Pentiment - Josh Sawyer on Resurrecting Dead Fonts

One of the most impressive things about Obsidian Entertainment's Pentiment is the way it plays with its medieval-inspired fonts and how that elevates the game's dialogues to a whole new level. And perhaps not surprisingly, this was also a feature that was among the hardest to implement according to this Rock Paper Shotgun interview with the game's director Josh Sawyer.

Here's a quick excerpt to get you started:

That use of font choices to communicate information about a character goes beyond simple class distinctions. A character's font will change as the player learns more information about them, reflecting Andreas’ changing opinion of that person. It was a feature that, as Sawyer himself admits, initially confused players during the testing stage, when a character would suddenly shift from one front to another.

For instance, when the player encounters Baron Lorenz early in the game, he speaks in cursive script as Andreas perceives him as a wealthy man who presumably knows how to read and write. However, the more Andreas talks to the Baron, he comes to realise that he is extremely well educated - and is well-read in many of the same topics as Andreas himself. As such, Lorenz’s font shifts to the same one Andreas uses, presenting the two characters on an equal intellectual playing field. “The more we used fonts to show how characters changed, or how Andreas’ perspective on them changed, the more people picked up on it,” says Sawyer. “I was really glad we didn’t need to have an aside where we said: ‘Andreas now thinks this!’ People just understood what it meant.”