Winter Is Coming: Pillars Of Eternity Pushed To End Of 2014

By John Walker on February 12th, 2014 at 12:00 pm.

When Obsidian put Project Eternity up on Kickstarter in September 2012, they dared to ask for a million dollars to make a classic RPG in the 90s BioWare style. And they hoped they’d be finished in a year and a half, in April 2014. People went and gave them four million dollars, and so accordingly their ambitions grew much larger. A release in April started to seem less realistic, and indeed it’s understandably not going to be anywhere close.

New producer on the project, fresh from South Park: The Stick Of Truth is Rose Gomez, who updates on the Obsidian forums to say, “we are looking good to release Eternity by Winter 2014.”

Eurogamer spoke to Eternity’s lead Josh Sawyer about the unlikelihood of a Spring release for the game last week, and he explained why the game was taking longer than originally planned.

“It’s understandable that people don’t know this but when you start a Kickstarter, once it goes live, you can’t change that [estimated release] date. You’re not allowed to change to that date. When we started with a million-dollar budget and a relatively modest game with five classes, that was assuming if we get $1m we can make this game and we’ll probably get it done by April. We got almost four-times as much money and that’s a much bigger game, and that doesn’t mean that immediately we just dump four-times as many people on it and it also gets done in April. There’s a lot more stuff to do.”

Obsidian are a company with a history of having had to release games before they would want thanks to publisher pressure, perhaps most notably Knights Of The Old Republic 2, for which great unfinished sections were found in the code after release. That’s not something they’re interested in putting upon themselves, with Sawyer telling EG, “Until we get really close to releasing the game we don’t want a specific release window, because we’re not a publisher, we don’t have to! Virtually nothing good comes from us releasing a date before we’re very confident in it.”

Today’s new update includes new character work and environments, as well as this silent video of “Death Godlike Heads”:

So Winter then. Within 2014 they say. I think that’s still unlikely – my bet would be Feb or March 2015.

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69 Comments »

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  1. Velko says:

    “Death Godlike Heads” is the name of my upcoming metal band.

    • Muzman says:

      At first glance that top screenshot looks more like a Queen concert than a fantasy game party too

      • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

        That’s it! I’ll be muting the in game music and cranking up Queen for the duration of this game. Laws, yes!

    • The Random One says:

      I’m not sure I’d call those heads godlike when they don’t fit even three of the criteria of the Olympus Interpretation. It’s be more fitting to call them procedural deistic awe-inspiring heads.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Phinor says:

    I’m betting summer 2015 with alpha or possibly beta coming in some form late 2014. Anyway, expected delay as with most Kickstarter projects. I don’t mind it really, just back the projects and ignore the projected release date completely. In fact I don’t think any of the projects I’ve backed has arrived on time. Most gaming related projects seem to be delayed by 6-12 months. If the project barely manages past the Kickstarter goal, the project is starved for funding. If they exceed it by a fair margin, the project becomes bigger than expected. Delays everywhere.

    • karthink says:

      On that note, there’s no way Torment: Tides is releasing in the first half of 2015 either. They’re barely out of pre-production. Q4 2015 is a safe guess.

      • aratuk says:

        They aren’t out of preproduction until Wasteland 2 is finished. inXile is only big enough to develop one game (and a half, in preproduction) at a time.

    • Premium User Badge

      bills6693 says:

      I don’t generally mind it, although really I should have been more careful with my backing choices. I start to mind when things due to release in 2012 or early 2013 are still not out and not planned until late 2014 though.

      I didn’t consider the delays at the time of backing but many projects now will not even be out until after I join the military, at which point I won’t be able to even play them! I had considered that for their projected release but did not account for the now-inevitable it seems delay of 6-12 months almost every project has.

      • greywolf00 says:

        In my experience, you’ll have time to play games on active duty. Even on my first deployment where we were working 12 hour shifts 7 days a week, there was still time to kill on a console or laptop. I’m willing to bet the amount of hours required now are a bit lower.

        • Premium User Badge

          bills6693 says:

          Not on submarines they’re not. And during my training I am not expecting any free time really.

          I’m sure that yes, I’ll get more regular downtime after the first while, although then I’ll lose that again when I go onto an actual submarine, especially while working towards my dolphins.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Perhaps its a sign you should try a different career? Open a florist maybe?

          • Premium User Badge

            Aerothorn says:

            Don’t make any assumptions. I know an ex-sub guy, and on his last deployment the commander *mandated* that everyone play Halo LAN matches.

          • greywolf00 says:

            Granted, a sub is very different than an LHD but, that’s where a fair amount of my first two deployments were spent and we even set up a local server to play WoW after work.

            And during A & C school, you’ll probably have a lot of free time.

  3. skyturnedred says:

    It’s already Winter 2014, where is my game?!

  4. aratuk says:

    Anyone following this project, or even following the progress of the Kickstarter when it happened, shouldn’t be surprised that it isn’t being released until (at least) the end of this year. All those stretch goals add up. From the updates, it does seem they’ve been churning out content at a pretty steady clip, too — not twiddling their thumbs or suffering catastrophes.

    • Werthead says:

      They’ve already completed the 15-level megadungeon, which could be a whole game in itself from the sound of it.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Kickstarter delivery dates should be scaled by how much the campaign exceeds the goal. Shadowrun Returns exceeded it’s goal, and then was delayed a bit….but had they been given another six months, the Dragonfall DLC may have made it into the finished game, and saved a whole bunch of community grumbling. Ditto save anywhere.

    I build a house, I expect it to take X months. I build a mansion, I’m not expecting it done in X+ a couple of months.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      EXACTLY why it irritates me to have people complain to the devs. This vocal minority, that usually pledged the minimum, go on a crusade to punish the devs for not following orders. All the problems we experience with games being released half finished is because of publisher pressure. Developers know when a game is “ready”. Let the pros do their job!

  6. Maxheadroom says:

    Bah. So much for my master plan of having all my games this year bought and paid for last year. Don’t think any of them are on track
    Elite was scheduled for release next month but only having released phase 2 of a 4 stage ALPHA I think that’s pretty unlikely.

    And I reckon I’ll be drawing my pension by the time Star Citizen gets released with the feature creep that’s going on there

  7. karthink says:

    I mentally add 50% to the development time of any Kickstarter game, and then a couple of months for good measure. It works fairly well, and it works irrespective of how many stretch goals the campaign surpasses.

    Satellite Reign’s estimate for completion was so absurd I burst out laughing.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Before someone sails in and says Obsidian has never done a bug free game: Dungeon Siege 3 was polished, and released on time.

    Some other news I gathered from wading through RPGCodex:
    – There will likely be more PoE games from Obsidian in the future.
    – Staff from South Park is being shifted over to PoE now, but the Obsidian bosses are pitching nine (not sure about exact number, couldn’t find the link) possible new projects to publishers, as well as their ongoing secret “AAA next gen game”, and the possible new Kickstarter revealed in March.
    – There is no romance with NPCs, but they may have other agendas and may interrupt conversations (and if you don’t like characters/plot and prefer silent companions you can ditch all and create new custom ones in the Adventurer’s Guild once you reach it, but we already knew that).
    – Obsidian have recieved plenty more crowdfund money after Kickstarter ended, but decided not to pursue any more stretch goals but instead put the extra money towards polish.

    Edit: And some of those tidbits were in fact from the Eurogamer article. Sorry, didn’t read carefully.

    • ZIGS says:

      Stop reminding me Dungeon Siege 3 exists

      • Premium User Badge

        drewski says:

        I was playing it tonight! It remains…quirky. I don’t mind it, though. At least co-op, don’t think I could handle it solo…

        And yeah, it’s a remarkably bug-free experience. Think I’ve had one crash the whole time I’ve played it (currently maybe 60% through a second playthrough).

    • dE says:

      Oddly enough, playing Dungeon Siege 3 made me go, you know I really don’t mind me some gamebreaking bugs if the endresult isn’t… well this.

      • Geebs says:

        “Bug fix no. 982217: Stopped NPC heads constantly rotating clockwise. Heads now rotate anticlockwise.

    • C2B says:

      I enjoyed Dungeon Siege III. Far from their worst product (that honor still belongs to Neverwinter Nights 2 OC) It also had enjoyable gameplay with a nice flow and a story with some great charachters and lore. Sawyer even agrees. :)

      It suffered though from having a budget of ~8 Million on a AAA production value game…. Which doesn’t really get you far. Also being named DSIII when they originally wanted to make it a spin-off.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lars Westergren says:

        Ok, RPS ate my comment, trying again:

        I thought Dungeon Siege 3 was enjoyable, but not a classic. Preferred single player, we tried co-op on PC, and got annoyed with the restriction that all characters had to fit on one screen at the same time.

        I always read your posts on various forums with interest, C2B. Thanks for all the hard work.

      • Geebs says:

        “We’ve sieged this dungeon three times now, and they still won’t come out”

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Obsidian sure are keeping busy. Still, Sawyer seems very quick to respond and isn’t afraid to say “no” to questions about added features. Whether PoE is released in winter or next spring, I expect it’ll be pretty solid.

      If you want some more info, Sawyer has also been answering lots of questions on the somethingawful forums under the name Ropekid.

      • dicenslice says:

        He also answers questions on his Tumblr and Spring.me pages. He seems to be one of the most accessible devs out there.

    • Werthead says:

      I’m really hoping the AAA project is either NEW VEGAS 2 (not actually that, but a spin-off from FALLOUT 4 as NV was spun off from FO3) or KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 3 (which probably won’t be that, but just a new STAR WARS RPG), both of which they’ve pitched to the relevant publishers.

      The Kickstarter project is apparently either an original idea or one of two potential licensed games. In that case, I think there’s a good chance that it’ll be their long-planned WHEEL OF TIME game. Red Eagle, the WHEEL OF TIME IP holders, commissioned Obsidian to do the game four years ago and haven’t been shy about using Kickstarter themselves for other WoT projects, so this seems like a no-brainer.

      • WrenBoy says:

        God I hope not. That sounds really dull. I wish theyd do a game set in something resembling the real world, a bit like Bloodlines.

        • Werthead says:

          Well, they’ve said they can’t do ALPHA PROTOCOL 2 (without Sega, anyway), but they could always make a game called BETA CONTINGENCY ;) I think they have unfinished business at that style of game.

        • PegasusOrgans says:

          As a long-time fan of Wheel of Time, I can assure you it’s not “boring”. But, I’m sure there are many who would and do consider A Song of Ice and Fire “boring”.

          • Werthead says:

            WHEEL OF TIME has a good story, ideas and some interesting characters, I like it a lot and I think Obsidian could do some fantastic things with it. But it is also heavily flawed. The series overall is certainly not ‘boring’, but Books 8-10 (and maybe the first half of 11) certainly are very badly-paced, with lots of dead chapters in which nothing of consequence happens at all. A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE’s last two books were problematic, with a few chapters between them in which the same thing almost happened, but they also had quite a few major developments and superior moments of characterisation as well. And I think it’d be difficult for all but the most ardent Jordan fan to deny that Martin is by far a superior writer to Jordan.

            In terms of setting/concepts, I think I’d almost rather see a games company (especially one as good as Obsidian) tackle Steven Erikson’s MALAZAN world. It’s more original (if also more inconsistent in quality) than either.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @PegasusOrgans

            I think you meant to say “dull” rather than “boring”.

            I have never and will never read the series but another epic fantasy title fills me with as much enthusiasm as another zombie title.

            On top of that my rule of thumb is that the more books in the series, the more dull it will be. Wikipedia tells me that WOT has 14 books, a prequel and a companion book. I guess its possible that they are wonderful but, God willing, I will remain blissfully ignorant of their quality.

      • C2B says:

        I can tell you with some confidence that the next/current game project is neither of those. I wouldn’t get your hopes up for Wheel of Time as the kickstarter game either.

    • Premium User Badge

      Muppetizer says:

      Obsidian’s biggest problem bug-wise is that it seems to take them a fair amount of time to get used to a new engine. Every time they’re given the chance to work on the same engine for more than one title, the second is always significantly less buggy. That’s why Dungeon Siege III is so bug-free, and why every NWN’s expansion was less buggy than the ones before.
      It’s obvious on paper, but I just feel it’s worth pointing out.

  9. Jockie says:

    Eh, I think set in stone delivery dates for gaming Kickstarters aren’t particularly helpful, to the point where it’s more noteworthy when one is actually delivered on time.

    Happy for Obsidian to take the time they need to release the game I backed in the best possible state.

  10. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    To be honest, I wasn’t really even aware there was a specific delivery date in the Kickstarter, which remains the only KS I’ve ever backed.

    Perfectly happy for them to finish the game rather than rush it. The updates seem to show plenty of progress.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thurgret says:

      Pretty much this. I was aware of the April 2014 date, never expected it to be on time, and since they’re showing steady signs of progress and have been upfront about stuff, and aren’t churning out PR shtick that I know of, I’m fine with that.

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    Take as long as you need.

    Well, maybe not Half Life 3 long.

  12. Premium User Badge

    Cinek says:

    Expected – for those who seen how work progresses – and definitely good decision. Looking forward for Alpha and Beta tests!

  13. Keyrock says:

    I literally expect each and every Kickstarter project to which I have pledged to not come close to releasing on the originally specified date, and I’m fine with that. Take all the time you need Obsidian. I’ll gladly wait until even mid 2015 if it means a great, fully fleshed out game.

  14. SanguineAngel says:

    Not surprised, not fussed. There’s a reason that KS projects provide estimated dates afterall, and I believe in the case of game development it being such a fluid thing means that you really can’t accurately gauge these things unless it’s a tiny project or already near completion.

    I am happy to pledge under the understanding that the date is likely to shift substantially. I mean, not DN4E periods but for larger projects I expect slips of perhaps more than a year. Some projects have, perhaps, played it safer in their estimates in the first place.

  15. WedgeJAntilles says:

    One of the main reasons I backed Eternity is that I feel Obsidian’s reputation for releasing buggy, unfinished products is almost entirely the fault of getting dicked over by publishers (or being forced to work with shitty tech like gamebryo). I wanted to see them get the opportunity to actually have a full development cycle and not release a game until it’s good and ready. I fully trust that the extra 6-12 months they spend on this game is only going to make it better.

    • pullthewires says:

      Or maybe they’re just a bunch of shit crybabies who waste their own potential with stupid mistakes and shift the blame onto publishers because they’re an easy villain. It was worth funding the kickstarter just to finally find out.

      • Artea says:

        Maybe their fans have done that, but Obsidian themselves have never placed the blame on publishers, not even with stuff like the Kotor 2 debacle. They can’t exactly afford to do that, since they’re entirely reliant on publishers to stay in business.

        • pullthewires says:

          Granted – but Obsidian have had a legend built around them, and one that is partially deserved – great games with big flaws, and the criticism for the latter does often seem to bypass them. I’m very much looking forward to POE – just interested to what happens and open to the possibility this will be their biggest mess of all.

      • pullthewires says:

        Wow, that came out much more hostile than I intended. I was getting at the idea that maybe the situation isn’t binary – I can believe publisher pressures are a major factor, because nearly every developer that speaks on the subject agrees, but perhaps Obsidian are known for it more because they plan poorly etc. Sawyer especially seems to be a guy full of ideas – but maybe they haven’t grasped that implementing a good idea in a rounded and polished way is often more satisfying to a player than getting most of the way then moving onto something else. New Vegas’ hardcore mode is an example of this – seemed like a great idea when I first heard about it, but in practice it felt more like a chore.

        • JadedPrimate says:

          Well, the hardcore mode wasn’t for me either, but some people out there swear by it. Different strokes for different folks apparently.

        • dicenslice says:

          He did eventually release a mod of his own that made it into what he had actually intended.

  16. Premium User Badge

    daphne says:

    During the end-of-Kickstarter stream I asked on twitch whether they really did think they could make the April 2014 deadline.

    Someone from Obsidian read my question and then came the confident response in voice, “yeah, absolutely!”

    So much for that. : )

  17. Shooop says:

    This has been in the news for how long now? And the vast majority of news about it is who’s working on it and how long it’s taking. The only thing I know for certain about the game itself is it’s a RPG.

    Not a good sign.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      The later release date was announced very shortly after the Kickstarter ended, the reason it’s in the news now is because they are about to enter alpha and have a tentative release window.

      There have been loads of interviews and over 70 detailed Kickstarter updates. It’s not like they can blow the funds on advertising.

      Lots of info here.
      http://eternity.gamepedia.com/Main_Page

    • InternetBatman says:

      That just means that you haven’t been paying attention. They’ve been exemplary in engaging backers and communicating gameplay decisions as well as progress.

      These include things like a detailed mechanical description of how stealth works, the full list of stats and what they effect, have skills working, ten or eleven creatures for the beastiary, twenty or thirty alpha level screenshots (which still look amazing since they’re pre-rendered). They’ve been finished with the design for the enormous dungeon, put up their online store, have the combat fully working to the point people play around with it, and tons more.

      Seriously, the belligerence in this comment is astounding given that the information is online if you took the slightest effort to look for it.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      I’ve you’ve pledged to their kickstarter and aren’t throwing away the mails they send you you’d know a LOT more about the game. And if you haven’t pledged, you’d get the same (massive) amount of information from their forums.

  18. Henchimus says:

    But it’s Winter now and 2014 now… Did they mean “Christmas” by any chance?

  19. MrNash says:

    I have no problem with this. Let them take their time with the game to make sure things are done right. This year is already shaping up to be insane for RPGs, so maybe this delay will give me time to clear a few other games off my plate first. =)

  20. Lemming says:

    I’m sure any reasonable person knows that a Kickstarter date that has to be put in for the purpose of creating a Kickstarter campaign goes completely out the window for a typical game development cycle. I think it’s a little sad that people have to come out and explain this stuff as it means there are numerous people who are kicking off over it.

  21. HisDivineOrder says:

    It’s such a shame that Kickstarter doesn’t put a LIMIT on how much money can be donated. Just stop the cashflow at the point where the Kickstarter indicated as their goal. Then enable an “Extras” feature or something that lets you add on more if you like.

    That way, games wouldn’t be promised and then delayed because they got SOOOO much more money than they originally thought they would that they must now make a completely different game from the one they originally advertised. What if I donated on the premise that I want the game soonish? Not end of the year-ish?

    They think we all want this megal super epic game instead of a simple, very focused game that isn’t made with bajillions of dollars. The more money they get thrown at them without limitation, the more likely they are to think they’re justified in ballooning the game into something it wasn’t originally going to be.

    Kickstarter needs to implement a cap once they hit their goal. That way, we’d get what we pay for.

    • PegasusOrgans says:

      I am thankful you do not work for Kickstarter because you would have made Pillars of Eternity so much worse. But, you don’t, and Obsidian reached every stretch goal and it will be a truly astounding game.

  22. Wednesday says:

    Why do girls always get the bow? I’m not an expert by any measure, but I’m pretty sure bows take great strength to use properly. I know that at Agincourt, the English Long-bowmen were probably the strongest people on the field.

    And, I’m not saying it’s impossible that a woman could have “great strength”, so shut up there.

    • Werthead says:

      The overwhelming majority of bows in history haven’t been longbows, and most standard bows can be used by anyone regardless of strength, as long as they weren’t a total weakling. In CRPG terms, a lot of bow use happens at extremely close range (certainly by longbow standards) in corridors, forests or similar locations when it’s not necessary to use maximum draw to get full range. I’m seeing this in my current replay of ICEWIND DALE 2 (which made by a lot of the same team as ETERNITY; I’m sure ETERNITY won’t be quite as unrelentingly combat-focused though), where enemies are pretty much on top of you (appearing from side-doors, passages etc) before combat begins and range isn’t that important.

      • DatonKallandor says:

        The Lead Designer put out a great retrospective on Icewind Dale 2 on his Youtube channel. Basically they made that game in 6-7 months and made it extremely hard because they assumed everyone who played it had already beaten all the other Infinity Engine games.
        Expect Project Eternity to be a lot more balanced, since they’ve got more time and aren’t constrained by 3.25rd Edition DnD.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Eh, it was probably a way to give them something to do without putting them in danger/ the center of the action in old fantasy books. That said, she’s a dwarf, and they’re normally shown as stronger than humans, so it would make perfect sense for her to use the bow.

    • Lemming says:

      There’s a girl in full plate armour with a rifle right next to her in what is just a concept image. Your character(s) will have whatever you want them to have.

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