Pentiment - Josh Sawyer Interview

Following the recent announcement of Pentiment, we can now check out this The Gamer interview with Obsidian's Josh Sawyer, the lead designer and mastermind behind this historical narrative RPG. The interview tells us a bit about the inspirations for this game, its general structure, investigation mechanics, and its fairly unique approach to dialogues.

Here's a quick excerpt:

You're defining a role-playing character, and the dialogue options you have will reflect your experience. "If you lived in Italy, you know Italian," says Sawyer. "But unlike a lot of our other games—people have criticised us for this and we're trying to address it—just because a dialogue option appears doesn't mean it's a good idea to pick it. Very often you'll come across as a know-it-all or a show-off. Basically being socially awkward. Just because there's an opportunity to talk about your knowledge, interests, or past doesn't mean it's a good idea."

Sometimes saying the wrong thing can negatively impact a conversation. "This gives you a broader palette to work with," says Sawyer. "We want players to really think about the options they pick rather than just blindly selecting them." This addresses a common problem in RPGs, especially in the Infinity Engine mould, where you'll feel compelled to exhaust every conversation option—even if it means saying or doing something you wouldn't otherwise. I love the idea of a dialogue-driven game where you have to choose your words carefully, rather than just speaking until all the choices are satisfyingly greyed out.