Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Publisher:Paradox Interactive
Developer:Obsidian Entertainment
Release Date:2018-05-08
  • Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • Third-Person
Buy this Game: Amazon ebay
Buck: You raised right around $4 million on the first Pillars of Eternity and you brought in funding after that campaign ended, correct?

Feargus: Yeah. We put our backup portal together and we kept on getting funding. I don't know the exact number, it's somewhere between $1.3 and $1.5 [million]. So in essence, the total amount we brought in – and this was after Kickstarter fees – was about $5.2 million, but that's removing the Kickstarter fees which is the 5% plus the 3% in credit card.

So $4 million on Kickstarter, I think what we ended up getting on Kickstarter was about $3.6-$3.7 million or something like that because we had to pay about $200,000 to Kickstarter and then about another $120,000 in credit card fees.

Buck: Do you intend to do the same thing with Pillars of Eternity II and have a post-Fig funding option as well?

Feargus: Yes. And because we already have our Backer Portal, we should have that up actually by next Wednesday [the 22nd] so people will be able to give us money through PayPal which they haven't been able to until this point. That also means that once the campaign is done, we'll import everybody's emails as soon as we can. And then for anything that, in essence, we already have, there's a tier where you get Pillars of Eternity I, we'll be able to get people their codes within like a week or two of the campaign being over.

Buck: Sure. I find the business side of this fascinating, and while I don't want to focus too much on that, I’m curious what your post-funding sales have been for Pillars of Eternity? That initial funding amount would have included a lot of people like me who absolutely wanted a copy on day one and to be part of the pledging process, but how have your sales been since that point?

Feargus: So the latest information we have is from our last royalty report that we got from Paradox. And the last number was like – I think we're under just 900,000 units. So about 900,000 units was what we sold of the core product after the game came out.

Buck: So with the Kickstarter pledges, does that put you well over a million units sold?

Feargus: Yes, yes. If you include all the Kickstarter pledges, we would be at about a million.

Buck: Out of curiosity, how do those numbers compare to some of your previous titles, such as Neverwinter Nights 2 or The Stick of Truth?

Feargus: So Neverwinter Nights 2, I don't actually have good numbers on that. I think we're in this sort of, maybe, 1.5 million to 2 million range for Neverwinter 2, that's not counting the expansions. The South Park numbers – it sounds so silly, but we can't share because they're a part of the reports we get from Ubisoft and so those are confidential. And I'd forgotten what kind of unit counts Ubisoft has said. So in essence, about a million units on Eternity is probably lower than most of our other games. But it's a game that didn't cost $10 million or $15 million to make. And on top of it, because it's ours, we get most of the revenue. Paradox has their publishing portion that they take which is much smaller than what a publisher would normally take if they also funded the game.

Buck: Looking at Metacritic and Gamerankings, I think Pillars of Eternity is your top-rated game overall?

Feargus: Yes, an 89, I think… Yes, Eternity is our top-rated game. I never thought of it that way, but yeah, you're right.

Buck: That’s a huge achievement. Going from when you and I had a conversation at E3 2010 that these types of games were virtually non-existent at the time and people were ready to consume another Baldur's Gate / Infinity Engine-style game again to having a Metacritic score of 89, I think that's a huge achievement.

Feargus: It's amazing. We were actually at a rating of 90 for three months and then a small site came in and gave us a 7 out of 10. So we're probably at like 89.9. But it's been great to see the response. And since the Fig campaign has gone up I've been talking to people a lot in the comments. People just have great things to say about the game and that they love it. I mean, that in of itself, whether it's an 89 or a 79 or whatever it is. But when people tell you that they really enjoyed it that's what's cool.

Buck: Right. I think that goes for many of your games. There are people who find a commonality that they love in your games, myself included, right? And even if they score a 59 or a 69 or a 79, we'll still be buying them and pointing out their virtues.

That's the great thing about the type of games you guys make and the depth they bring. People like me and many GameBanshee readers will consume them and love their focus regardless of what the general population might think.

But on the flip side, it's great to have that reinforcement from the broader audience and from the broader media industry that you can achieve an 89 score. Because I think 89 is right around the same spot that Baldur's Gate and Planescape: Torment and other classics are at, too. I feel like you can't possibly ask for much more than being right in the same echelon as some of the highest, most respected RPGs of all time, right?

Feargus: It's great. I mean, we were surprised, we felt really good about the game, we felt it was great. And I have to admit, we were very pleasantly surprised that we got reviewed well. And also, though, I think there are going to be higher expectations for Deadfire. And so I know that we have to sort out how the game plays and how it feels and how well put-together it is. There's just going to be higher expectations and we just have to know that going in for what we hand off to people when we finish it.