Pillars of Eternity Interviews

Since the recent Pillars of Eternity blowout, two more interviews with the Obsidian team have been released. The first is from Rock, Paper, Shotgun and focuses on the mega dungeon and party members:

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.

And the second is PC Gamer's Q&A with Josh Sawyer, which takes a more generalized approach, touching more subjects but not quite as deeply:

PC Gamer: In terms of combat: going back to the Infinity Engine games, one of the stranger sights is these two characters facing each other, swiping away with their swords and waiting for the dice rolls to hit. Is that a quirk you wanted to retain?

Josh: Well, we have eliminated the fake attacks, so that doesn't happen. We're not trying to have a super-high level of verisimilitude in the sense of having everyone attacking and parrying and stuff like that, because the characters are pretty small, and having all these weird creatures doing all these synchronised parries would actually be pretty difficult. Because we're not using rounds they can be active on more than just a once every six seconds basis. They're more continuously active and they have combat stances, which is something the Infinity Engine games did not have. They look a little more involved and engaged, but there still is a little hand waving there where they're pantomiming what they're doing.

PC Gamer: Something you mentioned in the backer updates: a line about social and political complexities, which harks back to, for instance, Baldur's Gate 1 and the iron crisis. Is that something we're going to see a lot of in the game?

Josh: Yeah, definitely. It was important to us and, in the early times talking about this... ultimately we wanted the story to be personal. A lot of people have responded very well to very personal stories from games like Planescape: Torment or Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, which are very personal stories. But we also felt - I can say I certainly strongly felt - that the events that are going on should tie into larger world events. You should feel like your personal story is stepping into the larger story of the world, in that by resolving your personal conflict, you're also deciding how things are working out with these other groups as well.

That way it feels like you're having a bigger influence on the outside world, but the main story is still connected very directly to you. So yeah, political things, conflicts in the history, ancient history, recent history, the continuing clash of cultures are all going to be at the forefront, because that makes for interesting conflict and for interesting choices for the player to make.