Pillars of Eternity 2 announced, crowdfunding launched

Obsidian Entertainment today formally announced the sequel to Pillars of Eternity, their 2015 throwback fantasy RPG which John enjoyed so. Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire [official site], for that is its name, is set across the Deadfire archipelago, obvs. A god has unexpectedly returned to life and gone a-wandering there, which may cause a few problems. Better go ask him politely to knock it off. As with the first game, Obsidian have launched a crowdfunding campaign to collect pennies.

What’s afoot in Pillars 2? The storyblurble says:

“Eothas has returned. The god of light and rebirth was thought dead, but he now inhabits the stone titan that sat buried under your keep, Caed Nua, for millennia. Ripping his way out of the ground, he destroys your stronghold and leaves you at the brink of death. To save your soul, you must track down the wayward god and demand answers – answers which could throw mortals and the gods themselves into chaos.”

As for what players will do, Obsidian are building upon Pillars with NPCs wandering around and living their own lives, new companions as well as returning ones, dynamic weather, fancier lighting and shadows, multiclassing, and other newbits.

Obsidian seek $1.1 million on Fig to finish up Pillars 2, saying they’ve so far worked on cash made from the first game. Rewards for flicking pennies at their foreheads include a copy of the finished game, physical copies, feelies, creating an in-game inn, and so on, depending on how deep a dent you leave.

Fig is the games-focused crowdfunding site founded and supported by a load of games folk — Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart himself sits on its ‘advisory board’ — which also offers opportunities to actually financially invest in games. $2.25 million in equity is up for grabs in this Fig campaign.

If all goes well, Pillars of Eternity 2 is headed to Windows, Mac, and Linux. It looks like Obsidian are shooting for an early 2018 launch.

42 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Niice. Liked to hear the improvements in AI, pathfinding, and the dynamic NPC behaviour. YES – death to the long loading times of the first game. The graphcis improvements like the new lightning didn’t hurt either. I’m in, snagged the first “your portrait in the game” reward. :)

    There are heaps of interesting crowdfunding campaigns going on right now, if interested check the Kickstarter thread in the RPS forums.

    link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • ElementalAlchemist says:

      YES – death to the long loading times of the first game.

      I’d probably hold off on the excitement just yet. That is only loading within a map, entering houses/buildings. There will still be loading between maps, and they are still using Unity, so be prepared for long loading times to once again rear their head at some point.

      • Zekiel says:

        Yeah, probably. But spending 30 seconds loading a big map that you’re going to spend 30-60 minutes in is something I find acceptable. Spending 30 seconds loading a tiny shack that you’re going to spend 30 seconds in is really, really annoying, so if they’ve eliminated that, that would be a big difference.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      Argh, they’ve added more backer tiers. Apart from backer portrait, they now also have a “be an NPC”, based on your likeness. Difficult choice.

  2. Orillion says:

    I just hope that, if they do add multiclassing, it works in a better way than it did in the tabletop games which inspired the original Pillars. In D&D 3.5 (and to a lesser extend, Pathfinder), taking one level in five different classes and the rest in Wizard or Cleric turned you into an absurdly powerful monster of a character, while trying to invest equally in two classes would always result in being completely sub-par.

    D&D 4E did it better, what with the tradeoff being some or all of your feats (and if you’re really serious about it, your paragon path as well), but that sort of feat-for-power trade may not work with the Pillars engine.

    If it works, though, I look forward to having a proper spellswordish character, rather than the sad excuses I attempted to make out of a Paladin (not casty enough), a Chanter (eeeeuuuugh), and a Wizard (just too damn squishy, and frankly none of the wizard spells did anything fun for a sword-and-board melee to get excited about).

    • Horg says:

      You should have tried Druid. Shapeshift fighting was made quite strong after the 3.0 patch, they had some good spells to power up melee fighters and some good magic / melee combos such as Firebrand + Taste of the Hunt + (passive) Wildstrike. I was very impressed with their implementation of the class concept.

    • botdx says:

      Except that you are wrong about 3e multiclassing balance. Any caster that was multiclassing and thus losing spellcasting levels was doing it wrong. In fact the only dip of any real consequence was in fighter for some bonus feats. Otherwise the gains were marginal.

      The real problem with 3e was that casters were order of magnitude more powerful than anyone else and is still kind of the case in PoE.

      Also I found wizards made very good tanks in PoE and chanters were great archers (so still martial based if not a spellsword).

  3. RedViv says:

    Mad Bristols Piranha Statue? Well I’m in.

  4. Klydefrog says:

    I keep hearing negativity about Fig but I’m not sure how much of it is really warranted and how much is just people who dislike Tim Schafer and Double Fine. I did back Wasteland 3 on there because I trust Brian Fargo and InXile to deliver, Pillars of Eternity did a lot to earn my trust too so I’ll probably end up backing it.

    Something concerning I recently heard about Fig though is that part of their terms allow funds from one campaign to be used on others but I struggled to find decent info regarding that. Anyone know if there’s any validity to it?

    I’ve also heard that for anyone on the investment side the structure makes a return on that investment very unlikely although personally I would never use it for that and would just pledge to get the games so it doesn’t really matter to me.

  5. aliksy says:

    Hm. I had mixed feelings about PoE. I don’t think it communicated well in combat (“what’s that glowing stuff? no idea. what spell is he casting? no idea.”), and some classes felt much stronger than others (cipher). Plus spells-per-day is stupid stupid stupid and I don’t know why they insist on keeping it. Most of the time it just means clicking ‘camp’ or enduring 2-6 loading screens to get back to an inn. The plot doesn’t care if it took you 6 days to clear a dungeon.

    • onodera says:

      Yeah, I parked the wizard possessed by the foul-mouthed Irish girl as soon as I went over the member cap because of the Vancian spells. The druid followed him as soon as he was recruited. I don’t even remember their names. The Grieving Mother and whatsisname, Rapa Nui? Kata Kana?, were much more useful.

    • Someoldguy says:

      I have to disagree. Coming from a PnP background, spells per day absolutely does work to stop the characters unloading their overkill spells every fight, provided the GM or programmers are doing their job right and allowing intelligent opponents to react to your depredations. Admittedly not many games have done, but that’s no excuse not to keep asking for it, like good AI and good interface design. PoE got it half right by only allowing you to rest in secluded areas and iirc a handful of areas do tweak encounters if you take too long. It made fights more varied by encouraging you not to just alpha strike everything.

      PoE 2 gets my money, that’s for sure. PoE wasn’t perfect but I’m confident they can polish a few rough edges second time around and there’s no ‘be an NPC’ backer level this time to clog up the game with too many irrelevant people.

      • aliksy says:

        There are other ways to discourage alpha strikes.
        The fact that some classes are per-day and others are not makes the unfun-ness of per-day stand out even more.
        I don’t think players actually like time limits in games.
        PoE lets you “camp” in the middle of a keep that you’ve murdered your way into. But think about it. If you can’t camp in the middle of the keep, and you can’t walk outside to rest, that means you can get into an unwinnable state and possibly lose hours of play.

    • Zenicetus says:

      I didn’t mind spells-per-day with resting, it was okay. What bothered me more was the Rogue-type class was too different from the classic D&D concept without enough justification for it. Also, the close engagement mechanic during combat wasn’t very well thought-out. It was more frustration than tactical fun. Although I think they might have tweaked that after I finished the game.

      Oh yes, and filler combat. Waaaaay too much mindless filler combat with mooks while trying to travel somewhere. I hope they change that.

    • Obsidian War PJs says:

      First, disclaimer: While not employed by Obsidian (the name is a coincidence), I have backed both PoE 1 and PoE 2 and am a mod for their Discord and Twitch.

      One of the things Josh Sawyer at Obsidian addressed in another interview (not sure if I’m allowed to link to other sites) is that they understand complaints like yours about the combat being obtuse and impenetrable, so they’re working on communicating and tutorializing better. One of the perks of the crowdfunding campaign is access to the beta, so if you wanted to hop on and give feedback about what doesn’t work for you in this regard, you have a channel to do so.

      • Rizlar says:

        That’s good news, and they developed the combat systems quite a lot in Tyranny, it’s good to see them continuing to experiment. Because going back to PoE recently the combat felt really un-engaging, a definite weak point that holds me back from enjoying a second playthrough.

    • Rumpelstiltskin says:

      I think disabling pre-buffs was a more controversial decision. It’s clear why they did it (pre-buffing is laborious, boring, and OP), but they also made enemies aggressively target the squishies, ignoring the tanks, which was often quite annoying, since the mages tended to end up running around instead of doing proper mage stuff. In Tyranny they put it back, and I think I liked it better.

    • PoulWrist says:

      I don’t mind spells pr day, but what I did mind was that the character stat system was so confusing. I found all this nice stuff, but none of it seemed to make any difference to the power of my party. I didn’t feel like I was hitting harder or better. The only thing that seemed to matter was getting spellcasters to increase their levels so they could blow up more stuff with super spells…
      The rest was just about having people not die so the casters could clean the floor.

  6. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    I look forward to 80% of the NPC’s in the game being big obnoxious reminders that yes this game was crowdfunded!

    • Someoldguy says:

      Not this time, they learned that lesson :)

      • ElementalAlchemist says:

        No they didn’t. They just asked more money for it.

    • Paul B says:

      The good thing is you didn’t need to click on any of the crowd-funded NPCs – none of them were relevant to the main story – something I only learnt halfway through the game – doh!

      I very much enjoyed my time with the original PoE – so much, that I’m going back for another play-through soon, so I can experience the expansion.

      I also just got an email giving me, an original PoE backer, $5 off the new crowdfunding campaign – so that’s my gaming budget allocated for this month :)

      • Someoldguy says:

        Me too. $5 discount on wasteland 3 from inXile and now $5 off PoE2 from Obsidian. Kickstarter may have its risks but I have to say I’m quite happy that I’ve chosen to back projects like this. Neither of the originals were perfect but they were both well worth the investment.

    • InternetBatman says:

      If it makes you feel better they added a dagger in the expansions that powered up if you used it to kill backer npcs.

      • Zenicetus says:

        It was also possible to kill backer NPC’s and steal their stuff if they were placed solo, in a location where nobody was looking. There were a couple like that in the first town. I got some nice early armor that way…

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      I’m sure those backers worked very hard writing those character vignettes that nobody actually read.

  7. InternetBatman says:

    Already backed. I loved Pillars, and think that systems wise it generally made several steps forward from the IE games. This game looks better than Pillars I, and it looks like they’re focusing far more on content.

    • Captain Yesterday says:

      Out of the isometric rpg revival, Pillars is probably my personal favorite. Yes, I’m placing it ahead of Divinity: Original Sin.

  8. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    Perhaps this is a safe place to admit I backed PoE, loved it and still haven’t finished it. So backing this one since that way I’m almost guaranteed to finish the first one this year. Still not crazy about RTwP combat, but I can live with it.

    A pattern apparently, since I’m playing Wasteland 2 Directors Cut now for the first time having backed that too.

    • kud13 says:

      I did finish it, but haven’t gone back to play the expansions.

      I really did enjoy my time with my cypher. I’m on the fence about crowdfunding though, since it feels like a given this game will happen, and then i can just buy it off GOG once it’s done.,

  9. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    I keep my fingers crossed to read the news that they are releasing a Tyranny patch or revision, since so many people say it falls just short of being glorious, and a bit of extra effort could get it there.

    But Obsidian are famous multitaskers, there’s still hope someone’s working on that.

    • Zekiel says:

      I’m thoroughly enjoying Tyranny at the moment. It’s not perfect, but if you loved Pillars then I imagine you’ll probably love Tyranny.

      They just (a couple of days ago) released a Tyranny patch. Don’t know if there are more planned, but they were releasing plenty of patches for Pillars at a time when Tyranny must have been deep in development.

  10. Collieuk says:

    A shame the game wasn’t successful enough that they’re having to crowdfund the sequel too. Or rather it’s a case of wanting to reduce their risk and get folk to fund it directly. I understand crowd funding to get games off the ground and make sequels happen that otherwise never would. But if every game a developer launches is funded same way I find that’s a bit iffy. Makes it a little less easy for the up and coming small developers to get their chance when folk are using their funds to back yet another game by successful developer.
    I haven’t bought PoE yet but it’s nearly always on sale around £15 so I wouldn’t back a sequel for much more than that as you know it’ll go on sale endlessly a few months after launch.

    • Zekiel says:

      Now it’s often on sale for £15, nearly 2 years after launch. I bought it about 3 months after launch for something like £27 (which was the cheapest it’d ever been at that point). I feel like I underpaid for it given how much I loved it!

      Crowdfunding basically gives a bit of extra money (bear in mind even the 4 million the first game got it nowhere near enough to fund full development of a game like this) plus loads of free publicity AND potentially easy access to beta testers). So its easy to see why they do it. It’s worth noting that Tyranny was not crowdfunded (nor was South Park or their currently-mobile-only Pathfinder Adventures game) so its not like Obsdiain are pulling the crowdfunding lever automatically for all new games.

      Having said that there is a definitely a conversation about whether big(ish) developers like Obsidian using crowdfunding is adversely affecting smaller devs who couldn’t afford to fund their game at all. Hmmm.

      • Werthead says:

        It’s where the scaling kicks in. When a company like Stoic, which is made up of just 7 people, points out that Banner Saga 3 will take the better part of $2 million to make, then clearly a company like Obsidian (with 1-2 dozen on PoE and many more in the rest of the company) is going to need a lot more to make a game, so they’re only part-crowdfunding it even if they get their target, or twice their target.

        Obsidian I think are relatively unusual in being a 100% independent developer which is not owned by one of the big publishers, but is still pretty big (they’re not a couple of people in a garage).

    • dungeoncrawl says:

      You’re still thinking about crowd funding like it’s 2012. For a while now, it hasn’t been about “I can’t get a publisher to fund this so the only way it gets made is to ask for crowd funding”. That’s how it started but it quickly morphed into a way for developers to fund any future game, regardless of the success they’re having. There are so many benefits to crowd funding every single game regardless of the company’s financial stability. Engaging the gamer, having them invested, terrific early buzz, input into the process, market research to tell you how good of an idea you have and how well it will be backed, non-reliance on publishers, ability to ‘take as long as it takes’ (good and bad with that one), etc. It’s a win-win for the developer and the consumer. No need to knock Obsidian or any other dev for doing it by saying “too bad you weren’t successful enough with Pillars 1”. P1 was wildly successful for Obsidian.

      • Werthead says:

        Absolutely. That’s again what the Banner Saga guys said. They didn’t crowdfund BS2, used the profits from the first game and leftover Kickstarter money, got their heads down and got the done made pretty quickly, thinking fans would appreciate that, and then the game didn’t sell, at least in part because of the lack of exposure Kickstarter itself brings (there’s already been more discussion of BS3 in the last couple of days then I think there was of BS2 during its entire development).

        Not sure how to square that circle, of people getting angry if devs go to Kickstarter for every game, but then don’t buy the game or get in with the process if they don’t. I wonder if there’s a mechanism for a developer to Kickstart a game and then pay back any leftover funds to the contributors afterwards? They could then Kickstart the next game from a blank slate again.

  11. Lobotomist says:

    I just wish they made it turn based.

    The pause combat was poorly implemented. Especially due to poor AI , fact that you had spells-per-rest ( with finite rests per hole game ) and general visual chaos that made it hard to discern what was going on.

  12. TomxJ says:

    PoE AND Pirates! This is the best.

  13. Someoldguy says:

    Looks like the game is fully funded already. Seems plenty of people out there share my enthusiasm for more PoE :)

  14. Kushiel says:

    “The god of light and rebirth was thought dead, but…”

    I’ll admit I don’t know anything about the setting of this game, but nobody living in that setting had any inkling that the god of rebirth might not be dead, really? :)

    • Horg says:

      The ”death” of Eothas is a very ambiguous event in the lore. He was supposed to have manifest inside a human follower leading a starving peasant army to purge the ruling class, but was killed when his army invaded neighboring lands on a mission of conquest, a move that seemed out of character with the god. Some of his worshipers, believing the manifestation to be an imposter, joined forces with a rival gods priesthood to create the Godhammer Bomb, which was intended to destroy a divine soul, but the actual outcome of the bomb was never certain. It was also left deliberately ambiguous weather or not the human avatar named Waidwen was really Eothas, or just a peasant who was driven a bit mad by hunger and started a cult. Either way, Eothas worshipers got purged after the war and the god went quiet, so it seemed logical to declare the god dead.