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Pillars of Eternity Retrospective Panel at PAX Prime 2015

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Pillars of Eternity Retrospective Panel at PAX Prime 2015

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 30 August 2015, 15:41:32

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Brandon Adler; Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March

Josh Sawyer, Adam Brennecke and Brandon Adler were at PAX Prime yesterday, where they spoke about the development of Pillars of Eternity in a one hour panel discussion. In between sharing various anecdotes, they also answered questions from Twitter and the audience, and most interestingly, revealed some of their plans for future Pillars of Eternity games.

Here are the more interesting takeaways:
  • There are no plans to port Pillars of Eternity to consoles, though Obsidian may investigate other platforms for future projects.
  • Load times will be improved in the next patch, but according to Adam, it will take major refactoring to get them down to as low as he'd like, which can probably only happen in a sequel.
  • Josh wanted to make the game's first area after the prologue harder, but it had to be toned down due to playtester complaints. They did let him keep the bear cave.
  • Adam's original idea for pre-order items (or should I say "original") was a space hamster and a floating skull. The former was changed to a pig because Obsidian had a pig model handy, and the latter was nixed by Eric Fenstermaker for lore reasons, although it's apparently coming back for The White March Part 2.
  • There will be no more expansion packs after The White March Part 2. After that it's sequel time.
  • Brandon thinks releasing the game for Linux was not worthwhile, and in retrospect would have chosen not to support it. Only 1.5% of the player base uses Linux. Later on, it's explained that the problems with Linux support were more logistical than technical in nature. It's unclear if Obsidian will keep Linux compatibility for future projects now that they've already done the hard work, but you probably shouldn't bet on it.
  • At one point during the panel, some concept art for future Pillars of Eternity projects (including The White March Part 2) is shown. This includes an area featuring a huge skull reminiscent of Myrkul from Mask of the Betrayer, which we also get to see an initial level blockout of.
  • Plans for Pillars of Eternity 2 include:
    • Baldur's Gate 2-style strongholds. That is, multiple strongholds, with a focus on content rather than systems (Josh explicitly uses those terms).
    • Full multiclassing.
    • Support for "sub-areas", eg, the ability to enter a house in a town without having to load an entirely new area and without having to take your entire party.
    • Expanded AI systems and more customizable party AI.
    • Improved modding support for modifying systems, adding items, etc. Adam says that they've already got plans in place for how they're going to do this.
  • Josh says he's considering reducing the amount of abilities available for use at higher levels for the sequel, specifically mentioning classes such as the Priest which have all of their spells available at once.
  • The success of Pillars of Eternity has changed Obsidian's company culture, and they are now more open to producing smaller games. The Pathfinder tablet game is being developed by ten people.
  • When asked about cut quests, Josh mentions an entire cut area in Twin Elms that would have featured some sort of trial called the "Wield of Fates" (or something like that). However, Josh and Adam seem to consider most of the game's cut content to have been bad and worthy of cutting.
  • A Dark Souls-inspired "New Game Plus" mode is being considered for the sequel.
All in all, the panel seems to imply that a Pillars of Eternity sequel is pretty much a sure thing, with the original game described as "very successful". Which isn't quite the impression you might get from reading certain Josh Sawyer forum posts, where he seems more reserved. I guess we'll see.

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