Ashes of Oahu Developer Diary: Player Choice & the Branching Story
In our previous developer blog, we covered the importance of outposts and touched on enemy A.I. You can catch up on that blog here. This week we are covering the depth of the branching narrative that you’ll uncover as you play though Ashes of Oahu and the impacts of your choices.
When Kai embarks upon his journey through Ashes of Oahu the factions exist in a loose tension with each other. They have motivations that place them in conflict, but they do not live in a state of all-out war. Depending on your choices, they can stay neutral towards each other, become allies, or devolve into open hostilities. This is done to increase player agency and show Kai’s influence on the world around him.
What Kai learns as he interacts with different characters will affect the story as well. What you learn throughout the game can become relevant in later conversations with other NPCs. If you have met one particular character and that meeting is connected to another person elsewhere in the world, you could find new branching dialogue available to you. You’ll also find that some NPCs will be willing to help you along your journey and venture out to support Kai’s efforts if you make the correct dialogue choices.
Ultimately the choices Kai makes and the way he aligns himself with the factions will impact who will help you defeat the Pua’a. Kai can turn missions down directly and risk gating any future rewards from that character, or he can choose to work with all the factions and try to bring them into harmony at the likely cost of never reaching the ultimate in skill rewards from any of the factions.
One early example of how Kai’s choices can have severe consequences is how he chooses to interact with a man named Tacitus. A first glance Tacitus appears to be a member of the Islanders that has been evicted from the Farm. He insists that he was helping the Farm fight off an invading band of Raiders, but the Farm didn’t like his tactics and asked him to go. He appears gravely injured and requests you seek aid on his behalf.
Once Kai arrives at the Farm, doubts are raised about Tacitus’ motivations. Apparently, the Raider invasions didn’t really start until he showed up. Needless to say, the Farm isn’t inclined to give you medical items to aid Tacitus. At this point, you can either steal the supplies and suffer reputational damage with the Islanders (if you get caught), or you can do a quest for the medical staff, and then they will reward you with the items you wanted.
If you choose to help Tacitus, he will reward you with grenades, promise you more in the future, but eventually betray you and attack alongside the Raiders at a later point in the game. If you choose to turn him down, he will become openly hostile towards you. You’ll learn early on that helping everyone you meet isn’t always in your own best interest, nor is everyone always going to tell you the truth, but it is your choice to make. However, regardless of the decision you arrive at, you are guaranteed to have some fun and exciting gameplay moments out of it.
You can pre-order Ashes of Oahu now and receive access to the upcoming closed beta as well as 3 days early access once the game is released. Be among the first to experience the story of Kai in his adventure to save the island of Oahu.