Project Eternity Interviews

We have rounded up a couple of new interviews on Obsidian's Kickstarter-funded Project Eternity, both with project director J.E. Sawyer.

First, Gather Your Party has a long conversation:
Del: That's something I have noticed. Just how much you've been updating. It's nice to see. Another thing I was wondering about this particular project is why the Unity Engine?

Josh: We'd been prototyping a few other things and Unity too. And we were. pretty much across the board, we were stunned by how fast we were able to get things up and running in Unity. We prototyped a bunch of old-school style games. I think it was seven guys that got a first person dungeon crawler running in five days. We took assets from Dungeon Siege III put some creatures in there and it all worked really easily. And it was legitimately worked. Then we got it on a Mac. I'm not trying to trivialize it at all, but it was so easy to use. So it just seemed like a good fit for all the right reasons.


Del: Speaking of bumps and hiccups, ah [chuckles] something that sadly Obsidian has been known for is while having incredible stories and characters gameplay wise there have been some issues. I'm thinking specifically of Alpha Protocol, but do you think that's something you'll be able to overcome? Let me try and ask this more concisely. Are some of those technical problems due to publishers getting in the way? Or something else?

Josh: In the case of Alpha Protocol we have said we're responsible for some of that. It had a pretty long development cycle and there were some things that the publisher wanted that we were not comfortable with. I was glad that my system wasn't touched. That was the close-quarters-combat system and I was kind of happy with how that came out. It wasn't very deep, but it was pretty decent. Moving on from Alpha Protocol I think that Dungeon Siege III was a pretty solid game. Technically it was pretty good, that was our own tech. There were very few bugs, it was stable, and the gameplay wasn't insanely deep but it was very solid. Then on New Vegas people did appreciate the improvements we made to gameplay like the gunplay and changing how various mechanics worked under the hood. Obviously there were stability issues with New Vegas and. well, of course no one is happy with that.

I think that with this project being directly under our control it really is up to us to make sure that we're being smart about the number of systems we're putting in and we're not trying to get real silly with mechanics. I think in the past we have gotten really experimental with some things and it hasn't worked in our favor or the player's. So when we talk about doing an Infinity Engine style game, we really are trying to create a game that feels like a game with those mechanics. We have a lot of experience working with that kind of game. So I think we know what we're trying to do and we've been through some bumps so we're going to stay focused and make sure it feels really solid.

Del: Do you think that some times these hiccups happen is simply because a developer is working outside of its comfort zone? Say they know storytelling really, really well and then a publisher asks them to do something they're not used to. Is that were issues like technical hiccups come from?

Josh: That can certainly happen. I know, for example, on Alpha Protocol we had a lot of people moving over to do a shooter game that had never worked on a shooter type game before and that was troublesome. At the same time we've had people come here from different backgrounds that have had to work on a role playing game coming from a different perspective and different control schemes and they don't really know what they're doing. So I think that can happen. Things can get a bit weird when you're doing something you're not used to. With Alpha Protocol that was us trying something new. We have so much experience working with a third person view, RPGs, deep stories, and so that was our way of trying to branch out. Keep what we knew and at the same time try something a bit different.

While VGRevolution's own article has a more Q&A-feel to it:
I grew up on classic RPGs, Baldur's Gate was actually my first ever. I loved creating my character more than anything and assembling a rag-tag party to join me in Lord of the Rings fashion to accompany me on my adventure. I know the game will feature those classic options like race, class, alignment, et cetera, but will there be any newer elements to customizing your character?

Yes, although I should start by saying we won't have alignment in Project Eternity. Instead of a morality meter, you will have reputations with various factions in the world that you interact with over time.

We want to allow players to select few more elements during character creation to define their background a bit. One of those elements is the character's Culture, which is where he or she was raised. In our setting, race and culture are not intrinsically linked, so you can have people of various races growing up all over the place. We can then use the character's Culture to unlock different dialogue options with and reactions from NPCs as well as open up character options in a manner similar to 3E Forgotten Realms' Regional Feats.

So, for example, you might make a boreal dwarf (like Sagani, the female ranger we've shown) and decide that he was raised in the remote southern island of Naasitaq, where many other boreal dwarves share the rocky tundra and snow-covered forests with far-roaming caravan elves who drift near the shoreline. Alternately, your boreal dwarf may have been raised in the cramped, humid, towering cities of Aedyr, among the aggressive explorers who crossed an ocean to colonize the Dyrwood. Ideally, we want your race and culture to help inform both how you role-play your character as well as how you mechanically play your character.