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Josh Sawyer's Pillars of Eternity II Postmortem at Digital Dragons 2019

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Josh Sawyer's Pillars of Eternity II Postmortem at Digital Dragons 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 June 2019, 02:14:19

Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars of Eternity II was supposed to be the standard bearer of the second wave of crowdfunded RPGs, but although it was not a bad game, things didn't really turn out that way. What went wrong? Last week Josh Sawyer traveled to Poland to give a talk about that at the annual Digital Dragons conference. It's rather appropriate that the video should be made public on the same day as Baldur's Gate III's announcement and the release of Pathfinder: Kingmaker's Enhanced Edition. It's a 50 minute postmortem, the first half of which is an overview of the flaws from the first Pillars of Eternity that Obsidian sought to address in the sequel.

Things get more interesting in the second half, where Josh examines several of Deadfire's more controversial features, throwing his bosses under the bus a couple of times in the process. These include the five character party (no regrets), the companion relationship system (an overambitious failure), the ship-to-ship combat system (a disaster that was actually cut from the game and then forced back into it as a stretch goal by Obsidian management) and full voice acting (also imposed by management, resulting in what Josh describes as the most stressful period of his entire career).

That's not to say that the entire talk is about blaming other people. Josh admits that he failed as lead narrative designer, creating a story that couldn't decide whether it was about factions or gods. He admits that he failed to realize that turn-based RPGs were now more popular than real-time-with-pause, and that he didn't take complaints about the game's low difficulty seriously enough during the backer beta. Ultimately, Josh concludes that in the future he should work on a different kind of RPG. Congratulations Codex, you've beaten him!

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