Pillars of Eternity - Josh Sawyer Interviews
Josh Sawyer was a busy man at GDC 2014, and managed to get interviewed a few times about Pillars of Eternity. The first interview is from VG 24/7 where he talks about exploration, story, and murdering dudes.
“For people who like New Vegas but aren’t necessarily experienced with this, you know, six-party-member type of [RPG], I think they will appreciate how we reward their choices and allow them to branch and form alliances and screw up alliances with people,” Sawyer said.
“How we let them build reputation, I think they’re going to dig that. We’ve actually expanded that more than we have in previous games. You get personality-specific reputations, where if you’re an asshole repeatedly, you meet people who are, ‘Oh, you’re that huge asshole guy,’ Some people are like, ‘I love how you’re a fucking crazy asshole!’”
For Sawyer, the Pillars of Eternity experience is supposed to be truly about role-playing and all that has entailed from the tabletop era to now. In the common parlance, “role-playing elements” refers to stats and levelling and gear, but those things are not literally what role-playing is. They are methods of execution. And so there will be dungeon crawling, sure, yes, of course, but there will also be equally significant portions of exploration and dealing with NPCs.
The second interview is hosted at Games.on.net where he gives his opinion on how to deal with hardcore fans who are very picky, or as he calls them grognards.
We caught up with Josh Sawyer, project lead on Pillars of Eternity, in a brief moment of calm at this year’s GDC. He explained that Obsidian were undertaking a careful balancing act when it came to just how much weight to give the opinions of old-school RPG grognards.
“There are certain aspects of that that we think are okay,” said Sawyer. “For example we don’t have quest markers in Pillars of Eternity. At all. In our journals we try to be very descriptive and clear in our updates so that you can read them and figure out where you need to go but we don’t use quest markers. And we’re okay with that, because it’s a different style of exploring and feeling and figuring things out on your own.”
Sawyer warned however that other elements, what he described as “GM-sucker-punch kind of stuff”, were being carefully filtered by the team because “the vast majority” of Pillars of Eternity’s backers simply won’t enjoy them.
“Combat encounters that can only be completed a certain way or (situations where) you have to have one of these characters, or you have to have these two characters,” said Sawyer, “those ‘gotcha!’ moments that some gamers love, well… God bless you I guess, but we’re not gonna do that.”
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