Project Eternity Interviews

We have rounded up a couple of new interviews for Obsidian's Kickstarter-powered Project Eternity, which promises to offer an experience similar to that of the Infinity Engine titles, down to having pre-rendered 2d backgrounds.

Forbes "contemplates Eternity" with Chris Avellone:
Kickstarter, of course, is itself product selling with a twist. Persuading customers to pay in advance for a product scheduled to arrive in spring 2014 is an impressive feat. What sort of audience does Avellone see for games in the style of the state of the art a decade ago? Are the people funding Kickstarter campaigns like this and Fargo's Wasteland 2 old hands at the adventure game, or is a new audience being attracted?

That's been one of our topics of discussion over beers at a local developer watering hole the conversation began with (how many people do you think knew about Wasteland before Brian Fargo's Kickstarter?)

The implication is there wasn't initially a strong push for a sequel until the idea of Kickstarter, and it was the idea of the old school RPG itself, the fight against the publisher model, and the Kickstarter process that ended up being the (hook) that people were looking for.

I'll be honest and say that a chunk of our fanbase may not have played the Infinity Engine games, but they may be responding to many of the same elements that resonated with the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and are willing to support those.

For example, they may be Obsidian fans willing to support the company, they may be people that want to see an RPG of our creation regardless of format, or they may be fans of developers inside the studio (like my unabashed fanboyism for Tim Cain and his cooking). We are thankful for all of these things.

I'd like to believe that the majority of our supporters did play the old school Infinity Engine games and know what makes them special to us. I don't have any metrics for this, however. I can only trust MY SOUL (explicit circular reference to answer to first question).

While RPGamer has a more traditionally-formatted interview with Tim Cain:
MAC: To clarify a little. Will NPCs change their behavior over the course of the game based on completed quests and PC behavior or skills? This was something we loved in Fallout and Arcanum. How realistic do you feel having such a robust, changing world is within the original $1.1mil budget?

TC: Yes, the player's actions will most certainly change the behaviors of NPC's. For most of the world, that's done with reputation, which is affected by the player's actions and guides the behavior of any NPC in the group covered by that reputation. So the player may steal an important religious artifact, which really makes clerics of that religion hate him, and probably lowers his rep with the town guard too, but the thieves guild loves him.

With companions, the effects of the player's actions are more individual. A companion may dislike you for taking that artifact, but really dislike how you are playing one group against another in order to sell it to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, another companion may not care about the outcome either way, as long as there is a lot of money to be made. This is one reason that companions are included as stretch goals. Unlike most NPC's, their reactions (and hence their dialog) is highly individualized and personal, so each companion has to be written as a unique NPC. That takes a lot of time, so we are adding them only if we can afford to make them.

MAC: Having stated that players can tackle the game without companions, how do you balance a game where you can play solo or have six party members?

TC: You can have six companions, but you will not always be using the same six, as there are mechanics that will encourage you to swap out companions over time. Not all of these companions will be combat-focused, and as I said earlier, not all combat encounters have to be fought. If the player is solo and cannot handle an encounter, he should look for another way to handle it. Companions give you options, but they won't necessarily make the game easier.

MAC: With companions playing such a large role in the game, how are you planning to handle romance options and other party dynamics?

TC: Carefully. :)

We have plans for various ways in which the companions will react to the player and his actions. The player will be free to pick and choose which companions accompany the main character, so different party dynamics are available as much or as little as the player wants. We are still in the planning stages about exactly what kinds of reactions we want to support.