If you invite armed men to your house to watch over you, while you sleep, you might wake up one day to find that the house is no longer yours.Mercato, The Age of Decadence
В этом интервью, посвящённом текстовой ролевой игре The Diviner от Two Crowns Entertainment мы обсудили ролевые и диалоговые механики, классы персонажей, взаимоотношения персонажей в партии, и узнали, почему же главный герой игры будет андрогином.
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You call world of The Diviner pre-industrial apocalyptic world. What do you mean by that?
So, when we say “Pre-Industrial Apocalyptic” we’re talking about two things. Pre-industrial is talking about the level of the technology and infrastructure. We’re taking technological influences from early feudal times to the late renaissance.
But what do you mean by apocalyptic?
When we say apocalyptic, we mean the end of the world as its inhabitants know it. Without going into details, civilization is collapsing, and when this is all over, the world will have been forever changed.
What does the phrase 'In this world, the unknown is the known' mean?
This phrase is a reference to the plot, which we don’t want to reveal too much of until the game is complete. We will say that we have some intriguing plot twists planned that’ll (hopefully!) surprise our players.
What is the significance of the gods, what part do they play in this world? How will they affect the gameplay? How to kill a god and why would someone want to do so? And who are the damned ones?
The gods of this world are created by the will of the people. Their belief and worship gives them power and form. While they won’t affect gameplay directly, they have a significant impact on the story. We don’t want to spoil the story, but sometimes people worship the wrong things, and evil and cruelty can gain form. The damned include a variety of people, but they have all been corrupted in one way or another.
On the world map, we can see several major areas. Could you tell us a little bit more about each of them?
Certainly! Although, as always, we cannot reveal too much. The Eastern Empire is where our protagonist originally hails from. Conflict within The Diviner originates from the Grand North, a political extension of the Empire. Eventually, the protagonist will journey into the Western Kingdoms and Forsaken South, where they will encounter a variety of political and divine entities. Each region is politically, culturally, and visually distinct from one another.
You mentioned that some enemies are not quite human. What do you mean? What creatures will we encounter, will they be of well-known kinds and races or will you invent something new?
These creatures are not standard fantasy races - they’re our own creations. As mentioned above, they’re corrupted humans, with the corruption caused in a variety of different ways.
What do you mean by corrupted humans?
With regards to "corrupted humans" we mean a variety of things. They are still human in form, but they either have their flesh falling off, or they have lost their humanity. The look like a regular person, at least from a distance, but they don't act like one at all.
As it is a text RPG, how the battles will be implemented?
While traveling throughout the game, you’ll face a variety of encounters. For some of these, you’ll be able to avoid them through non-combat options, such as stealth, diplomacy or combat. Other times, or if you fail at your pacifist attempt, you will be entered into combat. Combat will be a turn-based tactical game, similar in implementation to Pokemon. You’ll be limited in the abilities you can use, but will be able to customize your skill set at any point outside of combat.
Could you give some examples of political and religious groups and tell something about their relationship with each other and how they can affect a player?
There are a variety of different pantheons of Gods, vying for the worship of humanity. The details of their interactions are intrinsic to the plot, and we’re not ready to reveal them at this time, but we do have plans to release more details regarding these factions.
We would like to know more about the role system and development of the character. For example, for what actions character will receive experience/skill points?
Characters will earn experience through the use of their abilities. With regards to combat, using an ability will unlock further abilities in that branch of specialization, in a manner similar to weapon abilities in Guild Wars 2. For dialogue progression, rather than gaining new abilities or skills, your character’s personality is advanced, depending on your choices in dialogue.
Among the characteristics of the characters, we can see the mysterious Resource and Power. What these characteristics are?
We’re keeping the characteristics simple. Resource and Power are both generic names that we’re using for the early design stages. Resource will be replaced by something such as mana or energy, which limits the way in which abilities can be used in combat. Power reflects the amount of damage the character can do, but this may be changed.
Class of the Instructor seems to be close to magic classes. Is it true? What lies behind the Weaver ability of 'commanding the veil of reality'?
Yes, the Instructor is basically the mage class of our game (subsequently, the Guard represents the warrior class, and the Conspirator is the thief class). However, aesthetically, these classes and specializations will stand unique against usual RPG conventions, as their skills, armor, and weaponry introduce new, unconventional design inspirations. For example, the primary weapon of the Weaver will be string, which is then used to formulate illusory clones and barriers.
In a game that so heavily emphasizes plot and dialogues, social skills are very important: persuasion, intimidation, trickery and so on. Do you even have such skills, or, as we can see on the pictures, all skills are more or less focused on the combat? Will there be any 'peaceful', non-combat, social skills?
These social skills, as you call them, do exist. In dialogue, you’ll regularly have the opportunity to deceive, negotiate or intimidate whoever you’re talking to. Outside of dialogue, depending on your choices, you’ll definitely have the options to attempt to solve problems using creative methods. As we mentioned in our third update, we are dedicating as much effort as we can to making non-combat options as exciting, interesting and useful as combat.
In modern RPGs it is quite common that some dialogue options have special marks indicating character parameters that will influence the outcome. Is there going to be something like this in your game? Will the options of persuasion, bluff or intimidation be visible to those who don't meet the requirements to use them successfully?
With regards to the marks on dialogue options, its something that we're considering. We're going to do some tests, and see how people respond to the different designs we're working with. Even if a character has a low score, the option will be available- but the outcome will not necessarily be what they want.
How will other characters join our party? Will we have to motivate them somehow (by completing their quest or something like that)? Will we be able to have a dialogues with them, to hear they thoughts about the situation? Will they have their own personality, can they quarrel with the player/with each other or leave the party in case of major disagreement, for example? What is the maximum size of the party?
Some characters are integral to the plot, and will join your party, to further their own goals. Others you will have to cajole, beg or bribe to get them to join you. After they join your party, you’ll be able to talk with them at camp, and hear their thoughts on the decisions you’re facing. They will each have their own personality and will interact with you, as well as leave the party. Some instances will be pre-scripted, but others will be based on your actions. As it stands, there is no maximum size for the party- you’ll meet with your party members at your camp, and can talk with and interact with them there.
Will party members accompany the main character outside of the camp, participate in battles? Without restricting the size of the party it is going to be hard to balance encounters.
Party members do not currently interact with the player outside the camp, as it would require a massive programming effort. It is something that we've considered, but turned down in favor of other options.
The protagonist will appear androgynous - a rather unusual solution. How did you come to this decision? Don't you afraid that it may alienate some players?
The protagonist isn’t necessarily androgynous -- while their body is neither distinctly male or female, the player can decide to give them more gendered facial features. This actually arose from a financial issue: we did not have the resources to make separate male/female armor, so a single androgynous set would be designed and drawn instead. We don’t think this will alienate players so much since it provides more opportunities and possibilities for customization.
If I remember correctly, no one did battle armor specifically for women in the real world.
The armors vary - some are plate, others leather, chain, or even robes, tunic, pants and shirt, etc.
How do you see a romantic relationships in the game? What actions will trigger them? Can they be stopped or betrayed (character changed the object of the interest or cheated or something like that)? Will they evolve? Will they have some practical use in game mechanics (improvement of some skills, for example)?
You have to court an NPC to find out if they’re interested in your character. The relationships will evolve, but at the pace both characters want them to. Some NPCs will say no, they’ll turn you down, especially if you act against their personal interests. Some might be ok with an open relationship while others won’t. You’ll be able to learn more about the character and their history as you get closer to them. Currently, they have no mechanical impact, but it is something that we’re considering.