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Interview Sawyer, Brennecke and Adler on Eternity's megadungeon and other stuff 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: Adam Brennecke; Brandon Adler; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

While Rock Paper Shotgun published the bulk of their Pillars of Eternity material yesterday, they apparently still had enough left off for a few more posts. Today, they've posted an interview with Josh Sawyer, Adam Brennecke and Brandon Adler that focuses on the game's 15-level megadungeon, and the issue of the game's size and scope in general.

RPS: How long do you think a run-through of the mega-dungeon will take?

Brennecke: I don’t want to say, but it’s probably going to be hours and hours?

Adler: It’ll be pretty beefy.

Sawyer: My direction for designing it has been that the ramp in difficulty goes up faster than you can level while in it. [laughs] So I kind of want the player to hit… You go through, you go down a couple levels, then you go to the next level and you’re like, “WHOA! Okay!” Either it forces them to get really serious about tactics, or they’re like, “You know what? I’m gonna go out to do some more quests, come back, and go deeper down.”

RPS: So it’s something you work through gradually.

Sawyer: Yeah. And we’ve come up with some ideas for mechanics that encourage continuing to return to the dungeon, so that it becomes kind of like a cyclical thing. You go down for a while, you back off, you deal with some things, and then you find a reason to go back down.

RPS: Is there a story surrounding the dungeon? Something huge and labyrinthine like the dungeon itself?

Sawyer: Yeah, yeah. You’ll start to learn [that there's a lot more to it than you first suspect]. Initially it just seems like a cursed, abandoned place. The Glanfathans warn people away from it. But they kind of say, “If you wanna go buck wild in here, it’s your funeral. Go down in there if you want.” As you go deeper you start learning more about what it was and what it is now and what’s going on in it. There’s a mystery. It’ll be a fun mystery to solve and get to the bottom of it.

RPS: And I’m guessing the rewards are pretty incredible? Like, some of the best in the game?

Sawyer: Yep.

Brennecke: Of course.

Sawyer: I mean, we want our dungeons to feel like dungeons, but this should be the dungeoniest dungeon that we have [laughs]. Lots of monsters, lots of loot, lots of cool exploration and stuff.

RPS: Would you say that it’s the dungeoniest dungeon you’ve ever designed, period?

Sawyer: Uh… Yeah. I’d say a close second would be Dragon’s Eye, which is pretty dungeony.

Brennecke: The direction is like, it’s a dungeon crawl. That’s what it is.

Sawyer: There can be quests in it, but they’re not like, “Let’s talk to a lot of people.” [laughter]

Adler: It’s more like, let’s murder them.

Sawyer: Let’s murder a bunch of people, maybe talk to a few people along the way.

RPS: That does, in fact, sound quite dungeony. What about the rest of the game, though? What kind of scope are you aiming for there?

Saywer: It’s going to be big. I’m not going to give any hour range. It’s going to feel like a worth Infinity engine game. It’s going to be in that ballpark.

I’ve never had a good experience estimating hours before a game’s release. When we made Icewind Dale II, we were afraid it would not even be a 30-hour game. That is a fucking 85-plus-hour game. Easily.

Adler: When you look at Neverwinter II, originally… [laughs]. That was supposed to be a 25-hour game. We couldn’t speedrun it in 40 hours.

Sawyer: It’s going to be big. Scope is quality in this game. In this game, we believe that scope is a part of the perceived quality of the game that we are making. The trend has been generally, for many, many games… It’s like, tighter, more focused, more unique. We still want places to feel unique and have cool unique content in them, but we must have a big game. Just by virtue of the fact that we have two big cities and a megadungeon, that’s a lot of levels. We can’t do that without being.

It’s like Brandon said. We know we have to do this stuff. Let’s go. Let’s make these guys and make them look really cool, but make them clean and make them in intelligent ways. It’s going to be big. That’s the best way I can say it. It’s going to be a big game.
The interview also has some new information about the companion Edér (formerly known as "Edair"), who is apparently a rogue and not a fighter as was widely assumed. RPS have another interview coming up tomorrow, this time with Feargus Urquhart, which will be about Obsidian's next Kickstarter(!), so stay tuned.
 
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The interview also has some new information about the companion Edér (formerly known as "Edair"), who is apparently a rogue and not a fighter as was widely assumed. RPS have another interview coming up tomorrow, this time with Feargus Urquhart, which will be about Obsidian's next Kickstarter(!), so stay tuned.

:what:

Arcanum 2?
 

Crooked Bee

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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
No, it's MCA's high school JRPG!

You know, the true spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment.

:troll:
 

Monty

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I was never that keen on the whole '15 level megadungeon' thing but this approach sounds interesting. I like the idea of getting out of one's depth and having to come back later.
 
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PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Bubbles In Memoria A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Tags: Adam Brennecke; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Project Eternity

While Rock Paper Shotgun published the bulk of their Pillars of Eternity material yesterday, they apparently still had enough left off for a few more posts. Today, they've posted an interview with Josh Sawyer, Adam Brennecke and Brandon Adler that focuses on the game's 15-level megadungeon, and the issue of the game's size and scope in general.

RPS: How long do you think a run-through of the mega-dungeon will take?

Brennecke: I don’t want to say, but it’s probably going to be hours and hours?

Adler: It’ll be pretty beefy.

Sawyer: My direction for designing it has been that the ramp in difficulty goes up faster than you can level while in it. [laughs] So I kind of want the player to hit… You go through, you go down a couple levels, then you go to the next level and you’re like, “WHOA! Okay!” Either it forces them to get really serious about tactics, or they’re like, “You know what? I’m gonna go out to do some more quests, come back, and go deeper down.”

RPS: So it’s something you work through gradually.

Sawyer: Yeah. And we’ve come up with some ideas for mechanics that encourage continuing to return to the dungeon, so that it becomes kind of like a cyclical thing. You go down for a while, you back off, you deal with some things, and then you find a reason to go back down.

RPS: Is there a story surrounding the dungeon? Something huge and labyrinthine like the dungeon itself?

Sawyer: Yeah, yeah. You’ll start to learn [that there's a lot more to it than you first suspect]. Initially it just seems like a cursed, abandoned place. The Glanfathans warn people away from it. But they kind of say, “If you wanna go buck wild in here, it’s your funeral. Go down in there if you want.” As you go deeper you start learning more about what it was and what it is now and what’s going on in it. There’s a mystery. It’ll be a fun mystery to solve and get to the bottom of it.

RPS: And I’m guessing the rewards are pretty incredible? Like, some of the best in the game?

Sawyer: Yep.

Brennecke: Of course.

Sawyer: I mean, we want our dungeons to feel like dungeons, but this should be the dungeoniest dungeon that we have [laughs]. Lots of monsters, lots of loot, lots of cool exploration and stuff.

RPS: Would you say that it’s the dungeoniest dungeon you’ve ever designed, period?

Sawyer: Uh… Yeah. I’d say a close second would be Dragon’s Eye, which is pretty dungeony.

Brennecke: The direction is like, it’s a dungeon crawl. That’s what it is.

Sawyer: There can be quests in it, but they’re not like, “Let’s talk to a lot of people.” [laughter]

Adler: It’s more like, let’s murder them.

Sawyer: Let’s murder a bunch of people, maybe talk to a few people along the way.

RPS: That does, in fact, sound quite dungeony. What about the rest of the game, though? What kind of scope are you aiming for there?

Saywer: It’s going to be big. I’m not going to give any hour range. It’s going to feel like a worth Infinity engine game. It’s going to be in that ballpark.

I’ve never had a good experience estimating hours before a game’s release. When we made Icewind Dale II, we were afraid it would not even be a 30-hour game. That is a fucking 85-plus-hour game. Easily.

Adler: When you look at Neverwinter II, originally… [laughs]. That was supposed to be a 25-hour game. We couldn’t speedrun it in 40 hours.

Sawyer: It’s going to be big. Scope is quality in this game. In this game, we believe that scope is a part of the perceived quality of the game that we are making. The trend has been generally, for many, many games… It’s like, tighter, more focused, more unique. We still want places to feel unique and have cool unique content in them, but we must have a big game. Just by virtue of the fact that we have two big cities and a megadungeon, that’s a lot of levels. We can’t do that without being.

It’s like Brandon said. We know we have to do this stuff. Let’s go. Let’s make these guys and make them look really cool, but make them clean and make them in intelligent ways. It’s going to be big. That’s the best way I can say it. It’s going to be a big game.
The interview also has some new information about the companion Edér (formerly known as "Edair"), who is apparently a rogue and not a fighter as was widely assumed. RPS have another interview coming up tomorrow, this time with Feargus Urquhart, which will be about Obsidian's next Kickstarter(!), so stay tuned.

Here's to cross my fingering for a "CoC" style 1920s and/or Victorian horror-sci-fi-survival RPG.
 

PatataFamilia

Novice
Joined
Nov 13, 2013
Messages
33
The whole thing sounds a bit like Watcher's Keep, which is cool by me.

I'm hoping decent sci-fi RPG or a nice Spelljammer influenced atmosphere for the next kickstarter (which is probably a couple months off). I hope they keep it in the PE technical framework (or whatever you call an engine in another engine). PE and Torment have amazing potential at this point.
 

nikolokolus

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May 8, 2013
Messages
4,090
Maybe it's the Antellbellum era RPG JE eluded to in his Matt Chat interview. "Take a train direct from the tip of Florida to New Orleans, but you have to pass through hell to ge there" etc.
 

Cosmo

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Nov 6, 2010
Messages
1,387
Project: Eternity

Yeah. Sounds more like a 14 million game to be fair...

Maybe it's the Antellbellum era RPG JE eluded to in his Matt Chat interview. "Take a train direct from the tip of Florida to New Orleans, but you have to pass through hell to ge there" etc.

If Feargus is the guy presenting it, i think it must be something concerning Obsidian as a whole rather than this or that designer...
Personally i'd lean towards an unofficial AP2 or a steampunk game à la Arcanum...
 

tuluse

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Messages
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Serpent in the Staglands Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Why would they use Sawyer's big idea when he's busy being project leader on another game?
 

Wizfall

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Oct 3, 2012
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Arcanum 2 would be great.
A sci fi crpg would also be great.
I hope it won't be an action crpg, really not interested by that.
 

Arkeus

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Oct 9, 2012
Messages
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Why would they use Sawyer's big idea when he's busy being project leader on another game?
So that he can rage at being busy being project lead in another game, and gaze upon envy as [name] is project lead, obviously.
 

Grunker

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Sawyer: My direction for designing it has been that the ramp in difficulty goes up faster than you can level while in it. [laughs] So I kind of want the player to hit… You go through, you go down a couple levels, then you go to the next level and you’re like, “WHOA! Okay!” Either it forces them to get really serious about tactics, or they’re like, “You know what? I’m gonna go out to do some more quests, come back, and go deeper down.”

:bounce:
 

Jarpie

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Codex 2012 MCA
Tim Cain as lead designer in the turn-based rpg? That'd be helluva sweet.
:love:
 

made

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Location
Germany
Dungeons will be dungeony, game will be big and full of cool stuff.

It's always refreshing to read an intelligent interview that distinguishes itself from the mold of meaningless AAA hype.
 

Decado

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Codex 2014
The MMO is probably the russian thing.
I thought about that. The only other thing they seem to be advertising on their jobs page is a "next generation" release. Which sounds to me like a console game. Which sucks.
 

Infinitron

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Messages
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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
FFS, you guys are assuming this new Kickstarter starts tomorrow. It could be next year. Tim Cain is certainly a possibility, he's just doing programming and implementation.
 

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