All I want to say is that the 'replay value' argument is not nearly as good or practical as many think it is. There is a certain point where chasing 'replay value' without a thought will only come at the cost of the first playthrough experience. And if that first playthrough isn't as magical as people thought it'd be, then I doubt locking party content behind a second playthrough is enough for people to replay the game again. Let's be realistic here. Out of all of the most celebrated games that exist today, which ones really emphasized replay value as being the major reason for their success? The only well regarded games that have replay value as a sticking point made it very clear that their game was about said replay value to begin with.

I mean, let's look to the future a bit, and compare DOS2 to another cRPG that's coming out very soon. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, which is all in on the replay value. But the replay value is centered around choices that the main character makes that affects their builds and drastically alters events in the game purely based on your character's powers. As opposed to... DOS2's and potentially BG3's replay value being based on your choice of party members after an arbitrary point in the game? It's not hard to see why the latter is so divisive, when it comes off as limiting your options and a choice that only exists because of an arbitrary party headcount limit, rather than being an actual willing choice by your character in regards to the plot itself.

Chasing this kind of plot device again is only going to be to the future detriment of the characters in BG3. It will subtly steer the characters towards developing separately, and the overall party chemistry and the world building will take an indirect hit. This I can already forsee when I've played Pathfinder WotR beta extensively, while witnessing for myself how its large cast of party members developed as a whole and complimented each other, with each party member adding a lot to the overall world building throughout the entire game.

I would now go as far as to say that Act 4 of DOS2 wouldn't have been received so poorly relative to the rest of the game in the end, had Larian not killed off the other party members at the end of Act 1. A lot of the story beats in Act 4 literally relies on the presence of specific party members to have serious impact. Like without the Red Prince, the Lizard Consulate is just an awkward out of place necrofire dreamscape that's just kind of there. Without Loshe, the Doctor is just a super edgy opportunistic demonic villain. Without Beast, the Dwarves are just random turbo racists that happen to possess barrels of Deathfog. If you had all of the party members with you going into Act 4, the act would have been seen as a satisfying revenge tour against everyone that has wronged each of your party members before and throughout the entire game while clearing a path to the final confrontation. But what we instead got were a lot of dangling plot threads that suddenly had to be resolved in quick succession, with little to no emotional payoff depending on your party composition.

Last edited by Saito Hikari; 24/07/21 08:38 AM.