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Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
Pillars of Eternity is an isometric, party-based computer RPG set in a new fantasy world developed by Obsidian Entertainment.
73,986 backers pledged $3,986,929 to help bring this project to life.

Narrative Design: A Day in the Life, Companion Goals, and the Undead

Posted by Obsidian Entertainment (Creator)

Update by Eric Fenstermaker, Lead Narrative Designer

Undead abound in Heritage Hill.

Undead abound in Heritage Hill.

Hey everybody. I'm Eric Fenstermaker and I'm the lead narrative designer on Pillars of Eternity. Before this I held the same position on South Park: The Stick of Truth, so if the dialogue in Eternity ends up being a long string of obscenities and fart jokes, you know who to blame. You can direct all hate mail to my work email account,

I know we suggested last week that I was going to give you a lore update, but I thought, this is a crowdfunded project. Why not completely fail to deliver on what was promised and instead give our backers something no one asked for?

I have three things for you today - the first is a look at what my daily experience is like, then I'm going to talk a bit about some high-level goals we have for writing our companion characters, and finally I might just have some lore about Eternity's undead.

On the next episode of Pillars of Eternity: Josh Sawyer writes a class update about wizards and druids, and Adam meets a wacky goblin neighbor only he can see!

But what to talk about first? Being a narcissist, the answer is obvious.

What It Is Like to Be Me

Today has been busy and varied. I thought it might be interesting to take you through a typical day as a narrative lead person. I will tell it in second person so it feels like virtual reality. Most of this is somewhat based on real events - at least as much as American Hustle.

10:05 AM

You arrive at work. Take serpentine route to your desk to avoid being seen by anyone who would frown upon your five minutes' tardiness. End up accidentally passing all of them in the hallway anyway. Pass subordinate in hallway too. Shake your head at him to note disapproval of his tardiness.

10:10 AM - 10:25 AM

Watch internet video of intro to Japanese wrestling match featuring life-sized animatronic raptor. Dream of making it big as a game designer and having a raptor of your own. Someday...

10:25 AM

Deny your subordinate's purchase request for an ergonomic keyboard to help with her carpal tunnel. That is what stem cells are for. Back to work, slave.

10:30 AM- 11:30 AM

Brainstorming meeting: What kind of monsters can we reasonably use in an urban docks district along the shoreline that somehow have not worked the surrounding populace into a panic? Proposals: invisible giant crabs, giants with poor height genes from both parents, low-key mummies.

11:30 AM

Reminded for seventh time about backer update, which you knew about but have been deliberately putting off. Chastise producer for not reminding you enough.

11:50 AM - 12:00 AM

Called in to review cutscene animatic. Despite the storyboard being delivered exactly as asked for, you berate the storyboard artist to consolidate power. This is garbage, GARBAGE!

12:00 PM

Lunch alone at office desk, like every day.

So alone.

12:10 PM - 1:00 PM

Spend the rest of lunch on Facebook and Twitter making it look like you have the perfect life and everybody loves you.

1:00 PM - ??

Intermittent raptor daydreams.

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Work with narrative designer on the design for a new companion centered exclusively on maximizing companion's potential to be spun off into a line of toys. Huge adorable eyes, soft plush fur, impressive physique, ability to transform into racecar, check, check, check and check.

2:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Passing off subordinates' ideas as your own. Crushing their spirit.

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Brainstorm barbarian clan names.

  • The Large and in Charge Clan
  • Clan Pizzaface
  • The One-Man Clan
  • The Passive-Aggressors
  • The Doughmen

5:00 PM -7:00 PM

Annoy backers.

In Summary

I may have taken a few liberties, but some of that is really a snapshot as to what my role is.

Day-to-day, I spend a fair amount of time coordinating the efforts of narrative designers with level designers, so for example I really did have a meeting this morning to figure out how on Earth we could have a quest with some monster combat in a populated, more-or-less oblivious urban district without the monsters there feeling absurdly out of place. The game needs to be fun, first and foremost, with or without a story. It's ultimately my responsibility to make sure that the fun things our designers come up with have a cohesive narrative wrapped around them. Sometimes it's an easy fit, sometimes it's a puzzle to be solved. Fortunately I am backed up by some very talented designers whose ideas I can steal liberally - that part was all true, too.

It's also on me to try and make sure the story is being told properly in-game, so there was in fact a meeting with a storyboard artist to look through one of our game's introductory cutscenes. Our concept artists' stick figures look better than the most realistic human portrait I could ever draw.

And I have to curate lore, though that's a responsibility I share with Josh Sawyer, our project lead. In general I prefer this to be a decentralized process where designers come up with things that make their quests and areas and subplots cool, and then we find ways together to work them into the overall scheme. But there was also a good amount of up-front central planning, dating back to before I was on the project. In this case, today I did have a long conversation with a couple of our level guys about the names and personalities of a set of barbarian-ish tribes.



What's missing from the above is that on some days, when I am fortunate, I get to do some writing for the project, which is really fun. If you are a narrative lead you get to claim all the choicest dialogues for yourself. It's a great privilege, which is one reason why so many narrative leads are murdered by the narrative designer who is next-in-line.

So Alone

Companions may be my favorite things about RPGs. Long after you've finished the game, looking back, if they're done well, they feel like old friends. Lately we have been ramping up our companion writing. (We really did have a discussion about one of those designs today, and did some iteration on it.) As such, I've been giving a lot of thought of late as to what our goals should be in creating the companions for Pillars of Eternity, and I thought they'd be worth sharing with the people we're designing them for. These are a few of the benchmarks I want us to try to hit:

Interactively Dynamic

It's common in most types of fiction for major characters (or the protagonist at the very least) to follow an arc, in which their character begins a certain way and ends up being changed by the events of the story, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. But for a video game, that's not really taking advantage of the medium. This is a story about the player's character, told by the player's actions. It stands to reason that the ways in which a companion would change should be dependent on what the player does.

So we have an arc for each of our companions, but each arc has multiple potential endpoints, in just the same way that the plot has multiple endings. Which endpoint the arc ends up at will be, in one way or another, determined by what the player does - whether it's something they say or an action they take or some other choice they make. This was an approach we last took in Fallout: New Vegas and I thought it was something to definitely keep.

Unique, Varied, Relatable Ambassadors

Chris Avellone touched on this in a previous update, and it remains a core goal for us. Pillars of Eternity takes place in a brand new setting. Most players won't know their boreal dwarf chanters from their hearth orlan ciphers. Getting to know companions that run the gamut of races, classes, and cultures will help the setting come alive and hopefully become a place players will find themselves wanting to stay awhile. Each companion, in a sense, becomes an ambassador for his or her race, culture, and class.

And we only have so many companions. So they can't all be snarky elves (or can they?) - they need different characterizations, different voices, different struggles. As a designer, you never know what's going to strike a nerve with a given player. Rarely for our games is there a universal favorite companion - almost always there seems to be an even distribution for how many players like each character. In some ways that's maddening, because how do you adjust for that, but it's also one of the best things about writing companions - as long as you write a character that is authentic in its humanity, somewhere, somebody is going to identify with it, and that will be the character they enjoyed spending time with the most. By varying widely the particulars of each companion's persona and struggles, the hope is that while not everybody will necessarily love every companion, most will find at least one that means something to them.

Lanterns to the Themes

"Why should the player care?" is a question we try to ask ourselves for all aspects of the narrative. When it comes to plot, the question is answered by its themes - they make the plot about something more than a physical struggle.

But again, our narrative is interactive. The themes shouldn't be predetermined morals. There should be many facets to them, and it should fall to the player, not the designer, to decide what his or her perspective winds up being on the theme. To take a well-worn example, if the theme is about the struggle of good vs. evil (don't worry, it's not), the ending shouldn't simply assert that good always triumphs over evil. It should ask the player what he or she believes, given everything they've learned on their journey. Maybe they even surprise themselves with their choice.

That's where companions come in. If we're designing them well, their struggles should tie into the themes on some level. And the resolution they come to, which, because of the interactive dynamism discussed above, is influenced by the player, gives them a distinct perspective on the theme. The goal is that in the process of helping the companions resolve their conflicts, we give the player something to think about for what that might mean in the context of his or her own character, and in the long run, that gives the themes personal meaning when it comes time to resolve them for the player character.

I'd be interested to hear, what do all of you think? Not so much specific characterizations, but more, what are the abstract qualities that make you enjoy and remember a companion? (e.g. They made you laugh, they seemed like a real person, their quest was engrossing, etc.)

Here, Have Some Lore

Compensation for being subjected to the rest of this update.

All my best ideas are stolen. This one I ripped off from our lead level designer, Bobby Null. It is about the undead.

Male and female darguls.

Male and female darguls.

One of the strengths of the Eternity setting, in my opinion, is its ability to put a new spin on the familiar. Let's be honest, you've seen undead before in a video game or two. I bet you've had a virtual conflict with a skeleton or perhaps even a zombie. But no matter how many times we see them, they're fantasy RPG staples - it'd be weird not to have them, and many people would really miss them were they omitted.

So we did some thinking as to how we could have undead but have them be our own special brand of undead that makes sense in this world.

This is How Undead Work

Let's say you are a wealthy noble who would like to cheat death. There are a variety of options at your disposal, but this offer from a shady animancer sounds the most painless. All he is going to do is bind your soul to your body, so that way when you die, your soul stays put and you still retain all your motor control.

Sign me up, you say. Suck on this, death! The animancer sets up some bizarre tools and machines, has you hold onto some copper wires, and before you know it the whole thing is over. He leaves and takes his fee. A few years later you die in a horrific skiing accident. Not to worry! Your soul isn't going anywhere. You are living large, my friend. But here's the thing. Your soul isn't going anywhere, but your body is. It starts to decompose. Slowly at first. A maggot here, a maggot there. And you are starting to get weird cravings, kind of like a pregnant woman, but instead of peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches, you could really go for some human flesh.

So you eat some guys. And lo and behold, the decomposition stops! You're cured! Except that after a while, you start to rot again. Over time, you find that eating folks and absorbing the essence from their flesh is the only way to stop decomposition. But after a while you run out of neighbor kids and it gets harder and harder to track down a meal. Flesh is dropping off in chunks. And it feels like your IQ has fallen a few points, like that time you used to live next to that industrial solvent factory. In time, your mind goes as well as your body. You become feral, then near-vegetative, then purely mechanical - your body nothing more than a fleshless marionette.

Revenant bestiary concepts.

Revenant bestiary concepts.

What you have just done is experienced the full continuum of undeath. Corporeal undead in this world all suffer from the same malady, and are merely in different stages of decomposition. How do you get this condition? It's usually something that you would get by commissioning an unscrupulous animancer to help you live forever, or by volunteering for a "harmless clinical trial." These ladies and gentlemen have been studying a certain banned piece of literature known as the Theorems of Padgram and are trying to develop a true path to immortality. But there are supposedly other ways - certain alchemical tinctures, ancient architecturally-embedded machinery, self-pleasure (according to some disapproving Dyrwoodan moms), etc.

  • You start as a fampyr. (And these names are not different-for-the-sake-of-different - they're just following location-appropriate linguistic rules.) By appearances, you're basically a normal person who is going through a bit of a cannibal phase.
  • Allow yourself to decompose for a while, and you start to lose control of your urges, and your memory begins to slip away. Your self-consciousness is flimsy. You are now what's called a dargul.
  • Much more decomposition, and you become bestial. Your hair is gone (if it wasn't already), the flesh sags on your bones, and you live only to feed your hunger. You are a gul, but you don't give it much thought at this point. You just think you are hungry.
  • Then your mind gets really pretty thoroughly rotted, like what happens if you play a lot of FPSes, and you're only running at the basest level of instinct. You have no memory. You, my friend, are a revenant, and you are not very fun at parties.
  • After the last bit of flesh falls away, and the last mildly complicated neural synaptic path fires for the final time, you're running on pure reflex. You're not even hungry anymore (no stomach!). Your body is a murderous automaton. You are a skeleton, and your next step is dust.


It's a fun time for the project. Amazing new level art and some of what I think are our best quests yet are being added every day, and I'm very excited for what's ahead. I personally want to express my appreciation for the thing all of you made happen by backing us, and I want to do everything I can to make sure you guys are suitably rewarded for your efforts.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to fill out your backer surveys. Those of you who have surveys will find them on your account page on the backer portal under the Surveys tab. You have until March 31st before they become as worthless as that Myspace page I had in college with all the animated gifs on it, so get those suckers in. Huge thanks to those who've filled theirs out - the team is already putting that content into the game and it's coming out pretty slick.

Last Lastly... reddit /r/Games AMA

Hey, everyone. This is Brandon. One last note, the Eternity team will be taking part in a reddit AMA in /r/Games. This is scheduled for today at 5:30 PM PST, so be on the lookout.


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    1. Trister - OO's Tormented Master Wetboy on

      what makes me remember a companion? they have an impact on your character, or do something completely surprising, or make an extreme sacrifice. mordin from ME2/3 is a perfect example of this, he seems so standoffish at first, but in the end his death was one of the saddest things i've experienced in a game because of his regrets for his actions, his questioning what he did, and the fact that he was willing to sacrifice everything he had to correct something he deemed a mistake.

      another one i really enjoyed was jack from ME2, just for how utterly broken she was. characters that are very deeply flawed always resonate with me for some reason. but someone who has been through hell and refuses to just give up when so many others would have, or simply died.

      as an example of what not to do... the majority of the companions from dragons age. alistair... oh god he was annoying. the only ones i liked at all from that game were shale (awesome HK-47 referenceish character. HK is one of my all time favorite characters in any game, period), and morrigan. morrigan really stood out because she was utterly unimpressed with you, and her goals were always obviously not aligned with my own, or even my wants, but she stayed around anyway simply because it amused her (and she didn't know where else to go after a certain point). that she ultimately came to care for you was interesting, but didn't stop her from leaving after everything was over. i.e. basically a character that is completely in it for themselves, and decides for whatever reason they'll travel with you for as long as it amuses or benefits them but'll drop you like a bad habit as soon as neither one of those things happens no matter how they feel about you.

      i would also absolutely love a magnificent bastard (look up tv tropes if you don't know) character. those characters are pretty much always my favorites in literally anything i've read, watched or played.

      hope that helps a little.

    2. Cardo on

      Nice update :)

    3. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @David: This is a world without printing press. After a few steps of word-of-mouth the facts are muddled to fairy tales. No respecting citizen will talk about the dark arts, if you want to know more you have to talk to... a necromancer. How many people will really know that skeletons are in reality very old fampyrs?

      And: Some won't care. They will be happy to roam as a skeleton if they can live a few more year. And necromancers will tell them they can live forever, anyway. They will happily lie if they can get a good paying customer

    4. David on

      Hey, nice read! I like getting a writer's perspective.

      Don't know if you thought about it already, but isn't it a bit of a logical flaw if the only way to have undeads is through the way you describe? Wouldn't word get around that those "binding spells" would make you eventually turn into a mindless skeleton? I love the idea of the soul binding, it's a fresh take, but it feels like that issue needs to be addressed. Perhaps many have been bound against their will? Or that there are actually very few undead, all created during roughly the same time before the procedure wasn't famous for its consequences. Just some thoughts. :)

    5. Elciled on

      I end up liking/remembering...uh charismatic characters? Usually the funniest companions, the "evil" ones (or something close to that), and the romanceable ones. The romanceable ones specially, are the ones I'll go on to make fanart of years later, have discussions about, etc. So yeah I know you're thinking "oh you're one of THOSE people" yeah I am, and yeah I'm sad this won't happen in this game (I'll wait for mods though lol). They form a bond with my PC and I get to know them in ways I dont get to know the others, and they also enable me to roleplay with more freedom, and so then I feel much more attached to them. Yes I know it won't happen.
      When I play asexual, aromantic characters in rpgs who are never interested in anyone, the funniest and the "most evil" companions still end up my favorites.
      The "evil" characters are usually ones you hate or are badass and cool so you'll remember them one way or the other :)

    6. Missing avatar

      Michael on

      Sooooooooo fampyr companion for evil characters?

    7. Missing avatar

      Markus Rechberger on

      Loved your workday, great update!

    8. Missing avatar

      Lukas M on

      "what are the abstract qualities that make you enjoy and remember a companion?"
      I liked the Torment characters a lot for their very interesting background stories which explained why at least some of them acted the way they do. That way I could somewhat connect to them, especially as some of their stories were quite surprising. In that way i liked Morte a lot, his connection to the Nameless One was very interesting and the fact that he was funny was very important too for me to remember him. Most attempts on "funny" in RPGs end in a fail if too forced, but this one wasn't forced and not shallow either. Also I remember the dog from Fallout 1 well for the way the player gets to know him and the fact that the encounter and friendship is credible and realistic. Characters like "ok u gave me monies i m gonna stay with u" are obviously not gonna make a big impact on the player's memory. Very important is also the individuality of the character, like a very styled appearance and a very specific character. If a NPC hasnt got a very specific kind of character and maybe also humor and appearance he is also not gonna be remembered much.

    9. gandalf.nho

      Nice to see unusual undead

      @Luke, Obsidian also had their share of snarky elves, like Sand in NWN2...

    10. Niggles on

      Project looking good so far :).

      Btw a project you guys may be interested in looking at -- rpg with a middle east theme

    11. Missing avatar

      seyEliveD on

      @Jimhead: I agree with your comment regarding companions. I tend to choose companions that interact frequently with the world, other companions, and NPCs.

    12. Missing avatar

      seyEliveD on

      @Evan Dawson: I thought the comment regarding FPSes was awesome, and I fully agree with it.

    13. Cory "silentdante" Smith on

      I like the undead queue taken from stuff like iZombie where as long as she ate brains she could retain some form of "humanism and thought" but when she did eat a brain to stay sane she also absorbed some of the brains memories.

    14. Lukáš Kucharczyk on

      (...) what are the abstract qualities that make you enjoy and remember a companion?

      I like it when the NPCs suprise me. After playing a moderate amount of games you can usually tell a lot of the different ways the companions will (re)act in certain situations so it's always welcome for some of the characters to catch you off-guard. And I don't mean in some nonsensical, extreme way like a companion suddenly killing off every other companion because he is random like that.

      I know this is pretty unhelpful because it's so vague but I though I would share my opinion anyway.

    15. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Derek Gardner: FFS turn on your brain. Note the over-the-top humor and his mentioning later which parts were superficially similar to what actually happened. Try to guess whether someone actually denying someone a keyboard would really boast about it in a forum.

    16. Missing avatar

      DerekG on

      Former corporate slave here. FFS get your subordinate an ergonomic keyboard. I'm still nursing my RSI.

    17. Evan Dawson on

      In response to the character theme bit and the request for feedback:

      One of the more interesting things I dug up in the Fallout wiki was a character from one of the cancelled Fallout called The Hanged Man, which was an evil-minded companion character that you could pick up early on. What struck me about his description was how disruptive he was. He had open antagonism with several factions, which themselves disliked the PC for having him around and would even attack automatically. He would refuse to enter certain towns, refuse to surrender arms, pick fights with npcs, and in general require a great deal of effort and skill from the PC to keep in check.

      Now I’m not going to waste breath on dwelling on the hugely disappointing thing that the character was mutated into for New Vegas. But I do want to push on you guys the concept of the original companion that is more involved in a chaotic and disruptive way with the world around him. Who might spar with NPCs and other companions, whose presence might be a dead weight on the PC’s shoulders, who requires a great deal of effort on their part to keep in check and find out what his/her deal is, who has a real impact on the game experience that isn’t often seen. The polar opposite of the pitfall many companions in games fall into where they are a tagalong whose existence revolves around the PC regardless of what their story dictes.

      Something like that in Eternity would be great.

      P.S. That dig at FPSes was completely unnecessary and would accomplish absolutely nothing beyond making FPS fans (some of which also play RPGs, believe it or not) dislike you. I don’t think we need more pointless Us Vs. Them mentality with video game fans, thanks.

    18. Dave Beaudoin on

      Amazing update again! The lore section was a really good read too! I find lore can get dry and hard to read in some games but this actually got me really excited about reading more lore, very enjoyable read!

      I'm signed up to a few other kick starters but hands down pillars of eternity is miles ahead in updates, I look forward to these biweekly updates when so many other kick starters just update rarely and randomly. I realize how busy you are with the project but still find time to keep us regularly updated with great game and process details! That speaks volumes on your commitment to your audience!!!

      Keep up the amazing work, can't wait to get my hands on this game and the cool items in the collectors edition I backed!!!

    19. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      @Theobeau: I do :-)

      @Jabberwok: Probably in this world nobody knows for sure whether a fampyr could stay "healthy" forever. Every fampyr thought he could cheat death, but ultimately always something happened (either a hero came along, supply dried out or he made a mistake or got a revolt on his hands and had to flee hastily) that cost him his stable position. It is always someone else to blame. But still there are rumors in "trade circles" that this king might have been a fampyr with an endless supply of "food" in his cellars, but ultimately kings can't hold onto power forever because a long life produces a long list of enemies.

      The only ones who know for sure are high ranking necromancers. But a good salesman tells you what you want to hear, can you trust what a necromancer tells you? Especially since necromancers must pick their customers veeeery carefully, they can't just let a good customer slip their fingers because of silly scruples to tell a lie. Anyway, scruples and necromancers, haaaaahahahaaa.

    20. Jimhead on

      Suggestions of monsters to have at the docks: Something similar to Lovecrafts inbred fishmen.

      The companions I use to gravitate towards is those that feel as they lived in the world before you and their travels with you might be a catharsis for something (depending on player actions)

      On what kind of personalities i don't know. I usually choose them on appearance or game mechanical reasons. But if they're able to experience catharsis. Or represent different ways a player could approach or react to the circumstances that happen in the game. It would be greeeaaat.

    21. Willem on

      Thanks for the update. Screenshot is awesome. I also approve of the undead lore; I like the idea of the stages of undead and how it fits in with the world lore. I hope all the game's monsters and encounters have this much effort put into how they fit into the world; especially for the first game, the world building needs to be solid and have quality. I also expect much from the story, not something clichéd. I want something deep and nuanced. For example, Baldur's Gate was awesome, but its story was very traditional (this was not a problem of course since this is what BG represented: a tried and true authentic traditional D&D experience), but for PoE, I want a Planescape Torment type of story; not some mooshy wooshy love and save the world story.

      I want the main antagonist to be...unique and motivated by very unique things (and of course how you fit in must also be very interesting); please just don't create some one dimensional antagonist that lost the love of his life, wanted great power, was denied and now wants revenge (partly looking at you Jon Irenicus); for reference to an excellent ‘antagonist’ or character take Ammon Jerro from NWN2, that character was amazing, brilliantly done Obsidian; now that is a nuanced character in terms of personality and motivations (trying to save the world, but actually willing to hurt those who is trying to save to do so, not solely for ‘I want more powah and evils!11!!’). Just my opinion, probably too late in the development to seriously make an impact on the main story, but still just thought I'd mention it.

      Incredibly excited for this game!

    22. Paul Andersen on

      I like the undead concept. It feels much more like something you would find humans doing in a fictional world instead of the "There are zombies because magic 'n' stuff."

      I'm also glad the plot isn't good -vs- evil, but I never really suspected it would be, anyway.

    23. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      I would say that that is probably one the most well-organized, rational, and accurate descriptions of what a zombie is. I'm curious about a couple of things, though. It sounds as if the decomposition is staved off by feeding, but would this also prevent an undead individual from mentally degrading through the other stages? For instance, would a well-fed fampyr stay a fampyr, mentally and physically? Also, I wonder how the concepts of things like wraith or lyches might fit into this... And would they retain things like magical abilities? What happens if a powerful sorcerer degrades into a revenant?

      In terms of companions, I tend to gravitate more towards the ones that might be described as 'plucky.' Even if they're in over their heads, they don't spend time feeling sorry for themselves. The ones that whine too much end up getting left behind. For instance, I never spent much time with Boone or Raul in New Vegas (er, partly because of glitches). That doesn't mean I want them to be sunshine, though. I liked Cass because of her somewhat cynical outlook and penchant for drinking her troubles away. Crazy characters are usually good. I enjoyed both Lily and Dog. I liked Arcade because his level of sophistication and mannerisms were so at odds with his surroundings.

    24. Theobeau:OOoE\Mad man with a box/Exiled on

      What a great update; humorous, informative plus flatulence. The best bit, the lead designer's work hours: who gets to start work at 10AM?!

      Keep up these great posts!

    25. meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on

      Great update. I hope Eric's humor is adequately represented in the finished game.

    26. Steve Dozniak on

      Wow Erik, you've skilfully set up Brandon for a little surprise!

    27. Missing avatar

      Mad Squ on

      Since it seems I cannot edit my post:

      Whatever happened to the Arcanum playthrough? It is quite some time ago since we had the last installment there...

    28. Missing avatar

      Mad Squ on

      Up to this day Bastila from The Knight of the old Republik is one of my most memorable companions. Thanks to her I actually had my first "real" emotional moment in a pc game.

      In my first playthrough I was (of course) being a good and shiny hero. So we bonded and everything was going fine until she was captured by this sucker Malak. And he started turturing her. That mofo! I was really sitting at my desk in anger and sweared to kill him for killing my beloved Bastila! Imagine my pure joy when I landed on some port and saw her in the distance! Alive and as beautyful as ever! Wohooo! So I ran to her and was totally and utterly shocked to discover that she had turned to the dark side! That is until today one of the most impressive moments a PC game created for me. Eventhough I was well aware that it was just a game and that I was just following a storyline on the cognitive level it got me deeply involved on an emotional level and for the rest of the game I desperately tried to "save" her.

      In contrast on my second playthrough as The Lord of Evil I was happy to have a pretty chick beside me that I could rule the universe with.

      I also still remember Mafia (the good 1st part) when I was walking home Sarah and in this dark alley we were approached by this bunch of thugs. I was not only beating them up, because the game mechanics wanted me to. I was beating them up to protect her.

      So I guess what is working for me very strongly to get involved is to appeal to my protective instinct.

    29. Missing avatar

      Luke on

      I particularly enjoyed what might be an underhanded jab at the writing in Dragon Age:

      "So they can't all be snarky elves (or can they?)"

    30. Missing avatar

      Kaas on

      @Jason E

      humour is not your forte, is it?

    31. LordCrash on

      That screenshot....*drool*

      Nice update!

    32. Missing avatar

      Jason E on

      Your "lowly subordinate" that needs a proper ergonomic keyboard should check out Workers Comp, or file a complaint against your ass. If you're not the person for her to go to you have to tell her who to go to. Hopefully she gets her compensation or that keyboard she requires if she has fully diagnosed carpal tunnel, if she got it from your workplace you'll get what you deserve in time!

    33. Jarrah on

      Does the soul stay bound even after the bones turn to dust?

    34. Shiroco-Librarian of Unwritten Tales 542 on

      That screenshot Oo God, I can't wait to finally play this gem. The spin on the undead sounds really interesting and I wonder how common Undead will be in the world and if their appearance in a certain place will be explained.

    35. Tomimt on

      A very nice update. I like the concept behind your zombies and skeletons, which are by far the most boring types of enemies in any typical RPG (or any other media for the matter). I really hope you'll manage to bring at lesat some level of personality to them.

    36. Claudio on

      >1:00 PM - ??
      >Intermittent Reddit comments.


    37. Nekator

      yay... seems like my kind of dream job ;9

    38. Missing avatar

      Karl Malm on

      I want a job where I can arrive at 10 :(

    39. Gavin Reading Rainbow KS backer! on

      "Why should the player care?" < - This.

      Just because I sit down to play a game does NOT mean I give a rat's behind about what has been created for my potentially consumptive pleasure; all it means is that I am giving the creators a chance to grab my attention. (The same could be said for opening a book, starting a movie, etc.)

      Case in point: in Mass Effect (the first one), there is a point in the story at which companions are added to your ship. No preface is given, no warning, just BAM! Instant companions! Randomly added companions suddenly walking around MY SHIP!! WTF are they doing onboard!? So I ask them... oh wait, they don't want to "share their feelings" with me until we are better acquainted... Riiiiiiight, like that will make me care!

      Long story short, I poked and prodded at all of them, trying to make them cry or lash out in anger - anything to mildly amuse me! I tried to get them killed just so they would get the $*%^ off MY SHIP! They failed to grab my attention for the ENTIRE GAME. By removing the choice of having specific companions, or even companions AT ALL, I never invested emotionally in any of them. They were combat fodder, and the Mass Effect creators failed to elicit anything other than annoyance from me toward the so-called "companions". I remember nothing about them.

      So yes, I whole-heartedly agree with the concept of getting the player to care. About companions, the world, anything. It does not take much, and in truth it does not even always require the inclusion of choice, but it does require something more than a gameplay function. In a perfect world, it would also include the ability to redress any "mistakes" that the player may have made, such as taking a chance on someone or something in the game and being able to "correct" that if need be.

      As for Mass Effect, I was curious enough to finish the game. That sad excuse for an "RPG" is on my list of biggest wastes of time. My favorite part of that game was the dune buggy tank. I was actually disincentivized from playing ME2 or 3. There are no words for how much that game sucked in my opinion.

    40. Ian Kelly on

      A lot of liberty can be taken with the word "revenant". Like in Girl Genius, where the revenants aren't even undead.

    41. Amichai Naveh Marmor on

      One of the best updates to date!!!

    42. Laurent Maire on

      @Soulrift well if it makes a difference 'revenant' in modern French is just synonymous with ghost or apparition, which explains the word's origins. Returning from death/refusing to give up 'life', is pretty much the overarching theme of all undead. Since neither French nor English exist in the world of PE though I think it's probably ok that they just call them something cool.

    43. Laurent Maire on

      Hilarious. Thanks Eric. Haven't laughed this hard at an update since Rob Nesler's last.

      Every new thing I see or read on PE boosts my confidence in the project, and the team working on it. More and more this seems like the absolute best way this game could possibly be produced, as you are left to lead it in the direction your experience and artistic sensibilities tell you it should go. This is truly *your* game, the brainchild of Obsidian, and I'm incredibly jazzed to see the finished product of such a devoted group of developers.

      As for companions: For me it's definitely having them react in unexpected and realistic ways, based on wrinkles in their histories and psychological make-up. Real people are living contradictions and what makes them tick can be a snarled and layered puzzle. I love characters that challenge me and my ideals --for example by being likeable but then revealing and arguing a worldview I disagree with; or by being initially unpleasant or annoying and learning over time there was more to their behaviour than I gave them credit for, challenging writing them off based on my preconceptions. Lots of people don't enjoy this kind of character interaction though. My best example would be a favourite Mass Effect character Ashley. An initially standoffish and militaristic personality who, over the course of the game, reveals both a poignant sensitivity and also an inherent isolationist/superiority complex. I found this stimulating because being invested in finding out about her and how her experiences had shaped her, she reveals this distasteful yet understandable point of view. I also enjoyed speaking with Zevran in DA: Origins for similar reasons.

      Keep up the good work - can't wait for more news!

    44. FightingFurball on

      I like the clan name 'The Passive-Aggressors' :)

    45. mrfatso ~ Defender of The Goat on

      who is soulrift anyway, and why does matt care?

    46. Missing avatar

      Cutter on

      The only cretins that exist in society are bigoted and racist assholes like you Matt Baker. And yes, you should be removed from society. Don't go away mad, just go away.

    47. Matt Baker on

      soulrift is gay. Gay as in an undesirable cretin that should be removed from civilized society. You know, like homosexuals (other than Tim Cain and good looking lesbians).

    48. Eunu on

      Brandon, this deserves a place in your portfolio!

      On skeletons--since the earlier stages got great motivations with 'keeping up with appearances' and hunger issues, skeletons stick out as being a little bit wet in the middle. Without the primping and munching, what's to stop them from moving on and starting over in life, maybe as chimney sweeps or runway models? They've got the cheekbones for it.

    49. Missing avatar

      Soulrift on

      I don't think "Revenant" fits with the undead progression lore. Revenant is from the French "Revenant" which means "returning." It makes sense in the context of one who is returning from the dead, especially in the D&D 4th edition context of a soul sent back to inhabit some OTHER corpse to accomplish some goal or deed. But it doesn't make sense in the progression from decomposition from gul to skeleton.

      You may have to just go ahead and "zombie" it up here.