Pillars of Eternity - Interview @ RPG Codex
The RPG Codex's Crooked Bee notified me they have posted a new interview on their site with Obsidian's Carrie Patel about Pillars of Eternity. Here is a small sample.
Speaking about games, you’re working on Pillars of Eternity: In your opinion, what are the differences between writing a book and writing for an RPG like Pillars of Eternity?
When you're writing a book, much of the process is between you and the voices in your head. Since games are collaborative, there's lots of play between narrative, level design, and art (oh, and programming!). That means that your contributions have to fit with the tapestry that everyone else is weaving, but it also means that you get to collaborate with incredible people with very different skills whose work will ultimately enhance yours.
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
Currently, I'm writing dialogue for the end of the critical path.
This is sort of a process question. In speaking to other narrative designers, we understand that they are not the only ones that contribute to dialogue writing in a game: sometimes area designers contribute too. Does it work the other way around? Are you involved in writing and designing quests for Pillars of Eternity?
Most of the quests in Pillars of Eternity have received some level of area design implementation by the time they get a narrative pass. So the degree of wiggle room varies from one quest to another, but we always look for ways to tie the story and lore more closely to individual quests without discarding the excellent design work that's gone into them. This may mean changing the backstory of an NPC to make him more relevant, changing quest dialogue while keeping the quest's original sequence of events, or, sometimes, changing a few of the quest's steps to build a more engaging narrative. We always discuss larger changes to make sure that the end product results in a good story and a satisfying gaming experience.
What is the most interesting thing to you regarding the lore? Have you been able to contribute to the lore yourself?
Unfortunately, I can't share my favorite lore tidbit! But I love our take on the undead, which Eric Fenstermaker described in one of the project updates. Much of the lore was in place (in some form) before I started, but it tends to get tweaked and refined over the development process. When I've contributed to lore, it's most often involved taking components we already have -- creature designs, cultural traits -- and molding them into something specific that fits in our world (for instance, bestiary lore and tribal identities). It's like Top Chef for worldbuilding. Here are your ingredients! What can you do with them?
One of the most important aspects of an RPG for many players is the quality of the writing and, especially in an Obsidian game, the companion dialogue. Working with Chris Avellone, Eric Fenstermaker and Josh Sawyer, does that leave you with any room to contribute companion dialogue as well? Anything that you can share or does Eric Fenstermaker just steal all of your best ideas and share them as his own?
I will be writing one or two of our companions, and this is one of the things I've looked forward to the most. I couldn't possibly agree that Eric steals my ideas (if I did, he'd probably steal my desk chair, too).
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