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Katrina Garsten, who you may remember from the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire video updates, has recently spoken with Impulse Gamer about how she first started working at Obsidian Entertainment, her duties as a producer on Deadfire, the long-lasting appeal of RPGs, and more. An excerpt:
Tell us how you became involved with Obsidian Entertainment
I’ve worked at Obsidian for four and a half years now, and it’s all thanks to randomly meeting Chris Avellone at GDC back in 2013 (because who doesn’t know Chris Avellone?). Later in the year he recommended me for a production position at Obsidian, and that’s where I began my journey working on the production team for Armored Warfare. By the end of 2016 I moved on to Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, where I coordinated our crowdfunding campaign. Throughout the development of Deadfire, I’ve been the Producer overseeing all of our artists in addition to everything crowdfunding-related.
Where does Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire fit in the grand scheme of gaming?
Pillars II is Obsidian’s first sequel, and it is a deeply reactive RPG where outcomes are not determined just by the choices you make throughout the game itself, but by choices made from the first Pillars of Eternity. It is a combination of ‘choose your own adventure’, open world exploration, and challenging, real-time with pause combat.
What are your favourite mechanics?
I love Deadfire’s companion relationships system. It adds another layer of immersion into the game, and makes you think carefully when responding in conversations. Each companion in your party has different likes and dislikes, and a companion’s opinion of you will change based on how you react in various situations. You need to carefully gauge your relationships with your companions, because it could positively or negatively impact significant moments in the game.
Why do you think RPG’s resonate so well with gamers?
RPGs are a genre that allow the player to go on a journey and be who they want to be. For some, it is an escape from reality and allows the player to do things they typically wouldn’t be able to do in real life, like flying or casting spells. It can help others gain self confidence and become part of a grand adventure to save the world. Ultimately, RPGs allow players to progress through the game however they want, casting a wide net to bring in gamers from all backgrounds and play styles.