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During this year's Game Industry Conference in Poland, Obsidian Entertainment's Josh Sawyer talked about “Putting the Role in Role-Playing.” Unfortunately, I don't think that presentation was recorded, or if it was, the recording hasn't been released yet. However, the accompanying slides have been made publicly available as a PDF and you can find them right here.
To get things going, Josh starts by introducing himself and talking a bit about the history of role-playing games. He then goes over what role-playing means in the context of video games, and analyzes what worked and what didn't in some of the games he designed. He takes a close look at Icewind Dale, Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity, and even dedicates a few slides to how the upcoming Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire will differ from its predecessor.
After that, he compares games with defined protagonists to the ones mentioned above, using Alpha Protocol, The Witcher, and Mass Effect as examples.
And finally, he wraps things up by praising tabletop RPGs and urging anyone interested in the genre to try them.
Of course, this is all just me inferring things from the slides, so don't take it as an accurate retelling of how things went. And better yet, just check out the slides for yourself.