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Codex Interview RPG Codex Interview: Chris Avellone on Pillars Cut Content, Game Development Hierarchies and More

Discussion in 'RPG Codex News & Content Comments' started by Infinitron, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    I was discussing Witcher 3's combat system with my wife a few days ago and we were talking about how technically simple its presentation is, and yet "despite" that, it still was fun after 80+ hours (at least it was for us).

    I agree I feel Pillars combat is overly complicated and the more moving parts you have, the more you have to juggle to feel right, but it is billed as a combat-focused game, and I freely admit I can't even fight an Arcanum wolf successfully, so I'd take my opinion with a grain of salt. I think inheriting the D&D spell and class systems is partly the reason for the over-complication as well (I tend to prefer the Fallout approach that I still feel allows for a lot of types of characters, and a lot of role-playing who you want to be).
     
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  2. Dexter Arcane

    Dexter
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    For that matter:
    That's a book written by Kotaku's Jason Schreier, so best to be taken with a huge grain of salt if that's the only source and not personal knowledge of it:



    Are there any specific examples for the kind of things Feargus or other higher-ups would micromanage in already released games and how/what changed because of that you could talk about?
     
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  3. fork Cipher

    fork
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    :abyssgazer:
     
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  4. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    You're right - so I equate Planescape with Torment, which is a mistake and can be confusing.

    Let me rephrase:

    I should have said "Torment" Kickstarter (although we were planning to call it "Last Rites," since that was the original name of the game, but we wanted to get the Torment name - see below). Sorry for the confusion.

    We weren't planning on using the Planescape setting, but instead do a spiritual successor (like Numenera did).

    One additional frustration (which I don't blame Fargo for in the slightest) is that Feargus knew the Torment name was coming up and could be bought, but he moved too slow and Fargo secured it first (Fargo keeps tabs on things like that). That contributed to my lack of desire to work on the KS as well - I couldn't even get my boss to take action when we needed him to, he dragged his feet when he shouldn't.

    One positive for Fargo is he actually made time to talk to me about it after it happened, and I appreciated the face-to-face discussion - and I told him I certainly didn't have any hard feelings (I didn't, I never saw the property as "mine," I just saw it as a missed opportunity for Obsidian).
     
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  5. ga♥ Liturgist

    ga♥
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  6. Kingston Arcane

    Kingston
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    Any stories on Lionheart? Wasn't BIS the publisher on that? I could see the Urquhart management style contributing to the messiness of the game.
     
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  7. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    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
    That reminds me - more Feargus gossip.

    Back in February 9th 2015, Polygon published this interview with Feargus in which he complained about the unavailability of the D&D license: https://www.polygon.com/2015/2/9/80...video-game-devs-thinks-that-tabletop-game-has

    Just three days later, Sword Coast Legends, the ill-conceived D&D-licensed game from the now defunct n-Space, was announced: http://www.rpgcodex.net/article.php?id=9767

    Was there any connection there? What was the context for Feargus' complaints?
     
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  8. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Even though it was a spiritual successor, if we did a KS, we'd want to do something that was new and ours (Planescape was owned by Wizards), if that makes any sense.
     
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  9. TT1 Cipher Patron

    TT1
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    Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Pathfinder: Kingmaker
    Let me do my question again, now that you spoke about Tyranny

    Chris Avellone Tyranny belongs to Paradox. This is a game that you would like to work if Paradox wants to make a sequel and Obsidian is not involved?

    I think its an amazing setting
     
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  10. ga♥ Liturgist

    ga♥
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    It makes sense... but world building is risky and many people felt POE failed to deliver on the lore side.

    And the P. setting is so awesome :\ Wish if you ever going to fund a studio you would get a license for it!
     
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  11. MajorMace Learned

    MajorMace
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    [​IMG]
    https://twitter.com/ThatKevinSmith/status/963298225657667584

    :lol:
     
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  12. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    The context for Feargus's complaints were Feargus.

    I don't know whether he didn't like Wizard's terms or whatever or they didn't like ours, but Ferg's many attempts to get a D&D game continually failed despite the fact he really wanted to do one. He may have been asking too much, doing the wrong approach, but I honestly couldn't tell you why it kept falling apart. It didn't seem to be his decision, however.

    As you point out, it apparently was possible to get the license, but not for Obsidian.
     
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  13. Xunwael Novice

    Xunwael
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    These IP conflicts really boggle up recent fantasy games. So many feel the need to establish their own universe, with all the fantasitis and other problems that come along with it, most important of which is forgetting chekov's gun. Games so focused on telling the story of their world they half forget how to tell the story of the game, and the audience gets bored as they skim through the game's text; filled to the brim with irrelevant proper nouns that you have no interest in whatsoever during your first introduction to the setting.
     
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  14. Kingston Arcane

    Kingston
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  15. Infinitron I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    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
    Chris, do you feel that as a designer, your talents are more suited towards working with existing properties than towards creating new IPs? Or is that just reporting bias - those coincidentally being the sorts of games you've almost exclusively worked on?
     
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  16. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Yeah, and like was posted, Chris Parker was on it, too, although he barely interacted with me even while I was working on it.

    I worked a few months on it before forcibly assigning myself back to Van Buren (this isn't a slam on Reflexive, but I didn't think they were managed or supported well on the BIS side).
     
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  17. 2house2fly Erudite

    2house2fly
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    Would you mind talking about why you think not much of Tim made it in? Other projects? Incompatible design styles?
     
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  18. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Working on existing IPs was more often the case for most of my development career - just because existing IPs usually carried the odds of attracting more attention and selling better because they came with a fanbase (usually).

    I did enjoy creating lore for Tyranny as much as creating lore for KOTOR2, so I don't know if I have a bias myself - I think doing work for an existing IP or making one of your own has different advantages and disadvantages, except for the common factor: you're working on a game, which is awesome.

    Now that I'm freelancing, I work on many more brand-new IPs (not solely of my own creation), and the advantage is you can mold the property's lore to the game mechanics, design, etc.
     
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  19. Big Wrangle Guest

    Big Wrangle
    Chris Avellone with your contribution to Prey, do you see yourself doing more stuff with other genres in the future?
     
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  20. DarkUnderlord Bringing that old Raptor magic.

    DarkUnderlord
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    I'd love to hear your idea of the perfect development team and how it should work.

    How in the ever loving fuck did you people ever manage to actually make games?
     
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  21. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    Yes, and am. I find it helps my writing experience to write for other genres of games (and other genres of media). While I like RPGs, I don't solely want to do RPGs all the time.
     
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  22. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    What was in the the game pitch you have written?
     
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  23. Lycra Suit Arbiter

    Lycra Suit
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    You did?

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Big Wrangle Guest

    Big Wrangle
    He enjoyed the lore he worked on. Doesn't mean he liked every character backstory.
     
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  25. Chris Avellone Arcane Developer

    Chris Avellone
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    I didn't write Kills-in-Shadow (I left before any dialogue writing, but I had done a lot of world-building). Some of those elements didn't remain, but I didn't play Tyranny, so I couldn't tell what I did vs. what was new.

    I did enjoy working on the background lore and world-building.
     
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