IGN: "What is Obsidian's Pentiment?"

I thought it was an interesting enough read to make a thread, and it’s a different enough game that I thought maybe others might wonder what the game is about too. It was something Josh Sawyer wanted to make for a loong time.

Sawyer first pitched the seed of what would become Pentiment to now-Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart back when they were still working at Black Isle together. There, Sawyer was a designer working on projects like Icewind Dale 2 and the original, cancelled Fallout 3. As Sawyer explains it, Urquhart was “not into” his pitch at the time, and felt people who wouldn’t know history wouldn’t want to play it.

…This time, his pitch won out, and Sawyer got to work on Pentiment: a 16th-century narrative adventure set in Upper Bavaria. As he explains it, you play as Andreas Maler, a journeyman on the cusp of becoming a master artist who’s traveling around Europe, taking on odd jobs as he goes. While staying at a Benedictine abbey and working on an illuminated manuscript, his friend and mentor is accused of the murder of a prominent individual. His friend claims innocence, but no one seems especially interested in investigating who the real murderer is. That leaves Andreas to step up to the job, becoming a medieval detective of sorts as he speaks to the many suspects.

“One of the key things in the game is that we do not ever definitively tell you, canonically, [who] the murderer [is],” Sawyer explains. “You have to investigate, find as much evidence as you can. You make your decisions based on whatever you think is most important. You are basically deciding who’s going to pay for the crime. That can be the person that you think actually did it. That can be the person that you think should be punished, whether or not they did it. Maybe it’s the person you like least. Maybe it’s the person you think that the community will miss the least.”

But the scenario Sawyer describes is just the beginning of Pentiment. In total it covers a span of about 25 years, during which multiple crimes, murders and conspiracies occur that Andreas gets roped into somehow or another. But despite the detective story bent of Sawyer’s explanation, he’s averse to calling Pentiment a detective game, because he says it’s light on detective game mechanics. It’s a narrative adventure, he says, with mystery and murder elements, and where choices have consequences. For instance, Andreas is an artist with a university education, but players can choose what he excelled at in school. That choice will dictate the kinds of conversations he’s able to have with others as he tries to find information about various crimes.

While Sawyer is aware that Pentiment is a bit niche, with its deep exploration of medieval history, art, and culture, he feels that watching the trailer shown today at the Xbox Game Showcase is a pretty good benchmark to gauge whether or not an individual will like it. But he also says he wants to capture an audience interested in history or medieval art who may not necessarily be dedicated gamers or familiar with his past work. And his ultimate goal for Pentiment is for it to be, at least on some level, educational for anyone who picks it up.

Link to the article.


This looks right up my alley. Well done!

Together with Wadjet Eyes new game Old Skies (demo is out since yesterday!) this is my most anticipated game for the rest of the year.


It’s very interesting that they’re never going to tell you who the murderer officially is, you do your homework and get the actual person who did it, or maybe you don’t… that’s some real stuff.


I’m afraid people will write this game off because it’s 2D but it’s definitely my most anticipated game for the rest of the year.


Interesting. It seems like a one of a kind game. It’s great that GP may help this game shines and find its audience.

It reminds me of The procession to Calvary, although maybe a bit less goofy.

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Will definitely try it, but it sounded cooler on paper than what we saw tbh.

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This sounds like something I will enjoy very much! Can’t wait!

Had the same thought, lol. Sadly there are not a lot of games in that time period.

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Not what I had imagined in my mind at all. I will probably play this but definitely not on a console, either a laptop or cloud on an iPad most likely.

Laptop specs should be light I would think.

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Yeah, I didnt know what to expect but it wasn’t that lol. Will give it a try either way.


The concept is very interesting and I love the idea of not ever actually knowing who the killer(s)

Not big on the art style though but i’ll give it a go

I think Grounded raised my expectations too high

That was built by a very small team but you wouldnt think it by looking at it or playing it while this definitely does

This was probably my first reaction too, but some of the discussion of things such as pinning the crime on whoever and such is pretty interesting. This is definitely the type of game for me that I will check out on Game Pass (would work great on cloud gaming on the Steam Deck for me, lol) to see what I think.

I like the idea, but i would have prefered not knowing the fact that i’ll never know who the murderer was until the end of the game.

If it’s not too long and receives good critics i’ll give it a try for sure

Sounds awesome. I want to play this

Well it isn’t really something that would be revealed at the end of the game. This will be something people will debate in real life, and there won’t be an actual answer. That’s actually really cool, not sure if it has been done in a game before.


I cant get past the art direction

Dont think this one is for me