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Interview Chris Avellone talks about Torment, Wasteland 2, Eternity, and more at Rock Paper Shotgun

Infinitron

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Codex Year of the Donut 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 Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Tags: Alpha Protocol; Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment; Project Eternity; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

There's an interview with Chris Avellone over at Rock Paper Shotgun today. Despite its title, I would say that it's actually just as much about Wasteland 2 and Project Eternity as it is about Torment, and it has some new information about those games. Have a snippet:

RPS: You're on Torment. Hurrah! Why, though, did you initially bow out? What kept you on the sidelines?

Avellone: It was mostly logistics. Brian asked if I could work on Torment not long after he got the name rights for it. But between the plans to do Eternity and other Obsidian stuff, it wasn't possible. He kept following up, and then Kevin Saunders actually proposed a plan for how much workflow would seem reasonable over a certain time period. I said, “You know what, for a companion and for doing design documentation, that's actually manageable in the time provided.” Rather than doing the same scope of work I did for Wasteland 2. Doing that at the same time as Eternity is kind of a juggling act. I don't want to repeat it.​

RPS: How much work have you done for Wasteland 2?

Avellone: A lot of area design. I did about four area designs. I reviewed some system documentation. The area design stuff was a little bit more complicated, because each of the areas I designed had two completely different states depending on certain events that happened in the game. So it felt more like I was designing six areas. But yeah, that was the extent of the work for Wasteland. I did some description text, but I didn't actually do as much writing as I was expecting. I actually really enjoy area design. Having a chance to draw maps again reminded me of that whole architecture phase. It was fun to sit down in the isometric view, plot out all the encounter points, how to use the skills in each area, the monster types, the traps. It was pretty awesome.​

RPS: And then on Eternity, I'm guessing you've mainly been doing writing and world-building? If so, I imagine those roles sync up pretty nicely.

Avellone: Mostly I've been focused on narrative. I've been working on the story, the lore, the cultures. We've been trying to figure out the approach we want to use with the story in the game. We're doing something a little bit different this time around, where everyone is doing their own take on the story, and then we all pick it apart. We find what strengths we like about each one, or things we think can work with some iteration, and we can share points that we bring together. I think we've got about five or six different storylines that we're constructing. We should have that resolved within about two weeks or so.​

It's actually turned out a lot better than I thought. I was worried it might be a bit chaotic. But it was really interesting to see all the different perspectives on which way the story could go once we had a few elements set in stone. We said, “Here's our core starting point that we have to cover. We know we have a stronghold, a city, how many dungeons. Now, on top of that, knowing what we know about the spell system, the cultures, and the world, what sort of story do we think works best in a setting like that?” Then we have like five or six different submissions for that, and then we just tore those apart.​

RPS: So, given that you're already juggling those projects, what are you hoping to bring to Torment? Are you worried about overlap?

Avellone: There's two things I'm set up to do. One thing, I'm going to be reviewing all of the design documentation for the game that Kevin and Colin have laid out. I'll offer feedback on that for things like, “Hey, I think this development works really well.” “Have you considered iterating on this particular element to make it feel more like Torment?” I think Colin and Kevin already have a good sense of what makes a Torment game, but I think they'd want my input on the design documentation. I know Kevin and Colin would appreciate that. Also, Kevin… When I worked with him on Mask of the Betrayer, he and George really liked the companions that I wrote. I think what they'd very much like is if I took the idea of a companion in the game and just did what I did with Kaelyn the Dove and Gann, do a companion along that same structure for Numenera. I think that'll work out pretty well.​

Chris also has a bit to say about the Star Wars IP, and in particular his originally planned ending for Knights of the Old Republic 2. It's actually pretty interesting stuff and might be new to some of you. RPS also submit him to the usual battery of questions about "the future of storytelling in games". Yes, we get it guys, you want Obsidian to make The Walking Dead clones. Get over it.
 

Rake

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:bro:

To be fair, Alpha Ptotocol would be a better game if you just fought with the dialogue system. Not a "true" RPG maybe, but neither what we got was one.

Between twitchy, corridor shooter gameplay i actually prefer no combat at all
Adventure game with RPG elements > FPS with RPG elements
 

DeepOcean

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:bro:

To be fair, Alpha Ptotocol would be a better game if you just fought with the dialogue system. Not a "true" RPG maybe, but neither what we got was one.

Between twitchy, corridor shooter gameplay i actually prefer no combat at all
Adventure game with RPG elements > FPS with RPG elements
It could be cool, but the problem is that when the RPS retard journalist was talking about RPG without combat, he was talking about Walking Dead. Walking Dead has much gameplay as MS Word. A spy adventure/RPG with good puzzles would be awesome. Click on things to something awesome to happen or click faster to something even more awesome to happen is just horrible.
 

Rake

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Joined
Oct 11, 2012
Messages
2,969
:bro:

To be fair, Alpha Ptotocol would be a better game if you just fought with the dialogue system. Not a "true" RPG maybe, but neither what we got was one.

Between twitchy, corridor shooter gameplay i actually prefer no combat at all
Adventure game with RPG elements > FPS with RPG elements
It could be cool, but the problem is that when the RPS retard journalist was talking about RPG without combat, he was talking about Walking Dead. Walking Dead has much gameplay as MS Word. A spy adventure/RPG with good puzzles would be awesome. Click on things to something awesome to happen or click faster to something even more awesome to happen is just horrible.
Oh, i'm not saying that the jurnalist was not an idiot, or that Obsidian should strive to make visual novels instead of RPGs. But as long as they have kickstarter for their proper games, i wouldn't mind them making even a Walking Dead type of interactive movie novel game instead of a Mass Effect or Skyrim clones. I trust Obsidian to make an interesting story, atmosphere etc., ant it would be awesome to have a return of Torment's dialoge where you could interact with the inviroment through words. Have Alpha Protocol's C&C and reactive world and a few interesting puzzles, and i would buy the game in Day 1, whereas i haven't bothered with Alpha Protocol as it is.
 

winterraptor

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Divinity: Original Sin Torment: Tides of Numenera
Ah, KOTOR2 talk again. Avellonian Hatred at onset channeled into something quite salvageable. :)

Dunno how much I entirely believe the happy talk about him doing another KOTOR but I mostly get why he says it.
 

Grimlorn

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RPS: I imagine that goes double since you never got to complete KOTOR 2′s real ending. I mean, what was it, anyway? What were you planning to do with it, as opposed to what ended up happening?

Avellone: The ideal ending was, when you go to Malachor V, the goal there was that I wanted all the influence changes that had occurred with your party members to cause them to split right down the middle, so they end up fighting each other and having a big showdown there. They confront each other over the things they’ve done across the game, how they relate to your character… Even the droids would square off against each other. Because they hated each other.

RPS: I know there was a little bit of that in the actual ending, where the droids end up having a standoff.

Avellone: Just a little, yeah. That was not nearly enough of what was planned. And that would end up being the final showdown there, right before Kreia. Also, there was supposed to be a series of sequences where, over the course of the game, Kreia, behind your back, would start recruiting certain people to side with her, like Hanharr. She actually would have a cutscene where she would seduce them to the dark side, or show them why they should turn on the player or be more loyal to her. That was supposed to factor into the ending as well. She’d use them as cannon fodder before you actually fought her.

RPS: And the player was going to see those scenes over the course of the game?

Avellone: The player would see them, but not the character, if that makes any sense.

RPS: I actually sort of like that those weren’t there, then, because I think that would have made Kreia’s real goals a bit too overt. Whereas I think when the big reveal came, it was still like… It was obviously coming, but it wasn’t, “Woooooo, I’m basically Palpatine.”

Avellone: It’s a little hard to explain, but the context of those conversion scenes [it works]. Like when she’s persuading Hanharr, the reason why she’s doing it is unclear in the scene. Except that you realize it’s going to have some payoff down the line. You’re just not sure what it is. I would like to think that we were handing it somewhat subtly, but who knows? It never happened.
That would have been awesome.
 

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