But really, Larian didn't advertise any kind of scripted companion so far in any manner, unless I miss something at some point in time.
The characters are all going to be originated from the pool of Origin Stories, meaning there won't be any specific, handcrafted companion *at all*. There will be premades I reckon : class and race will probably be set in stone, like, Origin Story 1 is a warrior redhead Dwarf named Maximilian, OS2 is an archer blond elf named Legolass, OS3 is a mage brunette human named Raven, etc. ( all tremble before my mighty naming imagination ! )
The most handcrafted I can imagine to be beyond that is that the writer will probably give preference to answer A from origin story 1 in a certain situation while origin story 2 will prefer the answer C in the same situtation. Thanks to Love and Hate I expect this to be a bit more organic in nature, like if origin story 1 hates you, he will rather choose answer B whereas should he like you, he will go with A.
If that's true then it was indeed my fault all the way through and I just hoped for a much better Bioware experience (damn, that BG2 really hosed me...) while I missed the crucial information about the SP.
If SP is intended to be that way it will utterly worseless and inferior-by-design, at least for me. That pretty much kills of any anticipation I had for DOS 2 at this point...
SP is probably going to not feel very much different than MP except the answer of the companions will be preselected by some writers magic rather than by another brain somewhere else in the world. As a player, you will still get to select your answer and watch what the other characters think of the situation. Only difference will be that you won't control the full party in MP.
I don't think at all that this is a GOOD design for SP at all. I think it's just an inferior version of MP actually - and that's bad. It's like Larian's telling me "Hey mate, you don't have real friends? Well, don't be too sad, we can at least mimic a PnP session for you with people who might sound like real people playing with you." That has imo nothing at all to do with how traditional SP (C)RPGs worked so far - for a good reason. But while we're at it? Why is there no competitive questing in SP? If SP is only mimicing MP why is some content cut without giving the player anything in exchange? Well, I fear that you were indeed right that DOS 2 is designed as a MP only game - that can be played in SP in some way as well, if you lack the friends, completely disregarding that the vast majority of people are actually looking for a thrilling narrative experience (of course with good gameplay) in SP. They want REAL SP, no MP mode with predefined bots. I mean, we have only began to speak about the love&hate stuff. While I don't like the discussion myself that much, the whole romance thing actually is pretty obvious to demonstrate the differences between MP and real SP. A rather deep and well written romantic story (like apparent in BG2, of course based on video game standards) is pretty much pointless in MP. There is a reason why there are no deep romances in PnP campaigns. Because it's WEIRD and also doesn't work that well when actual real persons interact with each other in a game, even when they're roleplaying (except maybe some die-hard roleplayers). Backstabbing can be fun in PnP or real co-op - romance usually not that much. Romance can be in SP - being backstabbed by AI companions out of the blue, well, not that much either. You begin to get the picture why I don't want the SP to be just MP with (maybe well written) bots?
Since this is how I expect things to unfold, you can easily understand why I'd say "please, don't force us to play a warrior dwarf as the Origin Story 1 companion, maybe let me at least choose his sex/class, and better even his race *if applicable*. If we can in MP, why couldn't we in SP ?".
If you ask me I think the whole SP companion design like described here is - sorry - utter bullshit. SP should work like in any other traditional SP CRPG where you a wide range of well written companions to choose from and which you meet along the way (which doesn't mean that they can't be well integrated into the main narrative by the way). This whole origin stories for companions will be an ultimately inferior experience in SP, I can almost guarantee it - and it's very likely not really that what a lot of SP fans are looking for...
So I do understand why you think that way. But please understand why I think that the whole design might/probably result in an inferior SP experience (to both the MP AND other party CRPGs) for many people (me included). So I rather have the basic SP game design changed than even extending the options for people who actually already prefer co-op/MP and only want SP as a simple substitute for times in which there friends are out of house or whatever...
It may then be way too complex to give a weight to each and every possible answer coming from race, trait, talent, and origin story, so ultimately choosing to create your own party member would simply lead you to having to assume full control of the character yourself.
Should you choose to pick the premade character though, well then, you're in for the standard companion action.
- You want your own custom team, create 1 to 3 more characters, and assume full control of them.
- You want scripted companions reacting by themselves to your actions and to the world, pick the premades.
Both type of players will have the same experience regardless because in the end, everyone pick a story from the OS pool. And neither solution will diminish in any way the work of the writers. One player will get something more unexpected as the scripts will play with/against him, and the other will get to see the full range of possibities.
I don't think so. Well written characters go well beyond their "origin story" imo. A well written character is the whole person, how they behave, how they look, how they talk, how they act, who they are. If you can make random characters and just assign a rather random origin story to them you have only pervertions of random henchmen but not real fleshed-out characters in any sense of the word. I really don't understand how you concentrate so much on the consistency with the actions of the companions with the main narrative while you have obviously no issue at all with them being no consistent PERSON in the first place. Reducing that to an origin story and how its consequences is scripted in dialogues is only one element I see necessary for well written and believable companions. Every other element must be fitting and consistent to actually reach that level to have an emotional impact on me (and that's what I ultimately look for in any story-driven game). The randomness of the system you (and Larian?) envision here actually defies that goal of mine and sorry - but I'm not at all happy with that, quite the opposite.
Because, do not get the wrong idea : I still see as perfectly valid the fact you like playing with prewritten companions. As I think I said, that's how I do my RPGs too. If given the choice, though, I will ditch them in subsequent playthoughs. DOS1 was actually the first time ever I immediately ditched the companions by going dual Lone Wolf. When I did BG:EE recently, I immediately formed my full custom party because I already had a go at the companions years ago and didn't want nor need to have them again with me. Sorry, Minsc and Boo!
Well, I can understand that, I honstely do. The problem is though that I now fear that there won't be any real companions who are at least on the level of those in the CRPGs of old (or even DOS1) in the first place...
And this has nothing to do with the fact they are well or badly written : it's more about how well they contribute to the flow of the whole game, storywise as well as gameplay-wise.
Well, there is a whole LOT of space for interpretation what "contribution to the flow of the whole game" means. I think we have pretty different interpretations about that actually.