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Interview Josh Sawyer Interview Roundup: On grognards, illiterates, and murdering dudes

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

    Obsidian's Josh Sawyer was at GDC last week, where he gave some interviews about Pillars of Eternity. Two of them have been posted in the past couple of days, and oh boy, are they Sawyery. The first one, at VG247, is entitled "Pillars of Eternity: exploration, story, and murdering dudes". Here's an excerpt:

    Still, Sawyer did insist that fans of the more modern style of console RPGs – like Obsidian’s Fallout: New Vegas and South Park: The Stick of Truth – who are receptive and open should be able to have a good time with it. You won’t, he said, boot up the game only to be greeted with blocks of text explaining its systems in the most alienating fashion, something that’s made it difficult even for me to revisit old classic CRPGs like Baldur’s Gate.

    “We’re fairly tutorial-lite. We tried to keep the mechanics so that you can learn up as you go along, where all the complexity just emerges from the scenarios you get put in,” Sawyer elaborated. “We don’t want to dumb it down, but we also don’t want things to be hard to learn or intentionally obtuse. You do have to do a little bit of system learning, but once you’ve learned it, it’s a very consistent system.”

    I know there are going to be some folks – I’m talking about you, old-school CRPG diehards – reading those assurances and getting a little worried that it won’t be complicated enough for your tastes, but Sawyer did also promise that it’s not “fucking dumb baby crap.” So there’s that.

    [...] “We really tried to focus on three things – they don’t necessarily have to be equally balanced, but we want it to feel like a balanced experience – which are exploration, talking and story shit, and murdering dudes,” Sawyer said, before emphasizing that those elements will of course intertwine with each other, with, for example, long dungeons featuring scripted portions and key conversations to keep those crawls from turning into “slogs” that turn off the anti-grind crowd.

    “We don’t want players to feel like we’re settling into this endless depth of murder.”

    That’s not to de-emphasize the murdering aspect of Pillars of Eternity at all, though, as according to Sawyer’s own design philosophy, murdering is paramount.

    “I said, for every quest, I don’t have to complete it by murdering, but I want the ability to complete it by murdering. Always give me the option to murder something as part of completing this quest.”​

    The second interview, at games.on.net, is entitled "'If you don’t like to read, don’t play this game': Pillars of Eternity’s Josh Sawyer on dealing with grognards". This one is especially fun:

    Obisidian’s Pillars of Eternity, the artist formerly known as Project Eternity, is being eagerly anticipated by hundreds of thousands of RPG lovers around the world. But how many of those backers only latched onto the project because it seemed like an old-school RPG lovers dream come true?

    We caught up with Josh Sawyer, project lead on Pillars of Eternity, in a brief moment of calm at this year’s GDC. He explained that Obsidian were undertaking a careful balancing act when it came to just how much weight to give the opinions of old-school RPG grognards.

    “There are certain aspects of that that we think are okay,” said Sawyer. “For example we don’t have quest markers in Pillars of Eternity. At all. In our journals we try to be very descriptive and clear in our updates so that you can read them and figure out where you need to go but we don’t use quest markers. And we’re okay with that, because it’s a different style of exploring and feeling and figuring things out on your own.”

    Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.

    “Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”

    Sawyer laughs as he explains that even the most hardcore grognards will be the first to acknowledge that some of the things they’re asking for are just completely unacceptable.

    “I don’t even think those memories (they have) are necessarily rose-tinted,” he says. “They’ll straight up admit that they like stuff that’s really grognard-ey, and they don’t care. That’s fair enough.”

    [...] Sawyer explains that the one thing he thinks modern games have done well is to “make their RPG system rulesets clear and consistent”. “The old D&D systems were not very consistent,” he says. “They were full of trap builds and ‘gotcha’ moments and stuff like that. I don’t think that’s good, I think it restricts player enjoyment a lot, for not a lot of gain.”

    “Maybe the grognards like it, but for everyone else it’s kind of frustrating and so we try to get away from that as much as possible.”

    “There are people that’ll say to me ‘oh man, it’s fun to do that’, but no. No, it’s not.”
    Roguey Brofisted this! Do read the full interviews though because I've only quoted the most inflammatory bits. :smug:
     
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  2. mindx2 Codex Roaming East Coast Reporter Patron

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    HERESY from Sawyer!!!

    :troll:
     
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  3. Monty Arcane

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    The essence of Sawyer, Sawyer hath spoken.
     
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  4. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    I read that interview as "No Codex, we won't do any of what you asked on your backer reward. Bad Codex."
     
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  5. Athelas Arcane

    Athelas
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    The funny thing is that the biggest dissenter of Josh's methods on the Obsidian forums is someone with one of those Biowarian Dragon Age avatars (the derpy 3d face).
     
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  6. l3loodAngel Proud INTJ Patron Edgy

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    How encouraging this sounds on paper and how disappointing the end result will be. Everyone who dumbed-down their games was saying something like this to himself before going to sleep.

    A nice move from legitimate, but misguided goal to a meaningless PR statement.

    At least they will feel balanced, right?

    This is perhaps the biggest WTF moment, but in a sense Josh is right. However, I don't believe that it is possible to make a 2-botton system unclear or inconsistent. This shit just screams Button-awesome.

    Note to Sawyer
    You can talk shit about DnD or other old systems, but the reality is that most if not all systems created after them doesn't come even close. At this point you should shut up and do what others do: hire Morgan Freeman to do the talking. Sure, it won't change the situation, but it will surely provide some assurance, calmness and happiness, because the end result likely won't.
     
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  7. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Geez bloodangel, it's one thing to hate what Sawyer is doing but do you have to be so creepy and passive-aggressive about it? You sound like a cartoon villain.

    [​IMG]

    "At least they will feel balanced, right? Muahahahaha!"
     
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  8. abnaxus Arcane Patron

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    Since when is Gargamel Disney?
     
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  9. Alex betthurt

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    I sometimes criticize Sawyer, but I can't deny, everytime he opens his mouth, I become a little more glad about PoE.

    That I didn't back it, that is. :P
     
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  10. Duraframe300 Arcane

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    Codex wants Quest-Markers?

    :troll:
     
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  11. Abelian Somebody's Alt

    Abelian
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    :hmmm:
     
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  12. Rake Arcane

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    No, but i wouldn't put it past them to request an encounter which is the equivalent of Kangaxx, based entirely on hard counters in opposition with the rest of the game in order to troll people...
     
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  13. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    As part of the main line? that'd be shitty design, does he really think this is what "grognards" want? As optional content? why not? What's wrong, Josh? Afraid that your fans will ragequit if they can't experience every single piece of optional content with their dream party in a single playthrough?
     
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  14. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Grab the Codex by the pussy 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 Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Eh? I'm not sure what you're referring to, but in case it wasn't clear, he's citing the absence of quest markers as something grognards want that he agrees with.
     
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  15. KevinV12000 Arcane

    KevinV12000
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    How huge a fucking moron does someone have to be to find Baldur's Gate alienating due to difficulty? How dumb does one have to be to complain about written text in a written text?

    I feel like I'm taking Crazy Pills.
     
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  16. deuxhero Arcane

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    Depends on what part they complain about. Sawyer focuses on how utterly lacking the descriptions are and the ease that you can make a worthless character, which is completely true.

    The stats never say what they do mechanically, some even have misleading fluff, even in the vaugest sense. The game recommends con for rangers, a stats less important than strength or dexterity for them. It requires 18 strength to use a composite longbow (which you want to do if you want to be an archer as the only magical longbows that aren't composite are 1: has to be stolen from a random house in a city you won't viist till AFTER you are expected to have a magic weapon 2: off a fairly challenging opponent that, again, comes after you are expected to get a magic weapon), even though this is super human level going by the carry weight system. You can multi-class cleric/ranger, even though there is no advantage to this (congrants, you are now a ranger who can't used any but the weakest ranged weapon and have a fairly bad selection of melee weapons too. Yay?). Hell, you aren't even told that Druids cast off Wisdom.

    It's really easy to create a bad character in Baldur's Gate.
     
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  17. Delterius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Sounds like something Disney would do abnaxus
     
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  18. Sceptic Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

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    FFS, copy/pasted the wrong paragraph, fixed it now.
     
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  19. Korron Arbiter Patron

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    Everything sounds good to me. If it's on par or better than any IE game it will be money well spent.
     
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  20. Hirato Purse-Owner Patron

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    Sounds legit.
     
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  21. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite

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    That's still bad design.
    There are optional fights that only a few people at Obsidian can beat with a fully rested party.
     
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  22. FeelTheRads Arcane Patron

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    People at Obsidian being the likes of Avellone, I assume.

    Yeah, such standards.
    And what about their brilliant game testers? Can they all beat all encounters? If not, it might be too hard and punishing. And simply not fun.

    One of the most boring men I've heard thinking he has the final say on what's fun and not. Amusing.

    :lol:
     
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  23. Kz3r0 Arcane

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    Sawyer really wants to end fun.
     
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  24. jiujitsu Cipher

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    I loved the Kangaxx fight. Horrifically frustrating. I'd develop characters for the soul purpose of one day defeating Kangaxx. That is until I found out you can just use scrolls of protection from undead and he would completely ignore you while you bludgeoned him with a +4 quarterstaff that you aren't proficient with... Oh fun times. But the Ring of Gaxx was the best ring in the game bar none!
     
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  25. jagged-jimmy Prophet

    jagged-jimmy
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    I hope different, stat based approaches to questing are not what he means here. There must be checks in the game, that you can miss.
     
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