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September 28th, 2020, 22:09
Dev Blog #2: Companions vs Followers for Project Witchstone.

Greetings Adventurers!

Welcome back to the Dev Blog for Witchstone. In a series of regular posts, we're gonna dive into the cool features of the game that we're working on to make it a new kind of RPG experience. The very first one is an interesting addition to a well loved system…

Companions… and Followers!

While having companions to your main character is a long-time staple of many (honestly most!) cRPG's, we're using one of the options of the Influence System we've built the core mechanics of the game around to give you even more options when it comes to who you can have following you around.

Companions, in the normal sense, will be available to the player at various points and locations around the world. Because the nature of how each playthrough of Witchstone is wildly variable subject to choices the player makes, there will always be variance in which companions you'll meet along your travels. Among these we plan to have an interesting cast of characters that cover various tactical roles, personalities, and interesting interactions with the world as a whole when they become members of your party. While companions are more likely to stick around through thick and thin, you still need to be aware that they have a mind of their own, and while you do control them directly as a member of the party, their goals and wishes are still there, and their willingness to stick around can be affected by the player's decision to either address or ignore them.



Where we get to do something new and interesting is the inclusion of the ability to convince NPCs to follow you around by using the Influence System. The method you chose to employ is up to you, be it through persuasion, intimidation, or some other method, but a successful attempt will see that NPC willing to tag along with you for the time being. This NPC is still an independent thinker, unlike the companion members of your party who generally will be yours to control, so you may find yourself in some interesting situations if you have followers along while engaging in something they're opposed to. The autonomy that all of the NPC's in the game have still applies to followers you've convinced to come along, so you'll always have to be aware of your actions and the dispositions of anyone you have following the party to avoid (or even encourage) unforeseen outcomes.



One interesting use of the follower system that opens up a lot of possibilities for being able to physically bring NPCs to new locations their AI wouldn't normally bring them to, but their presence can create emergent events. Want the sheriff to come check out the nearby smuggler's hideout? If you can convince him to tag along, you can make it happen even if there isn't a scripted quest that would take the Sheriff there normally. Bringing certain NPCs into areas that create conflict is an obvious use, but on the flip side, inventive use of the follower system may lead to peaceful resolutions that aren't immediately obvious as well. Programming this level of reactivity into the systems is obviously challenging, but we think it's an important aspect of the "living word" feel of Witchstone. We hope its inclusion in the wider toolset we're trying to give players will create more interesting events and effects that step outside the traditional model of RPG design.



If you feel like recruiting every guard you can see so you can run around town in a big gang? Yeah, you can do that too.



….though bringing them all into a restricted area, was probably a bad idea.

If you're interested in supporting the game right now, adding us to your wishlist goes a long way to help us!

As always, we'd love to hear your thoughts, feedback, or anything at all. You can get a hold of the team by following the game on Twitter! https://twitter.com/WitchstoneGame

If you want to be notified when we send out the newsletter with info about the studio, and general updates you can subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/dilhNP

Until next we meet Adventurers!
-The Spearhead Team
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