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Page 4 of 7Buck: Your pledge rewards have been pretty ambitious. Multiclassing is a big one. I know a lot of Pillars fans that are happy to hear that's coming to the sequel.
On the $3 million pledge reward, you mentioned that you're going to have inter-party relationships. Would you describe those as being similar to what we saw in the Infinity Engine game in terms of depth or are you taking it beyond that?
Feargus: When we did our update for that, Josh put a whole video together. And the goal with it is – there's been these arguments going on our forums and also on the big page about romances. And so we're trying to be very clear that these are companion relationships and not companion romances. Maybe there could be a situation where there could be a romance but it's not just this generic system where you do enough things and you get a romance scene as a reward. But it's not meant to be romancing characters and turn into a sexual relationship with them. It's about these relationships that you have with them and the relationships that they have with each other that develops them as characters.
This is the first time we've done it. Like, we've sort of shied away from having this is our previous games. I can understand the interest in those, but I have to admit in a lot of other RPGs, they felt very much like a Japanese dating sim. Like, if I give you the flowers and I press the button and then I do the quest and now I win. And I think we've always wanted to have it be more subtle than that. Sort of have more about what you're generally doing in the world and you're treating other people in the world. And so that's probably why we've never tackled it before and I think we have just been comfortable with the, again, the Japanese dating [sim].
Buck: I think there's a balance to it. I think back to Baldur's Gate II and you had potential romances but they were something of a puzzle that needed to be figured out. You practically needed a spoiler site like GameBanshee to figure out how to kick off a romance with one of the companions properly and foster it. Because you could literally have one set of dialog with a companion and choose the wrong option and it was over.
Feargus: That was it. Yes.
Buck: I like that aspect of being able to get into the point of no return with some of those characters, even though some people might see that as being too harsh and it might require the loading of a saved game from 10 hours ago. Do you think it's important to have it layered like that, where if you do say the wrong things or do certain things, your relationships will be affected for the rest of the game?
Feargus: That shows that your choices matter. If it’s allowed to always be recoverable, then your choices don’t matter.
Feargus: I think what's important about it in particular is that how the relationships works with each of your companions is different. It doesn't just follow a ROCE formula because some games have done that before where this is the companion template and this is how you're successful at it. And it feels good with the first one but then as you start doing more with other companions, you start seeing the structure, you start seeing that's it's just, "I do A and I do B and I do C and then I win.” And so I think the way we're doing it depends upon the personality of the companion themselves, it doesn't have a set number of steps, there's a system behind it so it's tracking a lot of different things. It feels natural, it flows naturally. But again, it's sort of our first fall into it, so we'll see how it ends up.
Buck: You had relationships in Alpha Protocol, too. Obviously, they weren’t inter-party relationships and had a different scope than what we're talking about here maybe, but they were there.
Feargus: Yeah, yeah. You're actually right. It's funny we think of that differently. We think of that as a part very specifically of his personal story in Alpha Protocol versus these longer term party-based romances that go on for however long.
Buck: Yeah, a hundred hours or even longer.
Feargus: Yeah. A hundred hours, exactly.