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Pentiment - Josh Sawyer's non-combat murder mystery RPG set in 16th century Bavaria - coming November

Kem0sabe

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Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
12,071
Location
The Bosom of the Holy Spirit
https://pentiment.obsidian.net





Not sure if this is old news, about Sawyers upcoming rpg:
  • Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.
 
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Butter

Arcane
Joined
Oct 1, 2018
Messages
4,945
Sounds about right. We knew it was a small team and could reasonably deduce that it was historical. It's been in development long enough to suggest a 2022 release, and they probably want it out the door before TOW2 and Avowed.

Hopefully it's not just a Name of the Rose knockoff, although that would still be interesting for the novelty.
 

Smerlus

Educated
Joined
Mar 29, 2020
Messages
105
I guess Jeff Grubb let some info leak on Obsidian's Disco Sawyerium. Nothing really explosive or anything.

https://www.reddit.com/r/GamingLeak..._sawyer_obsidian_game_details_from_grubbsnax/

  • Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.

Strange that is would have the same EXACT plot as DE.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Roguey

Codex Staff
Sawyerite
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
31,509
Autists have difficulty coming up with original ideas. We tend to take ideas we like and modify them to our tastes, hopefully by enough. I'd agree that "non-combat murder mystery but in a different setting" isn't exactly a huge modification. Transparent Disco Clone.
 

Latro

Arcane
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Messages
6,774
Location
Vita umbratilis
Cross-posting for posterity, but back in July, JES gave a one-hour talk to The Chinese Room. The video is unlisted, I had to dig around in their newsletter archives to find it. :M



Last month we launched TCR Talks - a series of conversations with games industry specialists that are interested in the medium from a cultural perspective. These talks are hosted internally to the staff of The Chinese Room and wider Sumo Digital family, but you, our dear newsletter readers, are receiving exclusive access to these talks!

This month we had the privilege to have a conversation with the legendary Josh Sawyer - Design Director at Obsidian Entertainment. The hour flew by as we spoke about the state of the industry, why it's important for people in games to have interests outside of games, about the chase for fidelity in games, and what is the role of games in shaping the world around us.


Just listened to it on the background. He wants to do a game like Alpha Brotocol, not necessarily with Sega/same IP to get into geopolitics with it. He wants to do less blank-slate main character RPG after playing Disco. He doesn't think many people would call Disco NOT an RPG :D he doesn't think Diablo is an RPG. Then there was a whole section in the middle about agenda driven indie games that he's frustrated the market saturation is hinderering such games' reach :P

It’s a fucking adventure game with dice rolls
 

taomcio

Educated
Patron
Joined
Feb 12, 2018
Messages
88
Grab the Codex by the pussy
But maybe in Holy Roman Empire would be better and more fitting for Sawyer

Alright-Gentlemen-We-Need-A-New-Idea (1).jpg
 

Tihskael

Learned
Joined
Jun 22, 2020
Messages
233
If I remember correctly, Josh only played a couple of hours of Elysium.
 
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KVVRR

Learned
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
411
My only hope is that the murder mystery isn't as shit as Obsidian's previous attempt (outer worlds dlc). Knowing Sawyer we might even get some actual c&c with the murder plot as opposed to Disco where it's mostly the player who has to develop their idea about who done did it (until it's actually revealed in every single playthrough)

It NEEDS good writing though. No combat to distract the player will make it has to carry the whole game.
 

copebot

Learned
Joined
Dec 27, 2020
Messages
221
Murder mysteries are a highly successful plot type in commercial fiction. Most games that have a mystery plot overlaid across the action succeed for reasons tangential to the plot structure. Look at Deus Ex 1 for example: while it's not a murder procedural, the mystery is an effective overlay which creates some context for the action along with motivation to explore the game world. The star of the show, however, is the gameplay and not the mystery itself.

LA Noire by contrast fully embraces the mystery theme, even if it is not that great. Most of its vignettes are professionally written, mostly well-acted, and well-shot with the technology of the time. It's severely undercut by weak gameplay and a fundamentally frustrating dialogue system.

Stories do not necessarily make for good games, and generally story tends to undermine rather than support otherwise good games. If the reasoning process starts with "how do we make this cool story structure into a good game," you're probably going to fail at making it a good game, because the best game ideas don't tend to start with stories but rather with arbitrarily challenging and exciting scenarios or competitions. Murder mysteries are among the most commercially reliable narratives, but there's just not that much in them that makes them fun as games, especially because most of them do not lend themselves to good procedural generation as it relates to creating a fun plot. The board game Clue is a good example of a procedurally generated game with a murder mystery theme. The fun in Clue is related more to the actual game and the tricky interaction between players (bluffing, asking questions, very fun for children), but no one would really say that the procedurally generated narrative makes for a great mystery story. The theme is effective at evoking an amusing parody, but no one is earnestly shocked when it turns out to be Colonel Mustard with the candelabra in the study. The 'emergent narrative' is just the goofy fluff to get the players involved: it's not the core of the experience.

So, for example, a cool game idea might be one in which one player is the murderer who has a short period of time to commit a Hitman-style murder or other crime, which he does in the first round. The other players then have to reconstruct the crime and prove the case, which they do in the next round. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or a bad idea, but it's an example of a narrative-light take on the theme with is game first and theme a distant second. What this game is probably going to be, in contrast, is a dull as shit graphical novel which would be better off portrayed in a non-interactive medium.
 

Wunderbar

Arcane
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Messages
7,372
Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.
Finally, Lionheart sequel! Now we know why nuBIS released a patch for the original.
 

Harthwain

Magister
Joined
Dec 13, 2019
Messages
2,797
I am going to keep my fingers crossed for the experimental mechanics and interactions, because in my opinion it's the only way for the current Obsidian to be able to pull this off (and is a step into something potentially more interesting than the usual fare we tend to get).

I mean, Disco Elysium works thanks to two pillars:

1) Its writting, similarly how West of Loathing rides on its absurd humour (and I don't recall Obisidan doing great in that department, unless they can somehow go back to their KotOR 2 form).

2) How skills and rolls are tied to what your character can experience, which goes into a feedback loop of its writting.

If you lack 1), then you have to REALLY top 2). Like, really, really, make sure the mechanical and interactional side of the game is top notch. But can they pull this off via the way of the hand-crafted narrative? I have my doubts, because of how naturally limiting this is and how it requires good writing style.

I'd recommend instead making it so that the murderer and the method can change per playthrough and each time you have to do a proper investigation in order to find out who did the deed and why. But that's just me and I would be surprised if they go in such direction, because it is surely very unconventional and not in-line of how Obsidian did things for years, so them breaking out of that scheme is extremely unlikely (and probably risky).
 

KVVRR

Learned
Joined
Apr 28, 2020
Messages
411
Nah, making it so the murderer is random will just make the writing duller since it's either procedually generated or the writers will have to work with several stories at once which will divide their focus a lot. The way to go imo would be to make it so discovering the clues is actually engaging and/or requires some thought from part of the player instead of what the studio usually does -- go to the marker/follow plot device, popup comes up saying that you found a clue and explaining what it means, now you go back to x npc and repeat the loop
How to make it more engaging I have absolutely no clue though. Especially if it's an isometric RPG. Not a lot of wiggleroom for deep player interaction with the actual world there.
 

Ibn Sina

Savant
Patron
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
682
Strap Yourselves In
Not sure if this is old news, about Sawyers upcoming rpg:
  • Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.

16th century European setting means 14th century bantu land setting in obsidian terminology.
 

Ninjerk

Arcane
Joined
Jul 10, 2013
Messages
14,200
The player will end up being the murderer.
 

Greek Anime God

Scholar
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
110
Not sure if this is old news, about Sawyers upcoming rpg:
  • Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.

16th century European setting means 14th century bantu land setting in obsidian terminology.
Obsidian should just set the game in Africa and make it about those people of whom the men wear some blue hijab type of getups and the women are uncovered. When Andy Warhol ran out of ideas and asked someone what to paint they told him to paint what he loved so he painted money. If you would ask the Californians at Obsidian what they loved ye olde Europe would be last on their list. So why not just make that African game they would have a boner for? What's stopping them?
 

Ibn Sina

Savant
Patron
Joined
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
682
Strap Yourselves In
Not sure if this is old news, about Sawyers upcoming rpg:
  • Focusing on experimental mechanics and interactions.
  • It's still being developed by a small team.
  • 16th century Europe setting.
  • Still planned to have no combat.
  • Murder mystery RPG. You will be investigating a murder by talking to people and building a case. You can accuse people of murder. You will possibly continue to play even if you get it wrong and see the consequences.
  • Planned to be coming out in 2022.
So why not just make that African game they would have a boner for? What's stopping them?

They cannot. Because they are fucking ignorant and illiterate. For all their faux intellectualism and pretending to be smart they have zero knowledge of anything outside their US and possible Eurocentric bubble.
 

Roguey

Codex Staff
Sawyerite
Joined
May 29, 2010
Messages
31,509
Yeah several years ago someone asked Sawyer why he just couldn't make an African RPG and he said it was because he knew nothing about it (and obviously doesn't care to) and that his expertise was in Europe (he majored in history with a focus on early-modern Europe).
 

Greek Anime God

Scholar
Joined
Oct 25, 2021
Messages
110
They cannot. Because they are fucking ignorant and illiterate. For all their faux intellectualism and pretending to be smart they have zero knowledge of anything outside their US and possible Eurocentric bubble.
Could you imagine what kind of cool games we would get if these progressives weren't posers? There is so much cool stuff in Islamic cultures alone that we just never see in games, but we also don't see Christian things either really. Most of the time it is a lossy jpg copy of Tolkien that has been shat up entirely by noise and artifacts so you can't even tell what it originally was. When it isn't then it's just your American west coast bugman bubble type of content. You could read the travelogue of a random historical muslim and come up with far better material.
Yeah several years ago someone asked Sawyer why he just couldn't make an African RPG and he said it was because he knew nothing about it (and obviously doesn't care to)
So Sawyer is just a racist then?
 

RepHope

Savant
Joined
Apr 27, 2017
Messages
347
They cannot. Because they are fucking ignorant and illiterate. For all their faux intellectualism and pretending to be smart they have zero knowledge of anything outside their US and possible Eurocentric bubble.
Could you imagine what kind of cool games we would get if these progressives weren't posers? There is so much cool stuff in Islamic cultures alone that we just never see in games, but we also don't see Christian things either really. Most of the time it is a lossy jpg copy of Tolkien that has been shat up entirely by noise and artifacts so you can't even tell what it originally was. When it isn't then it's just your American west coast bugman bubble type of content. You could read the travelogue of a random historical muslim and come up with far better material.
Yeah several years ago someone asked Sawyer why he just couldn't make an African RPG and he said it was because he knew nothing about it (and obviously doesn't care to)
So Sawyer is just a racist then?
He’s a textbook virtue signaler. He wants kudos for having blacks in his games but he doesn’t give enough of a shit to actually put in the work to study real black cultures. So he just blackwashes Europe. Like all male feminists he’s probably a rapist so it’s only a matter of time until he gets MeToo’d and fucks off forever.
 

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