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Interview Avowed Deep Dive with Carrie Patel

Infinitron

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Tags: Avowed; Carrie Patel; Obsidian Entertainment

https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2024/06/10/avowed-deep-dive-official-xbox-podcast/



We also got a good look at the game’s upgrade system for skills and abilities. “You can upgrade your skills and abilities anywhere as you level up throughout the course of the game,” said Patel. “On certain level-up milestones we’ll get to upgrade our attributes […] and on every level-up milestone we’ll get to pick a new ability.”

This quickly bears fruit, as we see the Fan of Flames skill unlocked and used to reduce a previously-blocked path to ashes. But it wasn’t the only option:

“We wanted to try to, as much as possible, give the different abilities that players can pick up solutions in combat, but also solutions in exploration,” explained Patel. “So there’s almost always more than one way through a particular barrier. You’ll have weapons, your own abilities, spells, weapon enchantments, sometimes even your companions who can use their environmental abilities to help you get through barriers.”

That openness to problem-solving is never clearer than in the other quest we saw in the demo. Having recovered the vase for Yatzli – a key part in your journey to unlocking her as a permanent companion – we saw the player set off to recover an Adragan Heart for the Animancers. This mystical object is being held by the Delemgan, a territorial species who don’t take kindly to adventurers passing through their land.

Initially, we saw the player take a heads-on approach, battling through multiple Delemgan and using every combat ability at their disposal to reach their Queen – who immediately attacks the player for killing so many of her followers. This player would have to finish her off in a boss fight to claim the heart. But here’s where we saw some of Obsidian’s trademark of player choice.

The demo was reloaded, and we saw the player utilizing in-game currency to fully respec their character – adding multiple Ranger abilities that allow them to take a stealthy approach. Using the Shadowing Beyond skill – which renders them invisible for as long as their Essence (the game’s mana) intact, and without engaging any enemies – they took multiple passages to reach the Delemgan Queen without any combat. In doing so, they found her in a far better mood, gifting them the Heart and letting them go in peace.

It’s emblematic of how open Avowed will be to interpretation, and how your choices will allow you to take different paths to get what you need. Skills in particular, are totally open to how you choose to use them:

“You can really mix and match freely between them,” said Patel. “If you want to be all-wizard, you can build entirely throughout that skill tree; if you want to mix and match – make a battlemage, or make someone who can be a little stealthy in certain moments and a little more aggressive in others – you have a lot of freedom to do that.”

That openness extends to your cosmetic choices too. We got a glimpse at the game’s optional 3rd person mode – players can choose to play in 1st or 3rd person perspectives – and your choices will be displayed prominently on them too. Your character is a godlike – someone who has been touched by one of the gods that reside in the world of Eora – and it shows, quite literally.

Part of creating your character will be in choosing how your godlike status has manifested. The player-character in the demo has a lichen-like growth across their face or head, but this is part of the character creation process. “With Avowed you can choose exactly what that manifestation looks like,” said Patel. “You will have some that are a lot bigger and more dramatic, and you’ll also have some that are a lot subtler. But either way you have a connection to one of the gods.”

Characters in the world will react to your appearance too: “Some people think that’s very cool, some people think it’s very spooky. Different cultures and individuals have different ways of relating to godlikes, so you’ll get a number of reactions.”

But the key mystery is that, unlike most godlikes, you don’t know which god has put their mark on you. That’s a story point that Patel wouldn’t touch on further – we’ll just have to find out together when Avowed arrives this year.​
 

Baron Tahn

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Not looking very hopeful but whatever. Funny they only allowing Godlikes but it was the most interesting race idea in their setting. Anyone know what options they going for there?
 

Gwendo

Augur
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Aug 22, 2004
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When it was announced, I was mildly interested. Now I'm not interested at all... If feels outdated and boring.
 

CyberWhale

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Incredible how ugly this thing is.
It looks decent. The problem lies in other things, from the poor lighting to clunky (combat) animations and everything else. In competent hands, this could be improved (only visually I am afraid) without any asset changes, just using proper techniques and modern technologies. Obsidian is truly an embarrassment.
 

CyberWhale

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Absolutely not, the visual direction is repulsive.
No, it is actually quite true to the PoE titles, and those looked pretty decent, all faults aside. Give it to a couple of competent teenagers (Bodycam developers) and the game could be turned from an eurojank X360 looking title to a passable looking RPG suitable for this generation. It would still be vastly inferior even to 4 year old titles like CP2077, but at least it wouldn't be so garish. Even The Outer Worlds could have been easily improved, despite a genuinely repulsive character designs.
 

Gargaune

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No, it is actually quite true to the PoE titles, and those looked pretty decent, all faults aside. Give it to a couple of competent teenagers (Bodycam developers) and the game could be turned from an eurojank X360 looking title to a passable looking RPG suitable for this generation. It would still be vastly inferior even to 4 year old titles like CP2077, but at least it wouldn't be so garish. Even The Outer Worlds could have been easily improved, despite a genuinely repulsive character designs.
The isometric PoE games did look pretty decent, in fact Deadfire was genuinely beautiful, but Avoid has pushed its art direction past that level. It's not a coincidence that previous marketing materials have made a point of how "it's colourful, it's vibrant, it's strange", which fits in with the contemporary trend in art direction focusing on the whimsical/trivial and it will touch everything from visuals to audio and writing to varying extents. Nevermind the rest, just look at the colour palettes, the contrasts and image compositions, the little pink faerie lights in the distance and the neon white flora, the cutesy mushroom enemies etc. etc. - it's all there and it's not Deadfire, it's Marvel.

It's not just a gimmick, it's a shared artistic sensibility among entertainment professionals these days and it's one I'm just sick of by now. I learned everything I needed to know about The Otter Worlds when I saw the visual direction of its actual levels and I decided to detest it on the spot. In retrospect, it was the right call and I'm sure it'll be the same for Avoid.
 

CyberWhale

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Nevermind the rest, just look at the colour palettes, the contrasts and image compositions, the little pink faerie lights in the distance and the neon white flora, the cutesy mushroom enemies etc. etc. - it's all there and it's not Deadfire.
I never denied that and all of that can be easily tweaked. I am talking about the models which look decent, even if outdated by modern standards. I do agree that previous isometric PoE games (even the more colorful Deadfire) didn't look like this, but TOW did. It seems to be related to the incompetence of their 3D department more than an artistic choice, because you can have all those things without looking like rainbow puke. They simply aren't capable of doing it, and Obsidian leadership is unwilling to ask for outside help and apply the lessons learned to the rest of their team.

Same applies to their awful animation department and that was the case since games like AP and DS3.

In the end, it doesn't matter since these games are so underwhelming that no one will work on their free time to improve them, and Obsidian is not gonna change until they are shut down by Microsoft.
 

Gargaune

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It seems to be related to the incompetence of their 3D department more than an artistic choice, because you can have all those things without looking like rainbow puke.
Sorry, I don't agree with this. I don't think the problem is that the 3D or any other department aren't doing justice to the art direction, I think the problem is that they are. It all looks like rainbow puke because that's where the artistic zeitgeist is, whether it's to their personal tastes or they just think that's what the customer expects, this is what they want to make and I... don't.
 

Gargaune

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I don’t disagree with you, but that sentiment coming from an NWN apologist is… something.
NWN suffered in the graphics department, not art direction, poly count isn't art style (well, not in this case). So yeah, you actually do disagree with me because we're talking about two different things.
 
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I ASK INANE QUESTIONS

ITZ NEVER STOPS COOOMING
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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Mismatched color palettes clashing with each other, lighting that's both not enough and too much, emissive materials everywhere, piss-poor composition in the panoramic shots.
I'm not sure this game has an art director.
 
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I don’t disagree with you, but that sentiment coming from an NWN apologist is… something.
NWN suffered in the graphics department, not art direction...
Uh, no dude. I'm well aware of the difference between the two, and NWN suffered badly in both departments. Art direction was definitely hamstrung by graphical limitations (and, I would argue, perhaps more severely by the tilebased nature of the toolset), but there's very little extant in the finished product that suggests it would have been a great-looking game without those constraints (there's like one tileset I can think of off-hand that shows some promise).
 

Eirinjas

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Horrible character designs. Yatzli looks like a furry troon version of:

alice-in-wonderland-mad-hatter-i7207.jpg
 

Zanzoken

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the most boring style of RPG gameplay (first-person Skyrim action) set in the most boring generic fantasy universe in recent memory (Pillars of Eternity)

this has 10/10 GOTY written all over it
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
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First gameplay:

Hosts awkwardly try to talk around how silly it looks when you're punching a mushroom goblin repetitively with a sword.

Ah, peak RPG right here.
 

Zeriel

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Obsidian is a corpse walking. I will say it's funny how Microsoft paid top dollar for all these studios at the precise moment they became completely trash and had no value; Obsidian, Activision-Blizzard, Bethesda.
 

S.torch

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"Deep dive"
80% of the video are three people talking between themselves in a grey room and like 20% is about the game.
 

Baron Tahn

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Aug 1, 2018
Messages
471
completely trash and had no value
This is why you've been working as McDonald cashier for 25 years.

Leave the business for proper Capitalist.

If only I could grasp the wisdom of acquiring companies when they are on a downwards spiral.
All potential is hamstrung and the talent expunged WHEN these companies are picked up, which is why it seems to happen at the same time. This is the big corps fault - their paper pushing numbers crunchers look at the staff list and go 'what the fuck is THIS? Designer? Writer? Art leads? World builders? Fuck all that off. Make it in unity, with two developers and a bunch of student graphic designers and ship it. We want to see Marvel, live service, microtransactions. Make it happen.'
 
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We want to see Marvel, live service, microtransactions. Make it happen.
A lot of nuance here you purposedly left out just to reach this generalize conclusion. For one, no, you did not know for sure if this is the case for Obsidian in particular. In case you're trying to install this opinion chip in your brain as a fact, you shouldn't.

For two, microtransaction and live services a way to make money. And corporation purpose among other things, are to make money. Do you think all of them employ this tactic? If you think so, it's objectively wrong, not all of them is the mathematically correct understanding.

They are not running a charity, they're not pinko, they're not marxist-leninist co-op which seems to me what you actually want. It's a free market world and I am sorry if you like Lenin but we're running Capitalism here and the Capital is God and Capital is needed to make more product.

IF that is the case and IF this game employ microtransaction and live services, the way you think it is, the Market will decide the game's fate. Do you think you are the only customer that matter here? Do you think you are the only person of which the opinion matters most? It's a collective thing.

Obsidian is in fact not declining, that is the opinion of this particular shithole. I mean what is the metric of "Declining"? An Arbitrary description produced by brain farts in one of the shithole internet website? or something else?
 

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