One post in celebration of a game that deserves many more (Part One - Writing)

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[Note: This is a carbon copy of what I just posted to r/Griftlands - I didn't think to check this community out, so please ignore the references to that relative ghost town of a forum]


And I hope it gets its recognition upon full release; I have to believe that the cream will rise, and I'll keep doing my bit to sing its praises til my voice is raw.

Ah, excuse me - it's that damn brilliant writing rubbing off on me over here, heh.

That's what I've been wanting to really celebrate for a while now, and what more than anything else has lifted the experience to something far beyond the fine sum of its respectable parts.

I've paused at the point where Sal can thank Nadan, reaching it only for the second time and once again finding myself surprisingly touched by the simple dialogue shared between two characters who really don't know each other well - in fact I'd say that lack of extensive familiarity and the lack of contempt it affords is palpable and key to the richness of the scene.

I've always liked Nadan and have to tip my breathable headwear to the graphical artist(s) who bring so much life to every single denizen. I suppose Nadan draws from the 'honest crook' archetype that makes Breaking Bad's Mike Ehrmantrout (correctly first time?!) so human and endearing, but that incredible series has pages and pages of dialogue and character building scenes to build that relationship while Griftlands excels in doing so much with so little.

I could gush over the entire world, mythos and lore created seemingly for this one title but it's the humble interactions that for me set it apart from other imaginatively inspired game settings that don't guarantee such smile raising dialogue.

What I've noticed, and this is very much a compliment not a criticism, is that the wittiest and funniest speech tends to be reserved for the lead characters. I come from a pro-wrestling background of fandom where protagonists are called faces and villains heels, and Griftlands does a better job than most wrestling bookers (writers/promoters) of making the faces the smartest guys in the room. I wish I'd captured more quotes to cite here but whether it's Sal's irreverently facetious quips or Rook's wry observations that often go over the other's head, these are people I want to play as because I appreciate the smartarse who stops short of becoming dislikeable.

The writer(s) are clearly not only skilled and talented but clever and possessing a great sense of humour that I as someone who spells words with a 'U' appreciate. Checking now, I find that Klei are based in Vancouver so what can I say? You can't spell British Columbia without 'British'. I'll worry about not starting a war here when there are enough readers to actually form a fleet, until then please take my appreciation and hopefully a lot more money from the adoring public when all's said and released.

I've finally got myself into writing regularly (in the creative sense, besides daily online discourse) and games like this are so enriching to my brain, or wherever the hell creativity is pulled from, so once again thank you on the superb job and I look forward to its continuing to impress.

See you on the other side.


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This 100%, since I had started played the game I had also been really in love with the game's writing going from Sal's awkward and slightly chaotic dialogues to hilarious cards descriptions and Rook's more calculated but extremely witty personality. The game only gives a small paragraph of lore for each character we met, but that combined with the great characters designs still makes the characters memorable, at least to me. (followed by the occasional : oh damn I think I killed them in my last run)

I still wish I knew exactly went between Kashio ans Sal (and her reasons to send her at the derricks) but so far Rook's story had been giving more glimpses at the lore so I had been looking forward to each one of the updates!

So yeah, The writers are absolutely doing an amazing job! These are a few of my personal favorites dialogues so far : 








Also, every piece of dialogue involving Oolo had also been absolutely amazing. She has really great synergy with Sal and because of that, I have been able to do Nadan's route as often as I probably should




Also oshnus are da best : 




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On 24/02/2020 at 5:43 AM, warlepidoptera said:


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I'm probably botching this but I wanted to reply directly rather than just posting a follow up.

The "I'm looking for a thief" line was one I'd wanted to find, so nice job including it!

I feel compelled to gush over the writing and character work again as I find myself in the kind of conundrum that games ten times the length rarely manage to pull off, and it seems to have been almost entirely procedural.

So Wrux is this absolute lug of a sentient male and I've reached the literal threshold of the auction that will grant Sal the moment she's been working towards this whole time. The only problem is, I was working for Oolo who had 'one last thing' for me to do, that thing being murder Wrux.

This would always have left me uncomfortable, I mean I could write a season one Walter White style list of reasons against murder, but my early game included a scene that went roughly as follows:

  • Bandits are planning to rob Wrux, the bartender.
  • Wrux, catching wind of this, asks for my help in defending him.
  • I talk to the bar's hired security, having to convince them to even get involved.
  • The guard doesn't have much of a head for conflict (being more in it for the pension and dental care?) and Sal says something resembling:

"Look at Wrux. Look at that face. Now is that the kind of face that looks like it can handle another betrayal? Or is that the kind of face you just want to put a friendly arm around and tell "Everything's going to be alright"? "

So here I find myself, Wrux spotting me at the Auction Hall door and making adorably innocent small talk, as I rack my brains (all of them) for some compromise or solution to avoid that most compromising solution

Saying mean things to provoke him into attacking me was not an option (figuratively speaking), due to the aforementioned face, so I straight up told him that I'd been hired to kill him and that if I didn't do it, someone else would. If he walked through that door, he could be killed, I told him.

"Not with you backing me up!" he assures.

Ugh. Breaking tenor here, this is such good character work and it's just the simple personality type of a bartender I barely know! It's that childlike naivety that frustrates you with its foolishness but..I mean it'd be like killing a mockingbird, if songbirds weren't so irritating and it didn't have "mocking" in its name (if you don't want to be killed, have a less patronising name!).

"But thanks for tipping me off, you're a real pal!" he adds.

I.. <sigh> I'm begging for more options here (literally speaking). I've just convinced him to let me search his bag and he was more than happy to take it somewhere more private for his pride's sake.

I'm telling you, I'll throw away this whole run if it means letting this huggable idiot continue his blissful ignorance murder free. And he surely will be killed by someone else regardless, but damn it I can't let it be me.

I'm no good at being bad and this game has me making the ultimate sacrifice - a wasted run in a permadeath adventure.

P.S. Ah another great line was when Oolo asked if something was the problem because I looked apprehensive. Sal explained that it's just her resting face - constantly apprehensive. I love this understated humour.


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@RiC David Had that same thing with another character. I really don't like that this quest cannot be solved in any other way than killing the target, and I hate it even more that you cannot take that bag searching to someplace private and then just let the character go. I would not even care for repercussions from Oolo at that point (like not helping in the upcoming fight).

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@RiC David I know it's kinda resurrecting an older thread but I've been mostly just exploring quest dialogue the past week or so for character backgrounds, and there's a few choices that really hurt to make but it definitely compliments the game and the writers that making simple choices makes you ponder "Is this worth doing for a quest reward?"


I finally met Rook again in Sal's campaign and betrayed him to see what happens and... it's rough. Especially after playing his campaign way more than Sal's, trying to decipher who he is and his connections to everyone. And then Sal can just stab him in the back as he shows her mercy for almost getting him killed.

Rough quote of the closing line: "Is this what will happen to you? Will you just become another footnote in another Grifter's story?"


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