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Default Project Eternity - Post-Funding Update #60, Companions

July 24th, 2013, 15:28
Chris Avellone is taking care of this latest update for Project Eternity on companions. It is a long but interesting update with several scribbles from the master himself and an update of his Arcanum playthrough.

Really quick, I want to clarify what I meant about “challenge mechanics.” That doesn’t always mean combat – it’s whatever the primary challenge in the game is. If we were doing a Thief-style RPG, then stealth and avoiding detection becomes the primary challenge mechanic, not combat. Depending on the RPG and its range of challenges, a character can still be fairly weak in combat, but if that’s the case, we try to think of how they’re helpful with regards to the game’s other challenges (giving an edge in dialogue, healing, fast travel).

For all the characters I’ve seen or designed for games that don’t cater to at least one of the game’s primary challenge mechanics, those guys are often unpopular or unused because they’re not helping out with the systematic gameplay, regardless of how cool they might seem. And the more actively these characters can participate in the mechanics (vs. passive), the stronger their appeal.

Also at the same time, I try to be careful that the companion's skill set doesn’t overlap with the challenge roles of the other characters. We try to indicate in the companion briefs how each companion's challenge role is intended – one thing I learned as a pen-and-paper Gamemaster is you want to be careful about two players sharing the same role (Tank, Mage, Priest, etc.) – if one is clearly stronger than another, then the second one needs something else to make them stand out and be “special” in the party and fulfill an equally cool role in the party dynamic, otherwise one ends up getting upstaged by the other. And feelings get hurt. Which isn’t something you want in a game designed to entertain.

For Eternity, we’re setting it up so even if players choose the same classes as some companions, the companions are designed to assist those character types and make them more special (ciphers, for example, can chain, and even priests with the same religion can discuss theology and combo attacks).

In addition, we wanted to be careful about personality overlaps as well. I wanted to make sure any companion design didn't overlap with ideas or “concepts" of the other characters (or across projects – so for example, while I’m doing a Glaive for Torment, I’m not doing any fighters for Eternity) …and that extends to personalities as well. As an example, I told Colin for Torment it might be a good idea if I didn't do a female rogue with a ruthless hidden agenda who can shape-shift according to your personality and have her/it be redundant with the Toy or the Cold, Calculating Jack in Torment.

So knowing the general class-focus, role, and personality for each, as well as ones that would be useful, we try to include in the character briefs and get that info to people as quickly as possible so everyone can get a sense for what direction to take their characters.

As for me, after much begging for the class itself and begging for the specific companion, I asked for the cipher. The cipher is near and dear to my heart, it felt like the first brand new class we were introducing that was tied into the soul mechanics of the Eternity world, and the freedom to explore it is a great opportunity.
More information.
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July 24th, 2013, 15:28
"Will cast spells for food!" lol

Priests discussing theology and combo attacks?

Lots of cross-referencing to Torment here too.
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July 24th, 2013, 16:23
I like the idea of same-class skills comboing with each other. When playing party games, I prefer choosing companions based on personality rather than party roles. Should be a standard for other party/class games as well
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July 24th, 2013, 20:30
Hmm Warmachine: Tactics doesn't sound too bad.
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July 24th, 2013, 23:26
Eternity is a good name for this. Any idea when release might be?
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July 25th, 2013, 01:58
Originally Posted by Ovenall View Post
Eternity is a good name for this. Any idea when release might be?
At their $1.whatever million initial KS request, it was April 2014. They got over $4 mil. Although they haven't officially mentioned any release date, I believe someone involved was overheard saying something to the effect of October 2014. I think even that may be a bit optimistic.
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July 25th, 2013, 07:43
I would rather them taking a bit longer and get the job done properly. The more I read about it, the more I get excited (and this is from someone who doesn't really like what Obsidian's done in the past).

We want to allow you to encounter all companions before the mid-point of the story. One issue we’ve found with introducing companions too late is that it doesn’t give players enough time to bond with them, and/or the player may have already formed a strong attachment to their other allies so much so there’s no physical or emotional room for more party members in their lives.
I like this part. From DA:A, they introduced Sigrun right at the end of the game, she becomes Grey Warden, and we go fight Archtech before we can even finish her personal quest.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this post. Companions/NPCs one of the major factor that drives me to play (which is why I enjoyed BG sereis and most of ME series), and the sound of BG/Torment style NPCs are most welcome

And I really liked those cartoon pictures inbetween texts

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BG2: Eowyn & Anomen
IWD: Orhlanna & Korin
ME: Shepard & Garrus
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July 25th, 2013, 10:06
Release date will be pushed well beyond October, since with 4 mil they have to create a LOT MORE CONTENT.
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July 25th, 2013, 10:24
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Release date will be pushed well beyond October, since with 4 mil they have to create a LOT MORE CONTENT.
They also have quite a big team on it though, so money will run out eventually. I don't think they have much royalty income to pad it out - PE is the thing that's supposed to create that kind of income, I think.
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July 25th, 2013, 19:37
Good update, they seem to have a coherent vision for PE. Hope they can pull it all together into a cohesive game.
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