Official Codex Discord Server

  1. Welcome to rpgcodex.net, a site dedicated to discussing computer based role-playing games in a free and open fashion. We're less strict than other forums, but please refer to the rules.

    "This message is awaiting moderator approval": All new users must pass through our moderation queue before they will be able to post normally. Until your account has "passed" your posts will only be visible to yourself (and moderators) until they are approved. Give us a week to get around to approving / deleting / ignoring your mundane opinion on crap before hassling us about it. Once you have passed the moderation period (think of it as a test), you will be able to post normally, just like all the other retards.
    Dismiss Notice

People News Chris Avellone tells the Codex about his current work on Pillars of Eternity

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    Messages:
    15,021
    Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA 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 Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

    As some may recall, in a recent interview Chris Avellone told PCGamesN that he wrote two companions for Obsidian's upcoming fantasy RPG Pillars of Eternity, but that his original design went too far and had to be scaled down from how he originally imagined these characters:

    Sitting down to write two characters for Eternity, Avellone felt as if the chains were off.

    “I’m not writing for a publisher right now,” he thought. “So I can write about subjects we’re normally not allowed to. What’s interesting about the world of Eternity that I think these two companions could have something to say about?”

    In the end, Avellone went too far even for his colleagues at Obsidian - those characters won’t appear in the game as he originally intended.​

    We were in email correspondence with Chris regarding Codex backer rewards at around the same time the interview was posted, so we decided to ask him about his original companion design and how it changed - to which MCA gave an answer that may be of interest to those who follow Pillars of Eternity's progress:

    Chris Avellone: "To be clear, and to give credit where credit is due on content contributions (I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder), I wrote the first iterations of two companions (Durance and the Grieving Mother, who have been scaled down to about ¼ of what they were originally, and the Grieving Mother’s mental dungeon was excised as well, which was essentially a stealth adventure game inside her memories).

    The final versions that are in the game are the province of other narrative designers, and I would be uncomfortable taking credit for the final implementation of the two characters. "​

    The Grieving Mother's mental dungeon sounds intriguing, and also Wasteland-ey (remember Finster's brain?), but given Josh Sawyer's recent comment on another forum about "listing as a b-priority" anything that isn't "core gameplay" (requires registration to see, but quoted in full by our dear Roguey here), no wonder it was cut. Could be it didn't fit the game's tone either.

    To follow up on that, we asked Chris if the Grieving Monther's dungeon's design was Wasteland-inspired, but turns out that no, it was not:

    Chris Avellone: Interesting thought! Not at all, actually. I was thinking about how a dialogue could be explored like a dungeon and reversing a Cipher’s powers so it’s actually the player who has telepathy - the scripted interactions in Eternity seemed like a perfect fit.​

    Sounds like it was firmly rooted in the game's lore, after all.

    Aside from that, in response to the question about whether he would describe his involvement with Pillars as "minimal", MCA also elaborated on what his current role on the game is in general:

    Chris Avellone: "I’ve been doing narrative fixes for the game now that it’s nearing the end of production along with reviewing other written support materials (the manual, for example, since I’ve written quite a few in the past). Feargus requested my assistance for two reasons – one, the narrative team did not have the time and two, because of my familiarity with the title. It has taken time – still, because this work involves bug-fixing and improving the core content of the game (as opposed to an Arcanum LP, which would not improve Eternity’s quality), it’s worthwhile, and it’s rare that we have an opportunity like this. Also, it has allowed us to look for things to add to the standards document for future projects (including further Eternity projects). I have still a good chunk more to do. I wouldn’t describe my role as minimal, but it’s been different than other RPGs at the studio. It usually is, from project to project.

    I also did multiple critiques of the lore and the storyline(s) (including suggesting one framework for the story, along with other designers), but the storyline does not have many of my suggestions or contributions, it is largely the Creative Lead’s voice and direction guiding it, as it should be.

    I had no involvement with the systems of the game beyond pushing that we create classes unique/native to the physics of the world (the Cipher), since a number of the classes that had been created up to that point were largely archetypes that could be found in other fantasy games. I felt strongly that if we could make a tie between the systems and lore, the game would be stronger for it.

    That’s it. Still plenty to do. More to come when I have a breather. :)"​

    In conclusion - for those still waiting with bated breath for the continuation of his exciting adventures in Arcanum - MCA noted that the above "isn’t meant to imply the Arcanum LP won’t be finished, it will just likely be postponed until I’ve done all I can with improving Eternity’s core content." Phew, and here I was getting worried already.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 26
    ^ Top  
  2. Havoc Cheerful Magician Patron

    Havoc
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2009
    Messages:
    5,118
    Location:
    Poland
    Grab the Codex by the pussy Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    That jab! Too bad it's unfinished.:troll:
     
    ^ Top  
  3. LeStryfe79 Deal Breaker Patron

    LeStryfe79
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    7,024
    Location:
    Codex 2012 Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Codex USB, 2014 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Thanks! (Only took me 3 tries to type that correctly)
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  4. Diablo169 Arcane

    Diablo169
    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2012
    Messages:
    1,264
    Location:
    Grim Midlands
    Barely involved. That's kinda sad.
     
    ^ Top  
  5. Zed Codex Staff Patron

    Zed
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2002
    Messages:
    16,642
    Codex USB, 2014
    i hope chris-chan will be creative lead on an rpg soon ♥
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 11
    ^ Top  
  6. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,865,663
    :( Thanks Sawyer. At least the cipher is in I suppose.
     
    ^ Top  
  7. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Messages:
    77,438
    Grab the Codex by the pussy Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    The Creative Lead is Eric Fenstermaker though
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 5
    ^ Top  
  8. Duraframe300 Arcane

    Duraframe300
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    4,016
    He is. Its been mentioned.

    Also original IP.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  9. Duraframe300 Arcane

    Duraframe300
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    4,016
    LoL

    Was just about to post *just so its clear creative lead isn't Sawyer*

    But, who you gonna blame?

    Josh Sawyer

    *cue adjusted Ghostbusters theme*
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 14
    ^ Top  
  10. Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,865,663
    I prefer to blame Sawyer as the project lead for vetoing all MCA's ideas, after careful study of the Eternity threads I've learned that every flaw in POE is Sawyer's fault

    :troll:
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 9
    ^ Top  
  11. Starwars Arcane

    Starwars
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2007
    Messages:
    2,424
    Location:
    Sweden
    The mental dungeon does sound interesting , but yeah... Sometimes there are good reasons for cuts as well. I really enjoy Chris' writing but I find it goes a bit bonkers at times. That fit like a glove with Planescape, and MotB (the companions he wrote), very high-magic crazier kinda stuff. I think it's a harder fit for stuff like Fallout and Alpha Protocol (I do love some of the writing in both but at times I feel they go a bit crazy when considering the settings). Perhaps it would be the same in PoE.

    Or I may be completely wrong, who knows.

    EDIT: And yeah, *stealth* adventure in the mental dungeon... I dunno man.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
    ^ Top  
  12. Greatness Cipher

    Greatness
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    319
    Yeah, I'm not sure how well Avellone's style would fit with PoE. Hopefully he got free reign to do what ever he wanted in Numenera though.
     
    ^ Top  
  13. hiver Guest

    hiver
    So he basically didnt do anything and the two ideas he had were scrubbed from the game? MASTER OF RPG DESIGN! GENIOUS! MESSIAH!

    :lol:

    Thats how many years that he didnt do anything in game design? And he doesnt know how to play RPGs either?
    Isnt that... suspicious to anyone? :lol:

    Is he doing anything except staring through the window and going around posing and telling mass market "game media" how he would design games in his imagination?
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  14. Hormalakh Magister

    Hormalakh
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,503
    I'd like to take Fenstermaker to task then for the decisions made about not using the original MCA ideas - I bet you I won't get a clear answer though.

    Probably something like "it doesn't fit the game world."

    Though re-reading what Chris said, they were just scaled down. Perhaps some of their design has been kept for future projects in the game world?
     
    ^ Top  
  15. Bleed the Man Arcane Patron

    Bleed the Man
    Joined:
    May 30, 2013
    Messages:
    655
    Location:
    Spain
    Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I find a bit dissapointing that MCA barely has a """relevant""" role for PoE. I have plenty of trust on the others guys on Obsidian, and i want that guys like Eric Fenstermaker get their opportuinity to get the spotlight (like with Ziets in MotB), but I had made some expectations about his work, being him one of the big names at advertising the kickstarter.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  16. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,502
    [​IMG]
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 3
    ^ Top  
  17. Hormalakh Magister

    Hormalakh
    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,503
    Id like to see MCAs role more as a developer of ideas for future installments. Its true that if they get the base and core gameplay done well, then they might be able to revisit MCA's ideas at a later game when they have a stronger understanding of Unity scripting and can spend the art/audio resources for it.

    I also want to say that I really appreciated MCA fighting against Josh's (YES THIS IS JOSH FOR ONCE) nonchalance about lore having to match gameplay. In prior places (stash is a strong example) Josh doesn't really care much about game lore matching gameplay. MCA insisting that they develop classes like ciphers to have game-lore relevance is an example of wanting mechanics to match story brofist for the dude.
     
    ^ Top  
  18. Kem0sabe Arcane

    Kem0sabe
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    10,392
    Location:
    The Bosom of the Holy Spirit
    Mental dungeon, sounds PST, makes me want to play a cipher at release for all the creative situations they can put the class in.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 2
    ^ Top  
  19. Rean Codex Grammar Police Patron

    Rean
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,865,396
    Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    Eric Fenstermaker is a bro and I'm not worried at all about the narrative in this game.

    I do however think Chris Avellone needs to be creative lead of a game of his own again, like he was on Torment and KOTOR 2. It is a waste to have him sitting there just polishing other people's work. He isn't a script doctor, he's Chris Motherfucking Avellone.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 24
    ^ Top  
  20. Kz3r0 Arcane

    Kz3r0
    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    22,175
    :slamdunk:

    :nofunallowed:

    Show Spoiler
    :mob:
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 1
    ^ Top  
  21. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
    Joined:
    May 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,871,845
    Location:
    Djibouti
    Which is precisely why PoE is going to be a lifeless and generic piece of crap.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 8
    ^ Top  
  22. throwaway Arbiter

    throwaway
    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2013
    Messages:
    479
    Just think it's worth reminding that the game was sold using both MCA and Tim Cain in its pitch. PoE may end up the best thing since MotB but I'm gonna hold that against Obsidian when it comes to future pitches.
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 6
    ^ Top  
  23. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2009
    Messages:
    7,814
    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    "Yeah, I wrote couple characters, but some of it got cut-"
    "YOUR CHARACTERS GOT CUT! HAHAHAAHAHAH!"
    "Well, yeah, I didn't write every iteration, so other people would then revise-"
    "SOMEONE ELSE DARES TO TOUCH CHRIS'S EJACULATIONS?!"
    "Oh, and I was in a meeting one day and they had all the fighters and mages down, I was like hey what about some lore specific classes-"
    "THE GREAT AVELLONE! HE SEES THINGS NOBODY ELSE CAN! THAT FUCKING CUNT SAWYER WOULD HAVE JUST MADE 3 MORE FIGHTER CLASSES."
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 27
    ^ Top  
  24. Duraframe300 Arcane

    Duraframe300
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    4,016
    You forgot Alpha Protocols final iteration (Though he was constrained there by assets made before)

    Also I mentioned it already and the original article mentions it to. Chris is Creative Lead on a original IP at least since mid-last year (when it was first mentioned)
     
    ^ Top  
  25. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2013
    Messages:
    4,502
    ITT Sawyer is the grumpy dad while Avellone is the cool uncle. :troll:
     
    • Brofist Brofist x 5
    ^ Top  

(buying stuff via the above buttons helps us pay the hosting bills, thanks!)