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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » NWN 2: Storm of Zehir - Interview @ NW Vault

Default NWN 2: Storm of Zehir - Interview @ NW Vault

July 30th, 2008, 06:35
NWN2: Storm of Zehir Lead Designer Tony Evans chats with NW Vault about the upcoming expansion. Here's a bit on the party and cohorts:
One of the highly touted features of Storm of Zehir is the party creation and management. Some have said it is a throwback to the Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale games. Were these games, and their popularity, the reason this new party management was chosen?
The concept of a party of adventurers is at the core of the Dungeons and Dragons experience. Though of course we considered how party management worked in Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, we were also inspired by other party-based CRPGs including the Wizardry and Might and Magic series. One of our goals has been to incorporate old school, party-focused gameplay into a modern RPG.
Will there be other party members available that are not created by the player?
Storm of Zehir includes several cohorts, interesting characters that the party can meet and recruit in their travels throughout Samarach and the Sword Coast. Some of them must be hired or coerced into joining the party. Others will become available after completing a major quest. Cohorts are different from companions. For one thing, there are several more cohorts in Storm of Zehir than there were companions in previous games. Also, companions often have minds of their own and will frequently “hijack” conversations and other game events. One example of this is when Ganniyev confronts the Slumbering Coven in Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer. Without giving away any spoilers, it is a gripping scene, and great storytelling, but the only player interaction involved is to click “Continue” until Ganniyev and the Coven are finished talking.

In Storm of Zehir, we intend to take interaction to a new level. One way we are doing that is reducing the amount of lengthy un-interactive scenes and adding maximum reactivity to conversations. Cohorts help us to achieve this goal. Though they lack complex conversations of their own, and none of them will be love interests, they offer special responses in conversations that the player can choose, or not. The end result is that cohorts always give you more choices rather than sometimes “hijacking” and taking away choices. Because my meager explanation may not be clear enough, here is a specific example of this [more…]
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July 30th, 2008, 06:35
This approach to party creation is really appealing to me. I've always wanted to play a party based RPG where I created some, not all, of the characters, and still encounter written/scripted NPCs who may join the party. Now I can create a few characters of different specializations instead of trying to create one who is a hack of all trades. And I can enjoy the interaction with NPC party members.
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July 30th, 2008, 08:56
Have anyone heard anything about release dates for this one? Sounds very interesting…
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July 30th, 2008, 09:48
AFAIK SoZ is scheduled for Q4 of 2008. So it will be a late year release.

Originally Posted by Tony Evans
In Storm of Zehir, we intend to take interaction to a new level. One way we are doing that is reducing the amount of lengthy un-interactive scenes and adding maximum reactivity to conversations. Cohorts help us to achieve this goal. Though they lack complex conversations of their own, and none of them will be love interests, they offer special responses in conversations that the player can choose, or not. The end result is that cohorts always give you more choices rather than sometimes “hijacking” and taking away choices. Because my meager explanation may not be clear enough, here is a specific example of this:
No offense meant to anyone, but that sounds like a pr spin to simply say the cohorts will talk much less than in previous games…

The player can choose to have Septimund convince her to stop or strike her down with his bastard sword to be judged by Kelemvor. Another option is to have Septimund not say anything at all. In this case, Septimund’s silence has even more of an impact on the crazed necromancer, causing her to become more and more distraught the longer he goes without speaking to her.
… but it's nice we get to control when and where the cohorts might have a say. Afterall they are sidekicks and not party leaders.

Wizards of the Coast allowed us to take some liberties in adding a brand new ability: Summon Baatezu allows the [unspecified character class] to summon a powerful devil from the Nine Hells to fight for the party. The devils all have different abilities and it is just luck of the draw which one appears. There is a catch, though. The devil has a chance to turn on the party. Also, players familiar with previous games may recognize some of the devils that are summoned.
Protection from evil will be bread and butter for this class, but it might be fun to have a bit of chaos in the combat without that ability.

Yes, there is something I’d like to get off my chest… I am really, really jealous of all the people who will get to play Storm of Zehir later this year. You see, the team at Obsidian set out to make the kind of RPG that we’ve always wanted to play but, the problem with that is, game developers typically cannot bear to play the games they make once they are finished. It would be kind of like dating your daughter after you’ve finished raising her. So, you guys (and gals) will be able to enjoy Storm of Zehir in ways that are sadly lost to us poor developers.
That comparison makes him sound almost if he were some kind of deviant.

By the way, has anyone else noticed how all the Obsidian employees constantly refer to their team mates with their full names and give thanks to them in interviews? They have done this numerous times and I find it somewhat strange. Even the slightest bit of work, like a texture of a door knob done by someone else than the interviewed person, is given thanks in their interviews.

Nothing wrong in itself, but makes me wonder if it is some kind of company policy?
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July 30th, 2008, 13:10
Originally Posted by Surlent View Post
By the way, has anyone else noticed how all the Obsidian employees constantly refer to their team mates with their full names and give thanks to them in interviews? They have done this numerous times and I find it somewhat strange. Even the slightest bit of work, like a texture of a door knob done by someone else than the interviewed person, is given thanks in their interviews.

Nothing wrong in itself, but makes me wonder if it is some kind of company policy?
Or it will be closed soon and they want the world outside to get to know every single one before that ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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July 30th, 2008, 17:13
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Or it will be closed soon and they want the world outside to get to know every single one before that ?
German optimism is something to behold

I'm looking forward to SoZ more and with each piece of info I get. Old school adventuring, yes please. No love interest - phew!
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July 30th, 2008, 17:45
No, this was rather kind of exaggeration.

I was playing with the thought … And well, who knows ?

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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