Pillars Of Eternity Reddit AMA With Obsidian Entertainment

Pillars Of Eternity is a CRPG currently in development by Obsidian Entertainment,the studio that’s responsible for Fallout:New Vegas, KOTOR, and Neverwinter Nights. The game takes cues from the classic PC RPGs such as Icewind Dale, Baldur’s Gate, and Planescape: Torment.

With POE, Obsidian hopes to “recapture the magic, imagination, depth, and nostalgia of classic RPGs.” An isometric-view RPG with tactical team-based combat, POE looks set to reinvigorate the archetypal RPG genre, and places heavy focus on the traditional Dungeons and Dragons style of role-playing game.

The game was funded by Kickstarter, raising just under $4 million. At the time, this was the largest amount of money funded for a video game. Obsidian’s campaign was a massive success- it received over $1 million (their original funding goal) in the first 24 hours of being live.

Obsidian decided to fund the game via the Kickstarter route as opposed to seeking funding from a publisher so that they could be free from outside influence, allowing them to create a game that stayed true to the old-school style of RPG. The developers thought that would not be appealing to big publishers, but that is becoming less and less important in modern game development. Obsidian appealed to the fans and bypassed publishers completely.

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With six playable races– including the genre staples Dwarf, Human, and Elf– as well as eleven different classes, Pillars Of Eternity aims to retain the characteristics of tabletop games while making use of the processing power of modern PCs.

It sounds as though POE is going to be a complex title driven by an epic story, well-developed and enjoyable combat, and endless exploration and dungeon diving. It’s certainly shaping up to be a true modern classic.

In anticipation of the game’s release on March 26, developers Obsidian have headed to Reddit to do an AMA, answering questions from the fans of the game in the /r/projecteternity subreddit. Here are the best bits:

pillars of eternity screenshot 2/u/lordnequam:
Much has been made of the fact that PoE is a chance for Obsidian to truly get out there and flex their creative muscle, to stretch their wings and fly… how do you think that has affected the finished product?

Josh Sawyer:
The Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale games as well as Planescape: Torment all served as inspirational models for how we built Pillars of Eternity. It’s how we initially presented the idea of the game to the public, so we’ve been careful to try to capture as much of the good stuff as we can from those games.

What is will the expansion business model look like?

Adam Brennecke:
We are looking at doing an expansion that’s about the same size (area wise) of Tales of the Sword Coast. I won’t reveal much about it since it’s early in development, but we’ve already have a small team working on areas and environments while the rest of the team focus on shipping the game.

The one thing that Baldur’s Gate 1 did better than any other games before or since was to give you a feeling of being a freebooter just trying to make your way in a strange, dangerous world. Was the progression system for Pillars of Eternity intended to replicate that feeling of early danger and well deserved late game strength?

Josh Sawyer:
I don’t think that the early game is quite as dangerous as it is in BG1. However, once you start doing quests within and around Gilded Vale, you can get your face stomped pretty quickly, especially on higher difficulty levels.

I was wondering if you guys were able to fit everything you wanted to in the game, since the development schedule is different with no publisher?

Adam Brennecke:
With every creative endeavor even if we had unlimited funding and time, there would be always be something that didn’t make the final cut – there’s always hundreds of ideas that we need to cut because they won’t fit in the budget/time constraints.

What’s your favourite part of the game? What’re the bits of the game that just came out better than you guys expected and you look at and think, ‘Yeah. We did that right’?

Eric Fenstermaker:
For what I got to work on, I’m excited for the reactivity in the game. And we went kind of overboard with player backgrounds and development, too. One of the big goals for the narrative was to make sure the player was able to really roleplay the character they envisioned. So we started with 17 backgrounds, but then we added several additional layers of nuance to better define that background. You’re a drifter, sure, but are you more of a swindler who gets chased from town to town or are you more of a roving psychopath?

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From the information we’ve been given here, it certainly sounds like Pillars Of Eternity is shaping up to be one hell of an RPG title. Here’s hoping that it meets the high expectations of the fans of classic roleplaying games – it definitely looks like it will so far.

You can check out the rest of the questions here, and see our thoughts on Pillars Of Eternity’s early gameplay trailer here.