungeon diving of Icewind Dale, and the emotional writing and mature thematic exploration of Planescape: Torment." I know fans that love Planescape, but have no love for Icewind Dale. Since it's impossible to please everyone, how do you plan on blending those aspects?

Tim Cain: The game is going to support multiple paths, meaning the player can choose how he or she wants to play the game. If you don't enjoy combat, you can avoid much of it, and have companions that help speed combat encounters that you can't avoid. You can choose to play solo if you don't want any companions, you can choose how to treat other people in dialogs, and you can involve yourself deeply or shallowly in the storyline, since we will have lots of side quests.

Multiple paths also means the game will have a lot of replayability. You can pick different classes and races and companions and side quests, and you will experience a different game.

Having stated that players can tackle the game without companions, how do you balance a game where you can play solo or have six party members?

TC: You can have six companions, but you will not always be using the same six, as there are mechanics that will encourage you to swap out companions over time. Not all of these companions will be combat-focused, and as I said earlier, not all combat encounters have to be fought. If the player is solo and cannot handle an encounter, he should look for another way to handle it. Companions give you options, but they won't necessarily make the game easier.

Previous games you worked on featured changes in how the PC interacted with the setting based on which skills the PC specialized in. Later Black Isle games abandoned this. Will you bring this back for Project Eternity?

TC: Yes, I liked that the player could choose his own way through the setting based on how the character was specialized. This is one reason we are paying close attention to the design of the non-combat abilities. They cannot be an afterthought because they will change how the player moves through the story.

For your stretch goals, you have additional party members, races, factions, etc. How did you decide what would be in the base game and what would be added as you reached goals?

TC: We made a schedule with as much content as we could create for the base funding level, and from that we added additional classes, race, companions and other content. For each feature, we figured out how long it would take to add it and planned for the additional funding to cover that feature's development by a new designer, artist, programmer or musician.

Obsidian has been hit hard in the past by having games released before they seemed as polished as they needed to be technically. How does having crowd-funding over publisher-funding change the way you'll plan to tackle QA down the line?

TC: The biggest change is that we will decide on each and every feature in the game, and we can avoid the ones that add little to the game's content but a lot to its complexity. For example, we are not supporting consoles or multiplayer, both of which make the game far more complex and hard to debug. Instead, we are focusing on making the best single-player PC RPG we can make, and that focus is simplifying a lot of our choices.​

For the full interview, go here.

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