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: In one of the updates, you mentioned that you're going to release a Pillars of Eternity tabletop RPG. What can you tell us about that and will you be collaborating with any tabletop publishers on that?

Feargus: The thing that were doing right now is – it's going to be about a 30 page sort of rulebook. Not high level, but very, “Here's the rules.” I don't want to say it in a dense fashion but like, "Here are rules that we feel will let you play a Pillars of Eternity tabletop RPG but you will need to go create your own setting material and all that kind of stuff.” Look at that as a start.

I feel bummed out because a couple of years ago we were starting to talk a lot about getting to release a full book and things like that. We talked to Josh a lot and Josh was thinking, well, we could release it with multiple rulesets so people could use the rulesets that they want to use. So it'd be like the 5th edition ruleset but also 3.5 edition ruleset so people can play how they wanted to play. And we just didn't get it off the ground. Part of it was it looked like it was going to be a $200,000 or $300,000 investment. And it's not our industry but we started to talk about it more, as to who could we partner with? Could we do a crowd-funding campaign for it? Things like that.

So this is us dipping our toe in and putting it out there and seeing what people think. If we like it and if people are positive to it, then maybe leapfrog that into doing a full 400-page book with all the art and all that kind of stuff.

Buck: Sure, and then you have apps to consider – you have Fantasy Grounds and Roll20, for example. You have digital and other avenues where perhaps even if you did have a small handbook for it, anybody who picks that up can evolve that into a larger campaign or use supplemental accessories from other tabletop RPGs.

Feargus: Yeah. We did our guide book volume 1 for the first one. And so we're doing another guide book. So hopefully that's going to amount to – I can't think of the page count, but that could amount to 300-400 pages of material about the world that people could use to create their own adventures.

Buck: Excellent, I'm looking forward to seeing that. You hinted a little bit about some upcoming stretch goals but can you talk a little bit more about what you're planning over the next week or more? Can you give us any hints on what's to come?

Feargus: So one of the things is we're going to be releasing a big thing about a major city and that's tomorrow. So that's on the 17th. And then next week, which is our final week of the campaign, we're going to finally get to talking about what our stronghold is and how does it work and what does it all mean and how that's connected into our world map and a whole bunch of other stuff. So I'm sorry, I would go into more detail but I'm going to get yelled at. Because Adam Brennecke has put an incredible amount of time into a whole video about it. I mean, it won't be as funny as Josh's last video about character relationships but it's going to show one of the last big, big features that we have which most people have guessed what it is but it's pretty cool.

I know we're going to release some more gameplay videos, we're going to cover some more of the monsters we've already done. We already did a graphical update that shows off the new kind of graphics that are cool. I'm trying to think what else we have planned. Actually, I could cheat and see if there's something that I could look at. We use Dropbox to organize all of our updates. That's pretty much it. We have the big city that's tomorrow, which does look pretty cool. Actually we're doing the whole – basically the city map, how that works is pretty nifty, it's kind of actually how – when we started to do it in the Fallout where when you've got to a city you got them like a city and you choose which region you went to. And the one you've done for the big city is really cool.

We have the big, big thing we're releasing next week. I'll get yelled at for saying that.

Buck: We talked a little bit about how much additional development time you expect on the sequel earlier, but how does the development team compare to the first game in terms of sheer size?

Feargus: With the development team that worked on Eternity, we had up to about the same size, I think it's about 45 people. But it ramped up slowly. As we were doing the Kickstarter campaign in 2012, there was only six or seven people working on it, then we slowly ramped it up. Some of it was challenges because South Park went longer than expected and so people that were supposed to come off there couldn’t. And so there were some challenges trying to ramp up Eternity. But because we already had the team, and we were already working on the White March Part 1 and 2, some people started to do some high level on Eternity II in late 2015.

Pretty much since early 2016, it's been the full team of about 45 people. So that's the difference. We ramped up on Eternity I, but Eternity II has been consistently that way. So that's kind of what we've done. What's cool is we actually had a lot of animation resources. In early 2016, they had just finished with some other projects. So we probably had four or five animators for a little while, which is way more than we would normally put on an Eternity game. And what was nice is they were able to do a lot of little ambient animations of picking up cups and sitting down and reading spell books and running from the rain which I think when particular people are walking around in cities, it's going to feel more life-like.

Buck: Sure, and you're targeting a Q1 2018 release, right?

Feargus: Yes, so March 2018.

Buck: Do you anticipate any issues hitting that schedule?

Feargus: I don't think so. It's part of those things that, if there's some issue I would be surprised that we slipped more than a month. And that's not what anybody is feeling right now. I'm just saying sometimes in development there is some crazy curveball that happens because what we do is creative and sometimes something weird happens. We kind of understand our pipelines and what it takes to get things done and so we're not anticipating a slip. I would be surprised if we slipped. But if for some reason we did, it's not going to be a very long slide.