Kismet and St. Josephine, authors of the upcoming Cailean NPC mod, have submitted graciously agreed to an interview by an interested bystander. Read all about it here!
PPG: Who is Cailean, and how does he fit into the Baldur's Gate 2 story?
St. Josephine: We're trying to create an engaging NPC who isn't as dry as toast. With insane stats. And extra-planar blood.
Kismet: That sums up our motivation.
PPG: But, ladies, how does one make an NPC not be boring if there's not a single insane statistic or strange, noble birth involved?
Kismet: We're relying on dialog. Plus letting the PC get more involved with the conversations.
St. Josephine: We want to allow the PC more control over the relationship.
PPG: So, to a player, what's going to be different about having Cailean in the party compared to all those other NPCs? How is the relationship different?
St. Josephine: First of all, he doesn't initiate any conversations when you first promise to help him with his quest. The PC initiates them.
Kismet: The PC is given a list of various questions about Cailean and his quest to pick from.
St. Josephine: Or not... the PC does have the option of small talk, as well. The questions don't have to be about his quest.
PPG: Who is this Cailean guy and why would I have him in my party to be talking to him in the first place? I'm a busy Bhaalspawn and I've only got room for 5 friends.
St. Josephine: Cuz he's a hottie, like that guy on TV... no, in that movie... no, in that game. Nah, it's because the PC is insatiably nosy. And cause he has some fearsome AI coded by Kismet, man!
Kismet: He's a half-elf archer who got mixed up with the bad crowd back home and got made their fall guy. He's in Athkatla to clear his name, so he does need your help but he's also willing to help you out as well and he's a kick ass archer!
St. Josephine: I say, let him join because he's not a sexy vampire, either.
PPG: How did the Cailean character come about? Is he based off of a story, a D&D character, or something entirely new?
St. Josephine: How did he come about? We were working on GRoA [Getting Rid of Anomen, originally a St. Josephine story and later a Kelsey add-on mod programmed by Kismet] together.
Kismet: And St. Jo wanted to do a romanceable NPC where the PC had to do more of the pursuing. The original idea was for him to be a "mysterious stranger" but we scrapped that early on as too difficult to pull off.
St. Josephine: Yeah, that's true. Where he didn't tell you his name and you had to discover who he was.
Kismet: We then discussed (at great length) his back story and family life and reason for being in Athkatla and why the PC would pick him up.
St. Josephine: Yeah, it took months to hash all of it out, to figure out a believable backstory.
Kismet: *nods* We gave him a family and friends and gave them back stories too.
St. Josephine: Yeah. It was Kismet who suggested that he be betrayed by a woman. Originally, it was just a friend. Some guy he had grown up with.
PPG: Interesting. But what if I'm not interested in a romance NPC? What's Cailean got for me? Will I still get to talk to him? Help him with his quest?
St. Josephine: Yup. We decide early on to make non-romance dialog that was just as interesting and complete as the romance options.
Kismet: Yes indeed. The majority of his PC initiated talks are available to all PCs. We're also re-writing some of his romance talks to fit all PCs as well. The ones that aren't totally romantic, that is.
St. Josephine: Because everyone should be able to have a kick-ass archer in their party!
PPG: So how long has Cailean been in development now, and how close is he to being released?
Kismet: He's been in development about a year and half.
St. Josephine: Asking for a release date is like asking a lady her age!
Kismet: Okay, more like a year and a quarter.
St. Josephine: Yeah, more like that. Not quite a year and a half.
PPG: So how is Cailean going to fit into the Baldur's Gate 2 story? Is Minsc his cousin from a previous marriage?
St. Josephine: No, Boo is.
Kismet: He's not related to any of the original NPCs but he'll be right there next to them helping the PC achieve godhood or not as the case may be.
PPG: How about banter and interjections and flirting and all that other stuff that people have come to expect?
Kismet: He has banters with the other NPCs, and in some cases the other NPCs banter with the PC *about* Cailean. He has flirts too! Plus he has apologies. The PC can now get ticked off at Cailean and then crawl back and apologize.
St. Josephine: And maybe, just maybe, he'll accept her apology. It has to be good.
Kismet: Right, he doesn't fall for just any crappy apology.
St. Josephine: Damn straight!
Kismet: He'll interject into other NPC conversations too. So, yeah he has everything that people have come to expect and more!
St. Josephine: Yay, more!
PPG: So, if each of you had to name one way that Cailean will make a BG2 player's experience better, what would it be?
St. Josephine: A more interactive NPC.
Kismet: More power to the PC to direct the relationship.
St. Josephine: And a drunken ice mephit!
PPG: Any last remarks?
St. Josephine: Come to our forum or we'll cry?
PPG: Then thanks for the interview!
Kismet: That's not a question!