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What drove BG3's success, game mechanics or emotional engagement?

Zed Duke of Banville

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I never got why vaguely european-medieval-inspired fantasy should mean everyone talks like a dickhead at a renaissance fair, especially since my understanding of FR lore is that there are characters who have canonically visited modern-day Earth (and vice versa). Elminster has probably heard words like "Brexit" and "coomer" and "fleek".
The Forgotten Realms actually is a Renaissance Faire version of contemporary Canada/America, so it's perfectly consistent for the characters to speak like Richard Garriott twits attempting what they misconceive as ye olde English. :M
Arguably, it even makes sense that characters in the Forgotten Realms would be inconsistent in varying between ye olde English and contemporary North American English. Would be quite different if the same occurred in the Greyhawk campaign setting or some other genuinely generic fantasy setting based on late-medieval / Renaissance-era Europe.
 

Old Hans

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I love Karlach and I like her speaking style because it's way preferable to the "pray, from where dost thou hail" shit that sometimes ends up in FR games (and is usually itself applied inconsistently as fuck too - BG1 has some lines written in that faux-medieval style, and other lines where people sound like they're straight out of the 1990s).
I think karlach crosses the line. shes one step away from being all "totally radical dudes, lets go surf some monsters waves"
 

Lhynn

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I love Karlach and I like her speaking style because it's way preferable to the "pray, from where dost thou hail" shit that sometimes ends up in FR games (and is usually itself applied inconsistently as fuck too - BG1 has some lines written in that faux-medieval style, and other lines where people sound like they're straight out of the 1990s).
I think karlach crosses the line. shes one step away from being all "totally radical dudes, lets go surf some monsters waves"
It was immediately obvious she didnt belong. Her speech pattern is so unique and repelling, I could accept she is a general from hell however, so no knock on that side.
The problem is that we have about a million tieflings from the same place that DO NOT SPEAK LIKE THAT.

Best advice I can give anyone is to just kill her on the first meeting, game will be better for it. Do the same with Gale. Those two companions simply add nothing.
 

Old Hans

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Best advice I can give anyone is to just kill her on the first meeting, game will be better for it. Do the same with Gale. Those two companions simply add nothing.
I wanna like gale, but his appearance bothers me. he has a 1980's look with his dumb earring. he should be on an episode of Miami Vice playing the role of a drug dealer informant whos always getting into trouble with crocket and tubbs, but for some reason they always let him off the hook
 

Roguey

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Why were the writers resented again?
Gaider said:
Even BioWare, which built its success on a reputation for good stories and characters, slowly turned from a company that vocally valued its writers to one where we were... quietly resented, with a reliance on expensive narrative seen as the "albatross" holding the company back.

Maybe that sounds like a heavy charge, but it's what I distinctly felt up until I left in 2016. Suddenly all anyone in charge was asking was "how do we have LESS writing?" A good story would simply happen, via magic wand, rather than be something that needed support and priority.

Cinematics are a huge money sink and they weren't getting a good return on investment with them.
 

scytheavatar

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The best way to describe Bioware's woes is that from day one they were strongly influenced by Final Fantasy and other JRPGs. And a lot of the current problems that Bioware is facing mirrors that which Square Enix is facing with the Final Fantasy series. While Square Enix has doubled if not tripled down on their formula you do wonder if writers were quietly resented there too considering their writers are more garbage than Bioware's.
 

Lyric Suite

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I love Karlach and I like her speaking style because it's way preferable to the "pray, from where dost thou hail" shit that sometimes ends up in FR games

The "pray, from where dost thou hail" stuff is by FAR preferrable to this shit. Bioware too was already annoying even back with BG1.

I also pretty much dispise the use of modern swear words or swear words in general. Doesn't matter if you can show some of the ones we use today were also used in the middle ages. Nothing says "modern day talk" like the use of swearing. I hated the Witcher too for that as well.
 

Lyric Suite

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Best advice I can give anyone is to just kill her on the first meeting, game will be better for it. Do the same with Gale. Those two companions simply add nothing.
I wanna like gale, but his appearance bothers me. he has a 1980's look with his dumb earring. he should be on an episode of Miami Vice playing the role of a drug dealer informant whos always getting into trouble with crocket and tubbs, but for some reason they always let him off the hook

For me it's the other way around. I didn't have a problem with his looks, but i found his way of talking to be highly pretentious. A comparison with Sand is probably in order, since Sand did that "i'm a wizard so i must be smart" trope better. The courtroom sequence was the highlight in NWN2 OC for me.

Also, i'm pretty much convinced Gale's introduction was either written by a woman or was written for a female character. All that shit about cats and wine. Really? REALLY? Is this Reddit? Actually, most of the writing in this game feels like Reddit so that's a moot point.

Ultimately, what kills the BG3 NPCs besides all the faggotry shit is that they all have those impossible gimmicks. Gale would have been a good character had they scaled down his subplot. Say, he was in love with a noble woman and had to flee Baldur's Gate because he soiled the good name of the wizard's guild he belonged to, something classic like that. So now this highly educated and highly refined slightly pompous but not to the point of being insufferable disgraced wizard is forced to follow around a ragtag of losers because he has no choice. But no, he was trying to bone the literal GODDESS of magic and now he has a bomb in his chest 'cause i don't know, magic or some shit right? It's fantasy so shit has to be magical amirite?

Same with Karlach why couldn't she just be a barbarian? Or maybe even an half-orc keep it simple. No, she is from hell 'cause now everything has to be Planescape for some reason. And of course, she is level 1 too because that certainly makes sense given her background, right?

Maybe quirky wasn't the right word to describe this but there's this underlying feeling you get from this game that the writers didn't actually know shit about the setting and didn't care. That it's all about THEM. About what THEY find funny or interesting and not what would be consistent with the world and setting. The shit about Xan shoving his sword up his ass is just the final culmination of this inherent self-centerness of the writers. Just imagine how clever whoever wrote that retardation felt about themselves when they shoved that abomination in the game. And yes, i know it was just a random snipped in the game but... i just can't let it go, because it was simply yet another manifestation of the overall tone running through this game.
 
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Lyric Suite

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Why were the writers resented again?
Gaider said:
Even BioWare, which built its success on a reputation for good stories and characters, slowly turned from a company that vocally valued its writers to one where we were... quietly resented, with a reliance on expensive narrative seen as the "albatross" holding the company back.

Maybe that sounds like a heavy charge, but it's what I distinctly felt up until I left in 2016. Suddenly all anyone in charge was asking was "how do we have LESS writing?" A good story would simply happen, via magic wand, rather than be something that needed support and priority.

Cinematics are a huge money sink and they weren't getting a good return on investment with them.

So the people running this company were utter retards. What else is new i guess.

Is there a face i can attach to this dumbfuckery? Who was managing Bioware when this shit was happening?
 

Kiste

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I love Karlach and I like her speaking style because it's way preferable to the "pray, from where dost thou hail" shit that sometimes ends up in FR games


I also pretty much dispise the use of modern swear words or swear words in general.

The oldest occurrence of the word in adjectival form (which implies use of the verb) in English comes from the margins of a 1528 manuscript copy of Cicero's De Officiis. A monk had scrawled in the margin notes, "fuckin Abbot". - Wikipedia

The fact that you personally dislike swear words does not translate into the writing being bad or "quirky". You're simply trying to pass off your personal taste as some sort of objective criticism of BG3's writing quality.

BG1 and BG2 were full of anachronisms as well, so BG3 merely continues that tradition.

The criticism I can get behind is the companion subplots being too over the top, with Gale probably being the biggest offender in that regard. A flamboyant Wizard who fucked a goddess and turned into a living, walking nuke? Yeah, maybe they should have toned that shit down a bit.
 

Lemming42

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Surely they're not even anachronisms since the games don't take place on medieval earth and aren't confined by any obligation to adhere to it. I'm not a FR fan and don't know a great deal about it so I might be wrong, but isn't it meant to be taking place in the present day, only on a different world that parted ways with Earth in the past?

The "alack, thou hath cometh for a quest, brave knight" shit always seemed like a failure of imagination in fantasy settings to me (sorry Richard). It put me off Dragon Age too when I was trying to immerse myself in Dave Gaider's All-Original Definitely-Not-FR Copyrighted New Setting and Morrigan came out with the inane "ah, 'tis a group of travellers, I see" shit. Fuck off, talk normal. Imagine how much the Elder Scrolls would suck if all the Dunmer were like "thou hath come to yon land of Morrowind, traveller, and we doth not take well to outsiders here". It's way more fun to have them run at you yelling "STOOPID" and a bunch of made-up slurs.

I don't have much of a problem with Karlach using modern* slang since I just take it as being diagrammatic, it's to convey that she's lower class, gregarious and "uncultured" or w/e. Again though, not a big FR fan so I'm probably missing out on some esoteric lore explanation that says "aha no people actually do talk exactly like fake-medieval people". Fair enough if there's some in-universe explanation for why people would talk like that (though FR videogames seem to swing wildly between medieval talk and modern slang, often within the same game) but I don't really get why they would, especially since almost nothing about their society or culture seems to reflect medieval europe except a few aesthetics.

*though I don't remember her using any ultra-modern slang, honestly - most of what she comes out with is shit that had already entered common language by the 1920s if not far earlier like "fuck", "shit", "aces", "mate", etc. If she'd been like "fr fr no cap, bussin" I might have thought it was shit but I don't remember anything like that.
 

Lyric Suite

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Surely they're not even anachronisms since the games don't take place on medieval earth and aren't confined by any obligation to adhere to it. I'm not a FR fan and don't know a great deal about it so I might be wrong, but isn't it meant to be taking place in the present day, only on a different world that parted ways with Earth in the past?

The "alack, thou hath cometh for a quest, brave knight" shit always seemed like a failure of imagination in fantasy settings to me (sorry Richard). It put me off Dragon Age too when I was trying to immerse myself in Dave Gaider's All-Original Definitely-Not-FR Copyrighted New Setting and Morrigan came out with the inane "ah, 'tis a group of travellers, I see" shit. Fuck off, talk normal. Imagine how much the Elder Scrolls would suck if all the Dunmer were like "thou hath come to yon land of Morrowind, traveller, and we doth not take well to outsiders here". It's way more fun to have them run at you yelling "STOOPID" and a bunch of made-up slurs.

I don't have much of a problem with Karlach using modern slang since I just take it as being diagrammatic, it's to convey that she's lower class, gregarious and "uncultured" or w/e. Again though, not a big FR fan so I'm probably missing out on some esoteric lore explanation that says "aha no people actually do talk exactly like fake-medieval people". Fair enough if there's some in-universe explanation for why people would talk like that (though FR videogames seem to swing wildly between medieval talk and modern slang, often within the same game) but I don't really get why they would, especially since almost nothing about their society or culture seems to reflect medieval europe except a few aesthetics.

Sorry, i must STRONGLY disagree. Emphasis on STRONGLY.

What you call "normal" talk is an automatic death sentence to the writing of any game set in the past, no matter how imagined or fantastic the setting may be if it's not the modern world, there shouldn't be any modern day talk. At all.

This applies to swearing as well. The argument that there was swearing in the past as well doesn't fly in my opinion since it's impossible to write swearing that doesn't sound modern unless you come up with made up words (Taffer etc) or you put the swearing in a ye oldie context.
 

Kiste

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Surely they're not even anachronisms since the games don't take place on medieval earth and aren't confined by any obligation to adhere to it.

Yes, sure, but it is still a pre-industrial society so I'd expect the anachronisms not being too egregious (but realistically, there are probably hundreds of anachronisms that we don't even notice).

In BG1, one of the first encounters after you leave Candlekeep is a guy with the very 1980s douchebag name "Chase" who has quirky and humorous 4th-wall-breaking dialogue and refers to Jeeves (a butler from 20th century literature) and cocktails (19th century) and one of your dialogue options is "1: What a tool." in reference to that guy.

The next guy you run into is incognito Elminster who lays it on thick with the thees and thous like some sort of Renaissance Faire faggot.
 
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Lemming42

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Sorry, i must STRONGLY disagree. Emphasis on STRONGLY.

What you call "normal" talk is an automatic death sentence to the writing of any game set in the past, no matter how imagined or fantastic the setting may be if it's not the modern world, there shouldn't be any modern day talk. At all.

This applies to swearing as well. The argument that there was swearing in the past as well doesn't fly because in my opinion since it's impossible to write swearing that doesn't sound modern unless you come up with made up words (Taffer etc) or you put the swering in a ye oldie context.
Is FR set in the past, though? I thought it was set in the present day, with some characters going and visiting modern Earth, though there's some timeskip shit going on which might throw all that off.

Speaking of "Taffer" though, they speak modern English in Thief, surely. Garrett speaks like a guy from the 20th century - perhaps not like a slangy 90s douchebag, but he would definitely sound odd and unrecognisable if you somehow showed the game to someone from, like, the real-world 1700s or whenever. If your problem is just with swearing then fair enough (and I agree that fantasy swearing is a lot more fun and creative) but I always just imagine characters in fantasy settings are being translated for the viewer's benefit - presumably people in the Elder Scrolls aren't actually speaking a language identical to modern American english, complete with real-world idioms, even though that's what's coming out of their mouths in the games. I dunno if it's different with FR.
Yes, sure, but it is still a pre-industrial society so I'd still expect the anachronism not being too egregious (but realistically, there, are probably hundreds of anachromisms that we don't even notice).
I'm not sure if a pre-industrial fantasy world should follow the same conventions as historical Earth - I mean, they already have a completely different society with different values and wildly different technology, some more advanced than Earth despite the renfair trappings - they've got spaceships! I don't really see why their language couldn't be pretty much anything, especially since through magic they have global travel and mass communication (basing this on the FR game Menzoberranzan where you can use a crystal to talk to people like a videophone, and I think also lets you actually pass items back and forth through the "screen") so their language would evolve like crazy, especially when you factor in all the different races with different languages who would be contributing loanwords.

Again though, not a FR fan so I can't speak to the specifics of Faerun, but it's always something I wondered about fantasy settings. My favourites were always the ones with the sci-fi twists like Wizardry anyway.
 

Lyric Suite

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Surely they're not even anachronisms since the games don't take place on medieval earth and aren't confined by any obligation to adhere to it.

Yes, sure, but it is still a pre-industrial society so I'd expect the anachronisms not being too egregious (but realistically, there are probably hundreds of anachronisms that we don't even notice).

In BG1, one of the first encounters after you leave Candlekeep is a guy with the very 1980s douchebag name "Chase" who has quirky and humorous 4th-wall-breaking dialogue and refers to Jeeves (a butler from 20th century literature) and cocktails (19th century) and one of your dialogue options is "1: What a tool." in reference to that guy.

The next guy you run into is incognito Elminster who lays it on thick with the thees and thous like some sort of Renaissance Faire faggot.

Yeah but like i said BG1 was already problematic.

For the record, i'm under no illusion video game writers will ever be able to avoid modern day speech in their games, no matter the time period they take place. It's a miracle enough if we even get to have functional writing at all.

Still, all that is required is a bit of effort to avoid being BLATANTLY current, and reveling in being current on top of it as a lot of modern RPGs seem fond of doing.

A good example of what i see as the absolute baseline is Icewind Dale:



Dialog is all written in modern English and it's fairly standard, nothing special there, but the tone is still able to respect your suspension of disbelief. There's nothing about what Everard says or how he says it that feels like he doesn't belong to his surroundings or the setting of the game.
 

Strange Fellow

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Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Best advice I can give anyone is to just kill her on the first meeting, game will be better for it. Do the same with Gale. Those two companions simply add nothing.
I wanna like gale, but his appearance bothers me. he has a 1980's look with his dumb earring. he should be on an episode of Miami Vice playing the role of a drug dealer informant whos always getting into trouble with crocket and tubbs, but for some reason they always let him off the hook

For me it's the other way around. I didn't have a problem with his looks, but i found his way of talking to be highly pretentious. A comparison with Sand is probably in order, since Sand did that "i'm a wizard so i must be smart" trope better. The courtroom sequence was the highlight in NWN2 OC for me.

Also, i'm pretty much convinced Gale's introduction was either written by a woman or was written for a female character. All that shit about cats and wine. Really? REALLY? Is this Reddit? Actually, most of the writing in this game feels like Reddit so that's a moot point.

Ultimately, what kills the BG3 NPCs besides all the faggotry shit is that they all have those impossible gimmicks. Gale would have been a good character had they scaled down his subplot. Say, he was in love with a noble woman and had to flee Baldur's Gate because he soiled the good name of the wizard's guild he belonged to, something classic like that. So now this highly educated and highly refined slightly pompous but not to the point of being insufferable disgraced wizard is forced to follow around a ragtag of losers because he has no choice. But no, he was trying to bone the literal GODDESS of magic and now he has a bomb in his chest 'cause i don't know, magic or some shit right? It's fantasy so shit has to be magical amirite?

Same with Karlach why couldn't she just be a barbarian? Or maybe even an half-orc keep it simple. No, she is from hell 'cause now everything has to be Planescape for some reason. And of course, she is level 1 too because that certainly makes sense given her background, right?

Maybe quirky wasn't the right word to describe this but there's this underlying feeling you get from this game that the writers didn't actually know shit about the setting and didn't care. That it's all about THEM. About what THEY find funny or interesting and not what would be consistent with the world and setting. The shit about Xan shoving his sword up his ass is just the final culmination of this inherent self-centerness of the writers. Just imagine how clever whoever wrote that retardation felt about themselves when they shoved that abomination in the game. And yes, i know it was just a random snipped in the game but... i just can't let it go, because it was simply yet another manifestation of the overall tone running through this game.
I suspect this stems from the choice they made, starting with DOS2, to have every companion also available as a pre-generated main character. It sounds like a cool idea at first. People who want to create a blank slate main character can do that, and those who want a Witcher or a Shepard with a more or less pre-determined personality and backstory can have that. Everybody wins. But the problem is, who's going to play a character who's just some random guy, but is still a premade character? Nobody, especially not in a narrative as EPIC as BG3. Suddenly it's the worst of both worlds instead. So they had to make the characters EPIC as well, because otherwise they wouldn't have been different enough from a blank slate for anyone to want to use them as their main character.

Then again, it seems that the mainstream actually enjoys the epicness of the companions, so maybe it's not a mistake after all.
 

Roguey

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So the people running this company were utter retards. What else is new i guess.

Is there a face i can attach to this dumbfuckery? Who was managing Bioware when this shit was happening?
Aaryn Flynn was the general manager.

https://www.gamesradar.com/former-m...uldnt-go-back-to-the-way-bioware-makes-games/

"It's really important to us that we create a lot of value for our players," Flynn said. "I could tip a beer and tell you all about my frustrations at BioWare and EA around value creation for players."
 

Lyric Suite

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So the people running this company were utter retards. What else is new i guess.

Is there a face i can attach to this dumbfuckery? Who was managing Bioware when this shit was happening?
Aaryn Flynn was the general manager.

https://www.gamesradar.com/former-m...uldnt-go-back-to-the-way-bioware-makes-games/

"It's really important to us that we create a lot of value for our players," Flynn said. "I could tip a beer and tell you all about my frustrations at BioWare and EA around value creation for players."

Of course he looks like a faggot.

I mean i would have never imagined a situation where i ended up seeing David Gaydar as the good guy, but here we are.
 

Old Hans

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But the problem is, who's going to play a character who's just some random guy, but is still a premade character?
the game felt a lot better when I just played solo Shadowheart, who feels like the real main character. Once you add a generic Tav into the mix, it fucks everything up.

its like if lord of the rings had frodo set off with the one ring, but then a hobbit named Jimmy Assbottoms shows up and becomes the main protagonist

[edit] ALSO id like an AI to insert Jimmy Assbottoms into Lord of the Rings
 
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jackofshadows

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Oct 21, 2019
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and Morrigan came out with the inane "ah, 'tis a group of travellers, I see" shit. Fuck off, talk normal.
She couldn't, she was raised by some uhh let's say powerful hag in the woods. I actually appreciated her manner of speech in general as well as her nihilistic values which were in contrast with many other presented ones.
 

Harthwain

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The fact that you personally dislike swear words does not translate into the writing being bad or "quirky". You're simply trying to pass off your personal taste as some sort of objective criticism of BG3's writing quality.
I am usually against swears, but there are two games where swear words felt on point for me: The Witcher (the whole series, actually) and [PROTOTYPE] (the Web of Intrigue has some characters swearing, and quite a lot, in fact). But that's probably because the delivery was perfect so the whole dialogue felt natural as a result.

The "alack, thou hath cometh for a quest, brave knight" shit always seemed like a failure of imagination in fantasy settings to me (sorry Richard).
Interestingly enough, there was a different language used in the court of England (French) and the common folks were using something completely different. The "high and mighty" manner of speech can have some sense in that context. It usually is not too entertaining. However, I did like Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption's approach; adding an "old word" here and there in the medieval era. This also provides great contrast when Christof awakens in the modern era and Pink the Punk is his companion who explains the new world to him.

Imagine how much the Elder Scrolls would suck if all the Dunmer were like "thou hath come to yon land of Morrowind, traveller, and we doth not take well to outsiders here". It's way more fun to have them run at you yelling "STOOPID" and a bunch of made-up slurs.
N'WAH!

I would argue The Elder Scrolls didn't need old medieval manner of speech, because races had different ways to highlight their cultural differences. Dunmers have foreign words thrown in here and there, Argonians and Khajiit have different perspective, while Nords and Orcs have their own mannerisms in the way their speak. All in all, I think it was the best possible way of doing this.
 
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