Pillars of Eternity [official site] is so close I can almost touch, smell and see it. I've already spent some time with the backer beta and spoken to lead designer Josh Sawyer about the game at great length, and now I just want to play. I'm hoping it'll be the kind of life-consuming RPG that I can hibernate in for a couple of months. The game went gold today and Obsidian's responses to questions in an Ask Me Anything session surfaced yesterday. There is discussion of an expansion, among other things.
The answers that Obsidian gave are all available over at Reddit and there are a few interesting points. Most eye-catching is the news that a small team are working on areas and environments for an expansion.
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. We will announcing more things about it over the next few months.
I also like the response to a question about difficulty, and how the early game compares to Baldur's Gate 1.
I don't think that the early game is quite as dangerous as it is in BG1. From the beginning until you reach Gilded Vale, it's pretty safe. 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'm just about finished with a Hard playthrough and even with 12th level characters and a lot of unique, upgraded gear, there are still challenging fights out there for me. On the flipside, there's no level scaling, so when I go through an area that I'm over-leveled and over-geared for, blasting everything to bits with ease is pretty fun.
One of my favourite things about what I've seen of the game is how it seems to cater to the player's choices. Obsidian are trying to make the game equally enjoyable for every class, ability, race and playstyle, and that runs through to difficulty as well. Infinity Engine veterans are advised to play on normal difficulty but there are additional perma-death options, a single-save ironman mode and fully customisable settings for feedback and tips. Don't want to see thresholds for skill checks? You can toggle that. The same goes for unqualified conversation options, area of effect visibility and much more.