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Josh Sawyer talks Pillars of Eternity at Eurogamer, confirms no romances

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Josh Sawyer talks Pillars of Eternity at Eurogamer, confirms no romances

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 February 2014, 21:50:20

Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

Josh Sawyer has been a busy man lately. In his latest interview, over at Eurogamer, he discusses various aspects of Pillars of Eternity, such as its artistic style, its themes, the stronghold and modding. But the best part is the confirmation that the game will have no romances. I quote:

Pillars' characters are not flamboyant fantasy heroes, not wizards with pointy hats, not knights with elaborate armour. 'Why?' people asked after watching the recent trailer (embedded above). 'Why are the characters so... normal?'

"Some people might not like that our characters' proportions and outfits look comparatively drab and dressed down and not exaggerated," answered Sawyer, "but that's also kind of what the original [Infinity Engine] games were like. They don't look like [World of Warcraft] characters, they don't look like Diablo characters. They're not super-exaggerated.

"It was fantasy," he added, "but it was mundane fantasy."

It stems from the work of a man called Keith Parkinson, who did artwork for Dungeons & Dragons publisher TSR back in the day.

"He had a philosophy to make the fantastical mundane," Sawyer recalled, "and to make the mundane fantastical, and so he achieved a really neat look in his D&D art, and so we've referred to that in a lot of cases, where you take something that's very fantastic and you make it a little more believable, and you take something that's very mundane and you dress it up so it's a little more fantastical."

Romances between you and fellow adventurers seem to be a de facto feature of role-playing games today. But Obsidian isn't doing them in Pillars of Eternity.

"We're not doing romances," said Sawyer, "but [the other characters] do have pretty detailed stories, they do have their own personal motivations and goals that sometimes align with yours and sometimes they don't. They interject into your conversations, they argue with you, they argue with each other."

And if you play on Expert mode, or if you enable character death, then followers can die. But Obsidian's "not real big on having characters die in scripted sequences". (Incidentally, if you don't like the given, storied crop of party members, you can make your own, using the Adventurer's Hall.)

[...] Pillars of Eternity gives you, the player, a base - a base that can be upgraded over time and where events will happen. It can even be attacked. And it's called a Stronghold.

"Those events range from visitors coming to people mounting an attack against you to a travelling merchant or someone needs help," explained Sawyer. "And these little events are things you can send your adventurers [to do], or your companions that are not in the party - you can send them to go do them and get little rewards for them. It is a sort of game within a game, but you can manage it from anywhere in the world - there's actually a dedicated part of the UI for managing your Stronghold while you're out and about.

"When Tim Cain [key person from the original Fallout games] was implementing it, he had only implemented it essentially through text - there wasn't even the area, and he was still having fun with it."

You'll come across your Stronghold early on. But, said Sawyer, "When you find it, it's unsurprisingly not in great shape, and you have the ability to restore sections of it and change your roster of defenders and things like that."

Strongholds will also bestow resting bonuses dependent on what facilities you have there. Training Grounds will bolster the Strength stat, for instance, whereas a Library will bolster Lore. You'll also be able to grow ingredients in gardens there, get special offers from travelling sales people and... get filthy rich. Your Stronghold comes with all the surrounding lands, which are taxed. And you're the taxer.

There's a small chance you'll be able take your customised Stronghold into other Pillars of Eternity games (and there's a good chance there'll be more of those). But Sawyer seemed to like the idea of a new game being set in a new area.

Nevertheless, "If we made another Eternity, whether or not it's that Stronghold, we would still have a Stronghold that works in the same general way."

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