Pillars of Eternity Gameplay Footage, Preview and Interview

We've rounded up a few more Pillars of Eternity-themed articles and one video to sate your appetite for coverage of Obsidian's Kickstarter RPG while waiting for the backer beta, which is going to be an extremely important litmus test for the title.

Computer and Videogames has a preview:

It is the alchemy of character, ethnicity and ability which best demonstrates the level of authorship players have over their minions. Sawyer says he wants to encourage experimentation, and hopes the team can balance character creation to the extent that there are qualities to be found even in the most reckless creations.

"If you want to build an idiot muscle mage or a clumsy thief, you can do it. You have to find ways to play to the strength of the characters, but you can't create bad ones. It's very good to support players' choices."

Each of the abilities can clash and complement each other too. The constitution skill, for example, affects long-term health, but with a strong might count will also bolster fortitude, which provides a resistance to poison and knock downs.

Sawyer explains that mixing skills with races also comes with benefits and trade-offs.

"Barbarians, for example, have limited-use abilities such as wild sprint and frenzy, but with a high might score and intellect, they can increase the range and duration of their attacks," he explains.

"We wanted to make it very difficult to build a bad class. If someone has a very specific idea for what they want to create, they can see that through without creating a bad character."

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has published the second part of their interview:

RPS: There's a huge amount of text, even in what I've seen today, and the storytelling seems to be more important than necessarily inventing new playstyles. Is it fair to say that a lot of the team's work has gone into making as many approaches as possible work in the game, both in terms of roleplaying and skillsets?

Sawyer: In the good old days we just kind of wrote dialogue, and added options, and sometimes they were good, sometimes they were bad and sometimes they were meaningless (laughs). Over time, those dialogues got refined and sometimes that was done in ways that were productive and good, eliminating bullshit options, and trash options that were just bad writing or bad places to go.

But with that refinement there was also a very tight streamlining, so in some games it got to the point where everything except the one good and one bad option was lost. That felt wrong to me. I wanted to write dialogue in a way that gives the players a sense that they're allowed a good range of expression without falling into approaches that are just the expected ones in any given circumstance.

How do we also make those choices feel like they have weight within the context of the game's systems and mechanics. That's why we have the reputation systems and why we don't have a dialogue skill, we trigger things off your attributes, class, background and race. That way we get a broader spectrum of activity. It's not a question of '˜do you have the speech skill?', it's a question of what class are you, what choices have you made?

If you're in a conversation, Might may be important because you can try to intimidate someone with a show of strength, or you might want to use Dexterity to pick a pocket. Maybe you want to psych someone out by using Resolve, which is kind of a replacement for charisma, but it's more a case of personal drive and intensity. Or maybe you use Intellect for a logical deduction.

So instead of needing a Speech skill or Charisma for cool dialogue options, we make sure there are plenty for musclebound bruisers as well. It's not about building '˜The Speech Character', it's about letting players create the character they want to play, and making sure that the game has plenty of options and reactivity for that character.

RPS: You mentioned during the presentation that it's possible to see the dialogue options that your character can't choose for whatever reason, but that the visibility can also be disabled. Can you turn off the indicators that tell you what the result reputation-wise of a choice will be?

Sawyer: Almost anything in the UI can be switched off. You can turn off combat HUD elements. You can even turn on Big Head mode, which I love.

RPS: Does it have its own dialogue options?

Sawyer: (laughs) No. Very early on I said that I'd always wanted to make a game with Big Head Mode, so here it is. But we have a ton of customisability. The HUD can just be portraits, playing entirely with hotkeys.

And, finally, PC Gamer has published their full gameplay walkthrough with Josh Sawyer, which goes on for about 40 minutes. Nothing new with it, but the video quality is probably the best of the lot and the commentary is solid: