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January 3rd, 2019, 22:02
PC Gamer nominated its best writing for games in 2018.

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

Best writing: I'm going to cheat a bit and talk about a game I helped write: Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire. In the interest of objectivity, I'm not bringing up any of my contributions.

So we have these characters called "sidekicks." They're companions you pick up along the way who don't get the full "companion treatment" of personal quests, deeper relationships, or emotional arcs. That said, sidekicks are more than just fighting mannequins--they get their own unique voices, personalities, and in some cases intellectual growth. My colleague Kate Dollarhyde wrote the sidekick Rekke, who the player discovers shipwrecked, having sailed from a distant land. He speaks Seki, a mysterious language Kate painstakingly invented, and over time Rekke learns to communicate with the player and share his story.

What I think works about Rekke is that his origins are so far removed from the context of the game that he approaches the plot as a stranger squinting at the unusual locals. While all of the other characters bicker over political alliances, cultural struggle, and religious tension, it's refreshing to have Rekke observing from the sidelines and taking it all in with a sense of lighthearted bemusement. He's a breath of fresh air when intrigue and annihilation get a little too overwhelming. It also helps that he's perfectly charming. -- Paul Kirsch

[…]
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January 4th, 2019, 04:00
I don't remind have played games (mainly RPG) that well written this year, so eventually why not.

If on some aspect I definitely enjoyed a more old school writing of Pathfinder with more focus and efforts on building threads of suspense/mystery. In fact this quality degrades, if I remember well during in game chapter 4, perhaps 5, you learn too much then.

But in general the writing isn't that great in PK, for example for companions. If the quest final for the gnome is epic from a writing point of view, and Linzi final is also an epic writing parts, overall the work is often bellow average and sometimes good. Same for quests and characters, it's not that good even if solid in a fair quality and some good parts.

I find PoE2 overall much better for its writing, companions, quests. But there's a (big) writing error, put under the carpet too fast the emotional parts. They clearly wanted a writing lighter but they pushed it too far. So, best writing of the year, I wonder.
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January 4th, 2019, 11:12
I wasnt impressed by PoE writing. I had always feeling the game is trying so hard to express even simple things with as many words and in as much complicated ways as possible. In Deadfire I have this feeling as well, perhaps to less extent (with exeption of Xoti, really couldnt stand it whenever she opened mouth). Maybe they improved it, maybe overall improvement of the game made it more bearable for me.

But so far I sunk just about 60 hrs into Deadfire and I plan to return to it after Im finished with Kingmaker. I love party based isometric cRPGs so I usually make myself endure the bad parts of experience :-)
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January 4th, 2019, 13:52
I hadn't noticed the verbosity/"style abuse"/"excess of text" in PoE2 writing, but I noticed the writing verbosity in PoE1, plus the ton of pointless tedious text. It's not even two lines should have been written better in one line, but the two lines should have been removed entirely.

I'm not commenting PoE2, but in general, modern RPG writing si often plagued by an excess of style efforts, that don't match well a RPG video game. In my opinion there's been a too gigantic hype around Planetscape Torment, which is definitely the first I remind, that suffers of verbosity, excess of style, and excess of pointless text (the repetitions).

From this big hype, at some point some RPG dev felt cool to have wall of texts, and alas, as it's very obvious in PoE1, the walls of texts focus derailed into walls of pointless texts.

For PoE2 I didn't noticed, for me the big error of PoE2 writing is to have focused too much on making the writing light, certainly by reaction from the PoE1 fat writing with a ridiculous excess of seriousness.
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January 4th, 2019, 14:01
Well I find Eternity2 writing good. Not spectacular, but still good. Can't be more than good sadly because Eder reverted to level 0 and no writing quality could redeem design fails.

Anyway, why are we discussing that article? They've added God of War.
Boy this, boy that, boy, boy, boy, boy… The kid, if was real, would probably have nightmares from it. That's the best writing?
Besides, PCG is supposed to be about PC games. If they got so obsessed with "boy" writing, they should have also added Bird box with both "boy" and "girl" misuse, not as excessive though.
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January 4th, 2019, 14:28
I can't really comment on most of the games on that list, but PoE2 does have the best writing in 2018 for me. Doesn't mean it's spectacular though, just better than the rest.
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January 4th, 2019, 14:29
Why care this article, I browsed it quickly, I think some comment are interesting, but the selection is non relevant. I quoted there's the most hyped game ever in the list, a day I will try it even if it's not my genre.

Argue on modern RPG writing is something else, in my opinion there's a real problem here, and by contrast it is highlighted by the writing used in PK, despite all the writing weaknesses PK has.

It's weird that I didn't noticed anything but the too light aspect in PoE2, I didn't even noticed the two points commented in the article. Anyway RPG writing in 2018 is a pertinent topic, the article is just an occasion.
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January 4th, 2019, 14:30
To be hones, not interested in PC Gamer or writing in games as general topic. But Deadfire is game I like so thats why I commented.

With regard to Planescape, Dasale mentioned, I have to say writing in this game I enjoyed. I even replay it every few years so its not just rose-colored glasses due to nostalgia. Probably a matter of taste anyway …
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January 4th, 2019, 15:59
Semi-OT

Honestly, I think there are three terms got confused here:

Story.
Sadly, this is usually average at best in most games. Frustratingly, I found the worst stories in those games, that were hyped for being very story-centric (Bioware stuff, Telltale stuff, many of Dontnod stuff, recent adventure games, etc)

For the record, the only cRPG story I enjoyed immensely in recent times was Vampire:Bloodlines'. Emotionally driving, suspenseful, and lots of memorable moments.

Lore.
Methinks, recent cRPG lores are not that good either, trying hard to be a fantasy epic (Obsidian, I'm looking at you), or worse, don't care at all (Larian, I'm looking at you).

As for lore, Numenera and Arcanum were quite okay, but I'm biased towards weird stuff.

Writing.
This is all about style, and, again, no cigar.
- Usually, the writer is not good at all,
- Occasionally, the writer may be good, but his/her craft is misused (this is a game, not a book -- so, Mr Game Text Writer, pleeeease, respect our time and eyesight and be as terse as possible.)

The only cRPG writing I liked recently was Wasteland 2's.
Simple, informative, straight to the point, and occasionally hilarious.
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January 4th, 2019, 17:45
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Story.
Sadly, this is usually average at best in most games. Frustratingly, I found the worst stories in those games, that were hyped for being very story-centric (Bioware stuff, Telltale stuff, many of Dontnod stuff, recent adventure games, etc)
Can you elaborate more about some example of bad story in these games? Why so bad?

BTW maybe Vampyr had decent writing in 2018.
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January 4th, 2019, 19:00
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Story.
Sadly, this is usually average at best in most games. Frustratingly, I found the worst stories in those games, that were hyped for being very story-centric (Bioware stuff, Telltale stuff, many of Dontnod stuff, recent adventure games, etc)
Originally Posted by Farflame View Post
Can you elaborate more about some example of bad story in these games? Why so bad?.
Obviously, this is highly subjective, but I found most of these stories very boring and/or annoying.
All those supposedly big twists were seen a mile away (Bioware), or the story had no weight (Telltale), or the characters were annoying (Dontnod)

Problem is, I've played many games, seen many films, read many books, so yeah, I'm jaded to the extreme. Most of these games are trying hard to mimic classic books/films, and usually fail waaaaaaay behind'em.

But when I see a truly great game story, I appreciate it with awe despite my jaded attitude (e.g. Indy Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. This gem is a strong contender for the Best Story Ever In a Videogame, IMHO)
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January 4th, 2019, 20:30
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Honestly, I think there are three terms got confused here:
Story.
Lore.
Writing.
Huuu? Story and Lore are part of the writing. And I wonder why separate story to lore, and then forget characters, emotions, and as it's not a book then relationships, and as it's a RPG there are also stories not just one story, and for PoE2 it's mostly only that I would admit it.

Originally Posted by duerer View Post
I found the worst stories in those games, that were hyped for being very story-centric (Bioware stuff, Telltale stuff, many of Dontnod stuff, recent adventure games, etc)
Bioware is very good for characters and relationships, not bad at all for lore when I compare to other attempts as Larian or Obsidian, and even InXile. I doubt I'll ever see a companion writing as powerful and greatly written than Morrigan in DAO, and it includes the relationships writing with the player.

Bethesda is just good for lore and by chance sometimes for secondary stories. My bet is either they have some very slow very good writers, either they did sometime some very good hire, like to write some in game books or quest stories.

Originally Posted by duerer View Post
This is all about style, and, again, no cigar.
For you, not for reality, writing is a lot more than style, sigh.

Originally Posted by duerer View Post
- Usually, the writer is not good at all,
Well, it's nothing new that video game hired real writers, if none was Proust (ha ha), some did pretty good stuff out of video games, none ever really enhanced the style, at best some plots or stories.

Shadowrun Returns, Dragonfall, The Witcher 1, and the last Torment, some of the few example of RPG with a good work on style.

But a great style shouldn't be visible, but only serve a purpose for the story and transmit it to reader/player.

After there's the nombril style, writing games, it works on other writers and readers that read too much, it's not for video games in my opinion. That said, what's done in Shadowrun Returns was fun for me. But it's more style just for the smiles of the references, not masturbating games.

Originally Posted by duerer View Post
The only cRPG writing I liked recently was Wasteland 2's.
Simple, informative, straight to the point, and occasionally hilarious.
It's right that it has an overall solid quality, it's bizarre you skip list emotions other than laugh, but ok. For characters, there's good stuff, but it's average beside few exceptions.

Overall WL2 writing is very far to Dragonfall writing quality, from any point of view, plots, topics, characters, emotions, fun, serious, sad, rage, make you think, and more, and obviously a lot superior for lore, but yeah thanks to an IP.

Shadowrun Returns is an achievement, but the writers or some writers was certainly too newbie and it derail a little bit sometimes, it's still overall quite superior stuff compared to WL2, but for the humorist touches it can't beat WL2.

In general western RPG writing has troubles to manage emotions, despite it's the most important element to build and transmit to reader/player. Japanese RPG have much more capacities to play with that, alas it's almost always burdened by their ton of clichés for the kids or teens, without to mention the abuse, that work anyway when they surprise you, but much less when you see the trunk hit coming to your face, that is often.
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January 4th, 2019, 21:04
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Story.
Lore.
Writing.
Originally Posted by Dasale View Post
Huuu? Story and Lore are part of the writing.
Generally speaking, I don't think so. These are three very different things.

You can create a great story, without lore and good writing -- think of movie screenplays.
You can create a great lore without any story or quality writing -- think of encyclopedias.
You can create great writing without any story or lore -- think of poems.

Again, three very different things, yet closely related to each other.

My problem is that I've played certain games where either the story, or the lore, or the writing is quite all right -- but I'm yet to find a game where all three ingredients are equally great.
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January 4th, 2019, 21:07
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Obviously, this is highly subjective, but I found most of these stories very boring and/or annoying.
If we stick to western RPG, it's true that the main plot is bellow average, and then the main story is hardly much better. Still, a story is a whole, not just a plot, but also characters, mood, emotion, suspense are part of the story.

And a RPG is no way just a story, all those story driven RPG, tend have reduced a lot the point of view to that, it's just a main story. As if secondary stories, lore development, characters not really linked to main story, and more, aren't important too.

But even if I stick to the main story, I'm not as much severe, some RPG had a good plot and it's been managed well enough by the writing to make a good main story. The rare RPG examples in my opinion:
- Pool of Radiance, the original game, but it's a long long time ago, and it's possible that memory is failing.
- Chrono Trigger (but you need endure the kiddish/teenish aspects/cliches)
- Fallout 1, but some players answered me that its writing was low quality, and I still haven't checked. So it could be bad memories, but when I played it I wasn't a kid, quite more than 30 already and a thousand of SF books behind.
- Deus Ex
- Mask of The Betrayer.
- Mass Effect first trilogy as a whole.
- The Witcher 1 (for the trilogy as a whole it's too much diluted unlike ME series)
- Shadowrun Returns
- Dragonfall
- Wasteland 2
- Blackguards 2, best end I ever played.
- Tyranny but it's an unfinished story.
- First parts of Pathfinder Kingmaker, roughly first fix in game parts including the prologue, shoud be books 1 to 4 I believe.
Last edited by Dasale; January 4th, 2019 at 21:19.
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January 4th, 2019, 21:16
Originally Posted by duerer View Post
Generally speaking, I don't think so. These are three very different things.

You can create a great story, without lore and good writing -- think of movie screenplays.
You can create a great lore without any story or quality writing -- think of encyclopedias.
You can create great writing without any story or lore -- think of poems.

Again, three very different things, yet closely related to each other.

My problem is that I've played certain games where either the story, or the lore, or the writing is quite all right -- but I'm yet to find a game where all three ingredients are equally great.
It's not a poem it's a game. In my opinion it's pointless to argue about that, but to argue anyway.

Ok you mean the main story, because I can guaranty you that many science fiction book don't need any encyclopedia to create a lore through one story and a lore much better than many RPG lore. So exclude the lore from the story is not fully right, but ok I see what you mean.

I continue not see what you mean by separating writing to many elements including story, lore, characters, many more.

Ad I already wrote, the style should be a tool not a target. Masturbating games around writing is for writers, future writers, and when you have read a lot too much, not for video games.
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January 4th, 2019, 21:30
I think the point of view of the main story is very restrictive, and more coming from players than what could be RPG. I have read a few books, often it was science fiction, a few time it was fantasy, that was collection of short stories or novella with some links between them, and the whole creating a cloud of stories.

This perspective would match much better RPG that try to make live a world. And in a way, that's what is doing Pathfinder Kinmaker, a collection of stories with a main thread along the progression. Soemtimes this thread is rather thin, sometimes you get bits of it, and the whole setup the main story, but your main story was a lot more the collection of secondary stories.

And in a way PoE2 tried it too, and also in the perspective to fit better the creation of a world. But PK used some tricks, you manage a kingdom, time pressure, time linearity, hidden main thread, to hide better that it is a collection of stories, and then most players are fine with that.

PoE2 let much more freedom to player, and for most it makes apparent how short is the main story. But frankly, PK main story isn't much longer. But it's possible that its main plot is better.
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January 5th, 2019, 03:57
PoE2 got a mention in PC Gamer's Best Levels of 2018, too.
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January 6th, 2019, 13:14
Originally Posted by Zloth View Post
PoE2 got a mention in PC Gamer's Best Levels of 2018, too.
It's levels, maps, and locations. For PoE2 I suppose it would be locations.
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January 6th, 2019, 13:42
poe writing isnutter shit. only cunts like it.
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January 6th, 2019, 13:47
Agree poe1 writing is pure crap with only few exception.
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